At the end of my rope with the WSM

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by hallertau, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. I know its probably not the WSM but me.

    How in the name of all thats right and just can you get and keep Thin Blue Smoke. I've been fighting an uphill no win, gonna throw something over the fence battle today. With about 100 coals in, two pieces of wood chunks all I can get is puffy smoke. Vents open, vents closed, 1/3 open, some open, some not, etc.

    Things seemed to be going well as I was warming up the smoker this morning then the minute I open the lid to put on my brisket, I smoke out the whole goddamn neighborhood.

    I am sick of my food tasting like astringent ass.

    Please help, I am at my wits end.
  2. wmarkw

    wmarkw Smoking Fanatic

    Sounds like your chunks of wood are on fire??  Are you using the minion method for this cook?  I always try and put my wood chunks away from the lit coals and have them slowly heat/smoke.  Are your temps way high?  Hang in there.
  3. It seems to be stabilizing now, I have thin wispy smoke with shades of blue and the occasional white. Temps (at the top where the food was) were around 275 when I was having issues, now they are stable at 225. I used the minion method but pretty sure all the coals caught fire. I removed the smoker body and removed some coals and the the wood which wasn't on fire, just white ash and smoke. Replaced with new unburnt pieces.
  5. wmarkw

    wmarkw Smoking Fanatic

    Ok just remember everytime you tinker or move the smoker body, etc you are giving air to your fire which will heat up the coals quick.  What kind of wood are you using?  You mentioned before your last smoke had a bad flavor?  When I cook I do see smoke but its not billowy/camp fire, but its not always blue either.  Sometimes the wood gets burning if I open up my door to mess with the charcoal but will extinguish eventually but will throw out a good amount of smoke for a while.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011
  6. Using Hickory chunks.

    Yeah once I removed the body I gave it a good 30mins to relax before putting on the brisket. I guess I am just petrified to see any hints of white smoke, last few things I have smoked I remember lots of white smoke, which I thought was good only to have the food taste terrible.
  7. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Don't worry,  just be happy

    A little white smoke is not the end of the world,  Expect a little when you add fuel but then the smoker should settle down and give you what you are looking for.  Maybe try smaller chunks, an ax or hatchet comes in handy here or use chips.

    You aren't soaking the chunks are you?

    If having smoke problems try using well dried small chunks of wood, 

  8. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I noticed you are counting out your briquets..... don't bother. I found that by not filling the ring at least half full I was getting very hot, hard to controll fires that went through my fuel very fast. I have no scientific backing for this but I believe that in not having the briquets packed in a tight formation it allows a lot more oxygen into the pile and that makes it much harder to controll. My best results are to put a good solid layer of briquets on the bottom of my ring, put 4 or 5 chunks of wood on, fill the ring the rest of the way, and nestle another 4 or 5 chunks of wood down into the top layer of briquets.

    From what I can tell having the wood burried in/surrouned with briquets helps to keep it from bursting into flame when you open your smoker, its kind of like the briquets being packed tight act as a damper that keeps the fire from taking off when you don't want it to.
  9. Well after be stuck at 160 for like 3 hours my ittle bitty 1.5 pound half point cut of brisket is at 195F and resting nicely in foil and a cooler. I took a swipe of the top before wrapping it and it tasted like ass.

    In an hour we'll see if that was just a fluke.

    Oh another thought, after wrapping it in foil and leaving it on the smoker for an hour I noticed a lot of charcoal ash on the foil itself. I didn't disturb the coals or anything, it just seems to be floating around inside the smoker. That can't be good for the food. Is this normal?
  10. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Johnny has you covered, [​IMG]

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