18.5 wsm thermometer question

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by oakporker, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. oakporker

    oakporker Newbie

    Good morning to a you bbq masters out there. I finally man'd up and got a wsm and went charcoal instead of propane (I know I know). Anyways, I have been toying with it and read that built in thermometer can be off by as much as 50 degrees, so I went and bought an oven stand thermometer and hung it on the rack. The smoker thermeter said 250, so I thought PERFECT! However, my heart sank when I opened the lid and noticed the temp on the oven thermometer said 325. It actually got up to 350 before I killed all vents to stop oxygen. Thoughts? Thanks in advance!!
  2. WSM(s) do run hot for the first few cooks until they build up some seasoning on the inside.  I like a remote read thermometer but lots of folks use the oven thermometer like you have.  Over time, you'll learn where to set your vents for the temps your are looking for.  One of my favorite things in life is to make like one or two adjustments for a 12 + hours cook.  Also, don't be afraid to use the top vent.  Some say leave it open 100% at all times but I simply make sure its open more than the bottom vents to ensure I still getting a chimney effect to pull fresh air in from the bottom. 
  3. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I don't think I've heard WSM factory thermometer can be off by as much as 50* before.  Where did you see that?  I know MES (Masterbuilt Electric Smoker) reading are notorious for inaccuracy, but I've never heard that about Weber.

    Also, a $5 oven thermometer is not the best choice for accuracy either. 

    WSM's do run a little hot in the beginning as the coating is still new and reflects more IR heat back into the unit.  After a few smokes you get a buildup of smoke & other cooking residue on all the surfaces and the tendency to want to run hot is reduced.  And by run hot, I mean the overall temps tend to be more difficult to hold in the 225* range, not the thermometer reads inaccurately.

    My WSM is the old style and did not have a factory thermometer.  I installed a commercial grade Tel-Tru model I picked up as "new old stock" on e-bay for about $25.  It's about as spot on accurate as you will get for an analog dial thermometer. So a commercial model is not as expensive as you might first think.

    Another thing to consider is Weber's excellent customer service.  Just call them and they should ship you another thermometer for free.  But I would use another thermometer that you can verify is accurate before replacing it (by verify, I mean do the ice water and boiling water readings test).
  4. oakporker

    oakporker Newbie

    Thanks alot for the input guys. After it heated up everything started to level off and I've been at 225 for awhile now. Will post pics! Thanks

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