First smoke under way!!!! Help!

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by mkedda, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. mkedda

    mkedda Fire Starter

    So, I posted yesterday about getting my first smoke on the WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain).

    I loaded things up this morning around 5am and I cannot get the temp over 220 according to the maverick theromemter or 250 according to the weber thermometer.

    I have employed the minion method and I wondering


  2. mkedda

    mkedda Fire Starter

    My first mistake this morning may have been starting out with only 16 lit charcoal briquettes and a FULL water pan of hot water?
  3. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I am not familiar with that model smoker but maybe you need to add some more lit coals to get her fired up more. Are there vents on there you can open up to allow more air flow?

    Also if it is windy try to make a wind block for yourself. I am sure someone more familiar will be along soon.

    Try running the water pan at half full. Right now I would add more lit coals and make sure you have proper air flow.
  4. bman62526

    bman62526 Smoking Fanatic

    Don't know much about those WSM's...sorry. However, just ignore the Webber Therm. Good to know you got the Maverick!

    Here is what I would do...but we'll see what others think.

    Start with a little more charcoal, keep the top vent all the way open and the bottom vent all the way open, too!

    As the temp hits about 240 or so, close down the bottom vent from wide open to about 1/2 open. WATCH TEMP GAUGE FOR AT LEAST ONE MINUTE after you've choked down the intake vent - before you do any more adjustments!

    If the temp is still climbing, close the bottom vent from 1/2 to 1/4 and it should become steady soon.

    Write down what you use for fuel (how much you started with) and what air intake adjustments you you can refer to those notes next time and improve.

    Good luck!
  5. mkedda

    mkedda Fire Starter

    I have all 4 vents (3 bottom, 1 top) WIDE OPEN.

    I have added at 7am 5 lit briquettes and at 8am 15 lit briquettes

    I stirred the bowl at 8:30am and I finally hit 236 on the maverick

    really would like to get to 250 to get her done by 4p
  6. athabaskar

    athabaskar Smoking Fanatic

    Mkedda, the main thing is - don't fret too much about it. You're using the minion method and eventually the pile will catch. Everything will be fine. The difference between 236 and 250 at the beginning is minimal when you are planning your smoke to go from 8:00am to 4:00pm. Just relax and wait for the fire to get going.

    Bman62526 had the good advice that you probably should have started with a little more charcoal. Live and learn. That's what makes this so fun!
  7. If you need to boost the temperature, prop open the door or take the lid off for a minute. Having said that, I totally agree with Athabaskar: relax. All is good.

    What are you cooking? And don't forget the photographs. :)
  8. got14u

    got14u Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think the water may have been a big factor in time maybe start with a water pan full of boiling water along with more briquettes. glad to hear the temps are up now. good luck and keep us posted.
  9. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    yep, from beginning to end, everyone gave good advice here -

    keep at it and keep records of what you are doing!
  10. mkedda

    mkedda Fire Starter

    Preperation, you can see my kids were involved.

    Just mopped at 154 internal
  11. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Lookin good! I take it you got the temps figured out. Just be patient!
  12. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looking good so far! Glad those temps came up. try to avoid lifting the lid too much as this will set you back a bit temp wise. Keep those picks coming.

    Remember, go by temp not time. Dinner may not be at 4 sharp...
  13. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looking good. Leave the lid on but you can crack that door open just a bit to get a little more air flow. But remember the air should be coming in from the bottom to get the coals going. I'd say that you should've started with a nearly full chimney of hot coals.

    No harm though, looks like you're moving now.

    If you do need to refill the water pan, use hot water.
  14. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    Remember that when you add all that cold meat, its going to take a while for the temps to recover / get up there. Also i recently found that to get to temp faster, really ensure your load of charcoal that you start with is really really hot / going. It will take less time for everything to get going then.

    I mean like grey ash with flames hot in the chimney = less time for the WSM to get going.

    With a decently full water pan You probably dont need to refill unless your butts take a really long time and you are running at a high temp the whole time.
  15. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I usually have to start with 1 full chimney of lit lump... but my CG has a very large area to fill with heat, and I minion it into another chimney of unlit lump already in my basket. I find that making sure your first chimney is entirely lit and ashed over makes a big differance when you do your minion.
  16. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks to be coming along okay now...[​IMG]
  17. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Looking good to me I would just kick back and let the smoke be with you and it will get done when it gets done. [​IMG]
  18. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looking good so far. Those Webers are some nice units.
  19. forcedsquint

    forcedsquint Fire Starter

  20. mkedda

    mkedda Fire Starter

    Thank you to everyone for your help and suggestions throughout the process. This is a truly remarkable forum.

    The finishing sauce was a big hit!

    I pulled all the pork at 190 and let it sit wrapped in towels in a cooler for between 1 and 2 hours.

    The meet had a great flavor, it could have been a little more tender. however, my guests told me i was a GD moron and it was delicious.


    So easy to keep the temp steady and make a few minor adjustments.

    Mistakes I made,

    1.) not enough charcoal at the start of the minion! the virtualweberbullet page says 20 on a hot day, i dont know it may take more like a full chimeny

    2.) I forgot to fill the water tray and when i removed the pork, there was barely any water left in it.

    3.) i didnt relax, i was sooo worried about having to adjsut the temperature that i looked at the thermo like every 15-25mns. (not so bad as it was remote and right next to me).

    4.) taking the pork to 200 may have been a better idea for pulling, but i know my family likes the "porky" consistency and they did in fact find the texture to be amazing.

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