Got my WSM yesterday....Dry run tonight with Bacon ( and I am new to charcoal)

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Original poster
Jan 12, 2014
Hey guys, been browsing the site now for 3 weeks. I was fencing between an MES and the 18" the wsm yesterday. I did the Harry shoo method of "burning off and Manufatures residue" and just lit a full chimney, threw it in with all vents wide open and let her burn. I did throw some cold coals on top of the hot and noticed the wsm was poring out smoke( no wood just charcoal burning) and assumed it was just the unlit coals catchingup and igniting. Once all were lit and it was at 325+ no smoke coming from the wsm.

I am using royal oak lump by the way

I am currently doing a test run with the Minion method and noticed that it is poring out the same smoke.(hot coals igniting the cold ones)

Is this to be expected? Just seems like the meat will absorb way to much of the unlit charcoal smoke.

I am an hour in and it is holding temps around 237 f. I have 2 vents closed and one open maybe 10%, not much at all. Still just wondering about the smoke from charcoal as I am new to it.
No , don't worry about "unlit" charcoal smoke. I don't believe there's any such thing.The minion method works fine and your food will taste great. I've been using the WSM for a couple years now and I always go minion and it works fine.
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The WSM will smoke at start up, but that should settle down after about 15 min. or so. Also a word of advice on charcoal storage - store it indoors at the back of the garage away from doors. Charcoal acts like a sponge for moisture in the air, so if it stored in a deck box or something in an environment with moisture in the air your charcoal will get "skunky". Skunky charcoal does smoke badly the entire time and smells nasty.
Could be that you started a fire that is requiring more air, and having only 1 vent open 10% is suffocating the fire. It's taken me a lot of time and patience but eventually you will learn how much coals to light depending on what general temp you are aiming for. I'm still relatively new to the WSM, but the majority of cooks I've done I've left my vents wide open, I never had my vents more than 50% closed. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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