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Just got my WSM 22.5 and i need help!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by dougmays, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    hey ya'll.....i got my WSM last week and finally got to put it together last night.  i'm doing a big smoke for new years eve and want everything to go flawlesly.  i'm not new to smoking but i'm AM new to the WSM

    i have it fired up right now to "break it in"....i started  with just one chimeny full of lump coal burning.  i left all vents open and it immediatly popped up to 250 and rising.  now i'm messing around with the vents to learn how to adjust temp properly.

    i heard that when these things are brand new they tend to burn hotter as the metals are "breaking in".  so i closed all three bottom vents to half to lower temps....it stayed at 250!

    so i closed one vent and left the other 2 at half...still 250.  so i closed 2 vents and closed the 3rd to about 1/4 open....it lowered a bit to around 240.  BTW i'm dont have water in the pan. 

    so my question is how do you guys usually get to 225.  do you close all 3 vents to about 1/4 to 1/8 open? do you usually smoke with one or 2 vents fully closed and just adjust the one vent?

    looking for WSM pro's to help me get the temps right!

    thanks in advance.  i was gonna smoke some chicken tonight after work to further break it in.  hauling it over to my friends tomorrow for the big day!
  2. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    also why does the owners manual suggest not to use lump charcoal?
  3. placebo

    placebo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm sure there are several methods folks here use to maintain 225, I'll share what I do. Where your at on the globe makes a difference when trying to offer suggestions for this type of stuff but nonetheless. Water or some type of heat sink is critical, personally I use a large clay saucer wrapped in HD foil. I use the minion method for my fire by forming a circle of lump in the fire ring with the middle mostly open. Some use a coffee can to help with this but it is not necessary. I also bury my wood chunks for smoke within the said ring of lump. Then I start my chimney and once the coals are good and hot I dump them into the middle of the fire ring and assemble the smoker. Me being in Northern California it is usually fairly warm here compared to other parts so if I leave my vents fully open it will shoot to 300+ with a quickness. So what I do if there is relatively no wind is open the top vent fully and close all the bottom ones down to where maybe 1/8" or less crack is there. If there is wind I will sometimes close the vent that faces the wind more-so than the others to help with a more even burn. Hope that helps and good luck!

    Oh and as far as the manual goes it's probably better used to start your first chimney of lump[​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  4. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    I had the exact same experience with my first burn. Nothing would keep it under 250-260 once it was lit.

    Dont worry, after a couple smokes, you can dial it down to 225 no problem. I have the door mod installed which gives a tighter seal, and with that, my bottom vents are open around 5mm-1cm once its lit to keep temps.

    Chicken is good to start with as it will benefit from higher temps, as will pork butt be forgiving. You'll be at 225F and ribs in no time.

  5. dougmays

    dougmays Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    thanks fellas! 

    one question about using the top vent...i was under the impression the top vent was solely for how much smoke you want to release...not for fueling the fire..is this not true?
  6. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yeah... they will run hot for the first half dozen smokes or so, till the smoke residue seals up all the air gaps. One thing you can do to help is to make sure you catch the temps on the way up - meaning after you dump the chimney wait for about 5 minutes, then put the main body on with HOT water in the pan and the lid on, all vents 100% open. Then keep and eye on it and as soon as the lid therm hits 200° damp all three bottom vents to 75% closed. Don't walk away, keep an eye on it, it should settle out around 240-250°, if it gets to 240° and is still climbing fast close 2 dampers completely. Just leave the top vent 100% open.

    Don't worry after two or three smokes you will be able to get a good feal for how fast the temps come up and where to set your vents. Grats on the smoker and can't wait to see th Q-view!
  7. johnnyreb

    johnnyreb Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    i have been using 2 bricks in my water pan (foil the top)...seems to work really well

    i can get 225 easily with only one bottom vent open about an 1/4 of an inch

    as for the top vent always leave it open
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011