Keeping heat up in WSM

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Original poster
Oct 22, 2005
Help! I am new to the smoking world and just got a WSM. I did a 5 lb pork shoulder last weekend (55 degrees and slightly windy) and could not get the temp above 205 and needed to add charcoal twice in the process. Tried same recipe again this week (50 degree and steady rain) and had the same problem. A friend who smokes said to learn on charcoal and graduate to wood but the charcoal seems to breakdown and fall through the grate and can't hold its heat. I am using Kingsford and also have mixed in hickory wood chunks.The shoulder is excellent it just takes 10 hours to do and there are other recipes that I want to try where I need to maintain temps in the 250 to 300 range. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
31-check the last thread in the section-the original post was also having problems maintaining his temps when using charcoal. In one of the replies, TulsaJeff talks about using the "Minion Method". This is the method that I use with my ECB and it works great. I don't see why it wouldn't work with the WSM.
Thanks, I checked the thread and I think that I am doing something similar to the Minion method as I lmix in hickory chunks & Kingsfors to the top of the fire ring of the WSM then I remove a chimney full of briquets in the middle, fire those up (usually 20 to 25 minutes) and then pour them back where I removed them from when the chimney is going. I am wondering if I should spread the coals from the chimney across all of the coals instead of pouring in the middle in order to spread the hot coals out.
Try this, Next time you fill your charcoal basket, don't remove any-fill your starter chimney and when they begin to ash over pour them over the top of the charcoal/wood chunks in the basket.

The fire pan in my ECB will hold about 4 chimneys worth of charcoal. I place 3 chimneys of charcoal in the fire pan, mix in some wood chunks-fill the chimney again and light the chimney. When they ash over they are poured over the charcoal in the firepan. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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