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New WSM 22.5" Arriving Friday - Lump or Briquettes??


Joined Nov 24, 2009
After 15-20 smokes on a hand-me down ECB, I went to the local hardware store and ordered a WSM 22.5".  It will be here on Friday.

I'm going to have a limited amount of time on Sunday and wanted to do a short to medium length smoke (less than 6 hours).  Ribs or maybe a couple of chickens...  I don't know, depends on what jumps out at me when I go to Sam's Club.

From what I've seen here it seems like most who post here use Lump charcoal in there WSM's.  Is that still the case?

Also for a 6 hour (or less) smoke, should I fill it with charcoal completely (and close the vents when done) or only fill it partially??

Thanks for any advice.  JP.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jun 5, 2009
Grats on the WSM! I love mine.

Both lump and briquets work well. Lump will burn hotter, but can be harder to get packed into the ring tightly, resulting in shorter burns because you actually have less lbs. of charcoal in the ring than you think. Briquets generally work better for slower, lower temps.

Since this is your first run and you are only doing a 6 hr. (or so run), you could use either one. If you use lump there are a couple of things to watch out for. New WSM's seem to run hot for the first couple of smokes, that combined with the higher temps of lump mean it can run away from you very fast. I would fill you ring approx 1/2 way then dump 1/2 a lit chimney ontop, wait about 7-10 minutes then assemble the rest of the body and put HOT water in the pan. Keep a close eye on the lid therm, when it gets to 200° damp it down hard to 3/4 closed on all 3 bottom vents (top vent 100% open). Wait 10 min. and check the lid therm., it should steady out aroun 225-250° - adjust bottom vents as needed to go a little higher or lower.

I'm not sure what kind of weather you have in your neck of the woods, but be aware that if the outside temp is bellow 45-50° you are going to use more charcoal than you think. Normally in the summer I can run 22+ hrs. on a full ring of briquets, but last butt I did the overnight temp. droped to 39°, and my full ring only lasted about 12 hrs. because I had to run with the bottom vents 3/4 open all night to maitain 225°.

Hope it all turns out good, and let us know how you like your new toy!


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
OTBS Admin
Group Lead
Joined Mar 22, 2008
I don't have a WSM but it seems many of our members prefer the briquettes over lump when using their WSM's

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