Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by geman, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. geman

    geman Newbie

    Woody from Ky. Got a WSM 18.5 for father's day. Put a gasket kit on it and a compression latch on the door. Need to start using it. Some good tips for a newbie to start out with please...
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Welcome to SMF and to the wonderful world of WSM ownership!  Get ready for some tasty weekends. 

    Do a dry run, no meat, and learn what you need to know to control temps with your vents.  I half loaded mine with charcoal only, no water in the water pan, and played with the vents getting a feel for the vent settings for different temps.  My experiment lasted 13 hours and I ran it from 225F up to 350F.   

    Foil your water pan or use a drip pan to prevent a fatty mess.  For drip pans I use 9x13 aluminum pans you get at Costco cheap, paella pans with handles that I can put a round rack in; and a round aluminum cake pan I can put on the lower grate (actually haven't tried the last one yet, but I got one free that fits my WSM and am ready to try it myself).

    The easiest thing you can smoke are brats.  They'll tolerate just about any temp you want to use and you can tell when they are done just by looking at them (start to crinkle a little).  They respond well to both a wet smoke (water in water pan) or a dry smoke (no water).  They smoke up pretty quickly relatively speaking.   

    Chicken is easy too.  High, dry heat (dry smoke), 300F+ works best.  Easy peazy to take to an internal temp of 165F.

    Shrimp is a very easy smoke, takes on flavor nicely, but is pricy these days. 

    I love smoked meatloaf but my wife is not a fan.  It is a very easy smoke.  High temp 300F plus, dry smoke to an IT of 165F.   

    Pork butt and pork shoulder is very forgiving too and can tolerate anything from 225F on up.  I foil mine at the first sign of a stall to shorten the smoke but you can leave them unwrapped until they reach an IT of 203-205F for pulling apart. 

    Beef cuts like chuck roasts and brisket are easy too but their tender, juicy window can vary a lot.  You can smoke them like the butts and shoulders but start sticking them with a tooth pick when the IT reaches 195F to 200F.  The toothpick should slide in like pushing in room temp butter. 

    Have fun and be sure to post pics of your first smoke.    
    geman likes this.
  3. Hello and welcome to the forum, looks like you already got some good advice 

    Gary S
    geman likes this.
  4. geman

    geman Newbie

    Would really like to be able to pull off a good prime rib on the smoker. Got to get to searching on the rub and length of smoke.
  5. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Prime rib is best smoked at 225F using a food probe to measure the progress of the meat.  Do you have a Maverick therm?  If so, take it to an internal temp of 120-125F for rare, 130-135 for medium rare, and beyond that you're on your own because I'd NEVER smoke a prime rib to any internal temp higher than 135F, and 135F is pushing it for me.  I did that once.  My wife doesn't like rare meat so now I do 130F for prime rib then tell her it is supposed to look that pink as medium rare. 

    Prime rib is phenomenal BTW on the WSM.  I was SOOOOOOOO tempted to pick one up at Costco today but I hadn't made any arrangements to split the roast with friends and it was WAY too much meat for just my wife and me.  I was there for skirt steak to marinate and grill this weekend so I stuck to my plan and walked out with extra money in my pocket.   
  6. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Best tip/advice I would have for a newbie is to not even consider starting out with a Prime Rib !!!!  Noboundaries gave you some great advice!    Learn how to control the temps on the WSM first, then get a couple of cooks under your belt using inexpensive things like brats/sausage, chicken, yada, yada, yada.    Once you have your smoker under control and doing what you want, THEN throw a Prime Rib on it.
  7. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic


    My tip would be Boston Butt, heavily salted on the outside (it won't be too salty when it's done) and taken to an internal temp (IT) of 200-205. You can bring it up slowly @225 or fast @300+. Foil it at the stall (160-170 degrees) if you want to speed up the cook time. Dry smoke with your preference of wood, I use oak. Look at what others on the forum use as far as quantity of wood in your type of smoker so you don't over-smoke. Use a drip pan.

    When you hit your IT, if you haven't already foiled it, foil it now and let it rest for at least an hour or so. This will stabilize the meat so it is consistent in moisture distribution and consistently cooked throughout (makes it easier to pull). A couple of forks are all you will need to shred (pull) the meat.

    Is this the best way to cook a butt? No, but for a newbie it is easy and it will be delicious...GUARANTEED! How do I know? This is what I did for my first highly successful smoke, and after all the compliments I was hooked. It also gives you a good foundation to work from, so that the next time when you ask yourself "I wonder if it would be good if I added....? You will at least be sure that if it doesn't turn out, it wasn't because you didn't know how to make great pulled pork.

    Don' add the juice from the foil back to the meat when it's pulled, too salty.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014

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