Questions for WSM owners

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by caveman, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. caveman

    caveman Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I have read through some of the threads about your smokes & was wondering;

    1. Can you add more fuel during a smoke??

    2. Did you have to drill holes in the WSM to use your thermo's?

    3. The door is big enough to take meat out & re-position to the top grill?

    The pictures don't give this information away & I have not seen one in any of my local stores yet.
  2. temposs

    temposs Newbie

    I've got the 22.5" WSM. I can add fuel simply by opening the door and tossing in a handful of coals (though, if you light it properly to begin with, you seldom have will need to even do this). The purpose of the door is to add fuel/wood chunks/refill the water pan. To access the meat safely you need to take the top off completely (I wish it had some sort of hinge system for the top, it's huge and heavy and hard to find a place to set it down). I've got a Maverick ET-7 and I just run my probes through the top hole on my lid, for now. Eventually I'll install a set of grommets or something to run the cables in through on the side.

    I'm very happy with mine, I've had it since February.
  3. caveman

    caveman Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    So, when you take off the lid, what happens to the probe again??? It pulls out??
  4. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I run the probe wires under the lid. Haven't had any problems yet.
  5. hdsmoke

    hdsmoke Smoking Fanatic

    I just had my first smoke on my 18.5 the other day. I ran my thermo wires under the lid too. I had no problem adding wood chunks through the door, but it would be a pain for a complete reload through the door because the water pan is in the way.
  6. shooter1

    shooter1 Smoking Fanatic


    1.The door is to add fuel and water. I have not had to do either so far for fairly long cooks. I have thrown in additional smoke wood chunks. I usually have to close all the vents to kill the fire or it will just keep going.

    2. I bought the grommet kit from BBQ Guru. Replaces 2 of the bolts on the top grate and you run the probes through those. You can take the lid off and really very little loss of heat through the holes. They work great.

    3. You really can't do anything with the meat through the door other than to spritz or mop. You have to take the top off and if you have to get to the second grate you have to remove everything up top. Kind of a pain but you usually want to put meat on the bottom that doesn't require alot of attention. After a few times you get pretty good and quick at it.

    Hope this helps.
  7. tulsajeff

    tulsajeff Master of the Pit Staff Member Administrator OTBS Member

    I have had my 22.5 WSM now for almost a month I think and after several cooks I can say that the minion method is the way to go. I fill the charcoal ring all the way up with charcoal and then dump a full charcoal chimney of lit charcoal on top of it.

    It will maintain 225-240°F for as much as 14-16 hours easily every time.

    I also run my thermometer cable under the lid with no problems. I place the meat based on how soon it will be done. Things with the longer cook times go on the bottom and shorter cook times go on top.

    That does not mean you can't move things around later.

    For instance the other day I was doing briskets and Boudin. I place the briskets on the bottom rack and the boudin on top. Once the boudin got done, I simply moved the briskets to the top rack.

    The door is large enough to check the meat down there, add water if you need to, add fuel if that is really necessary, add more wood chunks and possibly take out some meat if you had something on the bottom such as sausages or something. Anything bigger than that might be possible but I think you risk dropping it or something worse.

    I am extremely pleased with the WSM. I say that as a seasoned stick burner. My expensive custom smoker has been in the barn for the last month feeling pretty lonely.

    Makes me think of those Swiffer commercials.. what is my smoker doing at night with those other smokers in there.. making googly eyes I'm sure[​IMG]

    You're my lady....

    Anyway, I have yet to have a problem with the WSM that is anything comparable to problems I have had with other smokers including my custom stick burner.

    The flavor I am getting is also amazing and I think it might just be making me real lazy. Great food that tastes like it was cooked on a stick burner and almost no work involved. Yeah, I am definitely growing a lazy streak a mile long[​IMG]

    Will I stop using my stick burner? I don't think so since I do like to play with fire as most men do but I think I will find myself using it a lot less.
  8. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    the WSM is so consistent temps wise I dont bother with any additional therms. I just took some initial readings the first few smokes, and I have a cheat sheet in my wallet that lets me know where both racks are temp wise based on the lid reading. That and I put my hand over the top vent, and can gauge if the WSM is where I want it temp wise. All comes with experience of close to 100 smokes on this WSM, and a loaner I had. I am old school.

    Adding fuel, For long smokes 12+ hours, when needing to add fuel I will remove the top section with the lid on to add unlit lump to the ring, and then a chimney starter of lit lump on top of the new lump. The covered section holds heat for the couple of minutes this takes.

    The access door is not big enough to do much, other than glance @ pan water level, and to see how much lump is left. YOu could toss some wood in if needed, but I find using the KISS setup there is enough wood in there to do 12 hours without adding any more.

    I rarely need to add any more water, if I need to I take off the lid, and make sure the meat is off to the side, and fill the pan through the grates. That larger water pan on the newer models holds alot of water/liquid.

    My advise, go out and buy the book "Low and Slow" by G. Wiviott, that book is the best I have found for setting up, and using the WSM with little tinkering needed.
  9. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like Jeff is getting hard up for a date.... lol. [​IMG]

    Everybody is spot on. I have rotated stuff from bottom to top as the top rack gets done foiled and into the cooler, but it is not necissary to do that. I have been thinking about getting the grommets mentioned for my lower rack, so when I have a big piece of meat down there I can get temps easily, but for my upper rack I just use a quick read pen therm. I usually don't bother checking temps till about 3 hrs. into a smoke, then again at 6 hrs. You usually have a good feel for how long something will take, and just check temps when you get close to the time you think it will be done.
  10. I have 4 pieces of scrap 2x4 and 4x4, about 24 inches long, that I set in pairs on the ground next to my 18.5" WSM. I set the lid on one pair and the middle section on the other pair (when getting started). Everything stays clean and unscratched.
  11. caveman

    caveman Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    That sounds good. I don't like the idea of crimping or wearing out my wires before it's time for replacement. I like the grommet idea though. Nice & clean. I will do the under the lid thing for the time being.

    Then that tells me I need to put enough charcoal in the pan on the first load for whatever it is I am going to smoke. Thank you sir.

    Yes, all three responses help. My original concern was running out of fuel before my smoke was done. I guess my Char Griller has conditioned me to think & feel this way. I also like the grommet idea. As I replyed earlier to RickW, I like nice & clean & I feel that having a grommet is easier than having my wire dangling over the edge of the smoker. Just my feelings on the matter. And Thank you for the third answer. That gives me a lot to work with in meat placement. It did help. Thanks.

    Hello Jeff. Of course your insight & experienced words are always welcomed & appreciated. Thank you for you input as I have taken what everyone including you into serious consideration. Watch for my next post, "New WSM Owner in the house" coming soon to a SMF thread near you.

    Thank you Jim. I know you are the go to guy on this one, as well as Shooter1. I still like my wireless for meat temp monitoring so I will set up my wireless thermo's using grommets & use the stock thermo for internal temps. As always, you input is greatly appreciated.

    It sounds like I am going to have to become an expert meat arranger then. I can live with that. Also, like you, I don't check my meat temps unto 3 to 3.5 hours in. If you are constantly opening your chamber, which in my case was true, then you were letting out precious heat & once closed, that heat has to build back up. Man, you just don't know what a pain that was on my old rig. Heh heh heh. I guess I better make that thread now. [​IMG]

    The only setback I find to the WSM is the missing table or "Tray Assistant" as I like to call it. I have a small 4 foot table I plan on using for setting the lid & wireless thermo's on, because that lid is freakin huge. But Thank you for your input Walt. It was greatly appreciated.

    Thank you to everyone who responded with their valuable information. Much appreciation to you all. You guys rock!! [​IMG]
  12. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Another nice thing about the WSM that you will like Caveman, when you do open the lid (for whatever reason) it recovers in about 5 minutes. Way faster than the CGSP, and you will be amazed at how long it will hold a temp. without messing with it. It really spoils you when you realize you can load it, light it, and then leave it alone for the entire smoke if you want... lol.

    ... course once your wife figures this out then the number of weekend chores goes up sharply... lol.

    LOL... just noticed your number of posts is at "777"... so you are the slightly older, well aged version of "Evil Incarnate"!
  13. caveman

    caveman Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Muuuuaaaaahhhhhahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!! (That's for the Evil Incarnate comment.

    As far as extra chores, are you kidding me?? That will give me more time to drink more beer & alcohol. Chores.....pffffff!!
  14. tulsajeff

    tulsajeff Master of the Pit Staff Member Administrator OTBS Member

    Yeah.. I forgot about the fact that you do end up with more time for doing something else. I sure hope my wife don't find out about that.

    Let's keep that on the down low[​IMG]
  15. mgwerks

    mgwerks Smoking Fanatic

    If you are using a WSM 22, the door is plenty big enough to do some meat manipulation. I've found 2 things that make it easier. First of all, when I am cooking something in a foil pan, I find that to use a full sized pan I have to fold the corners in a bit so that the sides are vertical in order for the pan to fit in the smoker. The sides look like this when new: \__/ , and I make them look like this: |__| by crimping the corners. When the pan is modded like that, it will slide right out of the door opening - either all the way to remove, or halfway to do temps or add liquid. It's a neat feature!

    I also found that if you own one of those 'steak hooks' or whatever you call them, you can use it to rotate the lower grill by pulling or pushing on the grate bars. The grate just slides around on the tabs inside the smoker, and you can bring any side of it around to face the door. Here's an example of the 'steak hook':

  16. caveman

    caveman Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Great tip. Thanks. [​IMG]
  17. hdsmoke

    hdsmoke Smoking Fanatic

    I have a question on my new WSM too. I have 2 smokes on it now, and its starting to season. BUT my question is on the seasoning. The seasoning on my offset is black. When i originally seasoned it i sprayed with Pam and let it smoke a while. I just got right to cooking on the WSM and the color of the seasoning on the inside of the lid and body is a tan. Almost like a propperly tuned spark plug out of a motor. Is this normal?
  18. wingrider1

    wingrider1 Smoke Blower

    My advise, go out and buy the book "Low and Slow" by G. Wiviott, that book is the best I have found for setting up, and using the WSM with little tinkering needed.

    I concur....I just did the chicken criollo...Awsome..great recipes to get started learning...well worth the money
  19. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  20. Don't order from homedepo. Ordered on the 4/2/10 and well due to mess ups they tell won't get till 27th

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