Temperature Control

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Original poster
Nov 12, 2010
Getting ready to emark on my first smoke.  Using the WSM 18.5 and plan on smoking a typical pork butt.  I'm pretty comfortable with all the temperatures and lengths of cooking but wondering how much charcoal vs wood chips I should use.  I understand I need to get the smoker initial temperature around 225-250.  Yet struggling with how much charcoal to start with and is it possible to add too many wood chips.  Hoping with all this experience yall can take a lot of the guess work out with controlling the temperature and amount of wood chips needed.  Also throughout the smoking phase do all expect me to have to add charcoal and or wood chips.

Also how much rotating of the pork butt you recommend on the WSM 18.5?

Thanks and Great Forum
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pit 4 brains

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Dec 16, 2009
Summerville, SC
*EDIT* I just realized this was in the GRILLING section.. This should be in the regular pork section..

I'm sure you are planning on slow-cooking this butt...

I'll chime in even though I don't have a WSM. I think the first thing you need to do is search the "minion method" for your fire building. Basically this is where you load up the charcoal pan or grate or basket or whatever you may have with charcoal and wood chunks, then make a little divot either on one side or in the middle, (experience will dictate this) and then dump 8-16 lit coals in that divot. The coals will be hot enough to start your temp rise right away. Now you need to control the bottom dampers to slowly bring the smoker up to temp. The changes in the dampers take some time to read on the thermo so stay ahead of the fire. When you get to temp and it it stable, load the butt(s) and get the smoker closed back up ASAP. Now monitor the smoke, adjust the dampers only when needed and leave that but alone for about 6 hours or so before you open the smoker to stab the temp probe. Close her back up and smoke away. From there you can foil at X temp or Pan at Xtemp or just let it go till 205 or so... Good luck! Post up pics of everything you do. This will allow other members to give you the best feedback..
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