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Weber Smokey Mountain: Brand New

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by mrazz71, May 17, 2019.

  1. mrazz71

    mrazz71 Newbie

    Hi, tomorrow I am receiving my new 22.5” Weber Smokey Mountain just in time for Memorial Day Weekend. I am upgrading from a Masterbuilt propane that I have had since 2014. I have been cooking on a Weber 22“ kettle for a two years now, so I am familiar with managing charcoal and I have a Maverick Et-732 Readi Check thermometer.

    Two Questions: Is the WSM lid thermometer accurate?

    Also, Any general suggestions on how to get the WSM up and running brand new out of the box? My first cook will probably be either Ribs or a Pork Butt.

    Any help is greatly appreciated

    Thanks, Mark
    JC in GB likes this.
  2. kruizer

    kruizer Master of the Pit

    Generally, the thermo in the lid is not accurate. You should have a thermo probe at grate level to accurately monitor the temps. You should season the WSM before you use it to prepare food by starting a hot fire in it and running it for a couple of hours to bake out any manufacturing stuff. Then you are good to go.
    texomakid and JC in GB like this.
  3. BoilerBBQ

    BoilerBBQ Fire Starter

    The lid thermometer usually isn't accurate and the dome temp can vary from grate temp quite a bit anyways. Use your Maverick at grate level to monitor the temp and ignore the lid thermometer.

    Your first cook will probably run a little hot since you don't have any gunk built up to seal the gaps. No need to season it or anything. Make sure you read up on the minion method for the charcoal. Only light a few briquettes (8-10-ish) to get started and let the temp climb slowly. Start with all vents wide open and as you get to 200*, close 2 bottom vents all the way and leave one open a pencil-width or less. Be patient with vent adjustments, it takes a good 15 min for the temp to adjust after you make a change. It is harder to get temp down than up on the WSM, especially a new one with some leaks. Have fun, you'll love it.
    texomakid and JC in GB like this.
  4. JC in GB

    JC in GB Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Very nice. I have heard a lot of good thing about the WSM product. Can't wait to hear your updates on your new cooker. :emoji_cat:

    5GRILLZNTN Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Do as Boiler says and read up on the minion method. It's super easy, and works like a charm. I do run a thermometer at the grate as the one on the lid is not very accurate. I would also study up on the water pan. Some people use water, some don't. When I first got my WSM, I had to use water to keep grate temps at 225 ish during summer BBQ season. I got tired of the mess it made, and I just foil the water pan, and let it run around 250. Q taste just as good! If you are like me, you're going to pull your hair out trying to maintain the temp you want. On long cooks, the weather can change and one minute you're at 250, and the wind kicks in and you're now at 275. I've learned to let it ride, and all will be good. I also use my WSM for cold smoking cheese in the winter.
    JC in GB and texomakid like this.
  6. texomakid

    texomakid Smoking Fanatic

    These are all good tips so I got nothing to add but good luck and enjoy the WSM cooker. We love ours and follow most of the tips given here.
  7. jokensmoken

    jokensmoken Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    On.my WSM 18 I fill my water pan with sand about 2/3 full and then cover it with foil for easy clean up.
    That makes a great heat sink and helps me stabilize and hold temps.
    lpbg and Dunstablegrizzly like this.
  8. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My original WSM lid therm was decent for about 6 months, then it went off the rails by 50 to 100F. I picked up a 2" River Country therm ($16) and installed it.....BUT.....it requires you to drill a larger hole in the lid, which is NOT recommended for a new WSM. Put that bit of information in your pocket for future reference. The RC therm has performed like a champ and matches my grate Mav or Inkbird therm.

    There are lots of WSM threads and suggestions, but everyone has their own technique. The charcoal you use will impact performance. Find one that works for you and stick with it.

    Looking forward to pics of the ribs.
    JC in GB likes this.
  9. hawtsauc3

    hawtsauc3 Smoke Blower

    No need to season. They’re porcelain coated so there’s no manufacturing gunk. I just fired mine up and away we went
    JC in GB likes this.
  10. mrazz71

    mrazz71 Newbie

    Thanks to everyone for your replies. I received my WSM today and assembled it. Not very happy with the access door, the top is bent at the latch in the middle and now now both sides of the top edge bend outward. I'm not seeing anyway of getting a good seal around the perimeter of the door. Is this a common flaw with the WSM?
  11. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I hear that's common with the 22" . I have a 14 , and the door fit is no issue for me . Some of the 22 " guys will help you out , but they are smokin machines , so I'm sure you will enjoy it .

    5GRILLZNTN Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    This is a common problem with WSM's. I "massaged" mine with the door over my leg and some hand power. You can order an aftermarket door, or get some gasket tape. I've just learned to live with it. It will get better as you do more smokes!
  13. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yep, bend that door on your thigh and get the gasket kit. Mine was out of round when I received it so the lid leaked like crazy. Smoked great at 275F, but getting lower was practically impossible. The gasket kit and the right charcoal gave me a 140F to 350F+ range.
    JC in GB likes this.
  14. mrazz71

    mrazz71 Newbie

    What exactly is the gasket kit, I'd like to check that out
    JC in GB likes this.
  15. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I bought mine on Amazon for $25 to $30. It is a Nomex gasket. If you search Amazon for WSM gasket kit it comes right up.

    Lavalock (Nomex, too) works just as good and is only $18. It will show up on the Amazon search.

    Best to put it in when the WSM is new. I did it after 6 months of use and cleaning took more than an hour. Installing the gasket took 15 mins (being extra careful). Can easily be done in 5 mins.
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
    JC in GB likes this.
  16. mrazz71

    mrazz71 Newbie

    Thanks again for all the replies. I actually had some extra Lavalock martial for my other smoker. I applied a boarder to the door, seems like it will make a slight difference but I haven't burned any coal in the WSM yet. I'm sure it won't be a 100% fix but I'm sure this smoker will still perform well, based on everything I've read.
    JC in GB likes this.
  17. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    You've got some good advice already. The only thing(s) I'll add is to make sure you wash your grates before the initial cook. There may be some residual oil on them. No need for a burn out. Foil your water pan if your not using water - even if your using sand I would still foil over the top of the sand. I got lucky and my door fit pretty snugly right out of the box. As for the lid thermometer mine reads a few degrees below what the actual grate temp is, but it's consistent. So I use it as a guide when I'm doing lawn chores. Once I have my temps stabilized I take notice of what the lid vent is reading. If I see it swing one way or the other I know to make an adjustment. Leave your top vent open and control your temps using the bottom vents. Once your cruising away and have TBS if you really need to get your temps down then you can start adjusting the top vent.

    Most of all good luck and have fun.

    Happy eats!!!

  18. jokensmoken

    jokensmoken Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I guess everybodys techniques differ a bit...
    Unlike gmc2003 I open my bottom vent about 1/8 inch...a bit more than a crack...
    Then I use the top vent to control temps...I'll only fiddle with the bottom vent if my top vent is 3/4 open and I'm still running cool...
    But I do tend to stay to the lower end of "low and slow" trying to stay in the 225° range.
    Lavalock is the gasket material I used for my door...it worked exceptionally well...
    I use my lid thermometer as a refrence...
    I check it against my probe and note what it reads at 225°...