WSM 22.5 Temp control advice?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by whtplainssmoker, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. Over Labor Day weekend I fired up the 22.5 WSM and smoked a 7.8 lb prime rib roast (w smokey Au Jus), a 4 lb pork but and some johnsonville brats.  (Post on the cooking w Q-view below).  I had a little difficulty keeping the temp in the 230* range after about 2 hours and wanted to get some advice from the other WSM owners out there.  Here's all the info I have....

    At around 10:00 am I started with a near full charcoal ring with a mixture of Royal Oak Lump and Kingsford Blue (I have the second grate insde the ring at right angles to the bottom ring to limit charcoal drops).  Placed a coffee can in the center and dropped the equivalent of a coffee can's worth of fully lit coals in the center, pulled out the can.  Started with two vents closed and one vent approximately 1/4 to 1/3 open.  Water pan filled with hot water.  Placed the Maverick 732 probe on the middle of the top rack and let the WSM creep up to 230* at around 10:30am.
    TimePit TempProbe TempAmbientVent
    43* (Prime Rib)

    37* (Pork Butt)
    77* (Shade)1 vent 1/4

    79* (Shade)1 vent 1/4

    82* (Shade)1 vent 1/4

    1 vent 1/4

    reduce to 1/8

    83*(Shade)1 vent 1/8

    83* (Shade)
    1 vent 1/8
    2:45241*156* (Butt only)
    85* (Shade)
    1 vent 1/8
    3:15244*156*  (Butt only)85* (Shade)1 vent 1/8
    4:00240ish*161* (Butt only)84* (Shade)1 vent 1/8
    4:00350* oven161*  
    5:30350* oven205*  


    As you can see, after the prime rib came out the butt stalled for almost 2 hours.  At which time I wrapped it and threw it in a 350* oven to speed it up a bit.  However, the question I have is how do you get the temps down in the 230* range?  It hung in there very well for about 2 hours, then it seemed the WSM wanted to creep up to 250*, which is not bad, but if I want to keep it real low are there any tips, other than fitting it with a Guru or electronic monitoring?  Even though I said 1 vent was 1/8 open, it was barely cracked open and the WSM still wanted to be up around 245-250. 
  2. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds to me like ya started out with too many lit coals..I usually start with 10 in a soup can..then shut the vents down except for 1 lower at 1/4 and the top open  at 180 and let it work up real slow..I also leave the lid peeking..

  3. Is the wsm brand new? My first couple smokes were a little warmer. But I only use kingsford, royal oak burns hotter. When I do the minion method I just dump the 15-20 briquettes on top in the middle. I think I'm in the minority that doesnt use the coffe can technique. I would try less lit coals. If its ur first smokes on it then I'd recommend doing chicken and ribs a couple times to get a build up in smoker. Also as already mentioned it doesn't require much more then a 1/4 of one vent open.
  4. It was only the third smoke so maybe if it gets some more build up it will run a little cooler. I will also try a little less charcoal to start next time.

    Craig what do you mean by "the top open at 180"? That the top is open 180* from the location of ot the open vent.
  5. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Top vent open..all the time. 

    I shut it down at initially 180 takes a little time to get up to 225.

    It takes a while to get used to how it works.

    It gets hot real quick when ya take the lid off. I usually have a helper when I take the lid off. Get it back on quick.

    You will get the hang of it. Have fun..

    I got the guru after a few makes it all much more convenient.
  6. After 1 or 2 more smokes u should get better temp control. Keep the lid on, long periods of it off will make fire hotter. Keep charcoal door shut to. The hotter it is out side the less charcoal it takes to heat up. You'll be fine. Do a couple fatties and chicken wings and higher temp will work great. I think it took about 5 smokes in mine, so I did them at night when it was cooler.
  7. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Something I tried before I got my Guru power draft, was when taking the dome off, I would close the lower vents all the way first.  That tended to reduce the chimney effect which greatly contributes to a spike in temps with the dome off.  With the bottom vents closed, you don't get that constant convection sucking influx of fresh air to stoke the coals.  Just don't forget to set them back after you close the WSM back up.  
  8. rob989_69

    rob989_69 Meat Mopper

    Yeah, that..... Took me about 5 smokes to get the inside built up with enough goo to allow me to control temps. Now it truely is set it and forget it. 
  9. Craig, Corona, DWard and Rob,

    Thanks for the advice.  Based on the comments above, I think the the spikes came from when I was opening the lid.    I opened the lid to put the sausage on the smoker, checked on theme a little while later,  an when I took them off I definitely had the lid off for a min or two when I took the temp of them with the instant read thermometer and then removed them from the smoker.  I'll try the close off the vent trick next time.  Also had the lid open a while when I took the prime rib off because I had to get the aus jus pan out and switched the pork to the top rack.  That was easily a couple of minutes. 

  10. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    A couple of minutes open would start a upward spike for sure.  It's sort of like a freight train.  Hard to get moving and hard to slow down.   I think you figured it out though, just try to minimize the open time and you should be just fine.
  11. I have a slot cut in the mid section so I can remove the grate with food on it and close the lid immediately.  Then when I do whatever I need to do, I do it on the bench.  When done, I remove the lid, place the grate back on the cooker, sweep the cables into the slot and replace the lid.  The lid is off VERY little to prevent spikes.

  12. willdlsu

    willdlsu Newbie

    BAMA BQ,

    I just got a WSM 22.5 and was trying to figure out how to run my maverick probes in without buying grommets.  I really like your notch solution.   I have a Dremel and was thinking of cutting the notch.  About how far down did you create the notch?  2 inches or so?  If you have any other suggestions (like using some kind of tape) on how to cut the notch, I woud really appreciate it!
  13. Same with my WSM.
  14. I used the lamp nipple method and like the way that works and the fact that the hole is reinforced with the addition of the nipple.

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