WSM and Wood Chunk Quantities + Stick Burn Trial!

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You want my honest take ?

I think you're a prime candidate for a stick burner.

Either find an Old Country Pecos or invest in a cooker like a Brazos or the new Old Country G2. Your enthusiasm would be rewarded. No matter the cost.

Find a way to get into a good stickburner.

And this is coming from a guy whose had a WSM since 2002. And I now have a Franklin stickburner.
 
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Had a light to relight with a torch, but not a horrible curve at all for a WSM being asked to do something it’s not used to.
 

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You want my honest take ?

I think you're a prime candidate for a stick burner.

Either find an Old Country Pecos or invest in a cooker like a Brazos or the new Old Country G2. Your enthusiasm would be rewarded. No matter the cost.

Find a way to get into a good stickburner.

And this is coming from a guy whose had a WSM since 2002. And I now have a Franklin stickburner.

Oh I’m always looking for a good deal. The WSM produces fantastic flavor as is. Great deals will come up. I’ve seen okie joes go for free, barely used. Last year I saw a 1/4” burner for $400. Should have jumped on it.

Don’t need one bad enough to spend $4,000.
 
Money shot picture. This isn't my favorite cut of beef rib (by far, never was) but there was really good, clean smoke. Of course I was only able to get 3 hours of smoke on these before they finished, so it wasn't drenched in smoke like an offset was, but it came out really good.

I'd probably continue this experiment with spare ribs next and manage the fire for 5 hours. I'm thinking to get a second grate and cross-hatch it which I think would be a must for keeping it easy to manage. The airflow can be modified manually, so not worried about that.
 

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Here's a step-by-step of what I did for those wanting to stick burn in a 18.5"

1) Start a half-full chimney of charcoal.

2) Don't dare use whole splits. Cut these down into 3rds, something about 2" or so thickness. Length can be 8-12". Place a couple peices on the hot charcoal and let the temp spike to about 350 or so.

3) Use a small wedge of wood and keep the lid adjar. Keep all vents open 100%. You will be managing heat primarily by stiring the firebox and with how the firebox door is mounted. Do not install the firebox door properly (don't stick the bottom end first and seal it). The firebox door will hold on with the lever however you want to mount it. Typically, I mounted mine to where there's a 2-3" gap all the way down on the right side. This allowed me to see the firebox, but also allowed for increased airflow.

4) Once the splits have started a clean burn throw meat on right away. No need to wait for anything.

5) Use a digital probe. I'd almost say this is a must, because relying on the lid's guage is not good enough. It's less accurate in a stick burning scenario because it's too slow to respond. With a digital probe (such as a Meater) you get instant temp monitoring. You need to be able to instantely see the moment the temp starts to rise and fall. Seconds count here.

6) Use a temp range of 250-300 to assure you're getting proper airflow and clean burn. As soon as the temp starts to fall from 300 (and it will do so quickly, within a couple minutes) you need to be prepared to take action. Have a split in mind ready that you want to use and have a gameplan for when it falls closer to 250. Don't let it fall under 250F.

7) Keep splits located on firering inside of cooker so it gets pre-heated. Be aware that these could catch fire. If it does, just remove it and let it die and place it back in during an opportune time. Whenever you add a split, it should instantly catch, or near-instantaly. In most cases, my splits instantely caught fire, which told me I was doing something right. Sometimes I would leave the firebox door completely open until I was happy with what I saw inside (for a minute or so) then I would install it adjar. There was only one time in the 3 hour cook that I had to torch a split to light (it took like, 2 seconds of torching too). Not bad--I blame the grate for this though.

8) I personally put about a half gallon of hot water in the water pain just to help keep things consistant. I want to say that I used about 2ish splits max for a 3 hour cook. It was 25F outside with some light wind.

9) Definitely get another grate to cross-hatch. A lot of tending will be moving the small coals around, and there's nothing more annoying to when they fall through the grate.
 
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You want my honest take ?

I think you're a prime candidate for a stick burner.

Either find an Old Country Pecos or invest in a cooker like a Brazos or the new Old Country G2. Your enthusiasm would be rewarded. No matter the cost.

Find a way to get into a good stickburner.

And this is coming from a guy whose had a WSM since 2002. And I now have a Franklin stickburner.

I'm actually about to pick up an Okie Joe Highland for $60 tonight. Looks to be in good shape. I know it's an entry level smoker, but I already have some mods in mind with some of my fab skills that can make it even better in little or no time.
 
I'm actually about to pick up an Okie Joe Highland for $60 tonight. Looks to be in good shape. I know it's an entry level smoker, but I already have some mods in mind with some of my fab skills that can make it even better in little or no time.

That's how ya learn a stickburner. Lot a people want to start at the top.

Several years ago I was fortunate to find an Old Country Brazos used for $600. I'd never paid that much for a smoker, before. At that time, they were $900 new. I learned a lot from that smoker and sold it four years later for $625.
 
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That's how ya learn a stickburner. Lot a people want to start at the top.

Several years ago I was fortunate to find an Old Country Brazos used for $600. I'd never paid that much for a smoker, before. At that time, they were $900 new. I learned a lot from that smoker and sold it four years later for $625.

Yep. For $60, you simply cannot say no to a highland. My neighbor has one, and has made some of the best BBQ I've ever had, and this includes several TX locations as well! So I know that it produces an amazing product. I've sat around it long enough to know that it needs more draw, and I prefer the smoke exit to be near the grate level, not above the grate level.

I got it home late last night and rolled it in the garage. I was very surprised to see that ZERO paint is flaked off it (and it's obviously been used many times so at this point it won't flake off anymore). I had always thought paint peeling was a given on these. Will spend the rest of the day cleaning it, oiling it, pressure washing the grates, and making it crud-free, then I'll start on the stack height mod. Nice thing about the stack mod is that it's easily reversable. I will be getting a tail pipe and welding an M8 bolt inside, so the exact same damper can be installed. That will take care of the draw, as well as allowing the smoker to be used without the fire door having to be left open nearly all the time.

Bringing the exit point lower to the grate will have to wait till next week. First cook planned this sunday w/ 3 st louis spares.

No other mods planned. I'll probably create another thread since this is a WSM thread.

btw, no matter what, the WSM is a legendary smoker. I don't want to detract from that. The amount of effort and what you get for the end product is truely something that you can only get with an WSM.

For me, a deep rich smoke flavor is absolutely #1 when it comes to BBQ. Everything else is secondary. To demonstrate how awesome the WSM is, this has been my experience:

Pellet Grill - Effort - 0/10
Pellet Grill - Smoke Flavor - 3/10

WSM - Effort - 2/10
WSM - Smoke Flavor - 6-7/10

Cheap Offset - Effort - 10/10
Cheap Offset - Smoke Flavor - 10/10

Expensive Offset - Effort - 8/10
Expensive Offset - Smoke Flavor - 10/10
 
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Yep. For $60, you simply cannot say no to a highland. My neighbor has one, and has made some of the best BBQ I've ever had, and this includes several TX locations as well! So I know that it produces an amazing product. I've sat around it long enough to know that it needs more draw, and I prefer the smoke exit to be near the grate level, not above the grate level.

I got it home late last night and rolled it in the garage. I was very surprised to see that ZERO paint is flaked off it (and it's obviously been used many times so at this point it won't flake off anymore). I had always thought paint peeling was a given on these. Will spend the rest of the day cleaning it, oiling it, pressure washing the grates, and making it crud-free, then I'll start on the stack height mod. Nice thing about the stack mod is that it's easily reversable. I will be getting a tail pipe and welding an M8 bolt inside, so the exact same damper can be installed. That will take care of the draw, as well as allowing the smoker to be used without the fire door having to be left open nearly all the time.

Bringing the exit point lower to the grate will have to wait till next week. First cook planned this sunday w/ 3 st louis spares.

No other mods planned. I'll probably create another thread since this is a WSM thread.

btw, no matter what, the WSM is a legendary smoker. I don't want to detract from that. The amount of effort and what you get for the end product is truely something that you can only get with an WSM.

For me, a deep rich smoke flavor is absolutely #1 when it comes to BBQ. Everything else is secondary. To demonstrate how awesome the WSM is, this has been my experience:

Pellet Grill - Effort - 0/10
Pellet Grill - Smoke Flavor - 3/10

WSM - Effort - 2/10
WSM - Smoke Flavor - 6-7/10

Cheap Offset - Effort - 10/10
Cheap Offset - Smoke Flavor - 10/10

Expensive Offset - Effort - 8/10
Expensive Offset - Smoke Flavor - 10/10
Have you thought about starting on WSM as a stick burner for an hour or two, and then finishing it off as a regular WSM? I mean don't most of the smoke flavor get in there during the first couple of hours?
 
Have you thought about starting on WSM as a stick burner for an hour or two, and then finishing it off as a regular WSM? I mean don't most of the smoke flavor get in there during the first couple of hours?

I thought about "finishing" on a different smoker if I had to, but if I was going to do that I'd probably just fire up my pellet grill since it does take time/effort to get the WSM going (the only part that has "effort", lol).

The "whole meat only accepts smoke for a certain amount of time" is unproved and can be argued many ways til sunday. The answer is probably complex and isn't simple. But even if the answer is "yes", meat takes on smoke for much longer than 2 hours if you go by bark. Bark usually really sets in next to the stall point, and that's going to be closer to 4-5 hours. If you've invested this much time already, it doesn't make sense to willy nilly switch out a smoker (unless there's some emergency or whatever--then it's the pellet grill).

The reason I personally don't agree that "meat only accepts smoke for a certain time" is simply by watching enough A/B comparisons. Franklin did one where he made 3 different briskets with a friend and another repubtable guy (WSM user actually) did it with 3 different pork ribs. Their test was "unwrapped vs foil wrap vs butcher wrap". In most opinions, the unwrapped variant turned out to be first and sometimes second preferred in all of these tests. The few people that didn't prefer it still said "smokiest" taste. So that may tell you something. I personally don't wrap anything anymore unless it's brisket.
 
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