WSM raging out of control in the Valley!

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teebob2000

Meat Mopper
Original poster
Sep 8, 2011
201
18
Hi all, we recently relocated from the Chicago area to the Phoenix valley. My previous method of managing my 22 inch WSM no longer works. I need to figure out what's going wrong. (I know it's obviously hotter here. My Weber grill is already at 150F before I even light it LOL)

I don't use the Minion method. I'll describe what I do the best I can. I've been doing this method for about 10 years and everything comes out exactly how I want it.

I fill the firebox with a ring of Kingsford briquettes around an empty coffee can stuck in the center, going about three quarters of the way around. I light about a dozen briquettes in my chimney starter and when they get hot, dump them on a few briquettes put in a single layer at the tail end of the ring. I'll lay some chunks of the smoking wood (usually post oak or applewood) on top of the ring. I leave the firebox open until the briquettes get going, and then assemble the WSM back together again.

I fill a foil banquet pan with a couple quarts of water below the grate. I keep all the bottom vents open until I get to around 200 and then start to close them off. Previously, I was able to get my temperature within 10° of whatever I wanted and maintain it for hours, around 230 for pork and 275 for beef.

Now, the first two times I've used it here in Phoenix, within 30 minutes of putting the meat on it's over 300 even with all three bottom vents fully closed. In fact, this time I didn't even wait for them to get going before I closed the vents. I'm about 2 hours into a pork butt right now and I have to spray the firebox with the garden hose about every 20 minutes to try (unsuccessfully) to keep it under 275.

Anybody know what's going on and how do I fix it??

TIA any and all advice appreciated!
 
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I'm no WSM user....But I know in the summer here in Mississippi using my kettle I have to reduce the amt of charcoal way back. Rather than doing your minion-like setup cut back to more a snake setup. others may weigh in differently, but I'd try that first.

Jim
 
If you're not doing anything different the only question I would ask is

Are you sure it didn't get bent up during the move ? Creating air leaks/not sealing ? Can you close the top vent down and see if that helps bring temps down? Of coarse it will take some time for it to come down...
 
Nope. In fact I'm using the Kingsford bags I brought with me from Chicago.
Then I would agree with JckDanls 07 JckDanls 07 and would look for leaks. Make sure everything is nice and snug. Years back the bottom vents on mine got bent up while doing a major shed rearranging and it certainly affected performance.
 
Maybe try using the water bowl that comes with it instead of a foil tray of water.

Sealing it up might help. Theres a website that sells seal kits for the top and middle to bottom As well as the door. My WSM 14 leaked from everything.

I had issues in SLC mid summer when it was close to 100 and blazing sun. An Umbrella helped a ton! I also used it on my pellet grill that would run hot in the heat and sun. Before the umbrella, I needed mitts to touch the handles. It fixed several issues really.
 
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Are you using the dome temp gauge or a digital thermometer ?
I'm using the dome, as well as a digital thermo probe. I'll place the probe next to the meat set on the cooking grate or drop it down through the top vent holes.
 
Maybe try using the water bowl that comes with it instead of a foil tray of water.

Sealing it up might help. Theres a website that sells seal kits for the top and middle to bottom As well as the door. My WSM 14 leaked from everything.

I had issues in SLC mid summer when it was close to 100 and blazing sun. An Umbrella helped a ton! I also used it on my pellet grill that would run hot in the heat and sun. Before the umbrella, I needed mitts to touch the handles. It fixed several issues really.
I bought a roll of smoker sealing tape and I'm going to seal everything up as best I can.

And your suggestion about the umbrella is so simple, I feel dumb not even thinking of it! I have a pop up canopy for camping that I could certainly use for that purpose.
 
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