WSM Ribs - Clay pot base mod

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Dec 20, 2006
Did my 2nd cook today with the WSM.

Since I have no cooks with water to compare the clay pot base cook with I'll just post the results.

Meat: 2 slabs of St Louis cut spares on rib racks on the top grate and the cut pieces on the bottom grate.

Thermometers: 2 ET-73's under the lid on top and bottom grates.

Fuel: 1 lit chimney of Royal Oak charcoal. 1/2 chimney unlit.
4 cherry wood chunks - dry.

Weather: 65F Overcast, windy.

Original empty water pan foiled and clay pot base foiled inside of water pan.

Cook: Lit the 3/4 chimney full of RO, also had some left over charcoal from previous cook 1/4 chimney. Note: Forget using old charcoal.

1030 - Added lit to charcoal ring and added 1/2 unlit RO. Waited till all were almost gray then added cherry wood and assembled smoker. Ribs on.

1037 - Closed 2 bottom vents. 3rd full open. Lid full open. Top - 256F Bottom 215F.

1100 - Top 261 Bottom 242. Closed bottom vent to 1/2

1130 - T-240, B-228

1215 - T-243, B-230

1315 - T-244, B-231

1345 - T-172, B-186 Opened 2 vents to 100%

1400 - T-226, B-239

1445 - Temps kept dropping, but the ribs were done.

Next time I'll add more charcoal at the beginning. I'm very satisfied with the clay pot base. The temps were very stable even with the wind. Cleanup was a breeze.

I would've cooked the ribs a bit longer. A little dry. Maybe a little water in the clay pot base?
They were bite tender, not yet fall of the bone tender. The smoke ring was beautiful.
I won't use leftover charcoal again. If I do I'll add more new.
Remove 2nd charcoal grate. Only use it with lump. Ash didn't drop away.

After 3hrs


Smoke Ring

Leftover charcoal

I LOVE MY WSM! Almost set and forget. Already planning my next cook - Pulled Pork!!
Nice pictorial smokemaster. I don't see in your post where it says how full you filled the charcoal ring before adding the lit. Depending on the answer to that you can obviously extend the cook that way. Also, once you get the feel for the WSM you can better know when to close it up to get the cook time you need.

As for water in your flower pot base, it's your call but it won't make your meat any more moist. That's one of those myth things a lot of people believe. All the water is for is a heat sink which your flower pot now is with no mess.
Being it was windy, that did not help with the maintaining of your temps. Also most charcoal is on its way out around 3 1/2 hour in most standard poorly insulated smokers. For a six hour smoke I always have to add more coals to my ECB or GOSM models. I think if you would have foiled the ribs you might have gotten them alittle more tender.
Agree on the water statement. its there to only help stablize the temps. Try Playbox sand for higher consistant temps over water.
Thanks to all for the comments and advice.

Ultramag, I poured one full chimney of charcoal in the ring before I added the 1/2 chimney of unlit. I think that was why my temps dropped so soon. Next time will be 2 chimneys of lit. Still learning. 3-2-1 for the next ribs
Smokemaster that a really nice smoke! Good job! Great looking food. Add smoke unlit to the bottom of the fire pan then put the lit ones on top (heat rises) they'll burn down and last a good long time.
Try a chimney of lit and then dump a chimney of unlit on top of that and wait for it to ash over before you assemble the cooker. You will have to shut it way down to keep your temps low but it will go the distance for a rib cook that way. Temps may be a little hard to get down if you let it get hot using this method. BTW, chimney measurements are assuming a big full sized Weber chimney. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.