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aks801 05-26-2014 08:22 AM

First smoke with WSM: Memorial Day '14
Got the WSM last week, and did a burn-in on Saturday.

Got up at 5:30 and got a half-chimney of KBB going. Got the WSM base set up: no top/bottom coffee can in the middle, KBB all around, 3 chunks of pecan (one of which will get lit right away). While that was going on, trimmed up the 14.5 lb brisket, made up a rub (SPOG) and rubbed it on down.

Set up the cooking chamber and topped it with the lid.

Carried the big ol' brisket out there at 6:30 and set it on the grate of my kettle. Took off WSM lid, grabbed the brisket to put it on. Crap! Forgot to put on the grate! Crap! Forgot to put in the water pan! Scramble to foil the pan real quick, scramble to find ceramic saucer and foil it. Place the pan down into the chamber. Cough, cough, cough, lots of smoke in my face! Pan falls down onto the charcoal. Crap! Grab pan to lift it up, get it into position correctly. Cough, cough, blister up tip of one of my fingers. Get the top rack put on, put on the briskie, lid on. Ahhh.....

Smoke ran dirty for a little bit but not too long, then turned into a nice thin blue. Dome thermo is settling in at about 275, so going on the assumption it reads about 20 degress higher than grate temp, that seems about right. Not running the new Maverick 733 today because, well, I forgot to get it set up.

More to come, going to put the ribs on at about 1:30 or so in the afternoon.

aks801 05-26-2014 08:36 AM

Hmm. Stuck a thermo probe in the side grommet and it read 305, while the dome read 275. Maybe I had that temp differential backwards.

Closed off the bottom vent to about 1/4 open (the other two are closed) to back it down a little.

Man, it is smelling good already out there!

darkoozy 05-26-2014 08:44 AM

The dome gauge on the wsm is not very good (putting it mildly). I never trusted it and always put a temp probe at the grate. My experience has been the same as yours with regards to temperature readings.

Good luck in your cook. The wsm is truly an awesome smoker, and helped me grow my hobby and passion for good bbq.

aks801 05-26-2014 09:11 AM

Side-grommet thermo is now reading about 280. More like it!

doug93003 05-26-2014 09:19 AM

If you're not using water in a 22" WSM you can expect it to cook hot. I've had some of my best cooks on the WSM without water but the temps always seem high, even with a guru, and hard to maintain for the first few hours.

If they climb again close your exhaust vent down 50% and watch the temp over the next hour. You'll get pretty good control of your temp this way and be able to adjust it without it running away.

charrederhead 05-26-2014 09:20 AM

Lol. Love the keystone cops routine. Pretty soon the process will become so rote you'll be able to do it in your sleep. Sounds like you've got it under control.

Good luck on your maiden voyage. :thumb:

aks801 05-26-2014 10:00 AM

Just opened it up for the first time, to spray on some 50/50 H2O/Worcestershire.

Lookin' good.

floydo 05-26-2014 10:01 AM

good luck

next time get the cooker all ready the night before......including your pan, grate, charcoal and chunks. have the rub ready too. then all you have to do to get the wsm going in the am put a few hot coals on top of the unlit and chunks.

really helps. easy peasy in the AM.

ok. now you get up ...and take the brisky out of the fridge. Go out and start a few coals in your chimney. Go back in the house and rub that brisky down.

go back out and put the hot coals on , and then
lift the body........with pan and grate all set..........and put it back on top of the base. put on the lid. set your vents ( with top full open ) and wait for your blue.

Oh............I stick a 7 inch candy thermometer in the top vent.
Better read than the dome.
It's just a few inches above the grate ........and actual grate temp is probably 15 degrees or minus........ lower than the candy.
The candy thermometer gives me a good sense of what's going on. And is confirmation that my maverick is operating ok.

floydo 05-26-2014 10:08 AM


^^ no condescention intended. Might have come off that way.

aks801 05-26-2014 10:20 AM


Originally Posted by floydo (Post 2933354)

^^ no condescention intended. Might have come off that way.

None taken, Homes!

What you laid out was pretty much exactly my plan yesterday. But then my son and I went last night to see the X-Men movie (8.5 out of 10!) and got back kinda late, and my laziness set in.

I do like what you said about the assembled body of the smoker. already have the pan set up in it, instead of reaching down to set it in there.

By the way, looks like some rain is moving in: cool! Get to see how the WSM chugs through it.

floydo 05-26-2014 10:41 AM


Originally Posted by aks801 (Post 2933367)
and my laziness set in.

I have that issue .
and senility as well .
What was the question ? :doh:

bbqgeekess 05-26-2014 10:45 AM

The WSM will be reliable and steady after a dozen or so cooks. My 18.5 WSM doesn't cook too hot at all now that it's been used a while (also straightening out the slightly bent circular rim on the bottom of the center section helped as well). In fact, I had a problem getting it up to 350F the other day for some weird reason.

DetTigersFan 05-26-2014 10:51 AM


Originally Posted by aks801 (Post 2933246)
Hmm. Stuck a thermo probe in the side grommet and it read 305, while the dome read 275. Maybe I had that temp differential backwards.

Closed off the bottom vent to about 1/4 open (the other two are closed) to back it down a little.

Man, it is smelling good already out there!

Correct... I have a 22.5 WSM and a Maverick. My dome thermometer is always 20-40 degrees cooler than the grate temp I get with my Maverick.

aks801 05-26-2014 12:53 PM

12:30 PM: Phase II begins!

Here are the ribs trimmed (crudely) and dusted, about to go in the heat.

Brisket set to the side (inactive Kettle, doubling as brief holding place) while I put on the ribs. First internal temp check of the day: 153*. About what I expected, not quite yet to the stall. Did another spray of the 50/50, put it back in and sealed it up again for awhile.

THoey1963 05-26-2014 01:46 PM

Yeah, after a few cooks, you'll get a system down. I remember my first couple not going as smoothly as I thought they would. First time I think I forgot to insert the Maverick probes, then another I remembered to set them, but didn't have the grate probe in a good spot based off the side of my meet. :doh:

My dome lid is really weird. It's like 15* low when I am trying to cook low and slow and about 20* high when I try hot and fast. The thing to remember is that this is Q. It's been done for thousands of years. Just don't panic and learned to adjust.

How well is your WSM sealing up? Any leaks? If they are small, they will seal up with use. Any larger leaks might require a little reshaping and / or the gaskets.

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