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Unread 01-03-2013, 04:11 PM   #1
aaronoz
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Default New WSM Smoker

Hello Forum,

I Recently bought a new Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5 inch smoker. Does anyone out there have any good tips on temperature regulation using standard Kingston briquets? IE; for ribs at 220-230 degrees, is there any rule of thumb as to how much to add and when? I have found myself chasing the needle a little toward the end to maintain temp.

Thanks for any help.
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Unread 01-03-2013, 04:22 PM   #2
Ron_L
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Patience, grasshoppa Make small changes and then let it settle before changing again. Otherwise you'll end up chasing the temperature as you said.

Tell us how you started it up. How much charcoal, how did you light it, etc. Done properly using the Minion method you should be able to run for hours and hours.
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Unread 01-03-2013, 04:41 PM   #3
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Well, I had both the 18.5 and 22.5 WSM’s for quite a few years before selling both… and I must say they were both GREAT smokers!! I pretty much had fire/heat management down pat. I will share exactly what I did, even though it is not specifically answering your question (I used lump charcoal, you are asking about Kingsford briquettes).

First off, it depends on the temp outside. If weather is warm (60 or higher), or cold (59 or below)… makes a BIG difference… as well as wind conditions.

But simply put, here is what ALWAYS worked for me.

1) I only used Royal Oak lump charcoal. It can be found at almost any Wal-Mart, and it is cheap.

2) Depending on the length of cook time needed, I would either fill the charcoal ring ¾ of the way, or full.

3) I would then light a chimney filled with lump. My rule was ½ chimney of lit lump on warm days, and ¾ lit chimney of lump on cold days.

4) Dump the lit lump on top of the unlit lump that is waiting in the charcoal ring.

5) Let it sit there for a few minutes, and put the WSM back together.

6) I would ALWAYS leave the top vent wide open. And more often than not, I had 2 of the bottom vents completely shut, and managed the temp with the one remaining bottom vent (although on really cold days, you may need to crack the other bottom vents to keep temp up)

7) I ALWAYS ran my WSM’s with NO water in the pan, and ALWAYS covered water pan with 18” aluminum foil for easy clean-up afterwards.

Following these guidelines, I never ever had a problem with maintaining a low and steady temp. And with my 22.5 WSM, I could easily get 7-12 hours out of one load of lump… depending on amount used, and weather conditions.

Hope this helps my friend!!
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Unread 01-03-2013, 04:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
Patience, grasshoppa Make small changes and then let it settle before changing again. Otherwise you'll end up chasing the temperature as you said.
What Ron said.

A new cooker may not seal as well and be a bit difficult to control as a result. As smoke builds up on he inside and as you get more skillful with adjustments it will become easier.

And in the mean time rest assured that temperature is not critical for getting top notch results. It may matter more for hitting a specific target time, but when your food is done it will still be good regardless if you went a little higher or lower than you wanted.

Of course we should be saying "pictures or it didn't happen!"

Edit: I agree with everything rwalters said too, I just didn't see his comments before I posted mine. I do use water in the pan except when I want higher heat for stuff like chicken or turkey. It helps prevent overshoot so I recommend doing so as well. It's like training wheels. You can take them off when you no longer need them.

Last edited by HankB; 01-03-2013 at 04:46 PM.. Reason: additional comments
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Unread 01-03-2013, 06:07 PM   #5
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What "Ron_L" said.

I fill my charcoal ring to the top with 4 or 5 fist sized chunks of wood mixed in the charcoal.
I light it in 3 places, in between the vents, with a high output propane torch.
I let it go for about 10 or 15 minutes then put the WSM together.
I bring the cooker slowly up to my cooking temperature, then put the meat on.
I do not use water, I use a foiled clay flower pot base in the foiled water pan.

Hope this helps.

Bob
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Unread 01-03-2013, 07:30 PM   #6
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Like RonL said "patience" I don't worry over a temp drop or spike, unless it gets 25 degrees out of where I want it. If it gets out of this range i will open or close the intake just a little bit and wait at least 15 minutes for it to settle in. If your temps are falling after 5 or six hours and you still have plenty of fuel... give the smoker leg a little kick or a whack with a stick to knock some of the ash off of the charcoal. sometimes this helps.
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Unread 01-05-2013, 05:53 AM   #7
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I find maintaining temp easy on my 22". Similar to above, this is what I do:
  • Start with all vents open
  • Foil water pan but use no water
  • Use an old coffee can with the bottom cut out
  • Center the coffee can inside the ring and pack the ring tight with mostly KBlue, sum lump and 4-6 pieces of choice smoke wood
  • Light a chminey of KBlue, pour it into the can and remove the can with pliers (that way the fire slowly burns from the inside)
  • As soon as the WSM gets to 200 or so, start closing the bottom vents - I normally am fine with only one or two vents partially open during warm weather
  • Alway leave the top vent open
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Unread 01-10-2013, 12:05 AM   #8
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Good stuff! Thanks all
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Unread 01-10-2013, 11:12 AM   #9
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I pretty much agree with what has been said, except for no water in pan. I like to use water when I cook ribs. Don't need it with butt, brisket, or chicken but I think the additional moisture helps keep the ribs from drying out, especially if you don't foil.

I use Royal Oak lump and a full ring will last for hours. Depends on cooking temperature and ambient temperature and wind. I don't mind a little overrun on the temp going up since it will fall pretty quick with several slabs of cold ribs hitting the grate.
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Unread 01-10-2013, 12:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwalters View Post
Well, I had both the 18.5 and 22.5 WSM’s for quite a few years before selling both… and I must say they were both GREAT smokers!! I pretty much had fire/heat management down pat. I will share exactly what I did, even though it is not specifically answering your question (I used lump charcoal, you are asking about Kingsford briquettes).

First off, it depends on the temp outside. If weather is warm (60 or higher), or cold (59 or below)… makes a BIG difference… as well as wind conditions.

But simply put, here is what ALWAYS worked for me.

1) I only used Royal Oak lump charcoal. It can be found at almost any Wal-Mart, and it is cheap.

2) Depending on the length of cook time needed, I would either fill the charcoal ring ¾ of the way, or full.

3) I would then light a chimney filled with lump. My rule was ½ chimney of lit lump on warm days, and ¾ lit chimney of lump on cold days.

4) Dump the lit lump on top of the unlit lump that is waiting in the charcoal ring.

5) Let it sit there for a few minutes, and put the WSM back together.

6) I would ALWAYS leave the top vent wide open. And more often than not, I had 2 of the bottom vents completely shut, and managed the temp with the one remaining bottom vent (although on really cold days, you may need to crack the other bottom vents to keep temp up)

7) I ALWAYS ran my WSM’s with NO water in the pan, and ALWAYS covered water pan with 18” aluminum foil for easy clean-up afterwards.

Following these guidelines, I never ever had a problem with maintaining a low and steady temp. And with my 22.5 WSM, I could easily get 7-12 hours out of one load of lump… depending on amount used, and weather conditions.

Hope this helps my friend!!
7-12hrs from a load of lump on a 22.5? ?

i really need to try no water in the pan then, as i can barely hit 6 with half lump half briquettes.....
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Unread 01-10-2013, 12:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobM View Post
What "Ron_L" said.

I fill my charcoal ring to the top with 4 or 5 fist sized chunks of wood mixed in the charcoal.
I light it in 3 places, in between the vents, with a high output propane torch.
I let it go for about 10 or 15 minutes then put the WSM together.
I bring the cooker slowly up to my cooking temperature, then put the meat on.
I do not use water, I use a foiled clay flower pot base in the foiled water pan.

Hope this helps.

Bob
i do the same as bob except that i use a weber chimney and modified minion method (depending on the high heat or low & slow).

also, i have my water pan filled with sand and foiled up (still havent tried water yet), but will run with the pan empty on future high heat cooks. i think the sand robs some of my high heat.
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