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Unread 01-21-2013, 08:30 AM   #1
smokinjerseyguy
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Cool Rookie Question

I am just easing into the smoking world and have used my 22.5 WSM about a dozen times. This may sound stupid but is there a change in cooking time when using the lower rack versus the upper rack? I know it all depends obviously on the temp of the smoker and conditions but wasn't sure if there was a known rule that lower rack takes a little longer or is a little slower. Thanks for any input!
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Unread 01-21-2013, 08:33 AM   #2
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The lower rack will not be as hot as the upper rack. Heat rises to the top. So, make sure you have a grate thermometer on both grates to properly monitor temps.
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Unread 01-21-2013, 10:06 AM   #3
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Or you could just rotate stuff to cook more evenly. If I'm q'ing butts, ribs or briskets, when I pull them out to wrap them I switch grates when I put them back in. Works pretty good.
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Unread 01-21-2013, 10:14 AM   #4
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sounds like a good excuse to throw 2 butts on your WSM to me
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Unread 01-21-2013, 10:41 AM   #5
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Good info. I've wondered the same and assumed the lower would be hotter but this makes sense. Used my lower rack for the first time on my last cook. Had ribs on top and butt on bottom. Couldn't figure why the butt took longer than usual. That and I opened a few times to spritz the ribs. Last time I do that. Doh!!
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Unread 01-21-2013, 05:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fo Sizzle My Nizzle View Post
That and I opened a few times to spritz the ribs. Last time I do that. Doh!!
Nothing wrong with doing that. Yes I've heard the phrase "if you're lookin', you ain't cookin" but that just means don't get carried away. In fact, if you have the lid off for too long, you will get lots more air to the fire and your temp will spike, especially when using lump charcoal. So don't worry about giving your ribs a little spritz every 1/2 hour or so if they look like they need it.
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Unread 01-21-2013, 07:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boshizzle View Post
The lower rack will not be as hot as the upper rack. Heat rises to the top. So, make sure you have a grate thermometer on both grates to properly monitor temps.
I did that for the inaugural cook on my 22.5 WSM and was very surprised to see the bottom grate reading higher. I did not expect that at all. That's also the first cook where I instrumented both grates since I only just got an ET-732 to supplement my ET-73. (I did check all four probes in a pot of boiling water prior to the cook so I know it was not a calibration issue.) And I've been smoking on my 18.5 WSM for over three years so I'm familiar with the WSM.

Usually if you are cooking different things on the two grates, put the one that you expect to finish sooner on top. It will be easier to take it off without disturbing the other grate.

And no, that does not sound stupid - that's what I would expect because as others have noted, heat rises.
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Unread 01-21-2013, 11:29 PM   #8
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Yep Just rotate food as needed for even cooking :)
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Unread 01-22-2013, 12:32 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for the insight and guidance! This all makes sense.
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