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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:04 AM   #1
VA-Dave
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Default WSM observations and questions

Greetings Brethren,

I have one cook under my belt on the WSM and I have a couple of questions.

I started out with an 8 lb. bag of lump and lit it using the minion method. All three bottom vents set at 25% open until the temp reached about 180° (top vent wide open) and then I closed two bottom vents with the 3rd set at about 25% open. Temp settled in around 250° (Dome thermometer) and only fluctuated by about ±20° for the duration of a 5 hour cook with a 13 lb. ham and a foiled water pan.

White smoke poured from every crack and crevice of the WSM (the door I expected) for about 30 minutes before there was no visible smoke at all (I didn't use any smoking wood).

Does that time sound right?

When I went to clean it, I was a little surprised at how much charcoal had been burnt for 5 hours. I'm guessing it's because it isn't seasoned and is pulling air in from the joints (lid, barrel, bowl) of the cooker, but was hoping for feedback from others.

I really did my homework here before I even bought it and let me tell you, she is a solid cooker. I was almost bored not having to fiddle around with it during the cook.

I was going to replace the door with the Cajun Bandit SS one, but I'm not sure I need to now.

Dave
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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:09 AM   #2
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That will be normal until you get a few cooks on her. She'll need a few cooks to seal up the cracks with some good gunk! Wait...that sounded woodpilish.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:14 AM   #3
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Thanks Pat.

Does the door eventually seal up also?

Dave
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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VA-Dave View Post
Thanks Pat.

Does the door eventually seal up also?

Dave
Yes, Sir. Mine did the same thing.

After three cooks, four butts each cook, she stopped leaking completely.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:22 AM   #5
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What Pat said.
I tweaked my door a little to get it to seal up better.
My WSM still leaks a bit, but it doesn't affect the cooks at all.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:24 AM   #6
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Dave,
If it doesn't stop leaking, some of the components (usually the center section) might be out of round. If you don't have temp control issues, and if the fire goes out when you close all of the vents, I wouldn't worry about it. If you have issues, measure all of the components and adjust them accordingly. You can tweak the door a little to get it to fit properly too.
When I fire up a WSM, I open all of the bottom vents 100%. As my dome temp approaches my target (usually at about 220) I shut all three vents down to about 1/3, then tweak as necessary to achieve and hold my desired dome temp.
Congratulations on a successful first cook!
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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbormaster View Post
Dave,
If it doesn't stop leaking, some of the components (usually the center section) might be out of round. If you don't have temp control issues, and if the fire goes out when you close all of the vents, I wouldn't worry about it. If you have issues, measure all of the components and adjust them accordingly. You can tweak the door a little to get it to fit properly too.
When I fire up a WSM, I open all of the bottom vents 100%. As my dome temp approaches my target (usually at about 220) I shut all three vents down to about 1/3, then tweak as necessary to achieve and hold my desired dome temp.
Congratulations on a successful first cook!
Thanks Clark.

What had me puzzled was that I was controlling the temp with one vent and at one point it was almost completely closed. I started to suspect it was drawing air in from around the joints.

One more question, do you folks ever have to "give it a kick" to prevent ash build up? I didn't this time, but it was only a 5 hour cook.

Thanks for the feedback.

Dave
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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VA-Dave View Post
One more question, do you folks ever have to "give it a kick" to prevent ash build up?
Depends on the fuel you're using I guess.
Natural products (lump, Royal Oak Chefs Select briqs, Rancher briqs, Stubb's briqs) seem to produce significantly less ash reducing the possibility of ash clogging.
I love my WSMs to much to kick them, but if I have temp issues, I'll poke the coals through the access door to knock some of the ash off.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbormaster View Post
I love my WSMs to much to kick them, but if I have temp issues, I'll poke the coals through the access door to knock some of the ash off.
Oh my gosh, I just noticed your sig, you have 10 WSM's??????????

I am humbled sir.

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Unread 04-02-2013, 10:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbormaster View Post
As my dome temp approaches my target (usually at about 220) I shut all three vents down to about 1/3, then tweak as necessary to achieve and hold my desired dome temp.
Is there a difference in temp control, if you shut down 2 vents and just use one?
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Unread 04-02-2013, 11:41 AM   #11
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Is there a difference in temp control, if you shut down 2 vents and just use one?
yeap, I want to know that too.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 11:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VA-Dave View Post
One more question, do you folks ever have to "give it a kick" to prevent ash build up?
I use a scrap of wood to hit the legs every one in a while during a cook.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JS-TX View Post
Is there a difference in temp control, if you shut down 2 vents and just use one?
I generally keep two vents closed and control the temperature with the third vent.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 11:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Is there a difference in temp control, if you shut down 2 vents and just use one?
Probably only difference is that the charcoal in the area where the vent is open may burn before the coals in the area where the vents are closed. I notice this when I use my Auber. Where the fan is will burn quicker.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 12:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cayman1 View Post
Probably only difference is that the charcoal in the area where the vent is open may burn before the coals in the area where the vents are closed. I notice this when I use my Auber. Where the fan is will burn quicker.
Well I've read that a lot of these cabinet smoker guys will light their fire on the opposite side of their ATC, so the fire will burn towards it. I kinda do the same with my WSM. I put a couple starter cubes just off center of my lump stack and let it burn towards my IQ. It seems to work ok.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 01:37 PM   #15
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When all else fails, you can always go the Nomex gasket route.

http://www.bbqgaskets.com/catalog_4.html
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