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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 05-09-2013, 01:45 PM   #16
J'ville Grill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbie_smoker View Post
also, the last time i didn't evenly spread out my starter coals and just put them in the middle I had a large ring of unlit coals around the outside at the end of the cook as they never lit. that was the only time I've not spread them out and incidentally the only time I've had problems with keeping the temp up.
I don't have that problem but I run mine with all three vent open evenly.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 01:47 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J'ville Grill View Post
I don't have that problem but I run mine with all three vent open evenly.
That makes sense. If I kept them all open evenly I probably wouldnt have had that problem. Of course If I didn't close down at least 2 of them itd for sure be over 300 so I guess that isnt an option yet lol. thanks again for the insight. much appreciated.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 01:47 PM   #18
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I would suggest placing a piece of foil around the edges of the door creating a gasket. I would also consider going to "waterless" system. I use an 18" foiled terracotta clay saucer on my WSM 22.
Good luck,
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Unread 05-09-2013, 01:50 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newbie_smoker View Post
It is my understanding that water instead of a foiled saucer or sand actually helps control the temp BETTER as it will act as a heat stabilizer whereas the saucer or sand will just heat above and beyond the 212 point of water. Clean-up isn't a big deal at all. I've just heard that water works better for temp control.
I think if you try running with just a foiled water pan for a handful of cooks, you'll figure out the same thing most of us WSM owners do--it doesn't need much help to maintain temps.

incidentally, if you are doing pork shoulder, I wouldn't worry too much about the temperature--they're very forgiving, and difficult to mess up.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 01:59 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J'ville Grill View Post
1. Don't spread your lit coals evenly, dump them in a depression in the center of your unlit coals.
2.Use what ever you want for a heat sink, it's your choice. You can use water, no water, clay saucer, what ever.
3. Now that you've cleaned out the inside it will run a little hot just like when it was brand new.
4. Season it up with a few cooks and find the sweet spot where it wants to cruise at. My 18.5 WSM seems to cruise around 260.
+1

I never have to mess with the top vent, it's always full open and mine settles in between 220 and 250.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 02:08 PM   #21
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i have a 18 and a 22, niether need any gaskets or whatever, your going to chase temps in any cooker if you want one temp and the cooker wants another, dont snuff the fire too much have a nice clean burning fire, top vent open, unless really windy, get it going and close all 3 the same- only do this once dont chase it. So go like half way the next time on all 3 to see what it does go about half or 1/3 open and leave it there. i also prefer water in it but many dont.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 02:12 PM   #22
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This is a summary of what has happened today. I hope I'm not chasing the temp. I wait at least 45 minutes after making an adjustment before I even check the temp again.

-9:30 AM-11AM ~250 (2 vents closed, 3rd 1/6 of the way open.) then

- 11AM-noon: it went up to and stayed at 275-285

-noon: it had been at 275-285 for an hour so I decided I wanted to try to bring it back down to 250 so I closed the 3rd vent all the way.

-about 1pm I noticed it was down to ~250

-2PM (now) I checked it again and it was down to 230. I checked the only open vent and noticed a build-up of white ash in the small openings so I opened the vent up and tried to get the ash out with a stick. At this point I closed the 3rd vent down to 1/6-1/8 of the way open as it was before but I also slightly cracked (very slightly) the other 2 vents.

Maybe I just need to only check it every 2 hours instead of every hour and only make adjustments if the temp has been above 285 for 2 hours? I am trying my best not to chase the temp but when its at 275-285 for an hour I think it is time to make a minor vent adjustment. Could definitely be wrong though.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 02:36 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
Every cooker has a temp where is just want to settle in. Don't fight it.
So true. I have one that has a mind of its own. It is a 275-280 cooker, the other one, whatever temp I want. No reason whatsoever for the differences in the two. Both about the same age with same number of cooks.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 02:54 PM   #24
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This is what I do and seems to work good for me (22" WSM & RO Lump & Foiled clay pot). I fill the coal bin, and leave an indent on the oppisite side from the lower vent I plan to leave open and work with. Usaully the one oppisite the wind direction. Wind seems to be my biggest enemy.

Once the heat gets to within 30* to 40* from my target temp, I will close 2 of the bottom vents completely and start watching the rate of increase, slowly closing the remaining vent until it slowly reachs my target temp and let it sit there for 15 - 20 minutes making sure the white smoke is all gone.

Then I add the meat and unless the wind becomes a factor, it will maintain that temp.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 04:53 PM   #25
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The reason i dont want you closing any of the vents fully is to lock into your cooker - not your cooker locking into you. 1/2 to 1/3 open on all 3 bottoms, if a chunk of ash does block one and you miss it the fire will not smother. a nice clean fire is the key here not so much the temps because a wsm will run under 300 easy breezy with water in that pan, check the water every 2- 3 hrs
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Unread 05-09-2013, 05:42 PM   #26
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Well for the past 3 hours it has been cruising along between 225-245, perfect! I'm not sure why it always spikes to 275-285 after the first couple hours but it seemingly comes back down to earth after an hour or so of running hot. Maybe I am spreading out my starter coals too much or need to use less than 8. IDK. As long as an hour or two of high temps is all I have to deal with I guess I should be happy. More experience will be my greatest friend. Well that and this board of course! I'll make sure to take some pics when they are done, just coming out of the back side of the stall now!
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Unread 05-09-2013, 05:54 PM   #27
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Cool. Glad to hear you're figuring it out!

Are you opening the door to peek inside?
Cause that blast of cool fresh air will be messing with your temps and make you want to chase it.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 05:57 PM   #28
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Reading your post, you said you cleaned it out because of soot. No need to do that. The gunk on the sides helps to seal the seams and reduces air leakage which will make it run hotter. I just clean the grills and water pan. I use water because in warmer climates my first 100*F are free during the Summer. You could also start with fewer lit coals bringing the temp up slower. Also, wind and even sunlight can affect the temp of a WSM. My lid thermostat runs about like your. You have meat between the Maverick probe and the lid.

Good luck with it. They are great smokers.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 06:12 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob in St. Louis View Post
Cool. Glad to hear you're figuring it out!

Are you opening the door to peek inside?
Cause that blast of cool fresh air will be messing with your temps and make you want to chase it.
No I make it a point of emphasis to not open it up at all for the first 6 hours.

And i cleaned it b/c it sat in my basement uncleaned for 9 months and the smoke residue left a rust looking stain all through it. It was orangish red and a search in here revealed many saying to brush it out.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 06:16 PM   #30
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Is the sun shining on your lid? That will cause the temp to spike (at least it does on mine).
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