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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, 06:21 PM   #31
Harbormaster
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Sounds to me like your center section is out of round.
Because there is not a rolled lip on the bottom of the center section, it can get squished and it won't fit the charcoal bowl right. Air gets in and makes it difficult to control temps.
Check with a tape or yardstick across the diameter. It should be a consistent measurement.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 06:33 PM   #32
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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.
Agree for the most part. Throttle back the top vent. Your leakage airflow is too high. I run with th top barely open when doing a low temp cook.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 06:47 PM   #33
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I know some competition cooks who do everything at 300 with excellent results. 275-285 is not a bad place to be.
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Unread 05-09-2013, 07:36 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbormaster View Post
Sounds to me like your center section is out of round.
Because there is not a rolled lip on the bottom of the center section, it can get squished and it won't fit the charcoal bowl right. Air gets in and makes it difficult to control temps.
Check with a tape or yardstick across the diameter. It should be a consistent measurement.
I am willing to go out on a limb and tell you with near 100% certainty this is your issue. Reason I say that is I had fought the same issue with mine since I first bought it in 2005. Over the years I have had my WSM, I have run it with every possible configuration of water pan, clay saucer or foiled water pan possible with the same basic results of eventually high temps. It wasn't until I finally got fed up with it and bought a set of Nomex gaskets for it that I finally got it to seal properly. As part of installing the gaskets I totally cleaned my smoker with oven cleaner. That was the first time that I had it cleaned totally since 2005. When I did that I found that I had a dent along the side of where the door mounted and that the bottom base was out of round. All these appeared to have slight gaps until I did the deep cleaning and then it showed they were major areas of leakage.

I got it all back to round and then installed the gasket set using RTV silicone. Here are pictures of the gasket set installed.






I have only done this overhaul fairly recently so I can't say how well the Nomex will hold up over time. But I can tell you that since I did this I now have positive control of temps like I never had them before for both short and long cooks. To be honest, I think the gaskets are the icing on the cake, but finally getting the middle section properly sealed was the key.
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Last edited by benniesdad; 05-09-2013 at 09:05 PM..
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Unread 05-09-2013, 08:28 PM   #35
Bob in St. Louis
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Just a comment I'm throwing out there.......
I have the understanding that by closing the top vent, you're creating a "log-jamb" with the smoke, which backs up inside the smoker. This smoke, not being able to exhaust itself to ambient air, begins to get stale and "burnt" since there isn't a fresh supply of new air coming in the bottom vents.

That is why my top vent is always open....right or wrong...
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Unread 05-09-2013, 09:51 PM   #36
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I'm w/ the out-of-round crowd. ("I'm In w/ the Out Crowd"?!)

I recently had problems w/ my 18.5 WSM a few cooks ago- runaway temp. to the point where I closed all 3 intakes and the thing ran at 250 for hours.

Turns out the body is out of round, and when it doesn't sit/seal properly in the bottom section there's a decent-size air gap.

I haven't addressed it other than to make sure the body sits correctly when I cook- no more problem.
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Unread 05-10-2013, 08:39 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbormaster View Post
Sounds to me like your center section is out of round.
Because there is not a rolled lip on the bottom of the center section, it can get squished and it won't fit the charcoal bowl right. Air gets in and makes it difficult to control temps.
Check with a tape or yardstick across the diameter. It should be a consistent measurement.
what's the easiest way to get that mid section back in round? I think I may have that issue as well--just haven't gotten around to checking it.
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Unread 05-10-2013, 09:50 AM   #38
Bob in St. Louis
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If the main body is out-of-round, a gentile squeeze will get it back in shape. That big circle is surprisingly weak when it's not supported by the "lips" of the lower section or the lid. It's real easy to bend back in shape.
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Unread 05-10-2013, 10:29 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob in St. Louis View Post
If the main body is out-of-round, a gentle squeeze will get it back in shape.
Yep. I give it a bear hug and check the diameter each time until I have it even.
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Unread 05-10-2013, 04:47 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbormaster View Post
Yep. I give it a bear hug and check the diameter each time until I have it even.
I've done that too.

I have also rotated the mid section to get the most even gap all around on the idea that I'm matching slight out of round for the two pieces.

When my cooker was new, I also added a bead of high temperature silicone to the bottom edge of the mid section to help seal. That seemed to help with temperature control. After enough smokes the inside of the smoker will get a film of grease/smoke that will help seal as well. (if you don't keep cleaning it out )

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Unread 05-10-2013, 06:07 PM   #41
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I am curious if only opening one vent causes the charcoal to burn unevenly since the air is coming in from only one direction. I am not an engineer and I hope one replies. I am a bean counter and everything has to balance for me, my OCD. I use all vents open the same and temps hold where I want them. Cold and Wind do affect my temps and it seems that there is no one method that works in all conditions.
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Unread 05-10-2013, 06:07 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fantomlord View Post
what's the easiest way to get that mid section back in round? I think I may have that issue as well--just haven't gotten around to checking it.
I could also be a case where the base itself may be out of round due to being dropped along the way. That was the case with mine. All it took was a little "persuasion" with a big old piece of cherry wood to get the rim back to round.
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Unread 05-10-2013, 08:20 PM   #43
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Tons of great advice given. I will just add you can run in any range you want. I will just add its not just about shutting the vents down at an early temp. The faster you get to that initial temp means the fire got some momentum and is harder to slow down. I can maintain 200 for bacon if I start slow
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