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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 08-04-2010, 06:16 PM   #1
Orygun
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Join Date: 06-16-10
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Default WSM arriving Friday

I broke down and ordered a WSM 22.5 to join my other porch decorations. Any tips/tricks or suggestions for when I get this thing and get it unboxed and ready to fire up?
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Old 08-04-2010, 06:41 PM   #2
toumaj
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I received mine about 2 months ago and I'm really happy with it. From a pure-smoking sense, it's one of the best smokers on the market - especially for those who want to socialize rather than stand over the fire all weekend.
But trying to get the heat over 300 for an extended period of time was tough (beer-can chicken, steaks, tri tip, etc).
This thing almost seems like it was engineered to run between 225 and 275, which is IDEAL for smoking, IMO, but not for searing or any hot cooking obviously.
Now the big 22.5 inch WSM is HUGE, so perhaps I'm just not using enough coals - but that can get expensive!!!!
I solved the problem by placing a traditional (old) webber kettle, with an attached work table and charcoal bin, right next to my WSM.
If I want high temps, I use the old kettle.
To smoke or slow cook, I use the WSM.
Ironically, the lids on my old kettle and my WSM are exactly the same size, which adds even more versatility (beer can chickens are too "tall" for my kettle unless I use the WSM lid which is much taller).
And the work table solves another issue I was having with my WSM.
A few things come to mind:
1. If I fire up the WSM without the water/water pan, I'm assuming it would get hotter than with it (haven't done this yet - THOUGHTS?).
2. I wonder if these WSMs "want" natural airflow around the vents or if they'd rather have a "wind block"? I have mine on our patio with plenty of ocean breeze (maybe too much?).
I have read about guys firing their WSM up and coming back 12 hours later with the temps within 15 degrees of where it was when they left. I'm not there yet and I'm not entirely sure I'll get there. I've needed to refuel each time I've kept food on the WSM for over 5-6 hours. I've been laying down around 20-25 unlit coals in the bottom fire cage in a circle and putting 2 chimneys of ready coals in the middle. I have room for more coals, so I'm thinking about either adding to my unlit coals or buying another chimney and dumping 3 chimneys in at the beginning of a cook - THOUGHTS??

Enjoy your WSM - I know you will!

And thanks for any thoughts or suggestions as well!!!!!
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:31 PM   #3
Cast Iron Chef
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Here's a great place to go for tips on cooking with a WSM:
http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/index.html I have a 22" WSM. using the minion method I fill the ring with charcoal and wood chunks. Dump about 12-15 coals that have ashed over in the chimney. Last cook I got 8 hours.

I did the clay pot in the water pan and that seems to keep better temps. Let the cooker get up to temp then just about close the lower vents and leave lid vent full open. The WSM is meant for 225-275 degree cooks. That's why I have a kettle for higher temps.
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:41 PM   #4
Bonewagon
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First of all congrats on your WSM, you'll love it it's a great smoker.

I can't comment specifically on the 22.5", but I've got the 18" and I imagine it's not too much different. When I use it, I fill the fire ring with briqs to the top, then I dump in about half a chimney of lit briqs spreading them around evenly. I don't get to picky about counting how many briqs are lit, I just use about half a chimney. (This is known as the Minion Method.) This works great for keeping temps between 225-250, and gives enough fuel for an overnight cook without having to refuel. Just stir the briqs after several hours to knock-off the ash. When I wanted to hit 350 or so to smoke turkey and give crisper skin, I use a whole chimney of lit briqs on the full fire ring, don't use a water pan, and I take the door off and put it in upside down propped open about an inch. This will let more air in and let the fire get hotter.

Wind will suck the heat out of the WSM though. When it get's cooler here in the fall or the early spring, and the wind is cool, I have to open it up more to get the temps I want. Though I don't think the wind in Palos Verdes would do that to the same extent.

Good luck and and have fun experimenting!
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toumaj View Post
I received mine about 2 months ago and I'm really happy with it. From a pure-smoking sense, it's one of the best smokers on the market - especially for those who want to socialize rather than stand over the fire all weekend.
But trying to get the heat over 300 for an extended period of time was tough (beer-can chicken, steaks, tri tip, etc).
This thing almost seems like it was engineered to run between 225 and 275, which is IDEAL for smoking, IMO, but not for searing or any hot cooking obviously. You are 100% correct. The WSM was designed for low and slow.
Now the big 22.5 inch WSM is HUGE, so perhaps I'm just not using enough coals - but that can get expensive!!!!
I solved the problem by placing a traditional (old) webber kettle, with an attached work table and charcoal bin, right next to my WSM.
If I want high temps, I use the old kettle.
To smoke or slow cook, I use the WSM.
Ironically, the lids on my old kettle and my WSM are exactly the same size, which adds even more versatility (beer can chickens are too "tall" for my kettle unless I use the WSM lid which is much taller). This is because Weber uses the same parts for the 22 WSM and WK.
And the work table solves another issue I was having with my WSM.
A few things come to mind:
1. If I fire up the WSM without the water/water pan, I'm assuming it would get hotter than with it (haven't done this yet - THOUGHTS?). If you use cold or room temp water, it will take a lot longer for the WSM temps to rise. Boil a pot of water and put the boiling water in the water pan and the WSM won't take as long to heat up.
2. I wonder if these WSMs "want" natural airflow around the vents or if they'd rather have a "wind block"? I have mine on our patio with plenty of ocean breeze (maybe too much?). The more airflow that goes into the vents, the hotter the coals will get, which will burn faster, requiring more fuel. Try to keep the WSM out of the wind.
I have read about guys firing their WSM up and coming back 12 hours later with the temps within 15 degrees of where it was when they left. I'm not there yet and I'm not entirely sure I'll get there. I've needed to refuel each time I've kept food on the WSM for over 5-6 hours. I've been laying down around 20-25 unlit coals in the bottom fire cage in a circle and putting 2 chimneys of ready coals in the middle. I have room for more coals, so I'm thinking about either adding to my unlit coals or buying another chimney and dumping 3 chimneys in at the beginning of a cook - THOUGHTS?? Your problem is right there, too much hot fuel and not enough cold fuel! Fill the whole charcoal grate with unlit coal. This may require a full bag of coal, depending on what type you are using. Then put about 20 lit coals on top of the unlit coals. This is called the minion method and works great with WSMs. The lit coals will get the temps of the WSM up to 275 and as the unlit coals slowly catch on fire and burn down, this maintains the temp in the WSM for many hours. I do this and can easily get 10 to 12 hours of burn.

Enjoy your WSM - I know you will!

And thanks for any thoughts or suggestions as well!!!!!
Good Luck!
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:01 PM   #6
Smoothsmoke
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A whole bag of K will be needed to fill up the charcoal grate for a 22.5" wsm?? If so, that sure is a whole lot of fuel.
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:02 PM   #7
bassbuster33
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I have an 18.5, but a neighbor has the 22.

We have had no problems getting it to 325 degrees. No water in the pan, lump and vents wide open. The only downside to this setup, is that it becomes fuel hungry.

Enjoy.
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:11 PM   #8
Jeff Selle
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I strated with the 22.5 and I love it, but I bought another 18.5 to save on fuel. I still use them both. The 22.5 is great for parties and big cooks... and the 18 is great for every night cooking, plus I have two weber performers (the one you describe with a th etanble and charcoal bin) and well an offset and now a Kamado... I just need ranch kettle and good gasser to round things out!
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:59 PM   #9
sampson
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I'm running a couple of the 22's and on average I get about 8 hours burn out of a full basket of K. I usually fill up the basket and then take enough out of the middle to fill my chimney 3/4 full and let that get nice and hot before returning it to the middle. And a big ditto to what was said about boiling water vs tap temp. And I only fill my water pan about 2/3 full...
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:22 AM   #10
bluenote07
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I recently got an 18". First smoker I have ever owned. Took me till about my 4th try for temp control. What I found on mine is if you are using the minion method between hours 2 and 3 were the most critical. That's when I had to do the most vent adjusting. Temps really started to rise.
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:38 AM   #11
zydecopaws
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Congrats on the new addition. Once you get the temp controls figured out you're gonna love it. Here's a couple of pointers:

1. Use the Minion Method for starting it, and don't pay any attention to someone that tells you that all the coals have to have a layer of ash on them. That is a guaranteed way to use too much charcoal and run too hot.
2. Start with all the vents wide open, and when the temperature gets close to where you want it start closing the bottom ones. I do my adjustments one vent at a time as I found it was too difficult to control the temps consistently by trying to close all of them the same. This also allows you to adjust for any wind.
3. If the last open vent is closed 3/4 of the way and the temps are still too high, then start adjusting the top vent.
4. Don't fill that water pan to the rim. If I'm using water at all (and I generally do) I measure in between 1/2 to 1 gallon of hot tap water. A lot of folks go with the sand mod (and other variations) but I still get on average 12 hours per load of charcoal using this method.

Good luck, and go cook something forgiving for your first cook (like maybe a pork butt).
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Old 08-05-2010, 09:48 PM   #12
Eljay
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It pretty much just works. The cooking topics on the Virtual Weber forum linked above are very handy, and the instructions that come with aren't that great, so refer to the website.

Mine doesn't much like getting above 300 unless I prop the door open a bit. It's easiest to do this by putting the door on upside down (that way the tabs at the bottom - now the top - will mostly hold it in place). If you use it with water it's not going over 260 or so - which is the point of course.

With a full thing of lump I can go 13-14 hours without adjusting anything. I still had fuel left - that's just the longest I've had to go.
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:49 PM   #13
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Great answers and good help as usual, mine is due to arrive next week. Thanks
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Old 08-06-2010, 10:05 AM   #14
Dave Russell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluenote07 View Post
I recently got an 18". First smoker I have ever owned. Took me till about my 4th try for temp control. What I found on mine is if you are using the minion method between hours 2 and 3 were the most critical. That's when I had to do the most vent adjusting. Temps really started to rise.
I've found that hotter water (boiling's best) and meat sitting out longer (to lose the chill), will help get the temps stabilized quicker.
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Old 08-07-2010, 12:56 PM   #15
Orygun
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The WSM arrived yesterday and I managed to get it all unpacked and scattered throughout my kitchen and back porch before deciding to go play a round of evening golf.
Today is a busy day for me, but I have managed to get it all together and sitting pretty out back. I have some more questions.....In the instructions it says to use briquets over lump. Why? That panicked me a little so I ran out to Costco and picked up 90+ pounds of Kingsford competition Briquets, are these any good?
I am going to read up before firing this thing up.

Thanks all!
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