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Old 08-02-2011, 01:33 PM   #1
jcpetro97
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Join Date: 05-29-11
Location: Rochester, NY
Default Question for the WSM owners out there

Quick question... First, I am going to be getting my first WSM for comps soon. At home I have a Chargriller Pro Offset. So there were a couple of things I was thinking about...

(1) do you use Briquettes, or lump
(2) Is there a good way to add more charcoal if you need to on a longer cook, or if you don't estimate correctly before firing up the grill.

Of course, if there is anything else I need to know, I would be interested in hearing what you all have to say.

Thanks everyone!!
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:39 PM   #2
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Hi there!

(1) Briquettes. I spend the extra bucks and pack the fire ring as full as it will go with the Kingsford Hickory briquettes.
(2) Don't add more charcoal - use the Minion method. Here's a recent thread for your reading pleasure. In my large WSM, my world record is 24 hours at 250F before temps started falling off at the end. Of course that was on a perfectly calm day and using my Stoker. (Wind can get a WSM very excited and burn up all your fuel quickly.)
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:41 PM   #3
JMSetzler
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I agree with the previous post. I use Kingsford Blue and just fill it full. I know I can go at least 16 hours low and slow with that much charcoal. Maybe more...

If I ran into a situation where I needed to add charcoal, I'd probably remove the top two sections to expose the charcoal basket and just add from there and then replace the top two sections.... very carefully!
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:41 PM   #4
bobaftt
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you can use the minion method but in the event you have to add charcoal I open the door and slide the charcoal in using the door like a slide. I also use briquettes. I figure if its good enough to suggested by weber its good enough for me.
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:44 PM   #5
bigabyte
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I use lump, but honestly, you might want to start with briquettes while you figure the cooker out. I started with briquettes and have never had trouble since switching to lump, but occasionally I hear people say they have trouble with lump in their WSM which I can only figure is perhaps not being as familiar with their WSM (I could be wrong though). Briqs like Kingsford are consistent, reliable and long burning, but you will have a lot of ash to dispose of. You also can't do high heat smoking in the 350-375 range with Kingsford, which I do with lump in my WSM's regularly for chicken.

As for refueling (remember I use lump) I either lift the middle section off, or if it is too heavy I just feed it in through the door. I just put new coals on top of the old, as long as the air intakes are dialed down it's not all going to light up unless you have a leaky WSM.
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:48 PM   #6
jcpetro97
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lots of good info here.. thanks everyone!! By the looks of it, I think there will be a LOT of experimentation going on... My family, friends, and neighbors will all be happy about that...

One other question... I noticed that it sounds like you all just "cram it full" of charcoal. Do you do the same, if you are doing a shorter cook, like a batch of ribs? I am just wondering, that if I am doing ribs only, that is more like 6 hours vs a longer cook for Pork Shoulder or Brisket. So I am wondering if there is some way of "adjusting" for a shorter cook.
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:49 PM   #7
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I agree with previous posts minion method and lump charcoal (less ash and long burn time). Takes longer to load up but in the long run it seems to last longer. If your getting s 22 it should run a long long time on one load 18 last good but also, but if doing long cook you might need to throw a some more on.
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:50 PM   #8
Smokin' D
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I use lump charcoal with chunks of smoke wood mixed in to the mix. My current favorite is Peach wood, but that's just me. No water in the pan for me. Too messy. If I do need to add more fuel, I lift off the entire upper section of the cooker as one piece: racks, top and center section, and deal with the fire bowl. When all is good, put everything back together. Typically there is meat only on the top rack so things are not too heavy. I find adding fuel through the door to be awkward and inefficient.
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Old 08-02-2011, 01:59 PM   #9
azmark
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Welcome to the WSM family.

I use charcoal. Stumps is my choice; it burns cleaner, less odor, lights faster, and a lot less ash the Kingsford Blue bag. I tried lump a few times and liked the results but hated prepping it and would never do it again.

Minion method is the best for me and the long cooks I've had.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:25 PM   #10
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I use a small shovel to add chrcoal to my WSMs when needed. Lay the bag on it's side on the ground, shovel some coal out and place it in the WSM. If you are using lump or natural briqs there is no issue with adding unlit briqs.

Lump works great in a WSM. Briquettes work great in a WSM. Natural briquettes, that is. Stumps, Rancher, RO Chef's Select and the like.

Even with handles on the side of the WSM I hestiate taking it apart to add charcoal. Who wants hot water spilled all over or just taking a chance on dropping it and wrecking whatever meat might be inside.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcpetro97 View Post
lots of good info here.. thanks everyone!! By the looks of it, I think there will be a LOT of experimentation going on... My family, friends, and neighbors will all be happy about that...

One other question... I noticed that it sounds like you all just "cram it full" of charcoal. Do you do the same, if you are doing a shorter cook, like a batch of ribs? I am just wondering, that if I am doing ribs only, that is more like 6 hours vs a longer cook for Pork Shoulder or Brisket. So I am wondering if there is some way of "adjusting" for a shorter cook.
I fill my charcoal basket based on the length of my cook. The only time I fill it all the way is for long cooks, and usually end up with some left for the next cook. On the next cook, I just add to the top of the pile.

If you fill above the top of the coal basket, your water pan may hit the top of your coals, BTW, so check for that before you start the fire, or get a shallower water pan.

I use briquettes, BTW, because it is more predictable.

CD
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:34 PM   #12
VinSanity480
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azmark View Post
I tried lump a few times and liked the results but hated prepping it and would never do it again.
What does this mean? What prep are you referring to. I'm new here, so go easy on me.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:34 PM   #13
Stoke&Smoke
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I would agree with the advice to start with briquettes. That said, I like the taste lump gives me much better than that of briquettes, AND, I like that if I'm done cooking, I can just close the vents and let it go out, and what's left can be used later. Briquettes tend to absorm moisture, so this doesn't work so well with them.

I have handles on the 22", and I take the barrel and top off to add coal, I use a clay saucer in the pan, so no worries about water spillage
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:36 PM   #14
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I use both, lump and Stumps bricks. Both burn clean and less ash. No water, sand in the bowl. Should I need to ad some, throwing it in through the door is has never been a problem. It spikes just a bit, but settles back down quick enough. you really don't need to worry about how much for a shorter cook. Just fill it up. When you're done close all your vents, fire will snuff out and you'll have plenty for your next short cook.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:52 PM   #15
NorCal Q Man
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I think everyone has given you good info. Personally I use Stubb's briqs minion method. I have the 22 incher and I have only had to refill once because of a miscalculation. I just put unlit briqs through the door, and it worked fine. For shorter burns I use less charcoal, and I've been thinking about getting a smaller ring for those. It seems like it would be easier. You're gonna love it. Enjoy!
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