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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 09-04-2011, 07:37 AM   #1
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Default WSM fire questions

I'm curious, generally speaking, how long do you wait for your fire to settle in before you put the meat on. This morning I put about 10 lit coals in a depression in the center of a full ring (K blue). 40 min. later it was rockin steady at 228 with the lower vents down.

When I put the two 8# porkies on the grate temp dropped down to 118. 20 min later it's up to 155 and still rising slowly. I did not open the bottom vents up because I felt my fire was good and the temp drop was due to the addition of 16#s of cold meat. Is my thinking good on this?

I've been using the WSM for about 8 months now and I'm not sure why this question arises now. I guess in the past I've opened the bottom vents to bring the grate temp up and ended up chasing the fire. Always trying to do it better/smarter.

Hope y'all are having a great labor day weekend. We had a couple of hours of rain last night, the temps dropped and I'm happy as a clam.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 07:40 AM   #2
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In 20 minutes you should have more heat recovery than that. I would open the vents a little. IMHO
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Unread 09-04-2011, 07:58 AM   #3
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You can open the vents a little to kick the temps up to 200, then start to back down so you don't over-stoke the coals. Was the meat straight from the refrigerator? That will make things take a little longer, but not much, IMHO.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 08:01 AM   #4
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You're right, kind of. I stuck my head in and saw the probe was (and there's no nice way to put this) tucked too tightly between the butts. I moved them out, now I'm up around 245 and holding.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 08:11 AM   #5
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looks like you got what you needed, but, i'll add anyway.

typically, i'll fill my ring with 1 bagt of stubbs briquettes.

i'll light a quarter chimney of stubbs.

when it's white hot i'll dump/spread evenly over the unlit, assemble the wsm(22.5), and open all the vents 100%.

if i'm shooting for 275, which i am more and more often at this point, when it reaches @ 250(maybe 1/2 hour or so)i'll close them all down to @ 25%.

when it reaches target, maybe another 1/2 hour, meat goes on. depending on the day, ambient temps, wind, etc., i'll need to fiddle with the vents for another 1/2 or so to stabilize, then it's good to go for at least 3 or 4 hours without a look.

after that point, depending on what i'm cooking, and again, the weather for the day, i'll need to either close down the vents more or open up a bit.

hope that helps.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 11:58 AM   #6
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On average, I'd say I usually let here warm up for a good hour. That's more to get the smoke where I want it (thin blue) than for temps, because it gets up to temp sooner than that. I've been going hot/fast route on most stuff, so I usually have one vent wide open, another at least 3/4 open and the one that's more windward just barely cracked open. Seems to work for me and get me up over 300 degrees without problem. It's easy to keep it at low temp with all of the vents closed up more (I leave my windward vent completely closed if going low-and-slow), but it takes a while to get there, because the fire builds a lot more slowly.
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