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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 09-01-2012, 11:40 AM   #1
Fo Sizzle My Nizzle
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Default WSM coming to temp

Okay I've done several cooks on my WSM now and everytime it's taken as much as 45 minutes to FIGHT to grt to 250. Thought it might have been the water and didn't use any last couple of cooks with the same issue getting to 250. All vents fully open.

This morning I get up to use up a half batch of coal I had still in the bottom and run my first naked fatty. Start up about a half chimney of coals and dump them on like I always do. Set the maverick and go to enjoy a cup of joe while I wait 30-45 minutes to hit my temp. No sooner do I sit down, take a sip, and bring up the forums to surf, my WSM is blazing at 250 already!!! In the time I've taken to write this post I'm up to 300. This is great news for me but I can't put my finger on what changed. Any ideas?
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Unread 09-01-2012, 11:45 AM   #2
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How many coals are you trying to start it with?

I typically use about 3/4 of a chimney. Once I pour the lit coals onto the unlit ones, I let it sit without assembling the smoker for a minute or two. If I do that, then assemble the smoker and add water I'm usually humming at 250 within a few minutes. Once you assemble the smoker all the oxygen has to come through those vents. That's usually exactly what we want, but while you're starting the cooker you need more heat to bring the cooker to temp, and it it's hard for the smoker to get that heat with the oxygen restricted.


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Unread 09-01-2012, 01:01 PM   #3
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I always kind of like the 30 or so minutes it takes the WSM to get up to the 250 range. Gives me time to make final preparations before putting the meat on!
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Unread 09-01-2012, 01:18 PM   #4
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That's a head scratcher for sure. I don't have a WSM, but my UDS always comes up to temp and burns clean within 30 minutes using 12ish briquettes. I make sure they are fully lit before tossing on the basket of unlit.

I do typicially use half lump and half Stubbs briqs, so a hotter burn is easy.
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Unread 09-02-2012, 03:36 AM   #5
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I light my charcoal with a high output propane torch. If I light the pile in 2 places, it comes up slowly. If I light it in 3 places, it comes up quicker.
I did a 12 pound pork shoulder (picnic) today. I hit the coals in 3 places, it came up to temp (250F) in about 20 minutes.

Working a pit is an art, play around a bit and you will get it right!

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Unread 09-02-2012, 08:28 AM   #6
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Also keep in mind that if you don't use hot water in the bowl it'll take longer to come up to temp because your waisting time and fuel heating the water not to mention water is a heat sink and is there to help keep temps low, by not using water you get heat from the start. I also read somewhere that left over chargoal catches faster and burns hotter,
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Unread 09-02-2012, 08:39 AM   #7
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Any chance that the charcoal that,you've been using might have gotten damp? That will cause the problem you are having. Sometimes charcoal from Walmart that has been stored outside for any length of time will do this for me.
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Unread 09-02-2012, 08:44 AM   #8
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^^^ What he said. I fought that battle yesterday. I ended up opening the side panel get the fire to burn hotter.
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Unread 09-02-2012, 10:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameraman View Post
^^^ What he said. I fought that battle yesterday. I ended up opening the side panel get the fire to burn hotter.

I had to do that on July 4th this year to stoke my fire when a nasty storm hit our area. The smoker is protected by an umbrella from getting wet, but the ambient temp dropped from 102* down to 78* in just a few minutes.

I've never had to use the door at the beginning though. But I do leave the middle and top sections off for about 5 minutes after I've dumped the lit coals from the chimney on the unlit ones in the smoker.
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Unread 09-02-2012, 10:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLR View Post
I also read somewhere that left over chargoal catches faster and burns hotter,
This would make sense if true because it is really the only factor I can see that has changed from previous start ups.

I already went through adding boiling water to the pan, no water, and making sure I didn't have damp KBB. Guess we'll see how things go tonight at midnight.

Thanks for all the help everyone.
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Unread 09-02-2012, 11:32 AM   #11
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Are you using any foil on the grates that could be blocking air flow? I had the same thing happen to me and the foil was blocking heat from the probe and not allowing air to circulate properly.
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Unread 09-02-2012, 01:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foam2 View Post
Are you using any foil on the grates that could be blocking air flow? I had the same thing happen to me and the foil was blocking heat from the probe and not allowing air to circulate properly.
No foil on the grates. Did a few cooks with a standard setup and water in the bowl. After some advice from brethren I found that I wasn't adding boiling water at the start which slowed things down getting to temp considerably. I then moved to no water and foiling the water pan which helped getting to temp a ton and no real noticable difference in food quality. The OP was just to see if anyone had an idea as to why I got to temp so much faster when nothing really changed from my last setup...except I used a half burnt batch of coals. I'm thinking that could have been it.
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