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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 10-09-2012, 06:34 PM   #1
bo_gator
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Default Making room for ash in my WSM

I have a standard 18.5" WSM, and have noticed that when using Kingsford briquettes the ash sometimes clogs up the airflow and chokes out the fire, during a long cook.

I am curious as to whether or not anyone has successfully modified the charcoal grate on a WSM too raise it up and provide more air flow to the fire

I am thinking about using a few bricks to prop up the grate and the fire ring to allow room for the ash to drop down while still providing air to the fire from below. Unless someone has a better idea
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Unread 10-09-2012, 06:51 PM   #2
Skidder
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Use lump 90% less ash
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Unread 10-09-2012, 06:52 PM   #3
El Ropo
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Another option is to buy some lump and mix half and half with briqs. Or just start using all lump. It's a lot easier to maintain decent temps with it anyways. When I say decent, I mean 250-325 though.
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Unread 10-09-2012, 07:17 PM   #4
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The WSM works fine without modifying the grate or changing it's position. Before turning in for the night I tilt one leg of the WSM up an inch or so off the patio and drop it. That's enough to knock the ash off the (Stubbs) coals and keep the fire going all night.
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Unread 10-09-2012, 07:20 PM   #5
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I'll gently tap the charcoal ring after a few hours and that shakes the ash off. Just don't hit it hard enough to send ash up into the cooking chamber if you're not using the water pan or other type of diffuser.
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Unread 10-09-2012, 07:46 PM   #6
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I hit the legs with a piece of wood periodically to knock the ash down.
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Unread 10-09-2012, 07:51 PM   #7
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After about maybe 6 hours or so I give the legs a tap,


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Unread 10-09-2012, 07:51 PM   #8
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Anyone tried using Stubbs?


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Unread 10-09-2012, 08:17 PM   #9
realspaazz
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Give the legs a tap once in a while. If little chunks of charcoal are falling through and actually clogging up your intake (I have never seen this on my wsm, but have had it on my ots) you can get a second charcoal grate and set it directly on top of the original grate, but with the wires running perpendicular to each other. This should keep more of the smaller charcoal pieces elevated. It will still need a leg tap every 4 hours or so. Hope that you find a solution.
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Unread 10-09-2012, 09:11 PM   #10
Smoking Westy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J'ville Grill View Post
Anyone tried using Stubbs?


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I use Stubb's almost exclusively in my WSM.
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Unread 10-09-2012, 09:32 PM   #11
Ringburner
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I use half & half lump and Kingsford briquettes (found an importer in new Zealand who has them!!!) and have had no issues with clogging thus far.

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Unread 10-10-2012, 06:49 AM   #12
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Hey Bo Gator
If your vents are getting blocked by ash you'll want to take Skidder's advice and switch fuel.
Find an all natural briquette or quality lump. Your ash issue will be resolved. I burn nothing but Royal Oak Chefs Select (Order it online, ship to store for free to the nearest DoIt Best center) and have no ash issues.
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Unread 10-10-2012, 07:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidder View Post
Use lump 90% less ash
^^^ This......big time!!^^^
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Unread 10-10-2012, 08:40 AM   #14
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The other day while doing a picnic, at the 4-hr mark, I dealt w/ dropping temp (304-279 in 1 hour) by opening the 1 open vent from 1/4 to 1/2.

2 hrs. later (had to be away from the WSM) the temp was 271, so I opened that one vent full. Ten mins. later, temp was 282, so I opened the other 2 vents full. Thirteen mins later (6 hrs in), temp was 293, so I opened the door, and quickly but "quietly" cleared the charcoal grate w/ a short fire-poker, then closed the door.

In 3 mins the temp jumped from the 293 to 304, so I closed 2 of the vents, left the 3rd open 1/4, and it rode ~300 until I coolered the picnic 2 hrs. later.

Next time, I'll clean the grate at the initial temp drop instead of adjusting the vents and see what happens. Or, I could have all vents open a crack to get maybe an "even" burn, so less clogging of the air flow through that one open vent. Whatever.

The point is, a quick opening of the door to clear the grate of ash doesn't seem to hurt.

But yes, lump avoids the issue!
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Last edited by charrederhead; 10-10-2012 at 09:18 AM..
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Unread 10-10-2012, 08:53 AM   #15
Smoking Westy
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I haven't tried lump yet but on my 22.5" WSM I can get 2-3 overnight cooks before I need to worry about ash. That's burning 2-4 bags of Stubb's charcoal depending on how much meat I'm cooking.

I'll have to try the lump sometime but so far Stubb's has been treating me pretty good.
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