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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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Old 10-11-2012, 09:21 PM   #1
frankie482
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Default Charcoal Ring Question

I am going to use my Mini WSM for the first time tomorrow.

I do not have a charcoal ring and was wondering if it is necessary to cook baby back ribs? (4-5 hrs @ 225-250)

I have a 18.5 WSM and that got me thinking. I always use the charcoal ring but never gave any thought to what it actually does.

So - why is it needed and what does it do?
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:24 PM   #2
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It allows for consistent airflow for even burning and better temp control. That said, you don't HAVE to use one, but they sure make things run alot more smoothly......
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:28 PM   #3
frankie482
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I have some extra charcoal baskets that came with an old Performer that I had.

Do you think if I take out the middle section of each one and push them together that would hold enough charcoal?
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:37 PM   #4
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My 2 cents:

The charcoal basket I made (expanded steel) for my mini "Smoker Joe" is 3" tall and slightly smaller in diameter than the SJ charcoal grate. I believe the idea of the charcoal/ring is to keep the charcoal tighter/more compact. My first smoke in the Smoker Joe was 2 racks of spares. It took maybe 2 1/2 hours, and temps were steady at 250. As far as whether or not a charcoal ring is necessary, I think there are enough threads written by folks who do NOT use them to say that you'd be fine without it. I'm glad I have mine, but I think I'd be ok if I didn't have it, either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankie482 View Post
I have some extra charcoal baskets that came with an old Performer that I had.

Do you think if I take out the middle section of each one and push them together that would hold enough charcoal?
As someone with an old Stainless Steel Performer that does NOT have the old-style charcoal baskets, I hate to see them get put under the knife. But I'm sure that would work, if they're not too tall. If they are the old-style baskets, any interest in passing them on to a fellow brethren ?
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Last edited by Bob13; 10-11-2012 at 09:40 PM.. Reason: add
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob13 View Post
My 2 cents:

The charcoal basket I made (expanded steel) for my mini "Smoker Joe" is 3" tall and slightly smaller in diameter than the SJ charcoal grate. I believe the idea of the charcoal/ring is to keep the charcoal tighter/more compact. My first smoke in the Smoker Joe was 2 racks of spares. It took maybe 2 1/2 hours, and temps were steady at 250. As far as whether or not a charcoal ring is necessary, I think there are enough threads written by folks who do NOT use them to say that you'd be fine without it. I'm glad I have mine, but I think I'd be ok if I didn't have it, either.



As someone with an old Stainless Steel Performer that does NOT have the old-style charcoal baskets, I hate to see them get put under the knife. But I'm sure that would work, if they're not too tall. If they are the old-style baskets, any interest in passing them on to a fellow brethren ?
They are the new style baskets. No knife necessary though; they come apart and go back together easily.
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankie482 View Post
They are the new style baskets. No knife necessary though; they come apart and go back together easily.
Go for it! There is a thread in here somewhere with pron of someone doing something similar with the new-style baskets (couldn't find the thread on a very quick search).
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:09 PM   #7
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I have cooked several racks of St. Louis spares in my smokey joe silver mini and have not had to use a charcoal ring or add any charcoal for up to 6 hours.....

If you can fab one of course it wouldn't hurt though but IMO its not needed.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:09 AM   #8
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First smoke on my mini was without one and went fine. I now have a ring I made from a 10"x3" bottomless stainless cake pan.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:51 AM   #9
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I have done about 12 cooks on my mini all without a charcoal ring. I have had it as low as 215-225 for 8+ hrs and as high as 325-350 for 5-6hrs. Even without a charcoal basket they are very easy to keep holding temps as well as very efficient with fuel.
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Old 10-12-2012, 11:13 AM   #10
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I modified the new style baskets to fit. Works slick.



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