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Unread 01-24-2013, 11:13 AM   #1
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Default 22" WSM Coal Use


I've been thinking that I'm using too much hot coals when starting the WSM, resulting in shorter total burns. Not good.

Here's what I'm doing: I pretty much fill the charcoal ring w/ kingsford blue and I have about 4 chunks of wood in there (2 on top, 2 a little down). I make a significant depression in the center and pour about 3/4 of a large chimney filled w/ hot coals in the center.

I'm thinking that I need to cut that back dramatically, like to maybe 10 pieces or so. Hopefully that will slow down the chain of combustion and give me a longer burn.


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Unread 01-24-2013, 11:16 AM   #2
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3/4 of a chimney is too much. Use anywhere between 10-15pieces to start.
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Unread 01-24-2013, 11:20 AM   #3
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More info needed:

1. What temp are you trying to reach when using this method?
2. What (and how much) meat are you smoking.
3. Are you using your waterpan and if so, whats in it?

Reason i ask is that i had sand in my waterpan & couldnt get high heat easily. Also, i had to use a ton of fuel.

i emptied out the pan & just foiled it & now it uses a TON less fuel & hits, basically any temp that i want (MUCH longer burn times).
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Unread 01-24-2013, 11:23 AM   #4
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You're using way to much lit. Cut back to 8 or 10 and your burn times will lengthen considerably. That being said, outside temp and the target pit temp all figure into coal burn times. With the same setup in June at 250* pit you may get 8-10 hrs. In December through February that can change to 5-7 hours. Just last week I did a full basket, 8 li at 250* and I was adding coal at the 7 hour mark. In June this don't happen.
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Unread 01-24-2013, 11:25 AM   #5
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12-15 hot coals on top of unlit is all you really need.
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Unread 01-24-2013, 11:31 AM   #6
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I use a full chimney of lit on my 22. I dont feel bad cause it climbs straight to 200 and then stalls a bit. tells me the current amount of lit isnt enough to go farther
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Unread 01-24-2013, 12:09 PM   #7
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With my WSMs, whether it's briquettes or lump, I follow the same routine.

I fill my charcoal ring to the top with 4 or 5 fist sized chunks of wood mixed in the charcoal.
I light it in 3 places, in between the vents, with a high output propane torch.
I let it go for about 10 or 15 minutes then put the WSM together.
I have all three bottom vents and the top vent fully open.
I bring the cooker slowly up to my cooking temperature, then put the meat on.
I generally then fully close 2 of the bottom vents, and the 3rd one about half way.
I always leave the top vent fully open unless there is a bad over temperature problem.
I do not use water, I use a foiled clay flower pot base in the foiled water pan.

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Unread 01-24-2013, 12:28 PM   #8
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I usually do the same as the OP but use a full chimney. But from what I'm gathering my elevation at 7200 feet doesn't lend itself well to using smaller amounts of lit charcoal. With a full chimney and full ring of lump, it takes almost an hour with everything wide open to get to my target temps.
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