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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 04-14-2013, 10:45 AM   #1
jamus34
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Default WSM - first cook

Had issues getting the thin blue smoke but I needed to throw the shoulder on if I was going to finish it sometime today.

Right now shoulder's been on since around 9 and I just threw on the shorties.

Plan for the shoulder is lunch for the week...hoping to sauce 2 of the shorties and leave the rest with rub and enjoy tonight.
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Unread 04-14-2013, 10:49 AM   #2
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Looking good!
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Unread 04-15-2013, 06:50 AM   #3
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well, got hungry so no money shots...the shoulder wasn't quite "done"... it was a beast trying to pull some sections.

Couple of notes / issues I had with the WSM:

1) It took almost 3 hours before I started getting the "thin blue". Is this normal? Sucks losing that much charcoal time waiting for the smoker to come up to operating specs.

2) 1st smoke, so I imagine I was running hot however it just felt like I was burning the fuel too fast...I had to shift the coals fairly frequently once I hit the 5 hour point.

3) I know this was me being lazy however how much coal are you supposed to put in the ring? I filled it to roughly level with enough space to put 15 lit coals for minion. Any ideas?

I know I made a number of mistakes (ran out of KBB so I ended up having to do half the coals KBB and half the Competition briqs). Just seemed like I had to babysit a little more than I was planning. Also, there doesn't seem to be an easy way to reach the lower grate...I need to get some bricks to rest the upper grate on when probing / temping the lower grate.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 07:59 AM   #4
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Nice Any finished pics
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Unread 04-15-2013, 08:05 AM   #5
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I usually leave the middle and top sections off for about 10 mins or so after dumping the lit coals on. Then I put them on and start w/ all vents open 100%. Sometimes I put the food on before I get total thin blue, but always not until the initial big white smoke has ended.

I have an easier time getting thin blue on my offset.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 08:12 AM   #6
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Can you provide more details on how you started up your WSM? What vents were open and how much? What kind of wood pieces (chips, chunks, etc.)? Mine has never taken that long to get the thin blue smoke.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 08:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fo Sizzle My Nizzle View Post
Can you provide more details on how you started up your WSM? What vents were open and how much? What kind of wood pieces (chips, chunks, etc.)? Mine has never taken that long to get the thin blue smoke.
Filled charcoal ring. Started chimney with 15 KBB briqs.

Had 1 slightly larger than fist sized and 2 smaller pieces of cherry.

Once chimney was lit and ashed I put coals roughly in the middle. put middle section on and then the lid. All vents open at this time. Once dome temp hit 225 I closed the bottom vents to 25%.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 08:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamus34 View Post
1) It took almost 3 hours before I started getting the "thin blue". Is this normal? Sucks losing that much charcoal time waiting for the smoker to come up to operating specs.
...
Also, there doesn't seem to be an easy way to reach the lower grate...I need to get some bricks to rest the upper grate on when probing / temping the lower grate.
Did you have water in the bowl? Reason I ask is that water coupled with high charcoal consumption => steam from the lid vent. I wonder if that's what you were seeing. One way to tell is that steam will dissipate within a few feet of the cooker (as the droplets evaporate) while smoke will mix with air and dilute but still be visible.

I had difficulty with temperature control on my 18.5 at first so I put a bead of high temp silicone on the lower edge of the mid section.



This made all the difference in being able to control temperature. Prior to that I could close all bottom vents and temperature would hold steady or drop slowly.

If you had more than one bottom vent open (or equivalent between the three) you probably had too much air. I haven't done a low 'n slow yet on my 22.5 but on my 18.5 I usually run with half of one bottom vent or less unless I'm shooting for more than 250°F.

I usually put stuff on the top rack that will finish first so I don't need to mess with stuff on the bottom rack until the top rack is out of the way.

Lastly, getting the most out of your WSM could take some practice. "You didn't think it was gonna be that easy, did you?"
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Unread 04-15-2013, 09:01 AM   #9
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No water, foiled pan and let it run empty.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 10:14 AM   #10
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Congrats on breaking that puppy in, you will love it once you get to know it a bit more.

2) 1st smoke, so I imagine I was running hot however it just felt like I was burning the fuel too fast...I had to shift the coals fairly frequently once I hit the 5 hour point.

A diffuser will work wonders for you. Try making about 10 foil balls, wrapping a 12" terracotta plant base and lay in your water pan then wrap the top with foil for easy clean-up.

3) I know this was me being lazy however how much coal are you supposed to put in the ring? I filled it to roughly level with enough space to put 15 lit coals for minion. Any ideas?

I use 20# for a competition cooking above 250 (Kingsford Blue), really depends on the wind. If it is windy, I get about 7 hours before I have to start knocking ash of (a Kingsford thing). With no wind, I could easily get 12 hours from a 20# bag.
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Unread 04-15-2013, 10:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ibrisky View Post

I use 20# for a competition cooking above 250 (Kingsford Blue), really depends on the wind. If it is windy, I get about 7 hours before I have to start knocking ash of (a Kingsford thing). With no wind, I could easily get 12 hours from a 20# bag.
Thanks for the comments man!

I just left the one above...it was windy as all heck for most of the day yesterday so I imagine that is what probably fueled the fire and bled off heat faster than normal. Of course the winds died out after I had pulled all the meat off and was in process of shutting the cooker down.
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