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Unread 06-10-2013, 03:22 PM   #1
Wingnutt
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Default WSM long cook / temp advice

Hey Guys,

Was hoping i could get some advice for poper fuel setup for my new WSM 22.5". I've got some smokes in with it so far (used the Minion method for coal setup) but i haven't quite figured out the proper amounts of coals to run at a nice, low and slow 225, for an extended period of time. I did ribs and chicken lollipops this weekend and they came out excellent, but i ran into some frustrations when trying to get my temp to come down to anything below 250/260. I had all 3 bottom vents full closed, and the top 1/2 closed, but i still couldn't get my temp under control. Pretty sure my problems were because i just used to many coals.

Anyway, fathers day is coming up this weekend and i'd like to do pulled pork and ribs. I've read pork should go for about 10-12 hours at 225. About how much charcoal should i load my base with and how much should i light off in my chimney starter to be able to run for 10-12 hours at 225?

Thanks for the help! Just looking for some hand holding for my first, all day, low and slow cook.
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Unread 06-10-2013, 03:29 PM   #2
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If you are wanting to go for 225 then I'd use water to help keep temps down. Fully loaded ring of charcoal and just a 5 or 6 lit coals. The slower you bring it to temp the easier it is to lock in on the WSM in my experience.

I'd expect a typical 8 lber to take a bit longer than 12 hours at 225 unless you are foiling.

Me I'd go without water in the pan and let that temp ride up to 300 plus when cooking a butt. no foil and still just as good of a result as low and slow.
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Unread 06-10-2013, 03:36 PM   #3
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I have run 21 hours at 235 degrees with a full ring of coals on the 22"WSM using the minion method. For an extended smoke I light 15-20 coals and set them on top of a full ring of Kingsford competition with cherry or wood chunks burried in. I normally keep the top vent wide open and adjust the bottom to get to temps.
I typically smoke a little hotter now with pork butts at 250-275 and ribs at 275-300. I really do not find any difference cooking pork butts at 225 as compared to 250-275 except they don't take as long. Also, don't be afraid of a little temperature fluctuation, it won't hurt anything.
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Unread 06-10-2013, 03:44 PM   #4
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I'd suggest letting your WSM ride along at that 250-260 (which would be higher if you dumped the water/foiled the pan), thus cutting down your cook time and fuel usage.

No need to get hung up on 225, unless you just really want to cook that low.
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Unread 06-10-2013, 04:54 PM   #5
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Every cooker has a temperature where it just likes to settle in. It sounds like your WSM likes 250-260. Why fight it. the ribs and pork will be as good, maybe better than at 225 and the cook time will be shorter.
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Unread 06-10-2013, 05:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
Every cooker has a temperature where it just likes to settle in. It sounds like your WSM likes 250-260. Why fight it. the ribs and pork will be as good, maybe better than at 225 and the cook time will be shorter.
very true...mine loves to run at 270° or so all day long.
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Unread 06-10-2013, 05:41 PM   #7
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I've got 2 22.5's. one runs 225-40 lickity split, the other likes 275. I can maneuver either to change temps, but that's where they each settle in.

So I agree, don't fight her and cook at 250*.

Or, sure, you can use water in the pan and start with @ 1/4 chimney of lit.

Also, once you got a good amount of cooks on it, it'll seal up and be easier to control.
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Unread 06-10-2013, 06:34 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advice guys. I started with about 2/3 of a chimney of lit coals on top of a full ring of coals and she just ran away on me. I was also setup in direct sunlight and it was a hot day. I'll try again this weekend but i'll deff be starting far few coals in my chimney.

I was also considering picking up come high temp silicone and applying a thin bead around where the door seals as well as the lower ring to help seal up any air leaks. Any experience with this? Or don't bother?
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Unread 06-10-2013, 07:03 PM   #9
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Yeah, 2/3 of a chimney is a LOT of BTUs to start off with. I'd shoot for 10-12 fully lit briqs dumped on top of your pile of unlit coals. As others have said, there is nothing magical about cooking at 225. If your cooker likes to settle in at 265, just roll with it and adjust cooking times accordingly.

Most of my bbq cooks average in the 300-325 temp range recently. I see no reason to go back to marathon cooking times.

The chicken will turn out a lot better cooked at a higher temp too. 325-350 is good poultry cooking temp.
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Unread 06-10-2013, 07:59 PM   #10
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You could spend your entire cook fussing and messin' about OR you could let it settle and enjoy the ride....I prefer the latter.
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Unread 06-10-2013, 08:23 PM   #11
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OR, you can go down to Harbor Freight and get yourself a weedburnerAKAflamethrowerAKAtexasmatchstickAKAalaskanmatchstick and bypass all that chimney stuff and simply load your charcoal ring and aim your flame at the center of your fuel (hopefully LUMP ) for about 15 seconds and be done w/ it.
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Unread 06-10-2013, 10:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charrederhead View Post
OR, you can go down to Harbor Freight and get yourself a weedburnerAKAflamethrowerAKAtexasmatchstickAKAalaskanmatchstick and bypass all that chimney stuff and simply load your charcoal ring and aim your flame at the center of your fuel (hopefully LUMP ) for about 15 seconds and be done w/ it.
BEST advice yet! will report back with results...

@El Ropo and Kenthanson... point taken. newbie jitters i guess :/ Will focus on craking more beers open next time and paying less attention to temps.
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Unread 06-10-2013, 10:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingnutt View Post
I was also considering picking up come high temp silicone and applying a thin bead around where the door seals as well as the lower ring to help seal up any air leaks. Any experience with this? Or don't bother?
About five cooks will accomplish the same thing.
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Unread 06-10-2013, 10:45 PM   #14
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Don't bother with the silicone.
If you are dead set on cooking at a lower temp, the first thing I would do is make sure the charcoal bowl and center section aren't out of round. If one or both of them are, it could be the source of an air leak making temp control difficult.
Catch your temps on the way up. When you get to 180-190, start closing the bottom vents down. Always leave the top one wide open.
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Unread 06-10-2013, 11:38 PM   #15
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I hand count out 12 coals to light. I have also recently found a huge difference between sprinkling those lit across the top vs pouring a little donut hole in the center. The donut hole gives me much more control and a slowing overall ignite. My theory is sprinkling across the top lights all the others exponentially as opposed to creating a burn line. I run with an empty pan and clay saucer and can run at 200 for making bacon.

I see no one pointed out that 250-275 is ok for good bbq, but I get having a desired target temp of your choice
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