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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 10-03-2018, 09:15 PM   #1
ulc
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Default Hunsaker WSM Vortex plate

I ordered the 18.5 WSM Vortex plate from Hunsaker. For $55 shipped, it's pretty good deal in my opinion. The metal is heavy and thick. I was pretty impressed with the weight and the build quality.


Fits perfect.


I cooked two racks of spare ribs for the initial cook. I followed my usual procedure of pouring small chimney full of lit coal on top of pile of unlit charcoal. I used piece of cherry wood for smoke and opened one bottom vent full while keeping the other two closed and fully opened the top vent. After waiting 15 minutes, I placed the spare ribs in the smoker.


I monitored the WSM temperature and it was pretty much stuck at around 230 F for the first hour with one bottom vent fully opened. I like to cook the ribs at around 275-300 F. At that temp, spares usually finish in about 4 hours. So I opened the second bottom vent full thinking it would get me up to 275 F pretty quick. But strange thing happened. The temperature actually dropped to 219 and was rapidly going back and forth between 219 to 229 F. It was really strange. At first I thought it was a problem with my Maverick temperature probe. But it wasn't. After checking the probe and the temp multiple times, I decided to open all three bottom vents full. The WSM temperature finally started to increase and after another hour, it settled at 270 F and wouldn't go higher. It cooked at 270 F for the next two hours. After the 4th hour into the cook, I started opening the lid lot more to check on the ribs. This caused the WSM temperature to shoot up to around 300 F. So I fully closed two of the bottom vents and only kept one bottom vent fully opened. That dropped the temperature to around 277 F until the ribs finished cooking at the 5 hour mark.


The finished ribs tasted great. It had just the right amount of smoke. Little more smoke than if I cooked with empty water pan on top of the charcoal ring but way less than if I cooked without any deflector and let the grease drippings drop straight into the burning charcoal. This was the charcoal smoke profile I was looking for.


So I guess going forward, I need to start with lot more lit charcoal if I want to start cooking at 275 F right away with only one bottom vent open. Maybe a large chimney full of lit charcoal. Or start with half chimney full but open all three bottom vents full. I'm sure after few cooks I'll get it dialed in so I don't have to monitor the temps.
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Old 10-03-2018, 09:23 PM   #2
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tasty looking bonzz!
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Old 10-03-2018, 09:50 PM   #3
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I adjust all lower vents equally until I get the target temp and I leave the lid vent wide open. Usually each bottom vent ends up being open just a sliver.
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Old 10-03-2018, 09:54 PM   #4
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Just Googled the vortex, interesting concept.
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Old 10-03-2018, 10:14 PM   #5
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Nice write up, good looking bones
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Old 10-04-2018, 05:55 AM   #6
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Old 10-04-2018, 08:20 AM   #7
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I cook with the full Hunsaker basket and like it. I usually close all vents just prior to opening the lid if I’m already cooking above 250 to avoid a huge draft through the WSM and resulting temp spike. I reopen once the lid is closed.
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Old 10-04-2018, 09:17 AM   #8
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Nice looking bones
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Old 10-04-2018, 10:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KB BBQ View Post
I adjust all lower vents equally until I get the target temp and I leave the lid vent wide open. Usually each bottom vent ends up being open just a sliver.
That's fine if you're cooking without Hunsaker Vortex plate. The plate sitting on the charcoal basket acts as another lid. It's kind of crazy I was able to cook that long with all the vents fully open. The Vortex plate definitely restricts the initial air into the charcoal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FTTH View Post
I cook with the full Hunsaker basket and like it. I usually close all vents just prior to opening the lid if Iím already cooking above 250 to avoid a huge draft through the WSM and resulting temp spike. I reopen once the lid is closed.
Yes, I should do that near the end when the charcoal fire is fully lit and burning hot. I do that when I cook on the Big Kamado Joe. But I don't really mind the temp spike at the end when using WSM. Unlike the kamado, I can easily get the WSM temperature down quick by closing and adjusting the bottom vents. It's the difficulty of raising the temperature at the beginning of the cook that surprised me. I was surprised it took all three bottom vents to be fully open to hit 270 F+. But once it hit that temp, it stayed locked for hours. So I was pretty happy with that.
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Old 10-04-2018, 04:40 PM   #10
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I cloned the whole vortex firebasket thing for my 18.5 WSM. Have used it 4 - 5 times. Works well for HH cooks. Have not experienced the ambient temp issues that you report. Usually do a MM start with all vents open and shut them down as necessary to catch the target as the fire builds. Have not tried it for L&S.
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Old 10-04-2018, 06:08 PM   #11
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Thanks for that great review. I wonder how the plate would perform with a Party Q ATC? May check one out.
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Old 10-04-2018, 07:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulc View Post
That's fine if you're cooking without Hunsaker Vortex plate. The plate sitting on the charcoal basket acts as another lid. It's kind of crazy I was able to cook that long with all the vents fully open. The Vortex plate definitely restricts the initial air into the charcoal.



Yes, I should do that near the end when the charcoal fire is fully lit and burning hot. I do that when I cook on the Big Kamado Joe. But I don't really mind the temp spike at the end when using WSM. Unlike the kamado, I can easily get the WSM temperature down quick by closing and adjusting the bottom vents. It's the difficulty of raising the temperature at the beginning of the cook that surprised me. I was surprised it took all three bottom vents to be fully open to hit 270 F+. But once it hit that temp, it stayed locked for hours. So I was pretty happy with that.
I donít know if itís the same with just the plate but once the basket gets going itís hard to bring down. Iíll have it at 275 with one vent a hair open and the other two closed. Of course Iím in Miami and itís always above 85 here.
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Old 10-05-2018, 10:00 AM   #13
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Great looking cook! I have the plate and don't have any trouble reaching temps or controlling them. I've cooked from 250 to 450 in my WSM with it. There may be a learning curve, but you're going to love it!
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