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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 07-02-2010, 12:19 PM   #1
JoeB
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Default help! first smoke in progress

I just started my first smoke and I think I'm in trouble. I followed the minion method of starting the wsm and I think I filled the charcoal ring too much, the water pan is sitting on the fire and smoldering it. The temp is 250 both on the lid and in the thermometer at the grate, but I have all three bottom vents fully open. I took some briquettes out but there is still that grey creosote smoke coming out of the top. I put the meat and the wood on at the same time as the article on the weber site said, but its been 25mins and still no blue smoke. I'm worried I'm going to ruin the four racks of spare ribs I have on there. Any thoughts as to what I should do?
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Unread 07-02-2010, 12:28 PM   #2
WineMaster
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How many wood chunks did you add in. With WSM I have found that you can easily over smoke with that style cooker.
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Unread 07-02-2010, 12:28 PM   #3
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You generally would wait for the blue smoke before you put the meat on. If you're that worried, you could take the meat off until you get the blue smoke. If you do that i would fan the fire to really get it going in a hurry. Best of luck!!
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Unread 07-02-2010, 12:34 PM   #4
JoeB
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I used three chuncks of hickory. Actually the smoke died down a bit, it used to be going crazy, probably because of the water pan being clon top of the fire heh. I think the smoke is a light blue now, I can't really tell b/c I'm smoking down at the shore and its a tad windy. I'm definitely going to wait until the blue smoke comes next time before putting the meat on. Temp is holding steady at 250 to 265, I love this smoker!
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Unread 07-02-2010, 12:45 PM   #5
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You have the water pan right on the coals? Or above them? If you put the water pan right onto the top of the coals, you will have some smothering happening.
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Unread 07-02-2010, 12:51 PM   #6
JoeB
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I put the water pan on the hooks in the wsm, but I filled the charcoal ring too high so as a result the pan was resting right on the coals. I think its good now, the smoke is light blue and the temp has locked in at 250-260.

How often should I refill the water pan?
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Unread 07-02-2010, 12:53 PM   #7
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glad you got the first issue resolved. next time, just fill the ring to the top, you don't need to make a mountain out of the coals.

I used to use my WSM's without water...but if you prefer water you'll only need to add when it's running close to empty. just don't add cold water or you'll have a sizeable temp loss for a bit.
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Unread 07-02-2010, 12:54 PM   #8
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There should be a gap between the coals and the water pan. The water pan sits on the metal hangers at the center of the cooker. If its set up that way, your good, if not, set it up that way next time. You can burn yourself if you adjust it now.

If you think the ribs are getting oversmoked, just foil them to finish cooking. Otherwise, let em go.
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Unread 07-02-2010, 01:03 PM   #9
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I wouldn't worry about refilling the water. You might be surprised with what little difference it makes. I think it can be more of hindrance due to the way it deters bark formation. One tip, since this is your first smoke.. Make sure the bark is fully developed before you wrap the ribs. If the bark hasn't set, it could be washed away in the foil. If the bark looks like it's started to carmelize, it's pretty well set. What a great day to fire up a WSM.
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Unread 07-02-2010, 01:13 PM   #10
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Militantsquatter: yea I'm going to use less charcoal. I added hot water to begin with so if I add any more it will be hot.

Dan: I know there is supposed to be a gap, I just didn't have one due to filling the ring too much.

Peteg: I'm not going to foil at all, I like ribs that have a pull to them. Thanks for the tip about the water pan. The weather here in avalon is amazing, sunny and 75-80 degrees with a little breeze. First time being down at the shore this summer, and smoking some meat makes it so much better!
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Unread 07-02-2010, 01:50 PM   #11
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Joe,
For future reference, yeah, you used WAY to much coal. But you did say it's your first time. You may also find your bullet runs a little hotter on the first several smokes. Once you build up a little grease on the inside it will settle in.

For ribs or chicken, you shouldn't even need to completely fill the fire ring. For something longer, pork butts , (or brisket if you don't do high&fast) you'd need more, but not enough to hit the bottom of the water pan.

Water or no water is up to you. I am a convert to no water and a clay saucer but that's anyone's choice. But with the pan/saucer, all I have to do is remove the foil it's wrapped with and I'm done. With water in the pan.....well, you'll know what I mean the first time you have to clean the pan

Have fun with that cooker! You'll grow to love it
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Unread 07-02-2010, 03:08 PM   #12
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Yea its settled in around 285, it doesn't help that the wind died down and its sunny and hot here. I'm not too worried about it, the ribs will get done sooner then. Thanks for the tip about the charcoal ring. Looks like I'm in for a fun time during clean up, oh well its worth it if the food tastes good. I'm already loving it, it really is a set it and forgot it.
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Unread 07-02-2010, 04:07 PM   #13
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Good Luck!
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