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mobilekatz
07-05-2011, 07:48 AM
Had a successful first smoke with my WSM and am so pleased to have got it.

While filling the water bowl I run into a slight question- the instructions say 'Fill to capacity'

Now am I being daft, but if I fill it until its full- just below the hole, when it starts to simmer away its going to overflow a bit- and water on charcoal ain't a great idea!
I peered closely at the bowl and there is no helpful fill line.

I ended up using about 8 litres of boiling water, and concluded that if the level got too low I could add more.
For an 6 hour smoke there was still about 4 litres left, and the temperature had sat at 245 (off of lid thermometer- new one is on wish list)
The brisket and lamb shanks were lovely, so the smoke was a success.
I just wanted to check I hadn't missed an extra bit of information, or was being extra blonde!:icon_blush:

Thanks for any info

Kat

Stoke&Smoke
07-05-2011, 08:18 AM
If you feel you have to use water, just fill to about an inch or so shy of the top, and be sure to use hot water.

Many folks have converted to a foil wrapped clay saucer in a fil wrapped bowl. Easier cleanup, and no worries about water. I haven't used water in our WSM's in a few years

Jaskew82
07-05-2011, 08:23 AM
I have never tried without water and have been very happy with the results. That being said, use hot water and fill it up about 1 inch short of the top.

bigabyte
07-05-2011, 08:52 AM
I'm still using a Brinkmann charcoal bowl (for an ECB) filled halfway with sand and just covering that with a couple layers of foil. The reason for the water bowl is not for keeping temps down or for adding moisture, the real reason is it becomes a heat sink and stabilizes temps in the cooker. Most people seem to use the clay bowl thing nowadays so it must work great, but I've been using this sand for years now and it works fantastic and I know exactly how my cooker works with it. My recommendation to you is to find a heat sink that does not require refilling, or risks putting your fire out, but most importantly will hold drippings so they do not get on the coals and start a grease fire.

speakeasy
07-05-2011, 10:47 AM
So if you could find a pizza stone the right diameter, that would work well?

bigabyte
07-05-2011, 10:53 AM
So if you could find a pizza stone the right diameter, that would work well?
I wouldn't recommend it because the grease drippings would leak over the side of the stone and start a grease fire. Whatever you use needs to be able to catch the drippings and keep them from the fire.

mobilekatz
07-05-2011, 10:58 AM
Not using water sounds like bliss (boiled kettle 5 times to get enough!- and due to odd house design then had to carry the water upstairs to go to the garden!)- will be off to find some sand and cover it in foil- guessing normal builders sand? (but ensure its clean and dry to prevent fumes!)
Or as Speakeasy said does a pizza stone work, or is something as simple as a clay saucer from under a plant pot?
(sorry to ask such daft questions!)
I presume if you use lots of sand this could increase the time it takes for the smoker to come up to temperature slightly, but if the bowl goes straight over once the charcoal is lit its not going to be much difference.

I am sure Weber do make the instructions slightly vague to confuse people!! lol
Along with them telling you to ONLY use Briquettes!

Many thanks!

Stoke&Smoke
07-05-2011, 11:08 AM
I've heard some say they just foil the pan and use it empty. I like a terra cotta planter saucer, less messy than sand. But you could use regular play sand, like for a kids sandbox

caseydog
07-05-2011, 11:11 AM
Kat, fill the bowl as much or as little as you need or want. More water will give you more thermal mass, which helps keep temperatures steady, but it is not going to make a huge difference whether the bowl is half full or full.

I never fill mine to capacity. I usually fill mine about half way, so it is easier to put the center section of the WSM on the fire bowl after I dump my lit coals in.

Don't wear yourself out trying to fill it all the way.

As for boiling the water first, I never bother with that. In the winter, on cold days, I will use hot water from the kitchen faucet, but in summer, it comes right out of the garden hose. The fire heats it pretty quickly.

BTW, I also like water in the bowl so my drippings don't hit a hot surface and make smoke -- I want wood smoke, not fat smoke. That's just my preference.

CD

Frank Grimes
07-05-2011, 11:18 AM
I bought a clay sauce at Lowes for $6 and it fits perfectly in the water pan of my 22 inch. Its been a few years so I don't remeber the exact size, maybe 14 inches? I haven't used water since and I can dial temps in with no problem.

Carbon
07-05-2011, 11:27 AM
Once it reaches operating temp my smoker behaves similarly whether I use a sand filled water bowl, clay saucer, or a metal pizza pan with no thermal mass.

bigabyte
07-05-2011, 12:42 PM
Don't use the WSM pan with sand (the one I got was too shallow. Get one of these for just a few bucks at the Hardware store.

http://cspoutdoors.com/repcharpan.html
http://php2.secure-shopping.com/hawgeyes/images/P/000bowllg.jpg

This fits in the WSM perfectly. Fill it halfway with sand, this leaves you plenty of room for drippings. I use the long tube of Reynolds Heavy Duty foil and put two squares over it to catch the drippings and keep them out of the sand. Makes for easy clean up too as you can grab the corners of the foil and pull it out.

fil
07-05-2011, 02:24 PM
I'm still using a Brinkmann charcoal bowl (for an ECB) filled halfway with sand and just covering that with a couple layers of foil. The reason for the water bowl is not for keeping temps down or for adding moisture, the real reason is it becomes a heat sink and stabilizes temps in the cooker. Most people seem to use the clay bowl thing nowadays so it must work great, but I've been using this sand for years now and it works fantastic and I know exactly how my cooker works with it. My recommendation to you is to find a heat sink that does not require refilling, or risks putting your fire out, but most importantly will hold drippings so they do not get on the coals and start a grease fire.

Couldn't have put it any better! I messed around with the water for about a year and decided to try the sand and never looked back. :clap2::clap2:

fil

DLR
07-05-2011, 07:03 PM
I used water in my 22.5 the first couple of times ,just filled a couple of gallon jugs but switched to sand. You want to use PLAY SAND,it's cleaner than construction grade sand. I covered the pan with foil then filled it about 3/4 full then 2 layers of foil so now all I do is change the top layer. If you do use the sand and you happen to have the larger WSM I would suggest taking the bowl out before you lift the middle section. The weight of the sand makes you apply more inward pressure on the section walls when lifting and you could press the sides in just enough to get it out of round. I hate to say it but ya'll know the center section is kinda flimsy on the 22.5 but I still like it better than the smoker I had.