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VA-Dave
04-02-2013, 10:04 AM
Greetings Brethren,

I have one cook under my belt on the WSM and I have a couple of questions.

I started out with an 8 lb. bag of lump and lit it using the minion method. All three bottom vents set at 25% open until the temp reached about 180 (top vent wide open) and then I closed two bottom vents with the 3rd set at about 25% open. Temp settled in around 250 (Dome thermometer) and only fluctuated by about 20 for the duration of a 5 hour cook with a 13 lb. ham and a foiled water pan.

White smoke poured from every crack and crevice of the WSM (the door I expected) for about 30 minutes before there was no visible smoke at all (I didn't use any smoking wood).

Does that time sound right?

When I went to clean it, I was a little surprised at how much charcoal had been burnt for 5 hours. I'm guessing it's because it isn't seasoned and is pulling air in from the joints (lid, barrel, bowl) of the cooker, but was hoping for feedback from others.

I really did my homework here before I even bought it and let me tell you, she is a solid cooker. I was almost bored not having to fiddle around with it during the cook.

I was going to replace the door with the Cajun Bandit SS one, but I'm not sure I need to now.

Dave

PatAttack
04-02-2013, 10:09 AM
That will be normal until you get a few cooks on her. She'll need a few cooks to seal up the cracks with some good gunk! Wait...that sounded woodpilish.

VA-Dave
04-02-2013, 10:14 AM
Thanks Pat.

Does the door eventually seal up also?

Dave

PatAttack
04-02-2013, 10:16 AM
Thanks Pat.

Does the door eventually seal up also?

Dave

Yes, Sir. Mine did the same thing.

After three cooks, four butts each cook, she stopped leaking completely.

BobM
04-02-2013, 10:22 AM
What Pat said.
I tweaked my door a little to get it to seal up better.
My WSM still leaks a bit, but it doesn't affect the cooks at all.

Harbormaster
04-02-2013, 10:24 AM
Dave,
If it doesn't stop leaking, some of the components (usually the center section) might be out of round. If you don't have temp control issues, and if the fire goes out when you close all of the vents, I wouldn't worry about it. If you have issues, measure all of the components and adjust them accordingly. You can tweak the door a little to get it to fit properly too.
When I fire up a WSM, I open all of the bottom vents 100%. As my dome temp approaches my target (usually at about 220) I shut all three vents down to about 1/3, then tweak as necessary to achieve and hold my desired dome temp.
Congratulations on a successful first cook!

VA-Dave
04-02-2013, 10:29 AM
Dave,
If it doesn't stop leaking, some of the components (usually the center section) might be out of round. If you don't have temp control issues, and if the fire goes out when you close all of the vents, I wouldn't worry about it. If you have issues, measure all of the components and adjust them accordingly. You can tweak the door a little to get it to fit properly too.
When I fire up a WSM, I open all of the bottom vents 100%. As my dome temp approaches my target (usually at about 220) I shut all three vents down to about 1/3, then tweak as necessary to achieve and hold my desired dome temp.
Congratulations on a successful first cook!

Thanks Clark.

What had me puzzled was that I was controlling the temp with one vent and at one point it was almost completely closed. I started to suspect it was drawing air in from around the joints.

One more question, do you folks ever have to "give it a kick" to prevent ash build up? I didn't this time, but it was only a 5 hour cook.

Thanks for the feedback.

Dave

Harbormaster
04-02-2013, 10:39 AM
One more question, do you folks ever have to "give it a kick" to prevent ash build up?
Depends on the fuel you're using I guess.
Natural products (lump, Royal Oak Chefs Select briqs, Rancher briqs, Stubb's briqs) seem to produce significantly less ash reducing the possibility of ash clogging.
I love my WSMs to much to kick them, but if I have temp issues, I'll poke the coals through the access door to knock some of the ash off.

VA-Dave
04-02-2013, 10:45 AM
I love my WSMs to much to kick them, but if I have temp issues, I'll poke the coals through the access door to knock some of the ash off.

Oh my gosh, I just noticed your sig, you have 10 WSM's??????????

I am humbled sir.

Dave

JS-TX
04-02-2013, 10:53 AM
As my dome temp approaches my target (usually at about 220) I shut all three vents down to about 1/3, then tweak as necessary to achieve and hold my desired dome temp.


Is there a difference in temp control, if you shut down 2 vents and just use one?

sparky'
04-02-2013, 11:41 AM
Is there a difference in temp control, if you shut down 2 vents and just use one?

yeap, I want to know that too.

BobM
04-02-2013, 11:42 AM
One more question, do you folks ever have to "give it a kick" to prevent ash build up?I use a scrap of wood to hit the legs every one in a while during a cook.

Is there a difference in temp control, if you shut down 2 vents and just use one?I generally keep two vents closed and control the temperature with the third vent.

Cayman1
04-02-2013, 11:43 AM
Is there a difference in temp control, if you shut down 2 vents and just use one?

Probably only difference is that the charcoal in the area where the vent is open may burn before the coals in the area where the vents are closed. I notice this when I use my Auber. Where the fan is will burn quicker.

JS-TX
04-02-2013, 12:04 PM
Probably only difference is that the charcoal in the area where the vent is open may burn before the coals in the area where the vents are closed. I notice this when I use my Auber. Where the fan is will burn quicker.

Well I've read that a lot of these cabinet smoker guys will light their fire on the opposite side of their ATC, so the fire will burn towards it. I kinda do the same with my WSM. I put a couple starter cubes just off center of my lump stack and let it burn towards my IQ. It seems to work ok.

benniesdad
04-02-2013, 01:37 PM
When all else fails, you can always go the Nomex gasket route.

http://www.bbqgaskets.com/catalog_4.html

caseydog
04-02-2013, 02:00 PM
Leaks above your fire level are less of a problem than leaky bottom vents. Be careful adjusting the bottom vents, they bend easier than I think they should. Convection will draw air through leaky bottom vents, and run your temperatures up.

Since I now use an iQue 110, I sealed my other two bottom vents up.

CD

jonobacon
04-02-2013, 02:47 PM
At first I struggled to get my temps under control with the WSM, but the more grease that built up inside to create a seal has helped it maintain a consistent burn.

A few observations I have noticed:

* On very hot days the WSM can be difficult to keep at around 225 - 250. Good use of the water pan helps here.
* Always crack open the bottom vents equally - if you have one of the vents closed more than the other the temp seems more complex to control.
* I usually control the top vent first when adjusting temp and then the bottom ones next - some folks leave the top vent open all the time but I have struggled to keep my temp under control there.

On my last cook I made the mistake of throwing some big chunks of wood in there at first and this caused some flare ups which adjusted my temps, as you can see in my cook log at http://www.bbqpad.com/85/ - I think in the future I will break my wood up so there is less concentrated heat on each block.

NazBQ
04-02-2013, 02:57 PM
This has been a helpful thread!

Texas Turtle
04-02-2013, 03:10 PM
Mine leaks a little smoke around the door and at various spots in the joints, but it is still relatively new (4 cooks). If I am using the IQUE and keeping the bottom vents closed, I can close the top vent and knock the temp down like a rock, so I'm not real concerned about a few small leaks. When I'm not using it, I keep a bungee cord around the door to hold it against the side of the cooker and it seems to be getting better in that regard. The big one uses a lot of fuel compared to the 18.5 I had before.

Harbormaster
04-02-2013, 04:32 PM
Is there a difference in temp control, if you shut down 2 vents and just use one?

Probably only difference is that the charcoal in the area where the vent is open may burn before the coals in the area where the vents are closed.

That's how I was going to answer.
Of course, there are times when I have 2 vents closed and the third open jus a little bit.

pigout sc
04-02-2013, 04:40 PM
I have had problems controlling temps with mine as well. I have had it about 18 months and have to be real careful to start with just a couple of lit coals and start shutting the vents at 150 or so. I know my door leaks as all do but also believe one of my bottom vents is slightly raised when shut and may be drawing in some air. Hope you find your problem, the weber folks are good with working with you if you can't.

yakdung
04-02-2013, 09:07 PM
I only use two vents on my 22 WSM. I leave the top vent always open, and only use one of the bottom vents.

kds9547
04-02-2013, 09:32 PM
I've got about 15 cooks on mine now. It still leaks around the door a little but I'm not sure that's ever going to change. I have very little smoke coming from around the joints. I use the Digi-Q to control temps most of the time. The temp at the bottom rack is usually 15* cooler on my 22.5.

Maybe the Cajun Bandit door is better - I'm just not sure it's worth the cost.

JS-TX
04-02-2013, 10:29 PM
I've got about 15 cooks on mine now. It still leaks around the door a little but I'm not sure that's ever going to change. I have very little smoke coming from around the joints. I use the Digi-Q to control temps most of the time. The temp at the bottom rack is usually 15* cooler on my 22.5.

Maybe the Cajun Bandit door is better - I'm just not sure it's worth the cost.

My door "leaks at the top corners, but it hasn't affected temps at all. I'm also thinking of getting that cajun door but it's not a big priority for me. Are you using water in your water pan? I ask cause 15* isn't a big temp difference, which is good to know.

Cayman1
04-03-2013, 08:29 AM
If your door is bad enough to need changing, Weber will replace it at no cost. I still get a little smoke out the door when the fan kicks on, but I don't expect airtight. If you take your time you can shape the door to fit better. I think they all get flattened a bit in shipping, at least the last 4 that I have been a part of putting together.

Bottom grate is generally 4-10 degrees different than top rack and it will vary depending on whether you use a foiled pan, foiled with heat sink, or foiled with water in pan.

nthole
04-03-2013, 10:03 AM
I'll throw out a disagree with the suggestion of cracking all bottom vents and not just one. I use only one in order to better control mine and find I can fine tune temp just a couple degrees with just the one.

However, like CD I now use an IQue on mine which makes it super easy. In fact, I actually drilled in a UDS style pipe nipple so that I get a direct connect without the canister attachment and it works super easy. The doors I've put foil ducting tape over to completely seal them as I don't use a water pan or a clay pot.

I can easily maintain anywhere from 190 to 350.

The main thing would be, whatever you learn over these first 5 or 10 cooks will, in the long run, be a bit irrelevant. Your pit is going to change after a few cooks. So just chuck some pork butts and fatties on there and run it without having to worry too much about temp and get some wear on it. Then you'll be able to start really working on controlling it.

HankB
04-03-2013, 10:26 AM
I usually use a single bottom vent to control temperatures on my WSMs (with the other two remaining closed.)

I had trouble controlling temperature on the first couple cooks so I ran a bead of high temp silicone around the bottom edge of the middle section.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-oRsW-v4CVq4/UN55FAE6UKI/AAAAAAAANys/vXHem2pvKU0/s800/DSC_1315-PP.JPG

Vince RnQ
04-03-2013, 12:46 PM
This is an excellent idea! Thank you!


I usually use a single bottom vent to control temperatures on my WSMs (with the other two remaining closed.)

I had trouble controlling temperature on the first couple cooks so I ran a bead of high temp silicone around the bottom edge of the middle section.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-oRsW-v4CVq4/UN55FAE6UKI/AAAAAAAANys/vXHem2pvKU0/s800/DSC_1315-PP.JPG

VA-Dave
04-03-2013, 01:10 PM
Excellent feedback folks.

I didn't have temp problems, but it was only a 5 hour cook.

I was very concerned that with all of the leaks, the coals would try to pull air from them.

Great suggestions and thanks for helping out. I really love this thing.

Dave