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View Full Version : New 18.5" WSM, only produces smoke for 1.5 hours?


Chris302
06-19-2014, 01:27 PM
So, i just received a new WSM for my birthday a few weeks ago. I've done two smokes after seasoning, both times just doing a chicken (Figured i'd start easy), and I noticed that after about 1.5 hours, there's no more smoke.

I'm using the minion method, and placed the chunks on top of the coals for the first run, and underneath the coals for the second run, both with the same result (Used around 4 chunks). Seeing some of the shows on TV, it seems like when some guys open their smokers up, the smoke billows out of the thing so much that you can't even see for a few seconds until the smoke dissipates.

Am I doing something wrong here? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks!

bacchus99
06-19-2014, 02:14 PM
You don't want billowing smoke...you want thin blue or almost invisible....put the chunks under the unlit coal...they will burn up quick on top.

Grimm5577
06-19-2014, 02:19 PM
billowing smoke is not the smoke you are looking for, none the less add more wood once you burn up whats in there...

smoke ninja
06-19-2014, 02:20 PM
Avoid visible smoke. It should be thin wispy and blue if seen at all.

aawa
06-19-2014, 02:27 PM
If you are worried about the smoke flavor because visible smoke disappears, hold your hand over the exhaust vent for a few seconds. Then smell your hand. If it smells like smoke, you are getting smoke flavor on your meats.

SD_Smoker
06-19-2014, 02:30 PM
Yup, the "blue" is always a beautiful sight...you know you have a nice clean fire burning and getting all those wood sugars into the meat and not carcinogens.

I like to close off the dampers after a cook and we are eating to get the billowing going just for atmosphere :-D

Papa Cat
06-19-2014, 02:31 PM
Everyone is on point with the thin, blue, almost invisible smoke. As far as wood chunks, I start my WSM without wood and let it normalize; between 40 to 60 minutes depending on conditions. About 15 minutes before I put my meat on, I shut down the bottom dampers (you don't want to stoke the fire) and put chunks directly on the coals through the "side door". In the 18 for chicken running at 275 degrees, I'll use 2 chunks bigger than my fist. Once the chunks are on, open the bottom dampers to your usual placement and watch/smell the smoke. The 15 minutes before is a guideline; I've had to wait 30+ minutes for the smoke to burn clean.

Enrico Brandizzi
06-19-2014, 02:47 PM
If you are worried about the smoke flavor because visible smoke disappears, hold your hand over the exhaust vent for a few seconds. Then smell your hand. If it smells like smoke, you are getting smoke flavor on your meats.

I love my hand's smokey scent over the exhaust vent!
You are definitively wright!

SmittyJonz
06-19-2014, 02:50 PM
That's about 45 minutes TOO long ............

1buckie
06-19-2014, 02:58 PM
Good:

http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/dd520/1buckie/1st%202013%20chicken/3-6-2013%20%20Beef/3-6-2013Beef022.jpg

http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/dd520/1buckie/1st%20June%20wkend/1stJunewekend008.jpg


Not so good:

http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/dd520/1buckie/Mollys%20Bday%20July%202012/Mollys%20Bday%20July%202012%20Pt%202/MollysBdayJuly2012Pt2010.jpg

http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/dd520/1buckie/Mollys%20Bday%20July%202012/Mollys%20Bday%20July%202012%20Pt%202/MollysBdayJuly2012Pt2009.jpg

http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/dd520/1buckie/Mollys%20Bday%20July%202012/Mollys%20Bday%20July%202012%20Pt%202/MollysBdayJuly2012Pt2011.jpg

The odd thing about the "bad" smoke pics here is that they were from using a product that was wine soaked oak, very small chunks, not wine barrels cut up, but oak, soaked for what seems like a long time in wine......burnt with all kinds of crazy white smoke, thought my 'Turds were ruined.....turned out just fine................

http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/dd520/1buckie/Mollys%20Bday%20July%202012/Mollys%20Bday%20July%202012%20Pt%202/MollysBdayJuly2012Pt2027.jpg

http://i1223.photobucket.com/albums/dd520/1buckie/Mollys%20Bday%20July%202012/MollysBdayJuly2012031.jpg

Under any ordinary circumstances, anywhere near that much gray-white smoke will get you lining up with the trash can, as the food will most likely be so bitter it won't be fun to eat..............

DaveAlvarado
06-19-2014, 03:00 PM
Yep, billowy smoke is doing it wrong. If you can't tell if it's running, you're doing it right.

QDoc
06-19-2014, 05:26 PM
I've been told and I believe it, 3 hours is enough smoke time for any meat. I place two baseball sized chunks in the beginning and 1 1/2 hours later place two more. When using a WSM.
Easy Peazy. Chips are only good for fish.

QDoc
06-19-2014, 05:30 PM
In the beginning White billowy smoke on a wsm may not be all that bad. It will usually settle down when it comes to temp. But if it has a slight greyish or yellowish tint take the top off and allow it to have more oxygen and heat.

RolandJT
06-19-2014, 06:14 PM
I have a near brand new WSM (one trial cook and i cook of 6 racks spare ribs).

On my trial cook i got a lot of billowing smoke for around 45min-1 hour using minion method.

On my real cook i only got it for 15 min or so.

here are the adjustments I made:
1. used snake method instead of minion
2. Added less lit charcoal and kept bottom 3 vents wide open while fire came up

For the trial I added a chimney of lit. For the rib cook I added slightly less than 1/2 chimney. The difference in time to come to temp was about 1/2 hour, but less fiddling after that so the 1/2 hour was repaid by less trouble later in cook.

I'm a newby to the WSM so this might just be luck, but I found the snake very easy to use on WSM 22.5.

THoey1963
06-19-2014, 08:48 PM
I really don't think WSM's are supposed to use the snake method. That is more for a kettle. For my 22, I fill my basket up for each cook. I then use my flame thrower to light 5 - 10 coals in the middle. When the smoker starts coming up to temperature, I add my wood chunks. I get billowy smoke as it is coming up to temp, but after 30 or 40 mins, TBS...

Mikeinctown
06-20-2014, 09:02 AM
I really don't think WSM's are supposed to use the snake method. That is more for a kettle. For my 22, I fill my basket up for each cook. I then use my flame thrower to light 5 - 10 coals in the middle. When the smoker starts coming up to temperature, I add my wood chunks. I get billowy smoke as it is coming up to temp, but after 30 or 40 mins, TBS...

I can see your point. the WSM seals better and has better temperature control than a kettle does. You almost have to do a snake method in a kettle because the cooking surface is so close to the coal grate and you don't have as good a seal which results in faster combustion if you do not deliberately have a method to control burn rate.

jrben1
06-20-2014, 09:18 AM
I have used the 18.5 and 22.5 WSM cookers. They don't draw as well as an offset or insulated vertical water smoker. When you have the intake vents choked down to maintain temp, you will get very little smoke. At this point the WSM acts more like an oven than a smoker.

THoey1963
06-20-2014, 12:09 PM
I have used the 18.5 and 22.5 WSM cookers. They don't draw as well as an offset or insulated vertical water smoker. When you have the intake vents choked down to maintain temp, you will get very little smoke. At this point the WSM acts more like an oven than a smoker.

Not sure I agree. Whether I am smoking low and slow with the vents just cracked or cooking HIGH HEAT for chicken, I still get billowy smoke for the first 30 mins or so and then TBS. Hold your hand over the dome vent and you can feel the TBS being pushed through the vent.