View Full Version : just purchased a WSM 18

12-10-2015, 12:47 PM
I've been using a vertical offset for a few years I got from Academy and I got sick of it due to was difficult to maintain temps and overbearing smoke taste and tried every method possible.
I missed my former UDS many years ago so familiar using the minion method. I got rid of it because I wanted more smoke! Now I want what I had but I decided to get a Weber Smokey Mountain as I don't have a vehicle to pick up a drum nor really interested in the work to make one again.

I bought some chicken wings and a 5 pound point brisket. For the wings to break in and season it as I've heard WSM's get really got at first I am not going to get the water pan dirty as I'm going to simmer the wings in a pan bbq sauce and butter on the top rack and finish them off taking the water pan out and putting it on the bottom rack to get them crisp.

On Saturday for the brisket many have said to not put water in the pan just use foil? Is this I am assuming using water I may need to put more fuel as it's burning faster due to the moisture from the water?

12-10-2015, 12:52 PM
I never put water in my water pan. Just double foil it and let it rip!

12-10-2015, 01:00 PM
No water in the pan. Just foil and go. Enjoy the WSM, control the temps with the intakes at the bottom and make lots of good BBQ

12-10-2015, 01:01 PM

Empty water pan wrapped in heavy duty aluminum foil, rip it off and toss in the trash when done. Get ready for the next smoke.

Doug S.
12-10-2015, 01:14 PM
I don't use the water pan at all just a heat defuser

Porcine Perfection
12-10-2015, 01:26 PM
I will go against the grain and say use water the first few cooks until you are comfortable getting your temp zoned in. It does allow you a bit more room against overshoot.

12-10-2015, 01:50 PM
Thank you for the replies....I will foil the water pan. Two other questions as I just started my cook for my chicken...do I need to get a gasket for the door as it seems to leak or not an issue?
Also, what is the purpose of the heat shield? I seem to remember an older WSM without it. Did someone try using it on a wood deck one time and burned it down so sued Weber?

12-10-2015, 01:54 PM
Once you do enough cooks the door will seal itself. No need to worry about a gasket.

Don't know about the heat shield story but I keep mine on for chits and gigs.

12-10-2015, 02:22 PM
Congrats on your new WSM. I got mine back in August and it's been great cookin' ever since. Each time I fire it up I learn something new about it. Try an empty water pan first. If you feel the temps are too high, you can always add water to your cook.

12-10-2015, 02:36 PM
I like the WSM! It's a good cooker I'm sure you will enjoy it! For chicken wings, I leave the water pan out. That's how the wife and I like our chicken wings cooked! Last night I fixed chicken thighs with no water in the water pan just lined it in foil. Worked really well too. Water in the water pan helps keep temps down.

Haven't cooked a brisket on it yet so I cant help there! My heat shield falls out everytime I move the WSM. I keep it under a garage so I move it to the front of the house when I use it! Might of killed the grass under it? I try to keep it on tho because I do cook in the yard.

12-10-2015, 04:15 PM
this site→ http://virtualweberbullet.com/
...has everything and more that you want to know and learn about your new WSM

12-10-2015, 04:48 PM
I run water on long cooks usually where I don't want the temp over 265ish. I find it runs really consistent with water. So if I'm doing an overnight butt I'm running water. If I want to cook above 275F I don't run water and just foil. Try it both ways. That's half the fun.

Happy Hapgood
12-10-2015, 05:01 PM
Congratulations on the WSM. I still run my 18 and have turned out some decent BBQ for Family and Friends over the years.

I recommend you try the WP with and without water. Seeing as how we're just down the road, our Summer heat runs about the same...Butt Hot! That's where water in the pan can come in handy as our first 100*F are free during June to September. During cold weather, foil pan only for me.

Also the link Jazzcat posted link above is the know all, end all for the WSM.

Good Luck!

12-10-2015, 05:08 PM
Took the water pan out of mine and replaced it with a 14.5" clay saucer, this gives me more room to over fill the charcoal ring on longer cooks.

Cooking a turkey breast on mine as I type, she's just rocking steady at 325 with one vent wide open and another 1/3 open.

If it hasn't been mentioned don't trust the lid thermometer, get a Maverick or something else to measure rack temperature.

Have fun with your WSM.

12-10-2015, 06:17 PM
The 18.5"wsm was my first smoker! Still got it and love it. I don't use water in the pan anymore, but you might want to try it out just to see if you like it, also just nice to try different methods. don't worry about the door, it will seal up over time. Also don't chase your temps too much, it will drive you crazy. Enjoy your wsm and don't forget the pix!

12-10-2015, 10:25 PM
I will often run my 18 wsm with no heat shield at all. Works really well, does run a bit hotter but you can still hold good BBQ temps. Just be aware that the dome temp gauge can show 50-75 degrees cooler than a temp gauge hanging below the meat, particularly when cooking large cuts. It's not a big deal but just going on the dome gauge can be misleading. When using a heat shield the temp difference tends to be much smaller. Also no need to season a weber cooker.