MMMM.. BRISKET..
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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 11-06-2019, 06:41 PM   #1
mjr
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Join Date: 03-22-11
Location: Ennis, TX
Default Ok, everyone, I have a couple of more questions as a newbie...

I believe I've decided on the Weber Smokey Mountain.

But I have a few questions:

Do I need to season the smoker first? A buddy of mine who has one seems to think I don't need to. I can just assemble and cook. That doesn't quite sound right.

How big? I'm leaning toward the 18 inch model. That's what my friend suggested to me. There's only 3 of us in my family, and I don't see myself really smoking large amounts of food at once, but I might actually want to throw a brisket on there from time to time.

Any accessories I should look into? Rib racks?

What woods would be recommended for the various foods? For instance, do you use a different wood for pork butt versus baby back ribs? And why? What about brisket? Chicken? Lamb?

I've heard that we shouldn't use mesquite.

What about the "water bowl"? I've heard using other liquids (i.e. beer, apple cider vinegar, etc.) doesn't really make a difference in flavor.

How much wood to use? I'm planning on cooking with the Minion Method.

Again, any thoughts on this are greatly appreciated! When I do my first cook I'll be sure to take pictures!
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Old 11-06-2019, 07:13 PM   #2
ronbrad62
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Congrats on your decision and I will try to answer as many questions as I can.
As far as seasoning, some may say it doesn't matter, but I always do because you can get rid of any production chemicals or oils that may still be residual on the surface. It only costs you a bit of time and makes things safer.
18" is probably a good overall, multi- purpose size. The 22" will use a tremendous amount of charcoal on smaller cooks when those are necessary.
I use hickory a lot because I like the traditional flavor on BBQ. I will also add apple or cherry, mesquite can be strong. If I smoke delicate meats (chicken), I use maybe one chunk of wood because it takes on smoke very well.
I use a water bowl, mostly because it helps the smoke stick to the meat, giving a better bark and smoke flavor. I personally don't know about flavors of the liquid transferring to the meat during smoking, but I haven't done any comparison cooks and don't want to knock it if someone out there believes in it.
The minion method using 4-5 wood chunks is perfect.
Accessories are up to you. I would do a few cooks as is, then research the accessories available and decide if any would improve my expected or desired results.
Good luck with your first cook.
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Old 11-06-2019, 07:14 PM   #3
WeberWho
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I'd go the biggest you can afford. Buy once cry once. Plus you can put on bigger cuts of meat. With a Weber Smokey Mountain you should be able to smoke away out of the box.

Hold off on all the accessories right away. Easy to spend other people's money. Take some time and see what you actually need. Take that money on accessories and use it towards a bigger WSM. Just my thought anyway.
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Old 11-06-2019, 07:16 PM   #4
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I don't have one but from what I've read here I think the 18 is a good choice. The brisket will be a little tight but I had done them on my similar sized Kamado Joe before giving it to my daughter. I've read that the 22" uses quite a bit more fuel and you probably won't need the extra space often.

You don't need to season it and can start cooking on it. As you use it thought it might get a little more airtight as things get a bit dunked up (which is good)

You probably don't need rib racks for just three of you but they aren't expensive and would come in handy when you have some friends over.

I personally don't notice a lot of difference between the types of wood but would probably avoid mesquite at least initially. It's good for high temp grilling but is pretty strong and the WSM doesn't struggle to put out a pretty strong level of smoke. I use hickory and apple mostly.

Agree on not nothing to use beer etc. in the water pan. You won't notice the difference and you'll have less to drink.

Looking forward to the pics!
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Old 11-06-2019, 07:41 PM   #5
mjr
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Let me clarify on the "accessories" part.

Rib Racks are nice, but those aren't a necessity. Usually the ribs I buy come two racks to a pack anyway, so that's really all I'd be smoking.

But I'm more curious about things like temperature regulators and thermometers. I've heard that the ones on smokers like these really aren't all that accurate.
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Old 11-06-2019, 07:43 PM   #6
blazinfire
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjr View Post
I believe I've decided on the Weber Smokey Mountain.

But I have a few questions:

Do I need to season the smoker first? A buddy of mine who has one seems to think I don't need to. I can just assemble and cook. That doesn't quite sound right.

How big? I'm leaning toward the 18 inch model. That's what my friend suggested to me. There's only 3 of us in my family, and I don't see myself really smoking large amounts of food at once, but I might actually want to throw a brisket on there from time to time.

Any accessories I should look into? Rib racks?

What woods would be recommended for the various foods? For instance, do you use a different wood for pork butt versus baby back ribs? And why? What about brisket? Chicken? Lamb?

I've heard that we shouldn't use mesquite.

What about the "water bowl"? I've heard using other liquids (i.e. beer, apple cider vinegar, etc.) doesn't really make a difference in flavor.

How much wood to use? I'm planning on cooking with the Minion Method.

Again, any thoughts on this are greatly appreciated! When I do my first cook I'll be sure to take pictures!
As far as the WSM and seasoning. No need to season it. There's no surface that needs "seasoned".. Now I would probably clean/wash the stuff first because of the manufacturing oils and such. always a good thing to do with anything your planning on cooking on..

Also about your first run... Don't stress too much on running HOT.. your gonna have to get a few cooks under your belt the cooker will seal up over time and have better temp stability.

the 18" is perfect for small families and smaller cooks. Also depends on how much your planning on cooking.. if you plan on doing large cooks.. I'd consider the 22".. but just so you know.. the 22" holds/takes me fuel.


Here's a reference picture of what I cooked today.. Just a rack of ribs, and a few brats. Which there's a bottom rack.. but I personally don't use it much. I mostly cook top rack. I have fit 3 racks of ribs on the top grate its self.



Also cooking a brisket is no problem.. If you happen to get a really long one.. I always cut the thinnest part of the flat. Best thing about that is the piece you cut off gets done way before the brisket.. and gives you a little "snack" As pictured here's a brisket where I cut the end of the flat off and smoked it separately



For woods.. I recommend Cherry, oak, hickory.. I'm relearning how to run my WSM.. Only need no more than 4 chunks of wood in the charcoal. that's plenty for a long cook.. I will never cook with mesquite.. not saying you can't.. but its a very very powerful wood to use so I don't bother with it.

There will also be ALOT of people tell you don't worry about using water in the water pan.. Using the water pan is helpful in some cases.. some cases not so much.. I personally Just lline the water pan with foil.. But in return you will cook at higher temps.. I never can set my WSM to 225-250 without water.. it always likes to cook 275+.. I have tried using only a few coals to start and I still end up 275+ without water.. But as far as adding juice/beer or anything other than water is pointless.. that kinda stuff is for you to drink and enjoy! LOL

Rib racks will be handy but not necessary.. depends on how many racks you are cooking at one time. Hope this covers all your questions.. and sorry if its worded poorly.. I'm trying to type all this in a slight rush.. gotta get off here in a minute and do stuff LOL

Oh yeah... You will hear that the factory temp gauge is wrong.. I have had a WSM for years.. and just today I put two oven therm's on the top rack.. and it was spot on with the WSM temp gauge.. so before you go all out and buy new gauges and all that. I'd just throw an oven therm on the top rack and see how close it is if your worried about it.
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Last edited by blazinfire; 11-06-2019 at 07:49 PM..
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Old 11-06-2019, 07:49 PM   #7
mjr
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@blazinfire
That looks delicious! Is that the 18" model you're using?

Can I thank more than one of you? I'd like to click the "Thanks" button for all of you!
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Old 11-06-2019, 08:01 PM   #8
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A WSM is a good choice and I agree with at least a pre-burn, but build a big enough fire to put some food on after a couple of hours.

Tejas Smokers makes a good looking 4-rib rack that should fit. Charbroil makes a single rib rack that can free up some room for other things. I have one for my Big Green Egg, which also has a 18" diameter grate.



Wood is a personal choice for type and amount. Basically there are fruit woods (apple, cherry, peach) which are lighter in flavor and nut woods (pecan, hickory) which are a bit stronger, then there is mesquite which is stronger yet. Apple or cherry would be a good start, and maybe some pecan to get a feel of your tastes. You can mix woods to change the profile. It's tempting to buy 5 or 6 woods, but it's easier to work with 2 at first.
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Old 11-06-2019, 08:03 PM   #9
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The 18" WSM is a great choice to start with and may be all you'll need for along time. The previous replies are all correct. After you do a few cooks and feel like adding some accessories check out http://www.cajunbandit.com I am not affiliated with them but I have pimped out all of my WSM's with stuff from them.
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Old 11-06-2019, 08:13 PM   #10
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If you're in Texas, I have a deal for you on an 18. North DFW
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Old 11-06-2019, 08:31 PM   #11
morningwoodbbq
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjr View Post
I believe I've decided on the Weber Smokey Mountain.

But I have a few questions:

Do I need to season the smoker first? A buddy of mine who has one seems to think I don't need to. I can just assemble and cook. That doesn't quite sound right.

How big? I'm leaning toward the 18 inch model. That's what my friend suggested to me. There's only 3 of us in my family, and I don't see myself really smoking large amounts of food at once, but I might actually want to throw a brisket on there from time to time.

Any accessories I should look into? Rib racks?

What woods would be recommended for the various foods? For instance, do you use a different wood for pork butt versus baby back ribs? And why? What about brisket? Chicken? Lamb?

I've heard that we shouldn't use mesquite.

What about the "water bowl"? I've heard using other liquids (i.e. beer, apple cider vinegar, etc.) doesn't really make a difference in flavor.

How much wood to use? I'm planning on cooking with the Minion Method.

Again, any thoughts on this are greatly appreciated! When I do my first cook I'll be sure to take pictures!
My answers. I’ve owned an 18” WSM for 10 years.

1. Burn a chicken in it first. Then eat the chicken. You’ll season it some and get a meal.
2. 18” is plenty big. 22” is huge. 22” also uses a TON more charcoal.
3. Rib racks help fit 3 racks per grate. They can lay flat, but I like starting in a rack and laying down later on. I also recommend a terra-cotta tray or aluminum pan to put in water bowl. Whateve you get, wrap it in foil. Cleaning the water bowl sucks, especially if you put water in it.
4. All personal preference. Just follow basics like don’t use mesquite for chicken. I actually try to pair my meats and rubs with a choice of wood.
5. Fake news. Use whatever wood you want except pine and poison ivy.
6. Mentioned earlier. Don’t put anything in it. Cap it with something and foil it.
7. I find 3-4 fist sized chunks work. Don’t use chips. Dear god dont use chips.

Any other questions, please ask. Also visit www.tvwbb.com. Very good source of info. Most likely TMI.
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Old 11-06-2019, 08:32 PM   #12
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If you can swing the price difference, I'd highly suggest getting a 22 WSM. I was in the same boat as you several years ago. I wasn't sure what to do, and decided to get the 22. I've never regretted it. Granted it may use a bit more charcoal than the 18, but I love having the extra space. I've cooked 4 VERY large pork butts in one session on mine, and they turn out fantastic.

I always use water in mine. A lot of people don't. They use some type of heat sink-a clay saucer or sand instead. I have woods on my property so I have zero issues getting rid of nasty/greasy post-cook water from the pan. Many people prefer no water as it's a PITA to dispose of, and it takes a lot longer to reach temp. Personally, I love cooking with water; I think in the WSM, water produces a great final product.

Regarding what types of wood, I use a lot of cherry, apple and pecan. I never considered Pecan until I read a lot on this forum. I usually use a combination of cherry/apple and pecan, depending on what I'm cooking.

Most WSM's have door sealing issues. There are many ways to correct/cure that. Personally, I simply bought a gasket kit and it's worked great. If that every fails/goes bad, I'll get a cajun bandit SS door/latch.

Hope that helps!! Good luck. You are on a great forum, with amazing people, who will help you make good decisions and make you a great BBQ cook!
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Old 11-06-2019, 09:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjr View Post
@blazinfire
That looks delicious! Is that the 18" model you're using?

Can I thank more than one of you? I'd like to click the "Thanks" button for all of you!
You can click the Thanks button on any and all posts that you like.
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Old 11-06-2019, 09:21 PM   #14
thirdeye
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morningwoodbbq View Post
My answers. I’ve owned an 18” WSM for 10 years.

1. Burn a chicken in it first. Then eat the chicken. You’ll season it some and get a meal.
2. 18” is plenty big. 22” is huge. 22” also uses a TON more charcoal.
3. Rib racks help fit 3 racks per grate. They can lay flat, but I like starting in a rack and laying down later on. I also recommend a terra-cotta tray or aluminum pan to put in water bowl. Whateve you get, wrap it in foil. Cleaning the water bowl sucks, especially if you put water in it.
4. All personal preference. Just follow basics like don’t use mesquite for chicken. I actually try to pair my meats and rubs with a choice of wood.
5. Fake news. Use whatever wood you want except pine and poison ivy.
6. Mentioned earlier. Don’t put anything in it. Cap it with something and foil it.
7. I find 3-4 fist sized chunks work. Don’t use chips. Dear god dont use chips.

Any other questions, please ask. Also visit www.tvwbb.com. Very good source of info. Most likely TMI.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bgross88 View Post
If you can swing the price difference, I'd highly suggest getting a 22 WSM. I was in the same boat as you several years ago. I wasn't sure what to do, and decided to get the 22. I've never regretted it. Granted it may use a bit more charcoal than the 18, but I love having the extra space. I've cooked 4 VERY large pork butts in one session on mine, and they turn out fantastic.

I always use water in mine. A lot of people don't. They use some type of heat sink-a clay saucer or sand instead. I have woods on my property so I have zero issues getting rid of nasty/greasy post-cook water from the pan. Many people prefer no water as it's a PITA to dispose of, and it takes a lot longer to reach temp. Personally, I love cooking with water; I think in the WSM, water produces a great final product.

Regarding what types of wood, I use a lot of cherry, apple and pecan. I never considered Pecan until I read a lot on this forum. I usually use a combination of cherry/apple and pecan, depending on what I'm cooking.

Most WSM's have door sealing issues. There are many ways to correct/cure that. Personally, I simply bought a gasket kit and it's worked great. If that every fails/goes bad, I'll get a cajun bandit SS door/latch.

Hope that helps!! Good luck. You are on a great forum, with amazing people, who will help you make good decisions and make you a great BBQ cook!
I made charcoal reducing baskets for my mini-WSM, couldn't you make a 14" ring like the WSM-18 uses and use in the WSM-22 when you are doing smaller cooks?

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Old 11-06-2019, 09:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thirdeye View Post
I made charcoal reducing baskets for my mini-WSM, couldn't you make a 14" ring like the WSM-18 uses and use in the WSM-22 when you are doing smaller cooks?
But doesn’t it still take more charcoal to heat a 22” chamber than an 18” chamber?
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