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A Testament to the WSM

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    A Testament to the WSM

    I realize my WSM story among a sea of PBC may not garnish me a lot of accolades, but I wanted to share what I thought was a pretty amazing little feat. I have an 18 and 22" WSM but rarely use the 22" these days. I opt for a kettle most of the time. The little 18" has been with me for about 5 years now. It's modded with about every accessory available. I have it setup like a PBC in that I have the Hunsker hanger and ditched the water pan years ago. I also have all the bottom vents taped shut and run it with a fan port only using my Pit Viper and Fireboard. The top vent controls the temp which when reached is rock solid.

    Anyway, so what's the big deal? I decided to do a chuckie last weekend and set everything up to run at 275*F. I don't have an oversize charcoal basket (really no need as you will see) but did fill it up with about 3" of KBB and 3 chunks of mesquite. Typically it take 6 or so hours to do a chuckie this way and this time was no different. After cooking though I generally turn off the top vent and plug the fan port. Unused good charcoal gets reused the next go round.

    Well for the first time I forgot to close off the vents. It was getting dark and I just left it that way over night. That was getting pretty close to 7 pm, I had started the cook at 11 am that Saturday morning. So Sunday rolls around and I get up, go in the kitchen to make coffee about 7 am or so and happen to look out the window. I did a double take because the cooker is belching out a nice plume of off white smoke. I rub my eyes and go outside and sure enough that sucker, with no fan, must have run about 220*F all night long, like 12 hours. I was reading the dome thermo which is pretty close to accurate but even if it was off 10 or 15 degrees that's still pretty remarkable.

    Click image for larger version

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    So I went to shut it down but thought what the heck let it ride. I've never tested to see how long one of these would run on a full load of charcoal. At about 10 am it dropped down to about 190* or so and stayed there until about noon. At noon it was down to about 150* and stayed there until about 4 pm when it was down around 100-110*ish. It finally petered out at about 7 pm, or a total of 32 hours after initial fire up !!

    Now granted had I maintained the temp at 250-275* that probably would have only gone maybe 18 hours tops but still that's enough to cook a couple of briskets back to back. I just think it's a testament to the overall design of this little bullet smoker. And for that it will always have a place in Troutman's line up. WSM.....WSM.....WSM !!!!

    #2
    I love my WSM 22 ..... it's a beast of a cooker. Might get a WSM 18 to sit next to it and keep it company! Great story, thanks for sharing it Troutman
    Last edited by ecowper; October 12, 2021, 05:42 PM.

    Comment


      #3
      I too have found an appreciation for my 18 WSM this year. I did some whole chickens on it last year and I forgot to close the vents after they finished and the smoker kept going for another 24 hours. I too watched in awe as it never let up.

      Comment


        #4
        Very impressive. My son-in-law has the WSM 22" and loves it. He uses it for long cooks when he doesn't want to babysit his Lang offset. Thanks for sharing your experience.

        Comment


        • ecowper
          ecowper commented
          Editing a comment
          That’s how I am with my WSM 22 vs. Hasty-Bake for long cooks.

        #5
        I'm like you, have the 18 & 22 and every accesory to match the PBC. They are great.

        Comment


          #6
          TripleB and Troutman why accessorize the WSM 18 to be a PBC? Isn’t that distracting it from being a WSM?

          Comment


          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            The water pan/heat sink didn’t help much and was a constant mess to clean up. That’s the only difference. The hangar and grates are used interchangeably.

          • TripleB
            TripleB commented
            Editing a comment
            What Troutman said + you can put on an ATC on the WSM to control temp. The PBC is designed to load & rip.

          • ecowper
            ecowper commented
            Editing a comment
            Interesting about water pan on the 18. On the 22, I definitely notice when the water runs low. Yeah, it is a mess to clean up. I haven't found a good solution for that.

          #7
          ecowper how long can you go on your Hasty-Bake? And is it easy to refuel?

          Comment


          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            I think he asked about your Hasty-Bake. But good info on the 22-WSM. Mine goes about 12-14 then tapers off as well to maybe 20 max. Why that little 18 goes so long I guess is due to less oxygen getting into the chamber.

          • Razor
            Razor commented
            Editing a comment
            ecowper I was referring to the Hasty-Bake. I agree the 18 is a “long distance runner” when it comes to efficiency. Interested in hearing how the HB compares.

          • ecowper
            ecowper commented
            Editing a comment
            In the Hasty-Bake Gourmet, with a full firebox, running a snake method, I can do 250F for about 8 hours

          #8
          I’ve got the 18” and 22” as well and love them both. I usually get them both going for thanksgiving. One does the breasts and the other does the thighs.

          I’ve not done the pbc hanging mod to either though, but I’ve contemplated it.

          Comment


            #9
            It's always great to hear someone rhapsodize about their smoker or grill. It means that a good investment was made, one that brought the fun of cooking and delicious meals to someone and their family.

            Troutman , my WSCGC surprised me by doing that very same thing a couple of weeks back for a chuck roast cook with Weber briquettes and a half a chimney of KBB to help them get started. I am used to the WSCGC going for long periods of time at temps in excess of 225°, but this one was particularly phenomenal. I had the Fireboard going the whole time too, something I rarely do, so I could easily watch the temps decline slowly over the hours long after the chuck roast was done. It's such a "day-um" moment to see it still kicking the temps the next day!

            Kathryn

            Comment


            • Troutman
              Troutman commented
              Editing a comment
              I'm sure there are some kamados out there that can do the same thing they are so well insulated. But for a $400 initial investment (and a couple hundred more in accessories) that little WSM has sure been a bargain. I just need to remember that it's there and give it a little more love
              Last edited by Troutman; October 13, 2021, 07:52 AM.

            #10
            Wow, I just had the same epiphany. I took the WSM out of mothballs, I got it for BBQ competition. Years ago. Been using the BGE or more recently a MAK pellet. I’m getting really lazy in my advanced years. Put the WSM in the RV for a few recent trips. This thing just rocks!

            Comment


              #11
              I have a WSM 14" and a 22". It would be great to have the full trifecta! MCS...

              Comment


                #12
                Troutman great testimonial on the WSM! But also.... does this mean you gave up on your plan to use only one cooker (26" Kettle) for a year? I'm not judging... you need to spread the love otherwise the other cookers get lonely...
                Last edited by jfmorris; October 13, 2021, 09:29 AM.

                Comment


                • Troutman
                  Troutman commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Technically you're right Jim, busted !! I've used my gasser maybe 3-4 times this year and that WSM once. Other than that I've used my 26" exclusively. I'm waiting on parts to sell my pellet cooker and replacing it with something, maybe a KBQ not quite sure yet. At that time I'll have a new toy to play with and my run with the 26" will slow way down !!

                #13
                Troutman Thank you for sharing and for getting me to thinking about WSMs again. You mention you have ditched the water pan because it was a mess to clean up, so I am assuming there is no type of barrier between the fire and food above and you just let the juices drip into the fire bowl? I guess that would make sense since you're running it like a PBC. Thanks man, and have a great day!

                PS - just buy the KBQ so I can live vicariously through you until I can get permission for another toy for the deck.

                Comment


                • Troutman
                  Troutman commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That's correct, let the drippings create the "fog" for added flavor. On a long cook I may put a small water pan on the second grate level but I find the direct drippings (like a PBC or any of the drum smokers) add something to the flavor profile.

                • Craigar
                  Craigar commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thank you for the clarification. You have inspired me to fiddle with the Smoke E-Z I have for the 26 (basically turns the the 26 into a WSM the size of a grain silo) but has frustrated me to no end and I haven't used it in about a year. It's a great chicken cooker, but I haven't been able to master temps under 300°. This will be the year come hell or burnt ends.

                • Razor
                  Razor commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I just line my water bowl with HD aluminum foil and put a magnet in the center to hold it down. Easy peasy cleanup.

                #14
                The WSM is hands down one of my favourite smokers. And for the price of admission, it’s pretty much a no brainer IMO. And the things are darn near bulletproof. (Pun intended.)

                I gave away my 22 when I got my WSCGC…still not fully convinced that was brilliant. LOL Smoker-wise, in the traditional setup, the WSM has nothing on the Summit. But the ability to also run it hanging a la PBC…adds a dimension that the Summit can never do. I keep thinking that I should probably just get another one. Yes, I COULD get a PBC…but I like the racks as well, and have experience with the WSM…I like the idea of added versatility.

                Oh, and FWIW, I never put water in the water pan either. Too much of a hassle. Foil yes, sand occasionally (read: rarely) but mostly just used it as a drip pan. Hadn’t discovered the PBC “fog” by that point. I think everyone should own a WSM at some point at least once.

                Comment


                  #15
                  Had a bunch of neighbors over last night so I fired up my old unmodified WSM to do a Boston Butt. I also did a Salmon in my Big Chief which I think is perfect (and easy) for all kinds of fish. I live in a Florida Country Club community so most of them have expensive outdoor kitchens with built in Big Green Eggs and Blaze gas grills. Funny how everyone commented that these simple inexpensive smokers did a great job and the BBQ was fantastic. Of course, thanks go in large part to what I’ve learned from the Amazing Ribs community over the years! If you want to spend your money on a fancy outdoor kitchen go right ahead but recognize you aren’t doing it because they cook better.

                  Comment


                  • Murdy
                    Murdy commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Couldn't agree more!

                    And a very belated welcome to the pit to you, Sir!

                  • RonB
                    RonB commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Welcome to the posting side of The Pit.

                  • holehogg
                    holehogg commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Well said Sir.

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