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How much time does it take to steady the temp on your WSM

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    How much time does it take to steady the temp on your WSM

    I'm relatively new to the smoking world but always wanted to smoke briskets and whatever else happened to be handy. I took the plunge last year and bought a WSM 22, upgraded the door right away since that seemed to be one of the biggest knocks on it. I've been maintaining temperature control by adjusting vents only, don't have any fancy temperature controls on it (yet...maybe someday). So, my question is, how long does it take you to get your WSM temperature steady (225-250) and do you wait for the temp to be steady before putting the meat on or play with it as you go?

    I don't trust my skill enough yet to start smoking meat and go to bed for 6 or 7 hours, thinking the temp will spike or drop off.

    Thank you in advance for any tips or tricks.

    Jason

    #2
    I don't have a WSM but for what I do have I figure its time to put the meat on when the white smoke has disappeared. As long as you are seeing a steady rise in pit temp. Lets see what the WSM people say...

    Comment


      #3
      I haven't done any mods on my 22 but if I want to hit 225 and stay there on my WSM I need to do the fuse method, 3 briquettes wide by 3 tall, otherwise the temp seems to creep during the cook. There's good info on the free side about this. Though at this point I've stopped worrying about 225 and am fine with anything under 285 or so. But when I do need to hit 225 I'd start off with 12 coals fully ashed over, dump those on the end of the fuse, add a chunk of wood directly on top of the lit coals and let it go for 5 mins or so. I'm really looking for the wood to catch fire and burn for a bit. Then I assemble the WSM. From there it's at least 30 mins on a good day till the smoke is good but weather depending it could be an hour before I get the smoke I want. I always plan on at least 45 mins though

      Comment


        #4
        I have a 18.5, so the timing is probably a little different, but 30 to 45 minutes using the minion method.

        Comment


        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment
          That's also been my experience with my 18.5"'s, timeframe-wise.

        #5
        I use donut method to light my WSM 22. 25 briquettes lit in the chimney, rest of a bag of KBB in a donut. Wood chunks buried in the charcoal. When the briquettes are burning clean, I dump them in the donut and immediately assemble the WSM. It takes about 25 minutes to get up around 240, but it’s not yet steady and clean smoke, that generally takes another 10-15 minutes.

        I have modified mine with the Cajun Bandit door, lid hinge, Cajun Bandit charcoal ring, and lavalock seal where lid meets body.

        I don’t worry too much about precise temp, I go with whatever the WSM feels like doing. That’s usually somewhere in the 240-260 range

        Comment


        • ecowper
          ecowper commented
          Editing a comment
          JasonS I bought the Unknown Barbecue hinge, but I would think they are pretty similar. It was an easy install. Key was using a punch to get each hole started when I was drilling the holes to avoid the drill bit skipping on the metal.

        • ecowper
          ecowper commented
          Editing a comment
          JasonS I just went looked at the one Cajun Bandit sells. Looks just like the one from Unknown Barbecue. They probably have the same source. I like the lid hinge. Makes life much easier all the way around.

          Once I got a Fireboard and was able to really see the performance of the WSM, I stopped worrying so much about unsupervised cooking on the WSM. I have let it cook while I was at work for the day, while I sleep, go to the store, whatever.

        • JasonS
          JasonS commented
          Editing a comment
          ecowper great suggestion about using a hole punch before drilling. Thank you.

        #6
        Since I’m getting ready to cook ribs for Father’s Day feasting, I figured I’d take pics of my WSM setup and post the Fireboard temp chart of it getting up to temp.

        Cooking 3 slabs of back ribs and 1 slab of SLC on the WSM. Will also cook a couple chickens on the Hasty-Bake. All the neighborhood dads are coming by for some ribs :-)

        I had about 25 decent briquettes left from my last cook, figured I’d use those to light the fire.
        Click image for larger version

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        The stuff I need to set up the WSM
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        Wood laid out
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        Charcoal donut built
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        Ready to go, just waiting for the lit charcoal
        Click image for larger version

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        I’ll post my Fireboard temp chart when it’s ready to put the meat on. Will be putting the SLC ribs on first, then the back ribs about 90 minutes later.

        Comment


          #7
          So, just about 25 minutes to get to steady temp. Will be another 10-15 minutes until it’s really steady and the smoke is clean. I’ll get the ribs ready right now and they will go on shortly.

          Click image for larger version

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          Comment


          • JasonS
            JasonS commented
            Editing a comment
            How reliable is the Fireboard? I've been using a ThermaPro that I bought on Amazon, but no bluetooth or tracking like what you posted above.

          • ecowper
            ecowper commented
            Editing a comment
            I’ve had mine for 3 years now. It’s dead on accurate. I check it once in a while with ice water and boiling water to confirm.

          #8
          I'm about 8 hours in on this pork butt. Internal temp is ~175 right now
          Attached Files

          Comment


          • JasonS
            JasonS commented
            Editing a comment
            It is the Cajun Bandit water pan cover. I have it foil wrapped. I set it up in the dark and didn't realize it was seated slightly crooked, Oops.

          • Jared49
            Jared49 commented
            Editing a comment
            How old is that water pan cover from CB? I don’t see it listed at their site.

          • JasonS
            JasonS commented
            Editing a comment
            Jared49 I was mistaken, I ordered the pan cover at the same time as the door from CB, the pan is "Burnt End Paper"
            https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DE6NBTS..._yAR9EbAAHY7BJ

          #9
          I use the same method as ecowper on my wsm 22 as well. The only difference is that I use an old standard sized coffee can with both ends cut open as my donut. I put the coffee can in the middle, then lay a 3lb hand sledge on top to keep it in place. Then start pouring unlit charcoal around it in the entire ring. When it is half full I add my wood chunks, then finish filling it. Use a chimney to light the hot coals then carefully dump them in the coffee can. Then I grab a set of long handle offset pliers or long tongs and lift the can out and assemble the middle part and lid. Takes about 40 minutes for everything to settle and get an even temp. Mine likes to stay at 250-275 which is fine with me. I can push it to 300-325 for hot and fast brisket cooks. I really don't use 225 as a temp and also only use the water pan to diffuse the heat. I line that twice with HD foil. I don't ever put water in the pan, just run it dry.
          Here's a quick vid for clarity.
          Last edited by Hulagn1971; June 21, 2020, 03:33 PM.

          Comment


          • Mr. Bones
            Mr. Bones commented
            Editing a comment
            Glad to see that I ain't th onliest one what sees long handled, offset pliers as a BBQ tool lol
            I've got me several rather scorched up sets, at present...

          • Hulagn1971
            Hulagn1971 commented
            Editing a comment
            Mr. Bones I do a lot of improvising ;D

          • ecowper
            ecowper commented
            Editing a comment
            JasonS how many briquettes do you light? As I mentioned, I only light 25.

          #10
          JasonS it is. When I initially started, I used a bigger coffee can, not the standard size. The smoker would get too hot too fast and a WSM is hard to get temps down if it spikes too fast. I would have to choke down the lower intakes and the top exhaust which was not a good thing. I'd burn through my smoking fuel too fast and have to replenish during the cook which is not fun at all. I like to get everything right from the beginning so I don't even have to use the access door. I taped mine shut with aluminum HVAC tape. Just enough hot fuel to get it started and fill your coal ring to the top with KBB. It might take a little longer to get it warmed up to your desired temp but I think it is worth it. Especially when smoking in the fall and winter.

          Comment


          • klflowers
            klflowers commented
            Editing a comment
            I like the idea of taping the door shut. I don’t use it anyway, if I need to add coals, I lift the body off the charcoal section. This will save me buying the Cajun bandit door. Thanks for the idea!

          • Hulagn1971
            Hulagn1971 commented
            Editing a comment
            klflowers glad to be of help!

          • ecowper
            ecowper commented
            Editing a comment
            klflowers but the Cajun Bandit door is so much nicer looking!

          #11
          I've got a 22" WSM with the only mod a cajun bandit door & door gasket. How I set it up is dependent on what I'm cooking. I usually cook around 250-275 no matter what I'm cooking

          For pork butt/shoulder, I'll flip the weber chimney over and fill the short end with coals. Dump the rest of the bag in the charcoal ring and dig out a little hole. Dump the coals in once they are all white, assemble the smoker with all the vents open. Once I hit around 200, i'll close 2 vents and leave the 3rd vent like 1/4-1/2 open. Once It gets up to 250, I'll adjust with the top vent. This keeps it in the 250-275 range easily overnight. Pork butts are almost foolproof. Actually the best one I've ever cooked, I was borderline blackout drunk when I put it in the smoker and passed out after for like 6 hours.

          On briskets I take a little more care setting up the coals and I'll stack them nicely in a donut shape around the charcoal ring. Drop the same amount of coals as above in to start it, then go from there. I also usually fill the water pan with boiling water when I do briskets, it does help keep temps a little more stable, but I still cook at 250-275.

          Generally, I'll allow about an hour from lighting the coals in the chimney starter to putting meat in the smoker

          Comment


            #12
            Originally posted by Pobeque View Post
            I was borderline blackout drunk when I put it in the smoker and passed out after for like 6 hours.
            I have had many successful cooks being in that very same situation! That's what I call a "Brownout"

            Comment


              #13
              Pobeque --- when you say that you adjust the top vent when you get to 200, what does that mean ? Am thinking you cut off some air flow, but not positive. And at what point do you look to open up the 2 vents that were shut . I'm sure it's a range, but I'm curious

              Comment


              • ecowper
                ecowper commented
                Editing a comment
                Marinehead I’m sure that’s what he means. I completely control my temps with the top vent only. Somewhere around the WSM hitting 200-210, I set the bottom vents to 1/4 and the top vent to 1/2. Around 240’ish I set the top vent to about 1/3. That usually dials in 250 pretty solid. If I need a temp adjustment (almost never), do it with the top vent.

              #14
              Usually I fire it up, go in and season whatever I am gonna cook and when I come out it's up to temp. It may be a little unstable for the first few minutes while I mess with the vents but I figure whatever it can't make that much or a difference.

              Comment

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