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Old 02-01-2009, 12:39 PM   #31
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When I read that I remembered this terrifying event last summer.

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Old 02-01-2009, 02:18 PM   #32
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here are mt thoughts:

Outside temperature at start up was 16º and never rose above 26º with winds gusting up to around 20 mph. The smoker was set up in the yard with no protection at all.

We used the thermometer in the lid for our cook temps but next time will put oven thermometers on the grates to compare. It was just too damn cold and we didn’t want to bother with it. J

We started the smoker around 7:45 a.m. using the minion method – the charcoal ring was full but not heaping with unlit, we poured one full lit chimney in the center with 2 big hunks of apple and one small stick of hickory. We used sand in the water pan.

We left all vents open throughout the cook which was from 7:45 a.m. until 5:15 pm .

The smoker reached 225º within one hour after startup – meat went on and it came back to temp within 15-20 minutes and hit 300º about an hour later, where it stayed for most of the cook which was our target cooking temp.

One hour later we checked on the charcoal and noticed that all the coals were ashed over. We chalked it up to the vents being wide open and strong winds.

3.5 hours into the cook we added one full unlit chimney. We probably didn’t have to but didn’t want to take any chances. Adding the charcoal wasn’t as easy/convenient as we thought it would be with the bigger opening between the water pan and charcoal ring.

7 hours into the cook we added one more unlit chimney, we did notice that after adding charcoal both times it took awhile for the smoker to get back up to 300º.

We used one 21 pound bag of Kingsford charcoal for the entire cook which created a lot of ash and at times was coming out of the bottom vent openings. Kicking the legs helped get it to the bottom.

The heat shield on the bottom seem to have worked great as there was snow under it for most of the cook. The legs were a different story as the frost in the ground around them melted and the smoker sank so we had to shim it up twice to level it off.

There was a hot spot above the door so we will try rotating it to see if that eliminates it.

All in all we are very pleased with the performance of the smoker and look forward to cooking on it at the lower temps.
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Old 02-01-2009, 03:09 PM   #33
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good info
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Old 02-01-2009, 03:51 PM   #34
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I just completed an eight and a half hour cook at 0 to +5* outside temp thru the entire cook with negligible wind. I opened a new 18# bag of Kingsford and filled a chimney about two-thirds full. I poured the remainder of the bag into the fire ring. That filled the ring about 3/4 to 7/8 full. Then I set the chimney on the ring and lit it with two Weber starter cubes. By the time the chimney was fully lit, the center under it was lit about two inches out around the perimeter of the chimney. Then I dumped the chimney on top of the rest of the charcoal. I wanted to start hot and cook hot so I had a prayer of getting done by dark.

I was running the temp at 280* because I didn’t get the meat on until 9am and I wanted to finish early. I got the meat up to 205* at 5:30pm when I took it off. After the first hour I had one bottom vent closed and the other two open about 25% and the temp was rock solid until about six hours into the cook. Then I added a chimney of unlit charcoal. I thought about cranking the vents open more, but I decided to error on the side of caution and just add more charcoal.

It uses a lot of fuel but I was cooking in cold weather at a high temp. And it is huge. I am anxious to see what happens when I'm cooking at my usual 240-250* and warmer outside temp. I'll add to this post about what meat was inside after the FF judging is complete.

I do want to join Dave Witt in cautioning people about using this cooker on a wooden deck. I did notice some ash coming out the bottom.
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Old 02-01-2009, 09:41 PM   #35
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Great reports. I get to play with one this spring at George's store. I'm looking froward to it. ( if Val don't beat me to it ) Since we got "Dallas" (WSM) I can't get near the thing. I get more sleep that way. Not a bad thing in my book.

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Old 02-01-2009, 10:32 PM   #36
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I am not liking this short burn time. Hope it ain't so.
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:26 PM   #37
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OK...so I have to ask this.... is there a huge difference between these WSMs and the cheapy I have from wally world? I know you get what you pay for, but $25 for mine and $300 to $400 for WSM will I tell the difference? I use my offset for most everything, but I would really like to have something for comps to do the chicken on. I have never seen one of these things in person. Are they much more durable, heavy duty? Do they hold the temperature better?

If I were to get one just for comp chicken or back yard, would y'all suggest the smaller one or the bigger one? Would it be better to have two small ones or one big one?

thanks!
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:00 PM   #38
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If you're familiar with Weber kettles, you have a good basis for visualizing the WSMs. Without measuring, I'm guessing the metal gauge is the same, so they're sturdy without being too heavy. The beauty of WSMs is their fuel efficiency and ease of temperature regulation (once you get the hang of it). I think I'd recommend the smaller (18 1/2") one to start. You can do just about any barbecue cut in it -- ribs, butt and brisket for sure. For chicken pieces, I prefer to use the kettle. The WSM is great for beer can chicken.

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Old 02-06-2009, 05:19 PM   #39
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How long do you think it takes to get the hang of it? I have a comp in May so I will need some "break in" time!
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:20 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nakedpigbbq
How long do you think it takes to get the hang of it? I have a comp in May so I will need some "break in" time!
No time a few cooks....
There is a big difference in temp control with a WSM and a ECB
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