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Old 07-28-2006, 10:07 AM   #1
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WSM questions

Ok.. so I am considering buying a WSM to do smaller cooks and get some friggin sleep. So, I have a few questions.

What kind of fuel do you burn typically? Charcoal or Lump?

If you burn Lump, do you need to use wood chips/chunks for smoke?

What kind of burn times can you get with using sand in the waterpan and either Lump or charcoal at 225-235 degrees?

When you are doing extended times.. How often do you check the cooker?
2hrs, 4 hrs, 6 hrs ???

Also.. Besides adding a thermometer.. what modifications have you found are "necessary"

Thanks
Gary
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Old 07-28-2006, 10:36 AM   #2
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Re: WSM questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in VA
Ok.. so I am considering buying a WSM to do smaller cooks and get some friggin sleep. So, I have a few questions.

What kind of fuel do you burn typically? Charcoal or Lump? Either work fine, I use Charcoal.

If you burn Lump, do you need to use wood chips/chunks for smoke?
Yes, just not as much. Do a cook with lump w/o wood and see how you like the flavor and adjust from there.

What kind of burn times can you get with using sand in the waterpan and either Lump or charcoal at 225-235 degrees? Depending on the weather, anywhere from 10-20 hrs. (20 hrs is extreme and in ideal conditions)

When you are doing extended times.. How often do you check the cooker?
2hrs, 4 hrs, 6 hrs ??? Get a Maverick ET-73 and you don't have to check the cooker at all unless it beeps. Without one, plan on peaking at the cooker every couple hours.

Also.. Besides adding a thermometer.. what modifications have you found are "necessary" If you plan on using lump, get another grate to make the "cross hatch" to prevent smaller pieces from falling through
Thanks
Gary
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Old 07-28-2006, 10:45 AM   #3
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I can answer several of these questions, but not all of them. I always burn charcoal and use water or no pan. On overnighters, I usually start the charcoal around 8pm, get the meat on around 9, or shortly after, get the temp dialed in by 11pm, and then go to bed. Then, I typically don't check the temp again until I wake up between 6 or 7 am. Of course, if I wake up during the night I'll look at the remote thermometer, but that usually doesn't happen. The only modification I use is the Brinkman water (charcoal) pan.

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Old 07-28-2006, 11:02 AM   #4
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I agree with Jeff, when you first get your cooker, your mind is so set on cooking at a specific temp, i.e. 225 or 230 or whatever, that you constantly adjust the bottom vents trying to get that exact temp. Now, I'm satisfied with a range of temperature, if I can lock mine in between 225-235 I'm a happy guy and usually won't have to check the cooker for 6-8 hours.

Using a full charcoal chamber and the Minion Method, it is doubtful you would have to add additional charcoal or lump.
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Old 07-28-2006, 12:33 PM   #5
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Gee.. it all just sounds too easy... my next question is should I just get one of those Ronco's Rotisseries and just set it and forget it... that is BBQ too ain't it? 8-[
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Old 07-28-2006, 12:52 PM   #6
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Re: WSM questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Wolfe
If you plan on using lump, get another grate to make the "cross hatch" to prevent smaller pieces from falling through
I second that. What I'm using is one of the cooking grates left over from my old Brinkmann Gourmet (ECB's bigger brother), and it hasn't shown any signs of burning out. So you don't have to spring for another genuine WSM charcoal grate, just find a cheap replacement cooking grate that's the right size.
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Old 07-28-2006, 04:04 PM   #7
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Yeah, what everybody already said.
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Old 07-28-2006, 10:23 PM   #8
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I don't have a stick burner, only a WSM ... but from all I've read you'll be spoiled by it's ability to hold steady temps for hours by comparision.

It's been my experience that lump will cause more temp fluctuations than briqs, but I use both. I lean towards briqs for long cooks and lump for short cooks ... but I'm not too fussy .. somtimes I mix them as well.

One other thing I'll add to the comparison: load.

In a WSM one butt or brisket (or equivalent mass) on each of the two grates is about the max for optimal cooks. You can do more ... but reduced airflow when doing larger cooks makes increasing pit temp and rotating the meat a very good idea.

So I'm sure this could be a new popcorn holy war like foiling but before anyone flips out consider this ... I've run the WSM with the 3rd grate via soup cans .... a brisket flat on bottom and middle with 2 butts on top and found the pit temp when measured at the middle of the top rack between the 2 butts to be more than 25º lower than my usual monitoring location (on the top grate outside edge an inch or two inside of water pan edge vertical).

When I run my WSM cram packed like that from now on I will run it hotter (250º range measured from my usual location) and plan on rotating / shuffling between racks at least a couple times.
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Old 07-29-2006, 07:08 AM   #9
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Sounds good to me Shawn.
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Old 07-29-2006, 06:51 PM   #10
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I'm very new to the WSM. I load it up with lump charcoal (unlit) then add 15 kingsford (lit) and a few chucks of wood with the bottom vents fully open. The lid vent is always fully open. When the temp gets to about 190 or 200 I shut all the bottom vents and then open only one about the width of a nickel. I may open another vent about the same it just depends. The temperature will stay just about between 225 and 230. It is truly amazing how EASY it really is. I smoked a brisket and boston butt yesterday and after the initial vent adjustment I only opend it only one other time about the width of a nickel to increase the temperature. I placed the meat on at 3:40 AM and pulled them off the butt off about 2:00 PM and the brisket at 4:00 PM. Someone on this site helped me with getting the fire started when I first bought the WSM only a few months back.

On edit...Here are some pictures of firing up the WSM with the above method.

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Old 08-26-2006, 01:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtual Weber Bullet
Weber Charcoal Grate #72501 placed inside the charcoal ring--it's a perfect fit. This 13-1/2" grate, intended for use in 18-1/2" kettle grills, is readily available at hardware stores, home centers, and barbecue specialty stores.
There are a couple other approaches here.

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