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Thread: New Member, 18 mods, first brisket smoke

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    Binghamton, NY
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    New Member, 18 mods, first brisket smoke

    WSM Mods

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    After smoking in a basic Brinkman POS for the past 10 years, it finally fell apart, and my search for a new (and better!) smoker led me to this forum.

    Decided upon a new WSM 18”, and prompted by ideas found on this forum, I made some customizations/mods.

    In my opinion, the one glaring feature lacking from stock WSMs are lift handles on the center section. So I picked up some steel handles from Home Depot. These are single screw attachment at each end, so it minimizes the holes that need to be driled into the WSM body, and they are black enamled just like the WSM - so they match! They dont look like a mod at all, more like they came stock.

    While in the door hardware aisle, perusing handle parts, I noticed some door push plate parts that were pre-drilled and came in black and stainless finishes. So an idea formed to use this part as a stand-off surface to mount on the WSM to allow for hanging of BBQ tools, mitts, and/or Thermometer transmitter. The guage of these plates is thin enough that they are easily bent/formed to match the curvature of the WSM body. Using 1-1/2” screws to provide the separation from the WSM body, this little “utility rail” works great! Still have yet to install a few hooks on the left side, but it functions just as I had envisioned as a hang-mount for my Thermopro TP-08 transmitter.

    Last big mod is a Cajun Bandit door & latch upgrade. What a nice, quality product! The stainless door is of much thicker material than I had anticipated it would be, and the southco latch has a nice range of adjustment to help dial-in a tight door seal when closed. A very worthwhile upgrade, in my opinion. The kit also came with a “Cajun Bandit” logo sticker, which I mounted to my custom “utility rail”.

    Inside the WSM, I also added a second charcoal grate, wire-tied to the stock grate, and rotated 90 degrees. This seems like a worthwhile mod to prolong coal burning duration.

    Lastly, I added a fitted water pan cover. This makes a lot o sense to me: 1. will slow down evaporation of water pan. 2. Keeps meat drippings out of water pan. My Brinkman pan got *nasty*, and also rusted-through prematurely because of this, Im pretty sure.

    I get a fair amount of leakage at the rim at base of the cover right now, but I am going to wait until I have a few cooks under my belt before I decide to add some seal tape there. I hear that once the WSM gets broken-in and “gunked-up” some, this issue may fix itself?

    Overall, Im really happy with this cooker, and especially like it with the customizations. This is a SUBSTANTIAL upgrade over my old Brinkman, and I look forward to better smokes as a result. Im doing my first brisket flat ever, as I write this, because I never felt I had the pit-control over the Brinkman to risk ruining a brisket. Only have done venison roasts and pork butts up until this point. Wish me luck!

    Questions:

    1. What purpose does the aluminum disc that mounts to the tabs on the legs below and outside of the cooker base serve? Is it a heat sheild to protect the surface the WSM is resting on? like if you set it up on a table top or something? Or is it to provide lateral stability to the legs? I dont know - but it seems unnecessary.
    2. At what (cold) temps do folks feel the need to outfit with an insulated jacket? I started my smoke today at about 30 degress ambient, and projected high today is 42. The WSM is running plenty hot and I barely have bottom vents open at hour 03 to hold 225 degrees pit temp.

    Edit: Totally underestimated “The Stall” and worried that my brisket would finish too soon, based upon early temperature jumps (30min intervals) Kept temps sub-220 for first 6hrs, and the stall was severe. When I finally got it up to 170+ after 10hrs, I wrapped in foil, added coals, and opened up vents to finish at 140-150. The last hour i went from 173 to 190 - probably too quickly? The brisket turned out good, but not great. Partially, because the smoke went 12+ hrs, was too impatient to let it rest more than 30min before slicing.
    Last edited by Corey Layton; 11-12-2017 at 08:15 PM.

  2. #2
    TVWBB Pro Lew Newby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Deltona, FL
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    844
    Corey, welcome to the Forum and that's a great first post. I went from an el cheapo Brinkmann (ECB) to the 18.5 WSM and there's a world of difference. I agree on your decision to add handles and once my WSM got gunked up it didn't need gaskets and the door is still stock. That Brisket looks great and you'll get used to the cooker quickly.

    The aluminum disc is a heat shield. If you're cooking on a wooden deck it's a safety feature. You're not so it's just decoration. I can't help on the cold conditions. Our temp here rarely gets below 40.

    Once again, welcome aboard. You'll fit right in.
    Old dog, learning new tricks - one cook at a time :-). - -14.5" WSM , 22.5" WSM , 1998 22" SS Performer (Red) with Vortex, Auber ATC. CB Rotisserie

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