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Thread: Down sized to 14.5...initial observations

  1. #1
    TVWBB Diamond Member
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    Down sized to 14.5...initial observations

    Hey guys, I can't believe after 10+ years, I sold my 18.5 WSM. By the way it cost me $6 a year!
    Anyway, I did a break-in burn today. I put a layer to a layer and a half of Kingsford in the ring and added 1/2 weber chimney of lit coals.
    Initialy, It ran wide open for a few hours at 300*. Next I closed the bottom vents to 1/3 open to see how it ran. It almost stayed at 300, then edged down to 275 after almost 5 hours. soon it dropped to 250.
    I separated the cooker, It still had more than a few coals left. To my surprise, the ash was basically up to the charcoal grate.
    So I wonder what would this look like if I had packed the ring full ???
    The only two mods I did was the wire the charcoal ring and grate together and run stainless wire across the charcoal grate at a 90* angle to hold small lump in the grate.

    So to those with experience I ask:

    Should I pull the heat defector out?

    Should I not overfill the charcoal ring?

    Should I convert to lump ?

    Thanks for your valued input.
    Peach Kissed Q

  2. #2
    TVWBB 1-Star Olympian Bob Correll's Avatar
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    Good to hear from you Steve.
    I really like my 14.5 and rarely use my 18.5 now days.

    The inside heat deflector is not really needed, and will give a little more room for ash.
    I think the added stainless wire is not letting the ashes fall through very well.
    I would only use it with lump, and lump will produce much less ash.

  3. #3
    TVWBB Diamond Member
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    Hi Bob---thanks for the words of wisdom. Despite having been a devoted Kingsford user, I had considered the move to lump based on what I had read before my purchase.
    Thanks for your wisdom! I can't wait to get two butts smoking.

    What is your experience with lump and two butts? How long a cook can you reliably get?
    Peach Kissed Q

  4. #4
    TVWBB Pro Dustin Flavell's Avatar
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    Steve,
    I did pull the internal heat shield out of mine and it did help with ash. This is what I did with the heat shield: https://tvwbb.com/showthread.php?639...al+heat+shield

    I donít use lump, only KBB in my 14.5. I load it up to the brim, pull out 10-12 briquettes from the center and light those. With the heat shield out I can get about 9 hours at 275-300*.

    I have all three sizes and the 14 gets the most use hands down.

  5. #5
    TVWBB Fan
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    I like my little 14.5 WSM
    I still use the heat shield. It doesn't take up much space and it was there.
    Whether it does help as a heat shield, I don't even know. My WSM stands on the grass, and the grass doesn't burn, so I suppose it does.
    It also collects most of the grease when I cook without a waterpan and it's easier to clean than the whole bottom section, so I keep it in.
    For what it's worth: I use lump charcoal that we buy on the side of the road

  6. #6
    TVWBB Diamond Member
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    Wow-you buy lump on the side of the road!
    I find smoke wood like peach off the road at orchards.
    Its interesting that you cook without a water pan and drip on the fire, a few people seem to like that too.
    Peach Kissed Q

  7. #7
    TVWBB Diamond Member
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    First cook report:
    5lb. chicken on top...cooked 3 1/2 hours at 275*
    8lb. butt on the bottom, then moved to top grate. Cooked at 250* for the balance a of 9 hours.
    Foiled butt and finished in oven at 300*---it was getting dark and just easier to go to the oven.

    I'm very impressed with the ease of use of the 14.5.
    I really like the light weight.'
    Miserly fuel use is a big benefit over time.

    For those who like to set and forget, I had two surprises.
    #1 charcoal door fell open in first 30 min of the cook. I believe thats operator error!

    #2 the dish the chicken was in shifted and the top grate tilted til the chicken rested against the cooker on an angle.
    My guess is the black lab got a nose full with the door open and nudged the cooker, shifting the chicken...

    I am pleased I bought the 14.5- a nice cooker for a few ppl
    Peach Kissed Q

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