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Thread: Briquette Time

  1. #1
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    Briquette Time

    Hey all, new to the forums. Been smoking for several years, but have just recently started questioning the length of time my briquettes last.

    If I'm doing a longer smoke like a pork shoulder, I usually put it on right before I go to bed at night. Let's assume I sleep for 7 hours and check it. Usually, the coals are pretty much entirely burnt out (I have a WSM 22-inch). I use the minion method for this type of smoke. It just seems like I should get more time from the coals (I use regular Kingsford blue bag). Am I not getting the vents right? I usually leave the top vent wide open, 2 of the 3 bottom vents closed, and one about half open.

    Any advice? Thanks!

  2. #2
    TVWBB Emerald Member Dustin Dorsey's Avatar
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    How big is the bag you are using? I usually pour in a whole 18.6 lb bag. Do you know what temp you're cooking at? With mine, those setting could run fairly hot. Generally though I've never had trouble getting a full cook of a butt or brisket with a whole bag unless I just have particularly bad weather, and then I might add some.
    22.5 WSM, 22.5 OTS, Smokey Joe, Genesis 1000, Smokenator 1000, Old Country Pecos, Thermapen, Smoke, Maverick ET-732, Igrill 2

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    Thanks for the reply!

    Funny you should ask about the temp. The bi-metal thermometer in the lid (I know, not very accurate), stopped working completely fairly recently. I relied on it previously and I always seemed to get the temp I wanted (225-250) with the vents that way (top open, 2 on the bottom closed, one on the bottom half open). However, if it had always been wrong from day 1, I suppose I could've been smoking at 325 and not known it. I guess the real answer is to get a new dual-probe thermometer. In the mean time, I'll try closing the top vent a bit. It's just helpful to know that I should definitely be getting more than 6-7 hours. I typically fill up the whole charcoal ring, which takes about 2/3 or 3/4 of the 18-lb bag. I think to get the whole bag in there, I'd have to remove the ring.

  4. #4
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    I would get a good remote thermometer. Should never have to close the top vent.

  5. #5
    TVWBB Emerald Member Dustin Dorsey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GWillms View Post
    Thanks for the reply!

    Funny you should ask about the temp. The bi-metal thermometer in the lid (I know, not very accurate), stopped working completely fairly recently. I relied on it previously and I always seemed to get the temp I wanted (225-250) with the vents that way (top open, 2 on the bottom closed, one on the bottom half open). However, if it had always been wrong from day 1, I suppose I could've been smoking at 325 and not known it. I guess the real answer is to get a new dual-probe thermometer. In the mean time, I'll try closing the top vent a bit. It's just helpful to know that I should definitely be getting more than 6-7 hours. I typically fill up the whole charcoal ring, which takes about 2/3 or 3/4 of the 18-lb bag. I think to get the whole bag in there, I'd have to remove the ring.
    I get the whole bag in, minus about the 12 or 20 I light. It does mound up over the edges of the ring. I think make a crater in the center and put my lit coals there. There are lots of ways of doing it though, that all pretty much do the same thing.
    22.5 WSM, 22.5 OTS, Smokey Joe, Genesis 1000, Smokenator 1000, Old Country Pecos, Thermapen, Smoke, Maverick ET-732, Igrill 2

  6. #6
    TVWBB Pro BFletcher's Avatar
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    If I fill my WSM 22 flush with KBB (which for me is somewhat less than an 18.6 lb bag) I get several hours more than 7 hours. Typically, I keep each of the three intake vents open by a sliver and I use a foiled, dry water pan when doing smokes in the 250-280 range. I normally start with 8-12 lit coals. I also usually load the charcoal chamber by scooping handfuls of charcoal into the ring and try to keep them relatively tightly compacted (IMO I think I get better results doing this rather than simply inverting the bag and dumping it in). I do not have any gaskets installed and each of my WSM's leak a little differently but in my uneducated opinion I just use those leaks as part of the equation for how to adjust my vents since I don't think these units are intended to be completely airtight. I do, however, smoke in an area that is protected from the elements (including wind).

    On my WSM 14 I have not had success getting extremely long burn times that I've read others here achieve but I have not yet driven myself crazy trying to accomplish that; right now, I'm just using if for smokes that take fewer than 5 hours (or high heat usage such as Tri-Tip, etc.)
    Last edited by BFletcher; 05-11-2018 at 06:43 AM.

  7. #7
    TVWBB Emerald Member Dustin Dorsey's Avatar
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    I just did a brisket cook this weekend. I ran a dry foiled pan and ran for about 16 hours at 250 or so. I did use the whole bag. I haven't checked to see how much charcoal I have left. I'm not counting on much. It seems like I used to get longer runs out of the old KBB formulation, but this works for me regardless. I stock up on KBB during the sales.
    22.5 WSM, 22.5 OTS, Smokey Joe, Genesis 1000, Smokenator 1000, Old Country Pecos, Thermapen, Smoke, Maverick ET-732, Igrill 2

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    TVWBB Hall of Fame timothy's Avatar
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    If you use the water the big boy WSM is gonna suck up alot of fuel.
    Temps on the built in thermo are only a guideline. Trust your own judgment, and pay attention to the color, feel of the meat cause like you said you could have been running hotter .

    Tim
    Different smokes for different folks. Wish the Dollar Store sold gas!

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