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Thread: First cook with the 18 WSM

  1. #1
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    First cook with the 18 WSM

    beauty day - no wind , clear skies temp of 26C (79F)

    being a novice at the WSM I went with tried and true - BB ribs from Costco, Memphis Dust Rub, few chunks of maple ( how Canadian eh - I've got more maple than I know what to do with) and Franklin's Regular BBQ Sauce.

    Foiled the water pan and filled up with warm H2O - probably 4 liters .

    Did the doughnut start, filled ring with Kingsford original charcoal, added 15 lit briquettes assembled and waited for temps to hit 240 or so. . Huge caveat , only had dome thermometer to work with. New digital is being considered.


    Did 2.5 then 1.5 foil (with honey, brown sugar and apple juice) then 1 hour with saucing near the end. W.A.F. very high

    BUT..to me it was a bit mushy..and I thought I used way to much charcoal for a 5 hour cook

    So two thoughts ..

    1. need a digital probe tout suit
    2. water sure eats up the BTU's. Had it running with all three vents open (top was always open) and until the water level dropped could hardly get into the "smoke" range.

    next attempt Ill do the exact same thing except run it dry - maybe add sand or a terra cotta saucer to the bowl.

    Any other suggestions?

    tks all

  2. #2
    TVWBB Guru Pat G's Avatar
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    BB's usually don't need 5 hours to cook. I just started cooking them at 300 and they are done in 3 hours. I really like the way they turn out with the higher heat. I have never used water in my WSM. I have had a 14 and recently bought an 18 and love the space and temp control on the 18. Definitely get a digital temp probe, Thermoworks Smoke would be my recommendation. Hang in there, you will LOVE that 18WSM.
    Performer Deluxe(Copper) Genesis Gold B(Redhead) 18WSM 14WSM 26 OTG 22 OTG JJ Q1200 Gas & Charcoal Go Anywhere, Vortex, Kettle Pizza, Smoke

  3. #3
    TVWBB Diamond Member Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    I was given a 22” WSM but, my go to is my 18.
    Like Pat I don’t water, I do use the foiled terra-cotta saucer, every cook from the day I started has been better than the previous! You will enjoy the ride! Suggest getting a couple of butts for “practice” they are most forgiving and there is no such thing as “bad” barbecue, some is just better than others.
    I like my (-$40) Thermpro with the remote read out. I can put it by the bed and if I wake up on the middle of a long cook, it’s easy to see what is going on in the pit.
    I’ve had it two years, I did get a set of extra probes (free) just to be safe.
    Have a ball!
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease too big a skillet!" J. D. Clampett

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys..going to run it "dry" next time for sure. Should have a probe by next week

  5. #5
    TVWBB Wizard Ron G.'s Avatar
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    Sorta' sounds like you used time / technique normally for SPARES with BBs = over-cooked?

    I did pretty much exactly like you did with some spares and they turned-out DEE-Lish!

    For LONG cooks, I would STILL use the water pan until you get a few cooks under yer' belt - the WSM was "Enginerded" to work optimally with water, at least for long cooks it will help to keep the temperature from spiking.

    Baby Backs seem to render-out significantly quicker (probably would have done 1-1-and 1)
    Performer (Copper) 2015 / 18.5" WSM 2008 / Weber Spirit 700-LP 1995ish

  6. #6
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    You shouldn't need a full ring of charcoal for a five hour cook. Half a ring, tops.

    The digital probe is a nice addition and makes things more convenient if you get one with a remote, but it's not essential. Get it if it doesn't put a dent in the budget but it's really just a nice-to-have. Lots and lots of good BBQ has been made without one.

    As the others have said, five hours is probably too long for baby backs. I normally do spares and that's a bit long even for those. Each piece of meat is slightly different so you really need to learn to go more by feel than by time or temp.

    You also want to rest the meat after it's finished cooking. First, let it sit out uncovered until the internal temp has dropped below 180F. If you don't do this the meat can continue cooking long after you've pulled it from the smoker. Under the right conditions it can turn your perfectly cooked meat into total mush. (This is the voice of experience.) Once the internal temp is clearly on a downward trend, wrap/cover and let it sit a while longer. Larger pieces of meat, like pork shoulder or brisket, can be held at a decent serving temp for hours after cooking if wrapped in foil and placed in a good cooler. Ribs aren't remotely as dense so you're going to want to serve them shortly after the internal temp stops rising.

    If you've got the bottom vents all open and still can't hit the temp you want, try cracking the top lid a bit. A couple times I've put mine just a bit askew, with the lip riding up over one edge just a bit. This allows for a lot more air flow. You can also put a chopstick or something like that under part of the lid to lift it up. Some people prefer cracking the side door open a bit.

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