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Thread: Questions from a Newbie

  1. #21
    New Member
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    Thanks again all!

    Taking in all of the tips, I've decided that I'm going to...

    1. Put my meat probe in from the start. That will take care of the problem that I've had with using the probe port--it was only a tricky issue because I was trying to thread the probe through at the four hour point.

    2. Keep the cooker in my garage as best I can. I wasn't aware of the issue of water running into the bottom!

    3. Try to foil for an hour next time, maybe letting it rest thirty minutes first with the foil open to reduce post-cook cooking. But this is if I can get the meat done on time! To that end, I'm going to raise my temp from 225 to 250 as soon as I'm stabilized and certain that I haven't over-shot. I also won't hesitate to push it to 275 (or higher) in the stall if I'm pressed for time.

    4. If I still have a way to go at eight hours, refuel with about 10 unlit coals.

    I think one of the reasons I've been running out of fuel is that I have been waiting to put on my meat until the initial smoke dies down and I have my temperature where I want it. But I'm going to rethink that. Seems most folks here just put the meat on right away.

    I'm still hemming and hawing on the water-in-the-pan vs. foiled saucer issue. On one hand, I'm happy with my results and temperature stability so far. On the other hand, dealing with the greasy water in the pan is messy--and it would be easier for me to take the top off the cooker to refuel if I had to if I used the saucer.

    I do keep a log--I use Evernote. And the temperature graph created by my BBQ Guru on ShareMyCook will also be a good record keeping tool.

  2. #22
    TVWBB Diamond Member Len Dennis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ Weiss View Post
    Seems most folks here just put the meat on right away.

    I'm still hemming and hawing on the water-in-the-pan vs. foiled saucer issue. On one hand, I'm happy with my results and temperature stability so far. On the other hand, dealing with the greasy water in the pan is messy--and it would be easier for me to take the top off the cooker to refuel if I had to if I used the saucer.
    If you can maintain constant temps using a foiled saucer, go for it.

    Putting the meat in immediately: I wait till it gets real close to desired temps (around 200) and then put the meat in AND the smoke wood at the same time. Start timing it when it gets to 225. As said, time is not the be all and end all: it's just a guide.

    Some wait for "blue smoke" (adding smoke wood before the meat) before putting the meat in. I've never had an issue doing it my way. Do whatever you feel comfortable with and see how it turns out.

    Really, after all is said and done it comes down to what works FOR YOU and turns out good food. That's all that matters Don't overthink the process. No fun if you do.
    So many recipes, so little time
    : Genesis gas grill 18.5" WSM Maverick ET-732 :

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ Weiss View Post
    I think one of the reasons I've been running out of fuel is that I have been waiting to put on my meat until the initial smoke dies down and I have my temperature where I want it. But I'm going to rethink that. Seems most folks here just put the meat on right away.
    If you're using KBB, most of the initial white smoke is from the KBB lighting. I have no idea why, but it gives off a lot of white smoke when first starting. This smoke can be minimized if the ignition is very slow. I suspect you get the same amount of total white smoke, but slowing the ignition spreads the smoke out over time and you don't notice it nearly as much.

    With this in mind, you can arrange the lit charcoal so it ignites new charcoal at a very slow pace. A modified Minion method has worked well for me. You can mound the lit coals in the center of the pile, minimizing the number of coals that will start igniting. An alternative is to cut the bottom out of a tin can so you have an open tube. Put the can in the center of the charcoal grate and pile unlit charcoal around it. Dump you lit coals in the can, then use pliers to pull the can out, leaving behind a column of lit coals. Now you have fire in one spot that will slowly spread from there to the ring. This method works well if you want low heat to start and then want to finish with higher heat as the mass of lit charcoal will rise until near the very end.

    The point here is you can put the meat on very early and still avoid that initial white smoke if you plan the progression of your fire.

    I'm not sure how well this will work with the BBQ Guru. Since all the fresh air is coming from one direction the fire will likely burn faster in that direction. It still should end up with less charcoal lit over time.

  4. #24
    TVWBB Super Fan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Dennis View Post
    Hi and you'll do great!

    Two things: you're using too much lit briq/charcoal. Fill the bowl up to say 3/4 to 7/8. Only use about 12-15 briquettes in the starter. You use too many you run the risk of getting too high a temp at the start (ie :runaway heat). Very hard to lower temps at that point. It's easier to raise than lower.
    Is there a good rule for how many briquettes to use in the starter, vs. how long the cook is expected to be?

    Such as use 12-15 in the starter if the cook is expected to be X hours, and use another amount if it's supposed to be Y hours.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ Weiss View Post

    Now...back to that Guru. To make a long story short, the BBQ Guru customer service is excellent and the problem ended up being my router. I'll spare you the gory details, but the important part is that their support rep stuck with me through a number of various attempts to get it working over several days. Eventually, it was discovered that the Guru would only work if its was connected to my guest network, as opposed to my primary network. Go figure.
    Lol. That doesn't make sense, but glad you found a solution.

  6. #26
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    This was a good thread with lots of good questions and answers.

    I put my probe in at the beginning.

    I use the supplied cover when the WSM is not in use. I think it does a good job protecting against the rain. It is a little tight and sometimes takes a little bit of care to make sure it's pulled all the way down. But still not too bad, and I can do it in < a minute.

    I also do have a tent canopy that I put up in 2016. But within a year, it started to develop holes, and at about 1.5 years, there were major holes. The rain still doesn't appear to fall onto the WSM, just on the edges of the canopy. At some point I want to replace it with a sturdier structure, maybe this year, maybe next year. I will see.

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