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Thread: Can gasket make WSM22 TOO air sealed?

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Savoy, IL

    Can gasket make WSM22 TOO air sealed?

    Ever since I installed the gasket on my WSM22 on the door and both ends of the center barrel, I feel I've had a lot of difficulty getting my smoker to run hot enough. Case in point was last week's Thanksgiving turkey.

    It was chilly during the morning so I lit a full chimney or KBB and got it piping hot. Dumped it on the WSM grate and then added another full unlit chimney of KBB. I let all the charcoal get lit, threw on a couple hunks of apple wood and oak, and assembled the WSM. The grate probe quickly shot to about 290° but then lowered itself to about 225°. After it sat there a while, I disassembled the smoker, let the coals breathe a bit, and gave them a little stir. Reassembled and temps went to about 260. It held there for quite a while so I thought maybe the cold and a little wind just required a bit more juice. So I lit another full chimney of KBB and dumped it in. The grate probe again immediately shot up to about 295-300 and then settled back down to about 265. I couldn't wait any longer so I had to throw the turkey on at that point.

    For about 90 minutes, the temp held rock steady between 265-270, and while I was pleased it was holding a temperature nicely, I felt it should have been MUCH higher with all bottom vents and the top vent running wide open. In a last ditch attempt, I did something I've never done before by opening the access door and trying wedge it a bit to allow more air in. The temp rose fairly quickly up to about 300, which was better but still not where I wanted. As the turkey temp was rising nicely, I wasn't terrible concerned and figured that would be good enough.

    A short time later, I was watching the grate temp from inside and saw it had suddenly jumped to 335°. When I went out to spray the turkey one last time, I noticed the door (that I thought I had wedged in well enough) had fallen off completely and was lying on the ground. I could see the coals were now all fully engaged and red hot. "About d*** time," I thought!!

    In the end, the turkey was done right on time and tasted delicious, but with the lower cook temps, the skin never got crispy and was pretty chewy. Not the end of the world, but a touch disappointing nonetheless.

    So this whole story is just a set up for my question.... is it possible that the gasket on my WSM22 has sealed up TOO much and there simply isn't enough air getting to my coals? It seems I've had problems getting high temps ever since I installed the gasket earlier this year. I don't ever use water in the pan so it's not losing heat there. I am planning to buy a Fireboard with Drive and a Pit Viper so I can control temps easier (and make overnight smokes much easier to sleep through), so I'm really hoping having a system pushing in additional air will help.

    Has anyone else ever had a problem like this?

  2. #2
    TVWBB Platinum Member Dustin Dorsey's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Burkburnett, TX
    I think you're on to something. I have a harder time with reaching higher temps after installing the gasket. That's fine though. My reason for doing it was to have more control at lower temperatures. One way to cheat the system is to stick a skewer under the lid as Dwain Pannell suggests. This suggests that having more exhaust would help. I know some people have gone as far as to install another top vent. I don't know if that's answer. A blower might help get more air though the system.
    22.5 WSM, 22.5 OTS, Smokey Joe, Genesis 1000, Slow N Sear 2.0, Smokenator 1000, Old Country Pecos, Thermapen, Smoke, Maverick ET-732, Igrill 2

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