14.5 temp and heat shield


Dan A

TVWBB Member
Okay so I just completed my 6th cook on my new 14.5 wsm. I also own the wsm 22.5, but just got the 14.5 for camping and portability. I like to have water in the water pan. So far I'm finding that to keep stable temps up (250 - 275), I'm having to run the lower vents more open, to fully open. Almost as though the coal bed can't get adequate air flow. If I did that with my 22.5 or old 18.5, they would climb temp like crazy. So it got me to thinking, I wonder if the internal heat shield inside the 14.5 is causing a lack of air circulation under the coal bed? It sits pretty close to the grate. Anyone tried cooking without it? If not, I will give it a try and post my results and how hot it got underneath.
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Dwain Pannell

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I've not tried cooking without it. However, I also do not use water. Your experience and mine are opposite: I find the little man wants to take off like a rocket ship. Which for me is not as big a deal because I probably cook at higher temps than most.
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TVWBB Diamond Member
I cook without the heat shield upon occasion to increase the ash capacity for longer cooks (I put it under the smoker to protect a wood table). Haven't noticed a big difference.
I did this mod & it helps: http://tvwbb.com/showthread.php?55569-cooking-chicken-on-the-14-5/page2
My thoughts would run along the line "it's not a 22.5 so vent control may be different". You seem to be able to get the temps you want.
fwiw - I don't use water or a water pan to help control temps. & also: how much charcoal are you using? More may be better.
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Never use the heat shield. Do not use water either. And like Dwain, mine takes off like a scalded cat! (The WSM is on a concrete floor, so I'm not worried about heat transfer).

Every slow cook I use two briqs deep, & three high inside the charcoal ring. 12 lits briqs thrown in the hole in the middle. I've done an 8 hr cook this way, with some briqs left over.
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TVWBB Olympian
I wonder if the internal heat shield inside the 14.5 is causing a lack of air circulation under the coal bed? It sits pretty close to the grate..

Why does the little guy have an internal heat shield when his big brothers have an external shield mounted under the legs?
A heat shield needs an air-space and if I'm reading you right your placing the coals on the charcoal grate and the heat shield sits underneath in the charcoal bowl?


Dan A

TVWBB Member
Yeah, that's how the manual shows the heat shield placement for the 14.5. Doesn't have an external shield. I did a cook the other day without the heat shield and elevated the charcoal grate just a tiny bit and it made all the difference in the world. It run exactly like my 22.5 now and I have a much larger capacity for coal dust, which means more air for long cooks.


TVWBB Member
I pretty much solved all my heat problems by switching from briguettes to lump. I can easily maintain 350 degrees (no water pan) and can hold a steady 225 (water pan in use). The lump makes much less ash so I am only emptying every other time. High heat cooks get a skewer under the lid and all vents full open. Slow and low gets a full water pan with minion start, and once temp is reached, all bottom vents are closed 3/4. Didn't matter which briqs I used, they made a lot of ash. I did switch from Lazarri to Royal Oak lump - the pieces are much more uniform in size.

Dave Car

TVWBB Member
on my first and only cook so far i couldn't get the temp over 210. when I was done i took out the grates and water bath then put it back together empty with all the vents open to burn out the remaining charcoal. the temp flew up and pegged the thermometer in the lid.

I thought I read a thread that this is caused by over filling the charcoal so that the water bath was so close to the coals that they were slightly smothered. but i cant find that thread now. it was very full when i started and the bottom of the apple wood was basically sitting at the top of the coal ring. I feared i would run out of fire in 4 hours...probably a rookie move. I figured the temp stayed low because it was about 45 degrees out. It would be nice to know before i fire up #2.