22.5" too hot if you fill up the ring...


John Moncrief

New member
I bought a 22.5" thinking bigger was better but it seems most instructions apply to the 18.5". I gave it and myself a big test on Labor Day. I smoked an 8lb Boston butt an 10lb brisket (before trimming) together. I followed the minion idea to fill the ring with briquets and dump a chimney of hot coals on top. That's a lot of charcoal. I put the two cuts on the top grate at 2:25am. Very soon the heat was close to 300. I closed all of the bottom vents. I monitored with the cover thermometer and a Maverick oven thermometer (with a meat probe that did not work). The cover thermometer showed below 250. The Maverick showed 275. With all the vents but the top one closed, I could not bring it down. Around 11am, using a fork thermometer, I could see the meat was almost done. I ran out and bought a cooler, heated a brick .. put it in the cooler wrapped in towels. Wrapped the meat in foil (around 11:30) and crossed my fingers. At 4:30pm took out the meat. It was still warm. Thought the two cuts were dry in parts but they were definitely edible. Many compliments on the pork (honest, I hope) some on the brisket too. I regret not warming them a little in the oven. I say that because the next day I had leftover brisket heated up. It was still juicy and quite delicious. Reminded me of pastrami or corned beef. That's my story. It was nice of to be able to fit both cuts on the top but I think temperature control is probably more difficult for the 22.5 than the 18.5. Next time I think I should not fill the ring to the top for the minion method or not a full chimney of hot coals??
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Rick Body

I have an 18 and not a 22, but a whole chimney of lit coals sounds like a lot. I don't even use that much in the kettle for direct cooking. Even with the 22, I think you could get away with 20 lit coals on top of the unlit. I am down to starting with around 15, and just let the temp come up slowly

The amount of charcoal you put in the ring only changes how long of a burn you can get. You will get used to how much you need, but if you fill it up every time, you can always shut down all the vents when you are done cooking and the fire will go out and you can reuse the unlit

Also you didn't say if you were using water in the pan or a heat sink like a saucer. If you try everything and you still cant get the temps down, use some water, it will absorb heat.

Btw, I smoke all my meats, ribs and butts at around 265-275 and don't have a problem.

....and welcome to the forum ;)
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Tony R

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I would fill the charcoal ring. What ever is not used and be used on your next cook or use to grill. Use half a chimney full of hot coals next time. :wsm:

Alan Soden

I have the 22.5, wrestled with whether I should have gotten the 18.5, but not anymore.
Started with water, switched to foiled clay saucer in the water pan.
Got a Cajun Bandit door and the nomex gasket kit.
Cooked on it enough to gunk it up and now - I'm thrilled I got the 22.5.
It started out a total charcoal hog and hard to control, but now it's a miser and I can hold 221 to 223 for hours without touching it.
At first, after the cook with all the vents closed it would still burn through all the coal I put in it.
Now they go out and leave plenty for the next cook!
I usually start with about a half chimney.

Dwain Pannell

TVWBB Hall of Fame
You said it and I agree: you should "not [use] a full chimney of hot coals".

Also, if your bottom vents are closed or near closed, and you're still not low enough, don't be affraid to use your top vent (not more than 50% closed). It has to be open more than the bottom to maintain a chimney effect but you can get very precise if you'll use it.


I fill the ring each time and use any leftover for next time. I only put enough coals in my chimney to just cover the bottom over the little dome inside of it, maybe 20% filled, if that much. Pour it on top of ring, scattered all over. I let all vents stay open until I reach25-35 degrees from my target and then shut down one, 1/2 the other two, and when 10-15 from target shut down one, and leave last one about 1/4 to 1/3 open. Usually, don't have to do much else........................d

Brian Green

New member
What Dwain and David said...

I did a couple of 5.5 lb pork shoulders yesterday - full ring with a half chimney of lit using coffee can minion method to light. Held temp at 225-250 for the entire cook with only one vent open less than halfway and top vent wide open. It doesn't take much lit to get to temperature and very little maintenance to keep it within range.

RJ Banks

TVWBB All-Star
I have a 22.5. The first few times it did seem to eat through charcoal, now it is rock steady for long periods. I filled the ring Sunday morning with a whole bag of Stubb's natural charcoal. I lit 15-20 briquettes in a chimney started and spread out over the top. Let it run for about an hour with the vents fully open. At that time I reduced the bottom vents to two closed completely and the third about half open. The temp was about 280 at that time. I placed two 7.5 lb pork butts on and cooked them for 10 1/2 hours until they reached 195. During that time the smoker temp stayed between 237 and 249 with very minimal adjustments for wind.

After it was done I closed all the vents and let it burn itself out. Today I removed the middle section and was shocked at how much charcoal was left. It was still 3/4 full and the majority of that didn't appear to have been burned at all. I was able to use that charcoal today to smoke four racks of beef ribs and Italian sausages. After dinner, I put two packages of butcher cut bacon on and smoked that. Closed all the vents to kill the fire. I did open the door and found about one layer of charcoal left.

Just let it gunk up and you will be pleased that you got the 22.5.

John Moncrief

New member
Thank you Thank you fellow forum posters. Very valuable information. I am encouraged. And Rick Body, I did fill up the water bowl.
1/3 to 1/2 of a chimney of lit coals using the minion method is about the right amount for my 22. My experience is you will need a full ring to be able to finish that much meat without refueling. I picked up here on this forum a great tip I would like to share with you. When you hit about 200 on lid temp close 2 of the 3 bottom vents completely and use the remaining one open vent (away from any prevailing breeze) to adjust for desired temp. My cooking temps are much more stable than they used to be than trying to adjust all three. Good luck and enjoy.

Chad Bman

TVWBB All-Star
I followed the minion idea to fill the ring with briquets and dump a chimney of hot coals on top.
What Minion Method did you read where a chimney of hot coals goes on top? Seriously, I use like 15 briquets and use the "tin-can" Minion Method.
Do a search for the tin can method and give that a try. It'll force you to use a small amount of lit charcoal, unless your tin can is a 5 gallon bucket. lol

I think temperature control is probably more difficult for the 22.5 than the 18.5
And you're basing this off of one cook with a poorly executed fire?
If the 18.5 were easier to use & maintain temp control, that fact would have ran rampant in the countless threads of "What should I purchase, the 22 or 18 WSM?"
Not trying to throw you under the bus, but that thinking is simply not true.