Beginner Using New 14.5" WSM. Any tips or recipes?


 

Danny C's

New member
I had long wanted to make my own bbq and recently took the plunge and bought a 14.5" WSM. I've done 3 cooks so far (pork shoulder, baby back ribs, and beer can chicken) and while everything has been pretty tasty, I know there's a ton of room for improvement.

Most of the recipes I come across have specific instructions for how much charcoal to use and how long to cook on an 18.5" WSM. I'm never quite sure how much charcoal to use in mine, and think sometimes I've used too much leading to the coals being to close to the water pan thus getting smothered or too much ash builds up under the grate and the fire suffocates.

I'm hoping some seasoned vets might have some tips and advice on how to adjust recipes to the 14.5" WSM and any other General tips or advice for a beginner on the 14.5" (for example, is it possible to make a good brisket on it given the size constraints?)

Any advice or comments for a newbie like me are greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Dan
 

Bob Ivey

TVWBB Emerald Member
Can't help since my WSM is a 22 but I did want to welcome you to this wonderful forum. It is a great place to learn and to contribute. Congrats on that new WSM.
 

Chris Conro

TVWBB Fan
Welcome to the forum and congrats on a fine smoker. The smaller 14.5 will definitely require a little less charcoal than the larger smokers to maintain the same temps. And loading it with the number of briqs for the 18.5 would probably overfill the charcoal ring and lead to a mound that's near touching the water pan. Cooking BBQ is more about checking the temp and doneness of the meat than following a timed recipe, so it is something that will become more familiar and instinctive with practice. Consider taking some notes during each cook, or even starting a cooking log. You can record what you did on one cook, evaluate the result, and make comments on what to adjust for the next time.

Glad to have you here!
 

Matt H.

TVWBB Super Fan
I've never noticed a problem if my coals are touching the water pan. Certainly haven't noticed it smothers anything. it cooks down pretty quickly after lightning anyway
 
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Dan A

TVWBB Member
I've never noticed a problem if my coals are touching the water pan. Certainly haven't noticed it smothers anything. it cooks down pretty quickly after lightning anyway

On my old 18.5 I used to swear that if I stacked the coals to high it would smother the coals. However on my 22.5 and 14.5 the water pans are much more shallow and no matter how high I stack the coals they don't come anywhere close.
 

Dwain Pannell

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I have the 14.5" and have had the same great success with it that I've had with my 22.5" WSM.

I recommend Weber.com, the cookbook Weber Smoke, and virtualweberbullet.com as well as others. You'll find great recipes for your new smoker.

If you maintain the temps in a given recipe there will be no adjust required for the smaller smoker.

I hope this helps.
 

Keith R

TVWBB Fan
I have the 14.5" and have had the same great success with it that I've had with my 22.5" WSM.

I recommend Weber.com, the cookbook Weber Smoke, and TVWB.com as well as others. You'll find great recipes for your new smoker.

If you maintain the temps in a given recipe there will be no adjust required for the smaller smoker.

I hope this helps.

many of these are available from the library if you want to check them out and see which ones you like...

having said that, this one is one of my favorites of the bunch
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1770500383/tvwb-20?tag=TVWB-20
 

LinBerl

TVWBB Member
My 14.5" was my first smoker, although I have a weber kettle. It took maybe 10 smokes or so before the thing was seasoned and a nice layer of gunk sealed the lid/door really well. Temp control became rock steady after that, whereas there were lots of fluctuations before and I was constantly having to watch it and tweak it. Now I can set the vents and forget it pretty much and the temp holds very steady. Chicken needs very high heat so I learned to prop the lid open a bit with a skewer (thanks to this forum). I also leave out the water bowl on chicken. Ribs and other low heat cooks I use the water bowl, sometimes dry and sometimes with water. I use to foil it but it actually cleans up very easily. I bought a couple books but actually, if you search what you want to cook here, you will find the very best suggestions and advice. I've learned a lot from reading the posts on this forum. If you don't have a temp gauge, you should get one. I have the DOT which is fairly inexpensive, but you want something you can leave in the protein to alert you to done temps. The gauge on the lid is not accurate. Congrats on your purchase - you will love it! I've had a blast with mine =)
 

Danny C's

New member
Thanks so much for your comments and encouragement. Poking around on this forum was incredibly helpful in ultimately deciding to buy my WSM and everything I've done with it since. Did the basic baby back ribs from the main site again yesterday and they were significantly improved over my first try. I'm very happy to be a part of this community and excited for my cooks to continue improving. Feel free to continue adding any comments or tips.

Thanks!
Dan
 

Rich Dahl

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
First of all welcome to the forum Danny. The tip I have is keep a journal of your cooks. At the end put what worked what didn't and what you might change next time, it will help you tweak your cooks to get the results of what you want. It's hard to remember what you did to that last pork butt when you're doing your next one a month later.
 

TonyUK

TVWBB Guru
Hi Danny, & welcome. With regards to how much fuel to use. I always fill the fire-ring right up with unlit briqs. Then remove 10-12 briqs and fire them up & then add back into the fire-ring. I've had no problem getting 12hrs cook time on my 14.5" this way @ +/-230*-250*. (I always use an empty, foiled water pan).

Once you have finished cooking, you can snuff the fire & use any un-used briqs in the next cook. Hope this helps.
 

Matt Rector

TVWBB Pro
Welcome Danny, your Brisket just has to fit and it will cook just fine on your 14.5". I'm just guessing, but I don't think this is going to be your last weber product purchase!
 

Myk McCormick

TVWBB Member
I've heard a lot of smokers use the "fill-it, snuff-it, reuse-it" method. But if your next smoke isn't till a month or more down the road, isn't the half-burnt charcoal bad to use?
 

LinBerl

TVWBB Member
I don't know the answer to that, but seriously - you're gonna get hooked and it won't be a month or more between cooks! Even if you don't want to, your friends and family will bug you to get smokin'. I fire mine up every weekend and cook stuff to have during the week. The only caveat I have about reusing coal/lump is make sure it doesn't get damp, and leave the vents open after it snuffs out. Oh, wait, gotta go, I hear my neighbors chanting "ribs ribs ribs" in my driveway :p
 

LinBerl

TVWBB Member
How long for a spatchcock chicken on top rack with no water pan in 14.5?

I like to do chicken around 350 degrees, and my spatchcock never goes over an hour. I usually set my temp alarm for 160 because I finish off the skin directly over the coals.
 

TonyUK

TVWBB Guru
14.5 WSM Tip.

I know this might be trying to teach a lot of people here to suck eggs, but I discovered something today whilst using my 14.5 WSM.

Got up early to smoke a 6lb rolled pork shoulder. Set up as usual utilising the tin-can Minion. However, I had quite a bit drink to last night, and wasn't really 'firing on all six'. I didn't fill up the fire ring to the top as I normally do. For some reason two hours later I opened up the door to have a look-see, (something I never normally do), and saw that I needed to add more briqs. No probs. Grate temp was sitting pretty at 260[SUP]o[/SUP]f.

I opened the door and added about 15 more unlit briqs. As expected, I saw the grate temp take a dip to about 240[SUP]o[/SUP]f after letting out all that heat. However, after closing the door the grate temp continued to drop, this time to 228[SUP]o[/SUP]f. I thought about giving the tyres a kick to shuffle things around, adjust the vents, then had a Eureka moment. The reason the temp continued to drop after the door was closed is that the new unlit briqs were also absorbing some of the heat getting up to temp. And right enough, about 10 mins later grate temp started to climb. I am now back at 255[SUP]o[/SUP]f. I did not adjust the bottom vents at all.

I guess the reason for this post is to hopefully help new WSM users that when you add unlit briqs, wait about 45 mins for things to settle down, & there is no need to mess with the vents.
 
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