Charcoal Temperature

Aidan Gallagher

New member
I tried the Herb Crusted Prime Rib recipe as our first WSM BBQ on Saturday. Turned out well but had to cook for a lot longer to get the meat to the right temperature. The recipe says to use Kingsford charcoal but we only had Weber Briquettes. The temperature initially went up over 370F but quickly settled back to c270F. The recipe says to keep the temperature around 360f for the entire cooking period but we averaged around 270F with all vents fully open. We could get the temp higher for short periods by adding some old unused cedar wood tiles. Would the temperature problem just be down to different coals or are we doing something else wrong?

Lew Newby

TVWBB All-Star
Aidan, welcome to the forum. Short answer to your questions - no and maybe. :wsm: That big of a difference is rarely the charcoal used. KBB and Weber are both good charcoal. A tad more info please. Did you have water in the water pan? If yes, you had no chance of maintaining 350. Did you use a full chimney of lit charcoal to start your cook? If you used the Minion Method with 20 lit coals (I'm assuming Dublin is chilly now) that makes it harder to get to 350.

AND - congrats on a successful cook.


TVWBB Super Fan
You needed more air to get to your temp. How did the cedar wood taste? I have two vents in the lid and put a set of machine screws in the aluminum door so I can prop it open. With a full water pan, both vents open and the door propped open I can still hit 350-375 with a hard rolling boil in the water pan.

I prefer to do my prime ribs slow and low. Shoot for 225 for around 4 to 5 hrs depending on the size and temp that the smoker is running at.

Aidan Gallagher

New member
So - had foil on both the bottom and inside water pan but no water. Used one full Weber Rapidfire to light up, put that in the WSM when fully lighting and added a full Rapidfire of unlit coals. When they were all fully lit I added the foiled water pan etc. and started cooking. When I put the lid on it shot up to the highest temp for about 10 mins and then quickly reduced to 275F. Air temperature was c60F

Aidan Gallagher

New member
I think your longer slower time would be easier to manage - it was just that the recipe on the site had the higher temp/quicker time. I really only used the cedar to try and get the temperature up because we had people waiting. To be honest its hard to know where the flavours were coming from - the herb crust or the cedar! I will know when I try it again.

Lynn Dollar

TVWBB All-Star
What temp gauge were you using ? The analog dome gauge or a digital probe at grill level ?

Those analog dome gauges can be unreliable, though that is a big swing in temps.

Aidan Gallagher

New member
This was the recipe:
Prime Rib - Herb Crusted

Buy the small end (ribs 10-12) of a USDA Prime standing rib roast.
Have the butcher tie the roast, or tie it yourself at each bone.
Leave the bones intact for better moisture retention and flavor.
Apply herb paste and allow roast to sit at room temperature for two hours before cooking.
Smoke at 325-350°F.
Remove from cooker 5-10°F below the final internal temperature desired.
Cover loosely with foil and let rest 30 minutes before carving.

Aidan Gallagher

New member
The dome guage to measure the cooking temperature - and the WSM is brand new so first time using it. I had a separate probe for measuring the meat temperature.

Bob Bass

And, the Dome Gauge will read lower than the cooking grate(s) temperature IF there's no water in the bowl AND there's cold meat on the grill(s). How much lower depends upon how much colder the meat is.
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Lew Newby

TVWBB All-Star
I think JBooker covered the one thing you didn't have enough of to hit and hold 350° - air. Some folks turn the lid upside down and the prop it open to get more airflow. It works.


TVWBB Hall of Fame
What size WSM?
I know my 18.5" is easier to get higher temps then my 22.5"
Flipping the door works if you don't have an arched opening.
I like to use something to prop the lid open ( it's easier)

But you got to watch it because the temps will quickly rise.

Cooking temps I like reading at the top vent with a turkey fryer therm.

That reads the exhaust temps and it's not affected by the amount of cold meat like a static lid mounted therm ( I have a Tel Tru on the other side and they never match until well on into a cook )