High Altitude Mods

I have a new 22" WSM and have done about a dozen cooks on it. I live at 5000' altitude and I find it can be difficult to get the cooker up to 275 degrees. I usually have to keep all three bottom vents open and crack the door an inch or so to keep the temps up. I use Kingsford Blue charcoal in the cooker.

Any ideas on what I can do to keep the temps up? I was thinking about getting the Cajun Bandit door for it but that may not be a good idea if I have to keep the door open to keep the temps up.

Thanks for any advice you can offer.


TVWBB Wizard
Stewart add a 2nd vent to the lid, this will create more airflow thru your fire creating more heat.

Shawn W

TVWBB Emerald Member
If you are using water try running waterless with loose crumpled foil in the pan covered by a top covering layer of foil that you change every cook. if you are having trouble getting the temp you want dont use the water heatsink.

Mike Willis

TVWBB All-Star
I'm with Shawn W on this. I live at 5000' also and I foil the empty water pan. I do high heat butts and my 18.5" WSM cruises along at 350 degrees.

By going waterless, you should be able to shut down your vents to maintain your 275 degree target.
Sorry. I should have said in the original post that I don't use water in the pan. If I still have trouble I will try adding another vent to the lid.

Dave from Denver

TVWBB Wizard
Stewart, I live in Golden which is a bit higher than Fort Collins I believe. If I want high heat I just offset the lid a quarter inch, it has a similar effect that adding an additional vent would have.


Dave Russell

TVWBB Honor Circle
It's obviously more expensive, but given a try, you might fall in love with Kingsford Competition.

It consistently burns a good bit hotter than other briqs I've tried, including Stubbs. You won't miss that Kbb smell or flavor, either, trust me.


TVWBB Hall of Fame
I do what Dave does just crack the lid with a metal spatula. Watch it tho the temps will climb quickly in 10 mins IME.
Bryan S clued me in on this method.



TVWBB Hall of Fame
I remember that 3-eyed monster LOL. that was an inspiration for some to use a spare charcoal bowl as a lid for the HH.
Glad to see ya back Shawn!


Shawn W

TVWBB Emerald Member
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by timothy:
I remember that 3-eyed monster LOL.
Tim </div></BLOCKQUOTE> Don't talk about my baby that way.
Yeah, here's the deal. Nothing works at high altitude without modifying it.
I live at 8500 ft. Didn't even waste my time or money on a high priced unit.
Found a leftover smoker at Wal-Mart for $30. Now for that price no worries about modifying it.
I drilled a hole in the fire pan an installed an air diffuser which I attach to an air compressor.
Regulated to about 3-4 psi I can hold 250 deg all day.