Long Cook

M Raven

New member
I can't get more than a 7-hour cook out of my 18 1/2 WSM to save my life. I've tried every method that I've read about, what could I be doing wrong? I've been doing minion method for lighting, I monitor my temps, I've tried with water and without water, nothing ever changes. Help! I'm ready to quit

J Grotz

TVWBB All-Star
More information would be a huge help. What charcoal are you using? Are you filling the charcoal ring full so that there is a mound of coals that sticks up above the top of the ring? How many coals are you using to start by the Minion method? What temperature are you running in your WSM? How stable are the temps, do you get temperature spikes? What's the weather there in MN when you are cooking?


TVWBB Gold Member
Have you tried using the side light method for starting?

Also as mentioned above more info on type of fuel, temps you are running, etc.

I can get 8-10 hours out of my 14.5" and when I had my 18.5" the longest smoke I ever got was 18 hours @ 225°.


As others have said, give us some more information.

I have an 18.5 and get 10 hours at 250-270F out of a 3/4 ring using minion and a 20 coal chimney. Bear in mind that I live in Arizona and my daytime temps are usually in the 80s or 90s lately. If I load it to the top of the ring I can easily go over 12 hours for a brisket. Vents usually between 25% to 50% open.

Lew Newby

TVWBB Wizard
First, welcome to the Forum. What charcoal are you using and what temp are you cooking at would sure help a lot. When my 18.5 was 3 months old I got 16 hours cooking at 225° on an 85 degree day, with plain old Kingsford charcoal, and no water. Your results are less than what I get with my 14.5 so your problem must lie in what you're doing. Help us out here with more info.


Without water bowl, using clay saucer, you can pile it high enough to get at least 12 to 14 hours. However you have to knock ash down after a six or 7 hours, or the fire falls off and the temperature drops. Could this be your issue?

My coal ring is extended up by 50% with expanded metal. Ive cooked a brisket 21 hrs on a single load, with some left.

Pretty sure i can make 24 hrs on single load.

Re-used coals wont last nearly as long as all new. I reuse old coals for everything else, but long cooks get all new
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