Low Temp and Food Amount?


Alex Enkerli

TVWBB Member
Did a first cook in my shiny (!) new WSM 14.5, yesterday. About 3 lbs. chicken thighs and about 2 lbs. drumsticks. Only a quart of 208ºF water in the pan. Used the Minion method with the charcoal bowl half-full of Kingsford briquettes and a half-chimney of Basques lump. The smoker remained around 225ºF throughout. Added about 20 hot coals after a while. Whole thing lasted six hours. Temperature went up when I took out the meat, but not that much (maybe 300ºF). Went back down when I added squash and rutabaga. Outside temperature was around 70ºF. Not much wind. All vents stayed open the whole time. Temp increased somehow when I opened the door or lid (which I didn’t do much, for the first few hours). Near the end, I left the door open for a while. It eventually brought down the temp back to 225ºF or so. The water bowl was positioned where it should be, right beneath the lower grate. It eventually rained a bit, but the rain didn’t decrease temp.

So… Not that I’m worried, or anything. After all, I didn’t use that much fuel, there was some water in the pan, and the meat was covering the grate to close to capacity. But I’m surprised that an unseasoned Bullet would behave like this, given that it’s allegedly much hotter than it can get once it’s seasoned. The temp was ideal for smoking and the results are quite good, but I wonder how it’ll be once I try other things.

Anybody else got similar experiences with the tiny WSM? Any advice?

Bob Bass

TVWBB Gold Member

Congratulations on your successful first cook !
Looks like your WSM is nice and tight to begin with. Seasoning, or rather the 'gunking up' part, help close up any air leaks that might exist. The seasoning benefit you'll realize is in the nice clean smoke smell / flavoring.

Added (as when opening bottom vents, opening the door or opening the lid) fresh air to the coals causes them to increase their burn rate and hence increases the air temperature seen at the grate. Although water in the pan will attempt to hold that temperature at the grate to a lower max value (212).


New member
Ive done 2 cooks on my new 18.5". I had zero problems keeping it under 240 degrees. Definately has not run hot like alot of folks said they do

Alex Enkerli

TVWBB Member
Should do my second cook, this weekend. We’ll see if I get similar results.
Guess my concern is unwarranted. It’s not because I maintained a low temperature with some water that it risks burning even lower in other conditions. Could try with an empty pan, next time I do poultry.
Just thought that, due to its tiny size, the 14.5" might be more prone to fluctuations. Or something.