New Owner


 

James_Roo

New member
Hey guys! First time poster and a new owner of a 22” WSM. I fired it up for the first time 2 days ago using Soo’s Donut method. I found it took about an hour to get into smoke range. I did notice that after a few hours the temp kept rising to the point it was pushing 275 degrees. At this point I had all 4 vents completely closed (except top, it was very slightly cracked) and the temp wouldn’t go down. I used the rest of the charcoal from a previous nights cook on a kettle for my starter. Prolly 50-60 partially burned briquettes. I also ran out of fuel before my ribs were done but that’s just because I didn’t add a full basket to the start.

Is this a common issue with Soo’s Donut since the longer the coals burn the more contact there is with unlit coals? Or did I just start with too many lit briquettes? I wasn’t sure how much I should use since they were partially burned and it was fairly cold out.

Also, my plan for Thanksgiving is to smoke a turkey. Not sure how big yet. Any tips for that would be greatly appreciated!
 

James_Roo

New member
Also, tips for a long overnight smoke would be appreciated. The turkey may call for it and I would love to do a brisket and pork butt some day.
 

Chris Allingham

Administrator
Staff member
If you've not visited my website virtualweberbullet.com, it contains 20+ years of WSM articles with recipes (including many turkey recipes) and lighting techniques. All are written for the 18.5" WSM, but the cooking times and temps stay the same, you just need to increase the amount of charcoal used because it takes more fuel to run a bigger cooker.

Long overnight cooks are achieved by loading that charcoal ring fully to the top. I am not a lump charcoal user, I use Kingsford briquets for consistency and lower price and that's what you'll see in all my articles. If you can find B&B oak charcoal briquettes at Ace Hardware, that's a very good product. We used to recommend Weber charcoal, a very good product, but sadly it's been discontinued. C'mon Weber, bring it back! :D

My recommendation is NOT to cook turkey for a long time overnight. It's tender by nature and you'll get better skin and faster results by smoking it quickly in the 300-350*F range for just a couple of hours until it hits 160-165*F in the breast. You'll see this approach in many of my turkey articles.

Good luck, have fun, and keep posting your questions.



collage.jpg
 

Brock Gingery

TVWBB Member
If you've not visited my website virtualweberbullet.com, it contains 20+ years of WSM articles with recipes (including many turkey recipes) and lighting techniques. All are written for the 18.5" WSM, but the cooking times and temps stay the same, you just need to increase the amount of charcoal used because it takes more fuel to run a bigger cooker.

Long overnight cooks are achieved by loading that charcoal ring fully to the top. I am not a lump charcoal user, I use Kingsford briquets for consistency and lower price and that's what you'll see in all my articles. If you can find B&B oak charcoal briquettes at Ace Hardware, that's a very good product. We used to recommend Weber charcoal, a very good product, but sadly it's been discontinued. C'mon Weber, bring it back! :D

My recommendation is NOT to cook turkey for a long time overnight. It's tender by nature and you'll get better skin and faster results by smoking it quickly in the 300-350*F range for just a couple of hours until it hits 160-165*F in the breast. You'll see this approach in many of my turkey articles.

Good luck, have fun, and keep posting your questions.



View attachment 40170
Those are some absolutely beautiful birds
 

Chris Allingham

Administrator
Staff member
Those are some absolutely beautiful birds
Turkey is one of the easiest things to make in the WSM. I can honestly say that each of those photos is from a single successful cook and DOES NOT represent 10 failures to arrive at that one perfect turkey...and there are more that have never made it to the website. I've probably cooked turkey more than anything else over 20+ years.
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Olympian
It’s something which you will need to learn as you go, it’s all about learning from others and from your own experience, it will come grasshopper, it will come.
If your smoker is brand, spankin‘, new, it will need some time to “season” is the kind term. “Gunk up” is the vernacular.
Welcome aboard!
 

Richard Garcia

TVWBB Pro
Still learning some new smoking techniques on my WSM 18" Classic that I bought new in the year 2008;)

Relax and enjoy your new WSM through your many future experiences of trial and error and success.

Also, being a "ACTIVE" VWB Forum Member since the year 2008 was a "gift from the Gods".
 

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BFletcher

TVWBB Guru
Welcome, and congrats on your WSM! I commend you on your startup approach; it seems quite reasonable. But if you're new to this and desire some consistency you might consider starting your cooks with unused fuel for a span of time (you could always move your partially-spent charcoal to some other container and use it later). In fact; it would not surprise me if some of the members here use their used fuel on Kettle cooks and exclusively use fresh fuel on their WSM cooks.

I don't use the donut method but you're on the right track of experimenting with how many lit coals you start with. I just start with the standard Minion method for long cooks, meaning I fully-load the charcoal basket and start with 8-to-12 lit coals that I just place on top of the unused coals. Then I'll start with the intake and exhaust vents fully open and then begin to choke the intakes once I begin to approach my target temp.

This is not the gold standard, but these days I'm happy to smoke in the 275*f range compared to when I first began this journey where I would strive for 225.

Good luck!
 

James_Roo

New member
James Roo: So how is your now-not-so-new WSM doing??
It’s going alright. I smoked a turkey which turned out awesome. I just filed a warranty claim on the center section because it was out of round. They sent me a new section that looks good but I haven’t had the time to put it together yet. I’m really hoping it solves my temperature issues.
 

James_Roo

New member
Welcome, and congrats on your WSM! I commend you on your startup approach; it seems quite reasonable. But if you're new to this and desire some consistency you might consider starting your cooks with unused fuel for a span of time (you could always move your partially-spent charcoal to some other container and use it later). In fact; it would not surprise me if some of the members here use their used fuel on Kettle cooks and exclusively use fresh fuel on their WSM cooks.

I don't use the donut method but you're on the right track of experimenting with how many lit coals you start with. I just start with the standard Minion method for long cooks, meaning I fully-load the charcoal basket and start with 8-to-12 lit coals that I just place on top of the unused coals. Then I'll start with the intake and exhaust vents fully open and then begin to choke the intakes once I begin to approach my target temp.

This is not the gold standard, but these days I'm happy to smoke in the 275*f range compared to when I first began this journey where I would strive for 225.

Good luck!
I only used the used coals to start. It wasn’t a lot. I want to try the standard minion method with my next cook. Do you bury your wood chunks? Currently my biggest problem is (hopefully) that my center pieces was out of round. It didn’t fit well on the bottom bowl, the cooking grated didn’t fit perfectly inside, and the lid didn’t fit well. I got a new section from Weber. Fingers crossed.
 

MichaelLC

TVWBB Fan
I bury my wood chunks. At least get them pushed down into the coals.

Just starting as well, but 3 to 4 smaller or 2 to 3 bigger chunks have been plenty on my 18.5".

Used 2 pecan and 1 cherry on my 20lbs turkey, probably could have gone with one more pecan.
 

James_Roo

New member
I bury my wood chunks. At least get them pushed down into the coals.

Just starting as well, but 3 to 4 smaller or 2 to 3 bigger chunks have been plenty on my 18.5".

Used 2 pecan and 1 cherry on my 20lbs turkey, probably could have gone with one more pecan.
I need to experiment with different woods once I get my temp control figured out. I’ve currently only used mesquite, hickory, and apple.
 

ChuckO

TVWBB Olympian
Welcome to the forum, congrats on the WSM. You've got Chris' ear, you're getting the best advice from the best of the best
 

James_Roo

New member
Hey everyone. Got my new middle section put together and I can already see it fits better! But now I need some advice on the door. I have a gasket installed but I can’t quite get the curvature to the door just right. Both sides have a gap as well as the very bottom. Anyone double up a gasket to help seal? I don’t think there is anything I can do at the bottom. The picture is taken from the inside of the middle section looking at the door. My wife is shining a light in so you can see where the gaps are. It’s the same on both sides. 3CB8B516-00C5-4A1F-8294-DC0F37BA86DF.jpeg
 

MartinB

TVWBB Pro
Poultry needs very little smoke. It tends to suck it up like a sponge I just use one wood chunk for turkey.

Do yourself a favor and just smoke a turkey breast. Takes about 1.5-2 hours at 350. Pull it when you're 150 and let it rest covered. The rest of the turkey is just a waste unless you're feeding dogs with it. Every minute above 150 juices are pouring out of that turkey by the time it gets to 165 it's dry as a desert
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Olympian
I was reading about Harry Soo’s method of putting his smoke wood under the coals on the bottom of the ring. I started doing it as a test and, I have become a convert! Especially if i use barrel stave pieces they lay nicely and leave plenty of room for a full charge of charcoal. Then with the sidewinder minion method, I have found I really don’t need to do much aside from adjust vents a little, if needed.
can’t help with the gap issues aside from just let get seasoned up for a few cooks. And see how things settle in.
 

 

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