Time For Some Fun!


 

Vincent Carrocci

TVWBB Super Fan
I've been a long time WSM user and competitor, always on 18" & 22" models. They have served me very well over the years. The days of cooking between 15 to 30 competitions per year are behind me now so I'm spending a lot more time just cooking for fun and trying out new things.

A few months ago, I purchased a used 14" WSM via Craigslist for about $70. The only downside is that the owner hadn't put much effort into keeping it clean so I knew I was going to have a bit of a rehab chore ahead of me prior to cooking on it. Today I decided to clean up the unit and get it prepped for some fun. I spent a fair bit of time scrubbing a boatload of gunk off of the inside and outside of the water pan to get it back down to the porcelain , cleaning the cooking grates and polishing the exterior on the dome, center section and bowl.

I'm planning to run some competition style chicken through it on Sunday so tomorrow I'll be burning some KBB to see how well it holds temperature and responds to temperature changes via my Stoker II WiFi. I've installed a 5cfm blower on the bowl and that should push plenty of air through the charcoal. I'll probably even graph the results with StokerLog just because I enjoy that kind of data!

I'm used to seeing my 18" & 22" units hold temps within about 2°F +/- of my target and I hope the 14" unit will do the same. Regardless, I'm looking forward to using a different cooker and dialing it in!
 

Vincent Carrocci

TVWBB Super Fan
The little cooker did a pretty nice job today. At 8:30am, I filled the bowl with charcoal to just below level with the top of the ring, pulled out a few briquettes from the center, placed a Weber starter cube in the small well, lit it and then replaced the briquettes. By 8:35am, the starter cube had stopped flaming and I could see an orange glow below the top of the briquettes. I closed up the cooker, filled the water pan with about 1.5 quarts of water, fired up the Stoker II WiFi and set the target temperature at 250°F with the top damper wide open. By 8:45am, the cooker had reached 250°F. Very impressive.

The cooker, sitting in full sun on my patio in Phoenix, AZ, held rock steady at 250°F for the next 3 hours. At 11:45am, I bumped the temperature up to 275°F and it took less than 5 minutes to make the jump and lock in again. I ran that for another hour and at 12:50pm, I bumped it up to 325°F. Again, the cooker took about 5 minutes to reach the new target and settle back in. It ran there until 2:00pm. That's over 5 hours of very stable temperatures including two increases. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical that the small size would lend the cooker to running hot but I am happily mistaken.

The downside of the test was that it did not do a very good job when responding to a temperature decrease. At 2:00pm, I lowered the temperature back down to 250°F and the cooker went into a rollercoaster of ups and downs. To be clear, I had to leave home to attend to some business for a couple of hours and I did not close the top damper and that probably contributed to the large swings. Normally I would have closed the top damper down to about 25% open until the cooker reached the new lower target temp and then opened it back up. It ran until 4:30pm when the fuel was expended.

Overall, I was quite impressed with the test performance. We'll see how it runs on Sunday during the chicken cook.
 

Vincent Carrocci

TVWBB Super Fan
The chicken cook I did on Sunday was terrific! I'm really happy with the way the 14" WSM performed and will likely be trying out a few other things on it over the summer.
 

 

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