using wood on the WSM


 

WMurph

New member
I have a new 22 1/2 WSM it has not taken it's maiden voyage as of yet. I have smoked in the past on my Kettle an in my Traeger pellet (the little on) I feel there's not enough smoke from the pellet. After reading Aaron Franklins book I am kinda jonesing to try just wood instead of charcoal anyone have any experience in this are and is willing to offer a few tips? I mean you get smoke then heat the pellet grill just cycles smoke I even added a smoke daddy to the pellet burner, but thats just a pain trying to keep it lit then it chokes out. I want my first cook to have meaning be epic
 

Bob H.

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I have tried just wood chunks in my WSM 14.5, and it works well enough. Depending on the wood choice and your choice of meat, it may be too much smoke for some.
Try it with some burgers or meatloaf till you get it dialed in well enough to do a brisket. I like Apple Wood chunks. You will probably want to let the chunks burn down
some before you add the meat to the smoker. You might want to "season" your 22 with some fatty stuff to get a seasoning build up on the walls of the smoker. You have
better control of the temps that way. Enjoy your new WSM!
 

timothy

TVWBB Olympian
Yea what Bob said. The WSM is designed to be a charcoal water smoker with wood chunks added as a spice or flavoring.
I don't have a problem with HH and most of my cooks are that way.( I don't use water) If you go all wood then that's on you, and you go with it, unless you burn it down in a barrel and shovel the coals to get a lower temp?

Tim
 

WMurph

New member
yeah I read some of the stuff about seasoning I am plannng on at test run or two I bought this WSM at a big discount slightly damaged, fell off the back of a truck REALLY center section was out of round and porcelain is a little chipped. But hey I got a 22 1/2 WSM new. I rolled the center section on my lawn seems to fit OK but not sure till I fire up. A little tweaking and high temp paint and I'm hoping I'm good. So tests will probably dull it down tweaking will tighten it up on air flow. Just want to get to cruising altitude so I can turn on some auto pilot and let it do it's thing. I'm hoping i can get temp to stay stable
 

WMurph

New member
I know wood burn hotter was gonna let wood burn down and add hot coals anyway just trying to think outside the box innovate
 

WMurph

New member
I got a 2-channel thermo probe they are pretty accurate so I can monitor temps good I want to stay traditional don't want start drilling holes and add fans gonna try to get to work as designed and have heat draw air out through the top
 

Bob Bass

TVWBB Gold Member
If you want to put it on Autopilot... Use the Minion Method and charcoal briquets.

Nothing else will allow you to cook at multiple desired temperatures consistently for hours on end.

Just remember... The number of Lit coals determines the Temperature Range while the number of Unlit coals determines for How Long you can run in the Temperature Range.
 

Rusty James

TVWBB Emerald Member
I 2nd what Bob said.

Try the Minion Method, and you can try a quality lump charcoal if you desire to use wood only. I recommend Royal Oak (or a similar name brand). Lump charcoal is not uniform in size, so to keep the small pieces from falling through the grate, you can add a single layer of briquettes first. I, personally, like to add my smoke wood (at least five pieces on my 18.5" WSM - near the center) on the grate before surrounding it with briquettes. I've gotten good smoke flavor this way, but nothing is set in stone here. Place your wood as you desire.

As for using raw wood, I'd probably use an old chimney starter for the pit (or a barrel as was mentioned above), and burn the wood down to coals before adding them to the smoker. Be prepared for a long day by the smoker though. The Minion Method sounds better.
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
What Bob said is excellent information.
I've done just three smokes on my 18.5 bought from a member"gently used". All the set ups have been "Minion Method" or "Sidewinder Minion Method" (placing the hot coals at one edge, by the door) the latest was a nervous brisket which turned out beautifully with information and support from folks at this site. The biggest thing I found was fighting the urge to peek! With the double probe set up, you will do just fine. I'm the first to admit my rookie status with a WSM but, I'm a looong time kettle user and have done high heat smokes for years, once you get your WSM seasoned up a bit, chunk smoke wood will be more clearly appreciated.
 

WMurph

New member
Thanks Rusty solid info. I'm new to the site and just read about Memorial Day. I'm trying to get there but miles to go before I can sleep. I really appreciate this stuff you guys are really helpful no one else understands what I'm talking about all they want to do is eat
 

Andrew F

TVWBB Super Fan
I think you will fine that even just charcoal will give you more smokey flavor than a pellet pooper can. Now bury a few hunks of hickory in that charcoal and you have something special going on.
 

Thom Emery

TVWBB Super Fan
Franklins use of wood fuel in a off set pit is going to be difficult match in a WSM
The air moves different in the two smokers
That's why there are 10 smokers in the backyard here
Oh and I am a sick puppy
 

Ernest

TVWBB Fan
I have done that in my wsm 22 and a PBC. It's time consuming and not feasible for every cook.
I had to burn the wood down to coals in my weber kettle then add the coals to the smoker.
Hard to control temp, worse than running a stick burner.
fun experiment but never again.
 

Rusty James

TVWBB Emerald Member
Thanks Rusty solid info. I'm new to the site and just read about Memorial Day. I'm trying to get there but miles to go before I can sleep. I really appreciate this stuff you guys are really helpful no one else understands what I'm talking about all they want to do is eat


You're welcome, Murph. :)

I'm doing two butts on my new 14.5" WSM today, but the coal ring is so small, I opted for briquettes only since my lump may leave too many unwanted air gaps due to the many irregularly-shaped pieces. Temps are holding well at 250 as of 4:00pm (started at 12:30pm), and I expect them to rise a bit after surrounding the smoker with a flexible reflective material (similar to the stuff used for windshield sun reflectors) due to breezy conditions, but that's fine with me. I'm using a filled water pan too.

I used three pieces of hickory chunks for what it's worth.
 

Rusty Breaux

TVWBB Fan
Im with these guys.. depending on weather conditions, I load about 5 decent chunks of wood (one in the center, 4 along the sides) cover the outside with charcoal to the BRIM, hallow out the inside around the middle chunk. Drop in a 1/3 of a lit Chimney into the center, and it will run from 225-270 for probably 10 hours. Thats in a WSM 18.5, id GUESS with the bigger basket of the 22, it should be close to the same thing.

I can get alot of wood smoke on the meat in that WSM, i couldnt imagine how strong it would be running only splits. BUT with that said, i say get some beef flat ribs and give that wood burning a test cook.

Let us know if we all need to turn these WSMs into stick burners.. :)

rb
 

Rusty James

TVWBB Emerald Member
Im with these guys.. depending on weather conditions, I load about 5 decent chunks of wood (one in the center, 4 along the sides) cover the outside with charcoal to the BRIM, hallow out the inside around the middle chunk. Drop in a 1/3 of a lit Chimney into the center, and it will run from 225-270 for probably 10 hours.


Rusty, you place your wood on the bare grate too?
 

 

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