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WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain Water
by Dan Cannon
The following are some tips I have found for getting the WSM to function well. Thought I would share them with
-- I used to use a chimney starter to start the first load. Lately I have started to just fill the ring with Oak / Hickory lump to a
heaping stack above the ring, about 1 - 2 inches above the ring. I stick a wax type starter (I got from Home Depot) on each side,
light, and in 25 minutes my lump is ready to go.
For the temperature control I like (maintaining 235 - 245) I
usually leave all three vents on the bottom wide open for the first 2
hours. Then shut one if necessary. I always leave the top vent
wide open. I rarely have to mess with the bottom vents any further,
but have in some cases.
-- For a second load, on a real long burn as in a brisket, I will then use
the chimney. Prior to pouring it in I shake the base, of course I pulled the top
section off off, and get the ashes to drop below the grate. Then I dump the stack in and any more if necessary.
I wear my heat-proof rubber gloves while lifting the top section.
-- I then put the water bowl in and fill it with water (hot if convenient) till it goes through that little hole on the rim and
-- Then I take the side door off and put a small chunk of hardwood
(oak) on the stack of lump, usually a larger piece of oak and a hickory chunk.
Smoke penetrates best between 40 and 140 degrees.
-- I find the wood will run unattended for 7 - 8 hours consistently. I can then go to sleep.
The water will last 7 hours. Water might go longer but it is risky.
-- If you want the unit to go slightly higher then just offset the lid ever so slightly so it is not a tight seal, maybe 1/4 inch opening.
It will raise 10 degrees in 5 - 10 minutes. I often forget and find it at way too high.
-- If you want the unit to slightly lower, then just lift the lid, swish it back and forth a time or two, then put back. I
call this burping the unit.
-- When done I shut all vents. Then lots of pieces of lump and wood are left. I reuse it to start fires or add when needed. However,
beware, it is such small pieces you must be careful where you use it as it can smother your fire.
-- I might be weird, but I clean my grates and bowl every time I use my unit.
NOT that clean, just take the big chunks off with a metal brush and then
rinse off with the hose. Or, I just use a large plastic garbage can lid to put the grates in
and fill with water to let them soak. I don't get carried away, just get the big
-- I clean the bowl and grates with the green scouring pad type stuff. Comes off pretty easy.
Some coat the bowl with tin-foil prior to use to make it easier to
clean. I never have.
-- If you use a polder temperature probe you can use the top cover adjustable vent hole, or the side door for entry of the cable.
-- I drilled a hole on the opposite side of the top cover vent and put a
large temperature gauge in that I remove when not in use. The hole is just large enough to screw it in and out. This is not necessary.
You could just use the vent hole in top. I chose not to.
-- I actually find that I usually just have two or three vents open on the bottom
as a rule. If I go to bed it will usually be two lower vents open.
Of course you have to judge each burn independently and adjust from
-- I find I can really pick up the unit off the base and work with the hot areas
easily by using the heavy duty black rubber gloves that they sell at Home Depot.
I now think everybody knows all my secrets. Hope it helps.
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06 Jan 2015 12:33