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  #1  
Old 05-06-2017, 11:19 AM
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Default First time smoker wsm initial temp high

Haven't put meat on yet using a wsm 18.5 I was sitting at 335 closed dampeners and added more water to the pan and removed some coals and sitting at 315 now and falling slowly closed top dampener about 50% any other suggestions? Should I just open top dampener when I reach target?


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Old 05-06-2017, 11:32 AM
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So I'm just starting to fall into target slowly now almost down to 260 so making progress


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Old 05-06-2017, 11:45 AM
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Leave the top damper open. Regulate temp with the bottom dampers.

I know you haven't yet but once the meat is on NEVER close the top damper to try and get the temp down. Will lead to some nasty bitter creosote on the grates and your meat.

And the temp of an empty smoker will drop once you load it up with cold meat. So don't worry if it's a little higher than you want it to start.

Sounds like it's coming along. Carry on.
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Old 05-06-2017, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by DDave View Post
Leave the top damper open. Regulate temp with the bottom dampers.



I know you haven't yet but once the meat is on NEVER close the top damper to try and get the temp down. Will lead to some nasty bitter creosote on the grates and your meat.



And the temp of an empty smoker will drop once you load it up with cold meat. So don't worry if it's a little higher than you want it to start.



Sounds like it's coming along. Carry on.


Thanks for the tip I just put the meat on about 5 min ago at 230 top damp open bottoms closed still
But I'm still getting a rise in temp I'm back up to 243 I know it's not a bad temp but would still like to be lower you think less coals?


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Old 05-06-2017, 12:04 PM
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But I'm still getting a rise in temp I'm back up to 243 I know it's not a bad temp but would still like to be lower you think less coals?
Less coals or less air. I would not take any coals out, just add fewer when it's time to reload.

What are you smoking and what temp are you shooting for?

Probably the best piece of advice I was ever given about smoking meat was not to obsess over the smoker temp. The smokes became much less stressful and much more enjoyable that way. If my preferred temp is 240 and it's anywhere between 230 and 265 I pretty much ignore it.
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Old 05-06-2017, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by DDave View Post
Less coals or less air. I would not take any coals out, just add fewer when it's time to reload.



What are you smoking and what temp are you shooting for?



Probably the best piece of advice I was ever given about smoking meat was not to obsess over the smoker temp. The smokes became much less stressful and much more enjoyable that way. If my preferred temp is 240 and it's anywhere between 230 and 265 I pretty much ignore it.


That's great makes me feel much better.
I'm smoking a brisket just a 6 lbsr

I was shooting for 225 -235. But sitting around 250 -260 now


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Old 05-06-2017, 12:12 PM
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Sounds to me like you had too many coals it to begin with
the way I run mine (22.5") is to load the coal basket leaving a hole in the middle then add about 25 hot coals to the center. Put it back together leave the top wide open and leave all the bottom ones wide open. Now monitor the temp going up and start closing the bottom vents only to reach the desired temp and go from there. I use a coffee can in the center while filling the basket. When removed it leaves the space for the hot coals to go. Just my .02 YMMV
Oh I and I never put water in the bowl it makes a hell of a mess and is not necessary
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Old 05-06-2017, 12:13 PM
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Sounds to me like you had too many coals it to begin with

the way I run mine (22.5") is to load the coal basket leaving a hole in the middle then add about 25 hot coals to the center. Put it back together leave the top wide open and leave all the bottom ones wide open. Now monitor the temp going up and start closing the bottom vents only to reach the desired temp and go from there. I use a coffee can in the center while filling the basket. when removed it leaves the space for the hot coals to go.


Yea that's what I'm thinking my problem was I just won't add any more coals and watch my temps they are starting to get pretty steady as 259


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Old 05-06-2017, 12:16 PM
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Yea that's what I'm thinking my problem was I just won't add any more coals and watch my temps they are starting to get pretty steady as 259


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I'm more worried about killing off my coals cause I have all those dampeners closed


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Old 05-06-2017, 12:20 PM
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I'm more worried about killing off my coals cause I have all those dampeners closed
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It will kill it in time just don't leave them closed too long, crack one so your still getting some air,
I've actually had 2 closed and cracked the 3rd to maintain temps and it runs good
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Old 05-06-2017, 12:21 PM
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You'll get the hang of it after you run it a few times
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Old 05-06-2017, 12:47 PM
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With my little 14.5 I usually run it with 2 bottom vents closed and one vent cracked so little I don't see how it stays burning...But it will run for hours like that...I fill the basket and add about 12 lit coals on one side and go pretty much like Doug said...
And Dave is right on...Don't get hung up on precision temp control...If 240 is my target then 220-260 will get the job done fine....

Keep us posted...
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Old 05-06-2017, 01:26 PM
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Thanks for the help guys!

It's been going good been holding at 250-265 for the last 2 hours. I've only been doing slight adjustments with the dampeners only 1 open now. My smoke output just decreased its minimal but temp is holding just fine


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Old 05-06-2017, 01:30 PM
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Meat temp is starting to level off too which is what I've been waiting for it's in the 130's and I've only gained about 4 degrees in the last 20-30 min.

Is there still a stall in a brisket this size?
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Old 05-06-2017, 02:01 PM
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Meat temp is starting to level off too which is what I've been waiting for it's in the 130's and I've only gained about 4 degrees in the last 20-30 min.

Is there still a stall in a brisket this size?
Probably so...
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Old 05-06-2017, 02:42 PM
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Probably so...


Would you still wrap if you don't yet have a bark? Meat temp is 152


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Old 05-06-2017, 02:57 PM
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Would you still wrap if you don't yet have a bark? Meat temp is 152
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Depends on dinner time
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Old 05-06-2017, 04:41 PM
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I've owned a 18" WSM since 2005 and they are great machines. Once you get the hang of temp management, they are almost set and forget.

A WSM's will run hot the first smoke or two until you start to build up that smoke deposit on the inside of the metal. Also the meat absorbs a good bit of the energy out of the smoke in the chamber as that is how it heats/cooks the meat. That's why the temp dropped after you put in the meat.

Top vent 100% open (basically never touch it) and control heat via the bottom vents. Also you do not need to start with a full fire ring of lit charcoal unless you want high temps. For smoking in the 225-250 range, put unlit in the fire ring and then take about 1/2 a chimney of lit and sprinkle on top of the unlit. Depending on how long a smoke you are doing, you will vary the amount of unlit. Also put some fist sized chunks of your smoke wood on top of the unlit and it will light once the lit is placed on top.

Using a smaller amount of lit on top should help you stay in that low and slow smoke zone temp range.
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Old 05-06-2017, 06:22 PM
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Would you still wrap if you don't yet have a bark? Meat temp is 152


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I don't wrap till 170...
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