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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 11-25-2012, 04:48 PM   #1
jkolantern
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Default WSM would NOT get temp up

I was smoking a turkey yesterday for some friends and wanted to cook between 300 and 325. I had about half a ring of partially burned K blue from the previous day's smoke, and when I went to dump the ash I realize that I must have had a smoldering coal because as it sat with the rest of the cooker off of it, about half the ring lit. I put a full chimney on top of that, for about a 3/4 ring of mostly lit and ashed over.

I let it go with all vents open, and put the 15 lb bird on when it was at 275 and rising.

That's the last time I saw 275 for hours. The temp at the dome dropped to around 200, 220ish at the grate. I cracked the door. No change. Dumped another chimney of lit. No change. Stirred the coals and added a half chimney of lit without the door. Got to 250 briefly and then fell back to 200ish. Dumped another chimney of lit. No change. This was like 2.5 or 3 hours. Eventually I had a heaping full ring of fully lit coal, no door, and I couldn't get above 250 until about 4 hours into the cook.

I had a foiled older shallow pan with a 12" foiled clay saucer in it, and a drip pan on the second rack under the bird with a can of broth in it. Well seasoned cooker, and I have gotten the temps high in the past, but lately it seems like it picks a temperature and just wants to stay there regardless of what I do.

Any thoughts? Anybody had this happen to them?
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Unread 11-25-2012, 04:57 PM   #2
HeSmellsLikeSmoke
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Every time that has happened to me it was due to damp charcoal. Were you using a bag that might have absorbed some moisture?
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Unread 11-25-2012, 05:26 PM   #3
jkolantern
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I didn't think so but I guess it was possible, since at least the stuff I used to start the cook (and was used for the previous cook, of which I still had a half ring) had been opened and in my performer bucket. It didn't feel damp and the stuff I reused was still warm in the cooker but the day before I did have a slight problem getting it really much above 220 for my shoulder cook.

I did open a new back, so I'll have to see if my next cook has the same issue.

Can you feel it when its damp? Or can it take up some moisture and you wouldn't really even know?

Thanks for the response. Anybody else have thoughts?
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Unread 11-25-2012, 05:50 PM   #4
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Two things I do with my 18" WSM for high heat cooks. Always use lump charcoal, burns hotter and produces much less ash than any briquette. Ash can smother the fire and that will certainly cool things down. I also did a small mod to the door so I can put it in upside down and be able to prop it open. I installed 2 two inch machine screws, 1 in each corner near the top of the door, and with the head out. These allow me to prop the door open by flipping it upside down and adjusting the opening by sliding the door in or out on the screws. The screws rest on the bottom of the door opening in the WSM center section. More air = higher temp. Gotten over 375° easily this way.
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Unread 11-25-2012, 06:19 PM   #5
jkolantern
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I had the door upside down and ajar, and then ultimately took the door completely off. The coals were glowing the whole time and I must have added 3 full lit chimneys during the cook.
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Unread 11-25-2012, 06:37 PM   #6
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Well, you did stick 15 lbs of cold meat in your cooker. It will cause your cooker temp to drop.

Where were you checking cooker temp? In the dome? With a stock Weber WSM thermometer?

I find it hard to believe that you had a full ring of lit charcoal in your WSM and the temp was under 300*.

You have an issue with something other than the WSM.

Of course, that's just my opinion.
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Unread 11-25-2012, 06:59 PM   #7
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a 10 CFM fan, a fan adapter for WSM, an AC/DC adapter.
$40 makes you a master of WSM
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Unread 11-25-2012, 07:04 PM   #8
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^^^ Good stuff above.

A WSM is very sensitive to wind too.
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Unread 11-25-2012, 07:27 PM   #9
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Same thing happened to me on turkey day. I put a chimney and a half of lit lump and was struggling to even get it at 300F. WSM are great smokers, but that's about it.
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Unread 11-25-2012, 07:38 PM   #10
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I'm having a hard time understanding what you did, but used K won't be able to get much over 275- it's lost too much energy. If you are doing a high heat cook you need to use all new briquettes and save the used for 275 or less.
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Unread 11-25-2012, 08:40 PM   #11
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I had the same thing today with my 18 WSM. Shooting for 325 for turkey.

Dry pan.

Temp 36 to 42f

Started with a full lit chimney dumped on an unlit chimney. And quickly realized that I needed another chimney. Iq 110 was running full on and it wouldn't go above 275.

Took off the IQ 110, opened all of the vents, and started to toss a lit chimney on about once an hour just to keep it between 275 and 300.

I'll try the door trick next time.

275 is the max I usually take my smoker and that is usually vents wide open using the minion method in fair weather. Don't know why I thought I could get 325 out of it in near freezing temps without doing something drastic.

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Unread 11-25-2012, 09:03 PM   #12
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These are what you need for big fire
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Unread 11-25-2012, 09:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodpelletsmoker View Post
a 10 CFM fan, a fan adapter for WSM, an AC/DC adapter.
$40 makes you a master of WSM


With all due respect... running a fan does not allow mastery of ANY pit.

The WSM is one of the most reliable, cost-effective, and efficient cookers that is commercially available... and is not dependent on third party electronics.
If there is a problem not getting to temp - it is most likely wind or fuel-related.

Telling someone to use a fan only delays and inhibits learning of outside variables.

[If you really want to push the temps; foil the water pan and leave it dry - using it like a deflector.]
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Unread 11-25-2012, 09:28 PM   #14
HeSmellsLikeSmoke
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Shadowdog brings up a good point. What was the ambient temperature where you live in MA yesterday? Wind?
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Unread 11-25-2012, 09:30 PM   #15
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I always start with new lump charcoal. I feel that I owe it to what ever I am cooking to use all new.
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