Charcoal Set Up with DigiQ DX2?

Discussion in 'WSM Owners (Weber Smokey Mountain)' started by hb99, Sep 15, 2016.

  1. Greetings Smokers!  I hope someone (or many someone's) can shed some light on my newfound scenario.

    I've been smoking a couple of years now.  Since getting my WSM 22.5 I've researched various methods of charcoal and chimney loads.

    I used the Minion Method a number of times, but the WMS always ran too hot even with water in the pan. 

    What I found that works best for me is the "C" Method.  I set a can (about 8" diameter) in the middle of the ring and I'll either pour the charcoal around it or neatly stack them in a 3 briquette wide "wall" and fill up to the rim.  I leave a 6-8" gap for lit coals. 

    For my chimney I'll light up about 7 briquettes and set them at the end of the stacked ones.  Never had any problem using this except that I may have to re-load more coals.  This is easy enough with a fireplace shovel.  I just push the first coals over and add more coals to the end of the chain.

    Finally, to my issue...I just received a DX2 in the mail this morning.  WOOHOO!

    The DX2 instructions state to use the pyramid method and pour lit coals on top.  I'm not really comfortable doing that since I've had too many flare ups in the past.

    I realize the semi-vacuum state of the WSM with the DX2 set up will control the burn temp, but I guess there's a part of me that won't let go and trust it.

    Any thoughts on which charcoal stacking method(s) should (could, can, etc.) works best will be greatly appreciated...and how many lit bricks to add to it.

    Thanks.  Bill
  2. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Everyone starts their WSM differently.I use my IQ 120 with it so this is how I start it:
    I have a coffee can size ss container used for utensils . I put a mixture of charcoal and hickory with the can in the middle. Then I light like 10 brickets and pull out the can and throw them in the center.
    A full WSM 22 can last 23 hours!!!at 250 degrees
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've had a Guru on my WSM for several years & I can tell you it doesn't matter how you start the fire the Guru will keep it at any temp you want. And as Lemans said a full load will last 23-24 hours without adding anything.

    I have tried several methods & settled on this one a few years ago.

    I just fill the ring up with a mixture of charcoal & wood,with a can with both ends cut out on the opposite side of the fan.

    I put 10-12 lit briquettes in there & pull the can out & let the Guru take over.

    I think the Guru learns your pit each time you use it & it will get better at regulating the temp.

    The first few smokes it will overshoot the temp & then bring it back down.

    After a while it will not overshoot it as much or at all.

    Here is a photo of my setup.

    This is for an all nighter, so it's filled up.

    I use lava rock & water in the water pan.

    I found the easiest way to start 10-12 briquettes in on the side burner of my grill.

    I turned the smoker around & the lit briquettes are in the bottom of the photo.

    Hope this helps!

  4. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Congrats on the new Guru! I run a partyq on my mini WSM, so a similar setup, just on a much smaller scale. As Al said, it doesn't really matter how you start it, it'll find the set temp and hold it like a champ. At first I was very fastidious about arranging my briquettes and making sure everything was just so. Now I just dump some charcoal in the basket, toss in a couple chunks of wood, fire up a few briquettes in the chimney, dump 'em on top and wait til the temp settles and the smoke turns blue. The Guru Partyq has made me lazy! But it's also made me a lot more relaxed and able to enjoy the process a whole lot more.
  5. I want to thank everyone who replied.

    I can see by your descriptions that my fears are unwarranted.  Go figure, right?  LOL!

    I like the (endless) coffee can method.  I can just set the lit coals in there (for confinement), fill up the chamber and pull the can out.  Good tip.  Thumbs Up!

    I foil my water pan.  After the smoke session I shovel the ashes into whatever water is left and end up with a cement-like consistency.  Then I fold the foil into a smaller package and slide that sucker right into the empty charcoal bag.  I save my salt bags (we have a water softener) and side the charcoal bag into that so there aren't any "accidents" if the charcoal bag would pop.  Very handy.

    I also have my burn chamber section bolted to a dolly.  Very handy for moving the entire unit around.  If I knew how to post pictures I would.  (I have the link on how to do it...I just have to read it.)

    Again, thanks to all.

    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
  6. birdman080

    birdman080 Smoke Blower

    With any luck, I will get a WSM 18" for Christmas.  In reading your reply....I see you use wood (what I would call "fireplace wood") instead of pre-made wood chunks.  I take it that works good?

    I am trying to do as much research as I can beforehand so I will be ready to go....IF I get what I am hoping for.
  7. If I can jump into the discussion regarding wood. I have an 18.5 and have been using regular wood splits like shown in the picture. These seem to last longer than the store bought chunks of wood. I have loads of cherry wood. I just cut them up about 8" long then split them with a hatchet. A couple or three pieces is good for an all night smoke.
  8. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes the bigger splits work much better & are a lot cheaper.

    Just be sure you know what king of wood your getting.

  9. birdman080

    birdman080 Smoke Blower

    Thank you both.  I really appreciate your help. start sourcing some hardwood.

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