How I start and use my WSM....

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by fpnmf, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. I put a large tuna can in the center just as you do. That works great to keep the hot coals in one place in the beginning. On my kamado I can smoke for 18 hours when I start it that way and still have coals at the end of the smoke...nice pictorial Craig...RTBBQ[​IMG]
  2. So I can use the terra cotta pot saucer in there over and over?

    Thanks for your patience.
  3. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yer welcome!! can...

    I just added a pic of my saucer to page1.. 
    Thank you!!!

    It blows me away when I see folks are using so much charcoal for one would make me even more nuts...

    It makes me soooo happy I got the 18.5...

  4. Hi Craig.

    With regards to your saucer.

    Was it just the plain, old untreated terra cotta or was it glazed?

    You've never had any problems with grease fires from the saucer?

    That seasoning looks awesome (like cast iron).

    I just got a new one from HD, and was considering using it exactly like you do yours (no foil, etc.).

    Thanks for the info and the great thread.

    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  5. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thank you!!

    Plain old terra cotta..

    Never had a fire or any adverse reaction to the saucer..

    I dont always use a drip pan it gets kinda gooey..

    If it ever breaks I will prolly try out using 2 of them stacked together...just for S&Gs...

    Have fun!!!

    overground likes this.
  6. dale53

    dale53 Newbie


    That's a nice tutorial. I, too, settled on the WSM 18.5" and have been extremely happy with it's size and performance. My children are grown, so there's just two of us. When we have friends or family over we're only talking one or two families at a time.

    My two favorite items to smoke are ribs (Costco Loin Back Ribs) and Boston Butts for pulled pork.

    If you use two racks, you can easily do three full racks of ribs. It is necessary to cut the racks in half and put six halves on each food grate. That is really NO problem at all. It takes no special skill at all. I found that Wal-mart had a roaster complete with rack that doubles nicely as a rib rack when turned upside down. It was on sale for $7.50 including the roaster. It holds one more half rack than Weber's does and the design is easier cleaned than Weber's. That is all a plus.

    My typical rib cook is a cryovac pack of three racks. The St Louis cut gets the same treatment. One advantage of cutting the racks in half - you do not get any over cooked ends. The halves fit nicely in the center of the food grates (the edges are where the heat rises around the water pan to the cover).

    One suggestion I might make. I was not happy using the Weber charcoal starter (works perfectly with my Weber OTG grill) when lighting small number of briquets. I went to IKEA (it is local for me but you can get the same item from Amazon) and purchased a silverware caddy. It's what restaurants use to segregate their silverware wet from the dishwasher. I use is as a mini-chimney to light my small number of coals (I actually count out 20 coals for the Tin Can Minion Method). Here is the caddy at work:

    Here's where you buy it if you don't have an IKEA store locally :

    I use one Weber lighting cube and the coals are ready in just a few minutes. I light the cube first, then carefully arrange 20 briquettes on top. I use a pair of water pump pliers to dump the coals in the tin can, then use the pliers to remove the hot bottomless coffee can. Of course, you have to be careful as the mini chimney and coffee can are HOT...

    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  7. Craig, is there a reason you don't stick the probes in at the start of the cook?
  8. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member


     It has to do with food safety..Heres some interesting reading about that...

    The  "Temp Probe Contamination!?!?" thread has a lot of interesting info and drama!!!

    Have fun!!

  9. johnbarclay

    johnbarclay Newbie

    Really nice looking. congrates.
  10. Craig, do you ever use your WSM for grilling?  Someone suggested breaking in my new WSM by doing a batch of Cornell Chicken but looks like this needs to be done over a hot grill.
  11. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nope..It would too hard to manage for me to try..

    I have a works great for grilling...

    The 'oil and vinegar sauce' used was made by Robert C. Baker, professor from Cornell, who invented the sauce to introduce an entirely new breed of chicken he developed at Cornell in 1946 - 1950 that he called "the broiler", smaller than "the fryer":

    It's history:
    Last edited: May 26, 2013
  12. Thanks Craig, those are some great links.  Guess I'll save the Cornell Chicken for my Weber Genesis.  Still want to break in my brand new WSM with some chicken thighs though.  Hopefully will get some time to do that in a day or two.
  13. dale53

    dale53 Newbie


    If I may make a suggestion. I often do chicken on my WSM. Just foil the water pan (no water) or remove it entirely. Chicken cooks rather quickly compared to ribs or butts, so, I use a full Weber chimney of lighted briquettes. Keep all vents open. The cooker will shortly hit 350+ degrees. Grill the chicken on the top rack. Half or quarter chickens will cook thoroughly in an hour or so + or -. It will finish the insides perfectly and you will end up with crisp skin. Use an instant thermometer to monitor the inside of the chicken so that it is done.

    I ALWAYS brine my chicken for a minimum of one-half hour to one full hour before grilling. It keeps the interior moist. Refrigerate while brining. Pat dry and apply your seasonings just before putting on the grill.Since you have brined the chicken you may have to reduce the amount of salt in the recipe before grilling. However, with the short time brining I have not had to adjust that YMMV).

    The perfectly even heat from the WSM does a VERY nice job on chicken and will leave it with a crispy skin if done properly without overcooking the interior.

    I check my chicken at the half hour mark by appearance and digital Thermapen.

    markbeer and sn3rt like this.
  14. Thanks Dale53, I'll give that a try.  One of Craig's Cornell Chicken links mentioned that it's very important to have a distance of 26" between the bed of coals and the grilling surface to prevent burning the outside of the chicken.  Kind of like cooking over indirect heat at that distance is my guess.  Haven't measured that distance on the WSM but seems like it should be about that distance between the upper grill rack and the top of the coals.

    I've cooked lots of chicken on my Weber Genesis so I am very familiar with brining and seasoning.  Usually grill chicken at 375 to 400 on the gasser.
  15. bobcats110

    bobcats110 Fire Starter

    I every time for me.
  16. bobcats110

    bobcats110 Fire Starter

    Anyone know where to get a replacement water pan for the 18.5?
  17. flyinion

    flyinion Smoke Blower

    Got a quick question on your starting method.  you say after it hits around 200 you close two vents totally and then close the other vent down a bit.  Does that cause any issues with uneven burning due to having air coming in from only one location?  It would seem like it would to me, but then maybe not since I know those automated devices only use the one vent.
  18. bobcats110

    bobcats110 Fire Starter

    And..........ordered.  Thanks OG!

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