How often to add wood chucks to wsm

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by newbie2, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. newbie2

    newbie2 Newbie

    Hey guys just got a weber smokey mtn 18.5 inch and can't wait to use it. I need to break it in and figure out how to use it. How often are wood chunks added and what are the best methods for getting the charcoal going. I'm still new to vent positioning as well. Anyway. Tips are appreciated. Thanks
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey newbie2, congrats on the new WSM!

    There are a ton of ways you can set up your charcoal and wood.  You'll hear them all here.  Personally, I take the simple and lazy approach. 

    I generally don't add any wood chunks during a smoke due to the way I load my WSM.

    1.  I put down a single layer of charcoal.

    2.  I put 3-4 fist size chunks of wood.  If I have a bunch of little pieces I'll bunch them together to make a fist sized pile. 

    3.  I fill the charcoal ring with charcoal burying the wood.

    4.  I add another 3-4 pieces of wood in a circle.

    5.  I dump hot charcoal in the center of the smoke ring and spread them out a little so they are just touching the wood.

    6.  Let the white/grey smoke start to diminish and hits of blue to appear before adding the meat.  Then let the WSM do it's thang!

    At the end of a smoke I snuff out the charcoal by closing all the vents.  Next time I stir the ashes off the used charcoal, empty them the ashes if necessary, then consider the used charcoal my first layer and repeat the above process. 
  3. Another newbie here, also with a new WSM 18.5. I've been smoking chicken as part of my learning process. I've been using three chunks of apple wood mixed in the charcoal as noboundaries described. It's given me good smoke flavor in my chickens.

    The WSM has given me some delicious chicken. Good luck in your smoking, and please post up how it goes. My next chicken smoke will be with a dry pan and vents wide open to get the temp over 300, hopefully that will crisp up the skin a bit.
  4. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Same way I do it in my mini. 4-5 chunks have always gotten me through without adding more. Smoke will generally become invisible after 4-5 hours but I can still smell it. I can't think of any situation where you'd have to reload charcoal or wood in an 18.5. You should be able to get 16 hours plus.
    As for lighting, a chimney has always worked for me. 10-15 briquettes, then I dump those in the center of my unlit pile. I light more if I'm going really hot. (350°+)
  5. phatbac

    phatbac Master of the Pit

    How like like to do it is to lay down some charcoal (usually royal oak) i don't fill up my charcoal ring because the lump burns hotter and full one runs like 300 degrees with 2 and half vents closed. I will spread out the charcoal with a large gap in the middle. i lay down some wood chunks  (3-5)  or small splits (2-3) at the edge of the charcoal and and put a chimney of hot charcoal in the gap in the middle.

    something like this

    those logs are a little bigger than i normally use but this was for a long smoke with a brisket (those were apple btw)

    i let the fire get going and let some of the wood burn, then i put the rest of the smoker on it and put in my probe thermometer at grate level. when it comes up to temp and the smoke turns blue (usually not at same time) i start closing off vents to maintain the temp i want. bottom vents never close the top vent! i usually go for about 250-275 depending on what i am smoking. you get a feel for this. then as long as i have good heat and thin blue smoke i don't  add anything. if you cant see not even a trace of smoke add a chunk or two or a small stick and let it go. if you start getting low temp and you need to add some charcoal you can. if you don't want a real drop in temp open some vents and add already hot charcoal but again you will develop a feel for this. (oh and btw add pieces and extra charcoal with the door and use a heat glove!)

    Just produce thin blue smoke and you will be golden! don't worry if you have a little trouble at first, it just takes practice.

    Happy Smoking,

    phatbac (Aaron)
    newbie2 likes this.
  6. gpb11

    gpb11 Meat Mopper

    Personally I'd never add woodchucks.  Too gristly.

    Good advice on wood chunks though.
  7. phatbac

    phatbac Master of the Pit

    LOL -- how much smoke could a wood chuck chuck.....
  8. Taken to an IT of 195-200, they pull really well... [​IMG]

    ...and the fur justs melts away... [​IMG]  
    ^^^ Basically the same method I use. 
  9. newbie2

    newbie2 Newbie

    Thank you for the info. Really appreciate it. One I break in the smoker I'll be sure to post pics. Thanks!!!

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