Not sure which charcoal to try next in my 18.5" WSM

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by flyinion, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. flyinion

    flyinion Smoke Blower

    So, I did two bags of Royal Oak, used a 2nd grate to help keep it from falling through.  It worked ok, but seemed to run really hot, then burn up fairly quick, and I'd have problems holding temp towards the end of a 6 hour rib smoke (really had to start opening vents and temps swinging both ways).  I thought ok I'll go back to briqs because even though I've only maybe done 8-10 smokes I remembered last year my first long smoke of 9 hours on a pork butt I didn't have many problems and was running Kingsford Comp. briqs.  So I tried those again the other day for about a 2 1/2 hour smoke.  While it took about 3/4 of the bag to fill the ring mostly up.......I used a new method I learned from a post from "fpnmf" to use a can in the middle and twist the ring to settle the charcoal.........temps seemed more stable although I had to open the vents up more to get to temp vs. the RO.  I did have to shake the ring a few times during the 2 1/2 hours to knock out ash though when the temps wanted to fall a bit.  Got done, had plenty of charcoal left, closed the vents.  Go and look the other day and instead of going out, the charcoal had pretty much burned itself up after so I basically used 3/4 of an 11lb bag for a 2 1/2 hour smoke, oops.  That never happened with the lump.

    So now I'm not sure what to try next.  I've been thinking of Stubbs briqs, I believe it's supposed to be a lot less ash.  I wanted to try the Wicked Good but I can't find any of their briqs around here and their website is out for now.  However, assuming it's still there, my local CA Backyard store has a 22lb bag of Wicked Good weekend warrior lump.  What do you guys think?  Should I try the Stubbs briqs next?  Or give the WG lump a shot?
  2. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You closed all the vents and it still burned up all the charcoal??

    Gotta be getting some air somewhere..

    When I close mine the fire goes out and I have plenty left for the next smoke....

    I also have never shaken the ring after I start cooking..and that includes all nighters..

    I have used all different kinds of charcoal..

    Long happy cooks from regular Kingsford Blue...

    And it is the least expensive...the big sale might still be going on...

       Good luck!!

  3. flyinion

    flyinion Smoke Blower

    Yeah I was surprised.  It was kinda windy last Sunday/Monday (smoked on Sunday evening).  Like probably 7-10mph or so gusting, maybe 7-12.  guess air managed to get in somewhere.  I think I had the ring about 2/3's full thinking I didn't need any more for a short smoke.
  4. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    If you're smoking when it's windy you can choke back on the top helps but otherwise leave them fully open. 
  5. flyinion

    flyinion Smoke Blower

    Yeah I think it did pretty well while I was actively running it.  I was just so surprised after I shut all the vents to look in there a few days later and almost all of the charcoal that had been left right after I pulled the meat was now ash under the grate.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2013
  6. jerseydrew

    jerseydrew Smoking Fanatic

    to answer your question i like different coals for different cooks. RO is best for short hot cooks like poultry because it does burn fast and hot. for longer smokes i have found that kings comp and wicked good are about the same performance. they are both great but if kings comp is on sale that is for me. i usually get it for $16 for two 18lb bags. the WG is twice as expensive and the slightly less ash isn't worth the price and difficulty to find. 

    that said i have found some tricks in my WSM. first the double fire grate is great for RO cause there are lots of small pieces. but for briqs you have to use a single tray to allow the ash to fall and not smother the fire. on a full load of kings comp on my 22 i can go for 8-10 hours (depends on wind) before i need to reload. now i have tried a few different versions and this is what works best for me. i have added two 2 1/2 by 6inch ubolts to my fire grate to act as handles. when i need a reload i remove the center section and lid as an entire assemlby and place it on the floor next to the bottom of the WSM. the temp will slowly drop but nothing crazy and will come right back up when you put it back together. once i have the bottom of the WSM accessible WITH WELDING GLOVES!!!! i as quick as possible grab my home made handles shake the ash out of whats left as lit coals and quickly place it on a cinder block. trust me welding glove only hold back the heat for so long! then with a metal fireplace ash can and a garden trowel i scoop out as much ash as i can without being too anal. put fire grate back on add new fuel and wood. let sit open for about a minute to get some airflow on the new stuff and then plop the rest of the cooker back on the fire bowl. 

    now you can go another 10 hours if needed. this whole process takes no more then 10 minutes and the cooking chamber usually doesn't drop below 160 ish when you are done. and will climb right back up to cooking temp within 10 minutes. 
  7. flyinion

    flyinion Smoke Blower

    Thanks, I assume you were talking about the briquette version of WG?  For what I can get locally I'm trying to decide between the Stubbs briqs or the WG lump the weekend warrior blend.  Saw some burn time comparisons over at nakedwhiz and they showed the WG burning much longer, like double when measuring volume instead of weight of the charcoal for WG lump vs BGE (made by RO).  So that got me interested in maybe I should try that instead of the Stubbs.  I think the Kings comp is just making too much ash in mine.  Oh, yeah I did remove the double grate when I tried the Kings last weekend.
  8. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just about all I ever use is regular Kingsford. I wait for a holiday sale then stock up. Running a 18" WSM I load it up full and can get 14 hours out of one load with very little tending  using the Minion method.  I've tried lump but did like the shorter cook times and inconsistent temps. Stubbs is good but the price is a turn off. 
  9. flyinion

    flyinion Smoke Blower

    Well I tried the Stubbs briqs today for a long (9 hours) smoke.  I loaded up a full ring of it including 5 chunks of wood, it took basically the whole 15lb bag.  Started it with 15 briqs in the middle via using fpnmf's method of the 28oz can.  Overall held temperature pretty well, but it never really sat at one temp like I've heard the WSM can do.  It would maybe sit at one temp for a bit then rise a degree or two and then fall like 5+ degrees.  I think part of that is I still need to wait for it to get up to temp properly and try to stabilize it there first.  I keep getting in a rush and wanting to get the meat on.  I did pull the body of the WSM off at about 6 hours and gave the ring a good shake to knock the ash out.  Once I finish the two bags I bought I'll probably pick up the WG weekend blend that a local store has a bag of and see how that fares compared to the Royal Oak & the Stubbs.  So far though I think the Stubbs is topping my list.

    edit: Oh and I checked the smoker a couple hours after I shut it up.  Looks like there's still a good bit of briqs left and it didn't keep burning like the KF Comp did.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
  10. av8tor

    av8tor Meat Mopper

    Same for me, no problems using Kingsford Blue and bought 8 bags during the 4th sale.  

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