Question about how much charcoal to use?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by handcannon32x, May 6, 2012.

  1. Im picking up a new WSM 22.5" smoker.  I have never used a charcoal smoker yet.  I have an electric one.  My question is how much charcoal do you put in it?  I do alot of 5 to 6lb briskets but I am planning on trying some full size packers on it also.  Thanks guys.
  2. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    First off, welcome to the WSM crowd.  Plenty of WSM folks around with far more experience than me.  Charcoal usage?  I like to use a modified minion method.  On the coal grate I have a 6" stovepipe connector centered.  Around the outside of the pipe, I lay my charcoal bed, creating a ring around the grate.  I leave a gap of about 6 inches, where I can lay the starter charcoal, fired up and ready to go.  This is one of the better methods (in my humble opinion) to get a longer and steady heat and smoke.  How much to have on hand?  I'd have 2 bags of charcoal on hand, until I figure out how much usage there will be during each smoke session.  Brand Names:  Everyone has their preferences and I really like Kingsford Competition (comes in brown accented bags, sold by COSTCO, amongst others) and of course, there's Kingsford in the blue accented bags.  I also like and prefer to use lump charcoal on occassion, like when doing poultry.  Lump tends to burn hotter, giving me the desired temps of 240-250, briquettes will burn sufficently to generally give you the 215-220 range.   Then there's times when I'll mix them, just because I want to.  There's a break-in period for WSM style smokers, where you have to dirty up the inside of the WSM with smoke residue, to help seal up all the little air leaks (which can affect temp control and stability).  There's definitely a learning curve involved but it's an easy one.  There's a lot of information available not only here, but on the internet to help you get started.  But, in a quick nutshell, this will get you "smoking".

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