saucer/temp gauge advice

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by curious dave, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. curious dave

    curious dave Newbie

    Just got a new 22.5-inch WSM and would like some clarification/advice about using a clay saucer rather than water. As I understand this technique, the saucer goes into the water pan, correct? The idea is to create an air pocket between the bottom of the saucer and the top of the pan base. I purchased a 14-inch saucer but it nested totally into the water pan, rather than friction-fitting slightly above the water pan's bottom. Even an 18-inch saucer did the same. It appears that a 20-inch saucer is required, but that's awfully large and heavy -- and I don't know where to get one that big. I guess I could use one of the smaller sizes and put aluminum foil balls underneath to create an air space, but I suspect that some drippings would pass into the water pan since the outer edges of the saucer would not be in contact with the interior of the water pan.  Any advice/help will be appreciated.

    No. 2 dilemma: I purchased a Maverick ET85 temp gauge with the intention of being able to fit its probe through an eyelet obtained from BBQ Guru. The probe, however, has a metal collar between the probe's non-pointed end and where the wire is attached to it. This metal collar will not allow the probe to be fully inserted into the WSM to the extent that some or all of the wire also is inside. The back end also is too large to fit from inside out. Apparently, this temp gauge is not compatible with the eyelet mod. For the collar to pass through, about a 1/2-inch hole would be required, and that size seems a bit large to be feasible. Will be grateful for any enlightenment. 
     
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Can't help you with the clay saucer idea I just use the water pan with water, some of the guys fill it with wet sand, but water works for me.

    The eyelet is an easy fix, just go to Home Depot & get a lamp rod repair kit. It will come with a hollow threaded brass nipple & a couple of brass nuts.

    Just drill a hole in the side & put it through with the nuts on each side. You will be able to string 3 wires through the hole and the Maverick probes slide right

    through easily.
     
  3. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Apparently the ET85 isn't the best choice for use with a smoker, especially the WSM. You should be able to run it through the top vent hole however. If you can return it, maybe go for the ET732. Can't really help you on the water pan/saucer issues. I'm guessing here, but I don't see how an air pocket is really necessary. I believe the benefit is in the MASS of the saucer. It will hold heat and make for a more stable chamber temperature. Much in the same way water does. You should be fine, just put it in your pan and then cover the top of the pan with foil to avoid a mess.
     
  4. curious dave

    curious dave Newbie

    thanks. i'm headed to the home depot today. 
     
  5. curious dave

    curious dave Newbie

    thanks for the help. maybe i'll just "uncomplicate" things by sticking to the water.
     
  6. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Water is best most of the time, until we got to our colder weather in Florida, then Sand is the way to go. You can achieve higher temps and especially with a charcoal unit, more consistent temps with Sand.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011
  7. curious dave

    curious dave Newbie

    thanks. am wondering, though, if we will ever get cooler weather in texas. i'll try the sand if such a miracle occurs. question, though: how much sand do you use in the water pan?
     
  8. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member


     I fill it up around 3/4 of the way, then lay a sheet of aluminum foil across it to catch the spatters. This way, all you have to do, is add a cup or two of water, mix it up a bit and use it again. I usually get around three smokes out of a pan load. My mentor actually had told me you do not need to use water with humidity above 80%. You will find you want to spritz a little more when using sand though.

     Yeah, wish that Louisiana mess would come you way.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011
  9. curious dave

    curious dave Newbie

    let me make sure i get this straight: you add a cup or two of water to the sand, then cover with alum. foil? thanks.
     
  10. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Yes
     
  11. curious dave

    curious dave Newbie

    your help is much appreciated.
     
  12. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member


     Well if you buy Playbox sand, it is usually moist enough to start. After your first smoke, you then will need to remoisten it for additional uses. It needs a damp consistency.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
  13. curious dave

    curious dave Newbie

    thanks for the update. since you are obviously a fountain of knowledge about the wsm, i have another novice user's question: if additional charcoal is needed to complete a cook, what is the best way to add it: through the door or from above after lifting off the lid and midsection? And when adding to an already smoldering but inadequate fire, should the addition be lit charcoal or unlit charcoal? i like lump charcoal, but the wsm instruction manual says that "lump charcoal is not recommended." Wonder why weber advocates briquettes. 
     

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