Shutting down WSM after your smoke's done? Update Weber response

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by teebob2000, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. teebob2000

    teebob2000 Meat Mopper

    Hi all - in my experience so far (2 weeks) using my 22" WSM I expected that when whatever I had cooking was finished, I could shut down the bottom/top vents and the fire would extinguish so that I could save some of the coals.  This hasn't been the case.  It keeps going and going and ... which, if I wanted to do a 12-hour slow-smoke (brisket on Friday!) would be great, but I'm not.

    If closing all the vents doesn't do it, what does, if anything?


  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    No WSM in my arsenal, but my weber gol kettle will kill a hot bed of coals in less than 5 mintues.

    Sounds like you have loose fitting vent hardware, access door or the barrel/fire bowl are slightly out of round, which will prevent them from seating tightly together.

    Not air-tight, whatever the cause. You may want to shine a flashlight (in low light) towards the vents and all mating surfaces of the barrel to check for small gaps.

    A bit of gentle coaxing to tweek things into the prpoer shape for a better match-up will usually do the trick.

  3. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I just close the vents on my WSM.

    I have two open holes where the probes go thru that I don't plug.

    It does take a good while too cool,but I dont think it's because of leaks.

    Just holds the heat well.

    Are you saying it burns all the charcoal??

  4. tyotrain

    tyotrain Master of the Pit

    Same here i close all vents and let her go out.. Most the time i will have coals left[​IMG]
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Mine takes 10-15 minutes to go out & I have several holes in it for probe wires.
  6. teebob2000

    teebob2000 Meat Mopper

    Hi Craig - yes, all the charcoal burns to ashes.  It stays at about 220 for the duration, until everything's burned out.
  7. teebob2000

    teebob2000 Meat Mopper

    Thanks, Eric.  The center section was a little out of round because I had to wiggle the lid to get it snug and I squeezed it on the sides to fix that.  Other than that, it seems 

    pretty snug.  I'll try the light test tonight.
  8. teebob2000

    teebob2000 Meat Mopper

    The door doesn't close completely tight, it does leak smoke a little bit and also lose some smoke between the lid and center section.  These should not be air-tight I assume?  Don't see how they could be as they don't truly seal up.
  9. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  10. teebob2000

    teebob2000 Meat Mopper

    I submitted a question about extinguishing the coals to Weber via their customer service online form and got the following response:
    I intended to use the coals all the way down on my last smoke, but my pork shoulder was done a couple hours before I figured it would be.  This isn't too big a deal, I guess, when you consider how cheap charcoal is.  Just curious how to get the same performance others have.

    Thanks all for the advice.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
  11. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That's very interesting, I've been leaving unused coals in my WSM & Weber kettles forever & never had any corrosion problems, but if they say not to do it I guess I'll try to put the right amount in at the start so it all burns up! Thanks for the update.
  12. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I always load mine up..and shut it down by closing all the vents when done.

    I leave whatever is leftover in and reload the next time I use it... never had any kind of issue with corrosion or burning all the coals..

    I have two holes for probes and dont take the guru out or close its vent..

    Just lucky I guess.

    From my last smoke...all wsm vents closed...these 2 still open....the guru half open..


    Here's what's left..


    This is a mix of RO lump and Kingsford Blue.

    What brand of charcoal you using???

  13. teebob2000

    teebob2000 Meat Mopper

    Hi Craig - the good ol' original Kingsford.  I've never seen totally unburned briquettes left behind, maybe I'm doing something wrong??

    Here's how I do it.  I fill the ring to maybe within an inch of the top.  I use the Minion method, starting a handful of coals in my chimney, then when they're raging, dump them on top of the heap and spread them around a little.  Then I reassemble everything, leaving all the vents open 100%.  Within an hour, pretty much all the briquettes are at least ashy.  Within probably 2 hours they're all glowing.
  14. After smoking I close all the vents in my 18.5 WSM. It cools down quick. The next day I pull the usable Kingsford charcoal from the smoke which has been a fair amount and place in a container to reuse. and clean out all the charcoal ash from the smoker. No problems having left over charcoal.
  15. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think this may be your problem. When you do the minion method you don't want to spread the coals around, you want the fire to slowly get to the unlit coals. When you shut the vents the fire will go out & some of the coals will not even be touched by the fire. Here's a pic of how I do it. I start the fire with about 8 lit briquettes in a little pile. The fire will follow around the ring & with the chunks mixed in it will keep on smoking.

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  16. What size is the can in the middle that has the chips in it?  and why is it there?
  17. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It's just an old bean can. It keeps the charcoal separated so the fire burns around the edge. I put chips in it & they will smolder a little throughout the smoke.
  18. That's a neat one there. I gotta try it. Thanks for the info Al.
  19. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I do mine a little different than Al..

    I use the can, but fill it with about 8-10 burning coals and pull the can..(with pliers)..

    Put the WSM back together with all vents open til 180 and close two of the lowers and one about half way open.

    Works great for me...Thanks TYOTRAIN!!!


    Have a great day!!

  20. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can also vary the size if your charcoal load. I have two basic loads: 1/2 ring for all smokes under 10 hrs., full ring for everything else. I do have some left over that I could try and let extinguish and re-use, but usually not enough to make it worth while. Another fun thing to do if it is still burning is to turn the kids loose with sticks and smores materials - keeps them entertained for a good hour.

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