smoking in London

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by tombruceuk, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. Hi all. 

    I purchased a WSM 18.5" a few months back. 

    Tried a few simple things so far, just wanted to know if anyone has any tips for using the WSM. 

    I've seen lot's of forums that mention "hacks" but I'm not keen on making changes unless they are really beneficial. 

    So far I'm a big pulled pork fan but I guess that's fairly standard. I tried a brisket and suspect the rub wasn't up to standard as it wasn't a great flavour. I'd really like to use the WSM for Christmas dinner this year so might try to get a practice run in over the next few weeks. 

    All suggestions welcome. 

  2. smokinal

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

    The WSM is ready to go right out of the box!

    No mods needed!

    Here is a link to a bunch of really good recipes.


    tombruceuk likes this.
  3. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Tom, Welcome to our "Family" and "Addiction"

    Plenty of good folk on here, ask any questions you can think of, and you will get your answers.

    Wade uses Webers on regular. Will drop him a PM.

    Please take time to look at the UK Smokers Forum,

    And introduce your self on the UK Roll Call

    We have had our 2nd UK Smokes weekend, where members attend and cooked over the weekend, dates and plans are already in place for 2016. Please use the link below to view the website.

    Smokin Monkey �
  4. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

  5. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Tom - Welcome to the forum. There are a growing number of Brits on here and Steve (Smokin Monkey) has given you the link to the UK group within the forum. The UK group is fully integrated into the whole forum and is seen by all members and many of our US colleagues are active contributors. We do, however try to tackle with some of the challenges that are more specific to the UK.

    As Al said above, the WSM is ready to so straight from the box and should not need any mods. The only time you may need to mod it is if you are wanting to add an automatic temperature controller in the future. WSMs are great all rounders and will be perfect for your brisket and pulled pork. At competitions they can be seen being used by most of the competitors.

    There are several things to bear in mind when smoking with it...

    Temperature control is the key. The aim is to slowly bring the unit up to temperature without overshooting. It is easier to raise the temperature than it is to lower it.

    To measure the temperature it is best to use a digital thermometer that is recording at the cooking grate rather than relying on the one in the lid. The one that may of us use is the Maverick ET732 or 733

    The temperature is finely controlled by balancing the air flow over the coals so that enough heat is generated to get it to temperature and then just compensate for the heat loss through the walls and flue vent.

    To help maintain good temperature control over long smokes you should site the WSM is in a sheltered spot out of the wind and also direct sunlight. This isn't always possible but external weather can have quite an effect on the internal temperature - gusty wind will cool it down quite quickly and the difference from the sun shining directly on the unit and it going behind a cloud can be quite marked.

    Charcoal choice is also important. For best results you are looking to use a fuel that will urn consistently over a long period of time. A good combination is to use a good quality briquette (e.g. Heat Beads or Weber Premium briquettes) as a base and then use wood chunks or pellets on top for flavour. You can use charcoal or wood as a base however this will burn through significantly faster and will usually result in a temperature dip as you add more part way through the smoke.

    1.5 Kg of Heat Beads can give you up to 8 hours of good cooking time

    Use the water pan in the WSM. This is not there to keep the inside moist but is used more as a heat stabiliser to smooth out the temperature spikes from the burning fuel before they hit the cooking chamber. You can either fill it up with water however many of us use sand in it instead.

    The way you light the fuel is also important. What you are looking to achieve is to only burn sufficient fuel to bring the unit to temperature and then maintain it. There are several ways of achieving this and the most effective is probably the Minion method.

    This video gives you a good start on how to set this up - however I find it easier to place something like a baked bean tin in the centre and then remove it to make the well for the lit coals.

    Once you have added the lit coals into the centre then put the WSM stack together and leave both the top and bottom vents fully open. From this point monitor the internal temperature regularly. It will require patience as it can take the unit an hour or more to reach cooking temperature, but when it has reached 2/3 temperature it is the time to start regulating so that it does not overshoot. Now close down the top vent to about 1/4 open and half close the bottom vent. The top vent will stay like this for the remainder of the cook and the control will now only be made using the bottom vent ** See below

    As the temperature continues to rise towards the desired cooking temperature gradually close down the bottom vent until the temperature has stabilised at the cooking temperature. Do not shut the bottom vent completely though or the fuel will go out. The temperature should now remain stable and should only require minor tweaking every 30-60 minutes.

    Depending on the type of fuel used you may need to add more part way through the smoke to give you the required cooking time. Do not wait until the temperature starts to drop before you add more. When it looks as if the fuel is about to start burning down, add a few more briquettes every 15 minutes or so and allow them to catch before adding more. This will help avoid sudden drops in temperature as the new fuel is added.

    Hopefully this will give you a good place to start. The more you get compfirtable with managing the temperature the easier you will find it to produce good consistent end results. I am not far from you so if you need any help then just give me a buzz.


    Wade [​IMG]

    ** Some people claim that the top vent must be left completely open at all times to avoid "stale smoke" or creosote forming. This is just not true. So long as the top vent is open 1/4 or more you will get plenty of air/smoke flowing through the unit.
    tombruceuk likes this.
  6. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Tom, hope Wade has explained how to use the WSM. Wade Cooke on these regular and brings his whole family of them to the Smokers Weekend in July.
  7. great, thanks guys! 

    Now, automatic temperature control sounds great but perhaps I should start with the basics :) 

    I'll look around the forums and get back to you with any questions. 

    thanks again

  8. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes they are a great tool. I still remember the faces of the guys at the first UK smokers meet... While they were all diligently tending their smokers manually every few minutes, I was able to forget mine and I took my wife to the pub for lunch. It was at temperature when we left and was still at temperature 3 hours later when we returned [​IMG]
  9. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    OK Wade, we still had a beer though! And one bonus was the wife went to town on her own!
  10. I see they can be quite expensive but are they difficult to setup? 
  11. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    LOL Steve - You wait till I tell her you said that [​IMG]
    It really depends on the type you buy but no, most just clip into the existing bottom vents and can easily be removed when not needed. When using it with your WSM you should avoid one that requires you to drill any holes.

    I have used the Pitmaster IQ-110 with my Webers for several years now and it is great Steve has a different type that works well too. He should be able to let you know which one he uses.
  12. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This is one of them I use,

    This is all singing and all dancing, you can set four pit temperatures and four times, so you can set it to 90'C for 2 hours, then up to 110'C for 1 hour and so on. Then you can set the meat IT temperature as well, in two stages as well, once the meat has reached its desired IT, then the controller will then automatically control the pit to keep meat at the required temperature. This one is about £120.00

    The second on is made by the same person, but only controls one pit temperature, it set required pit temperature and that's it. This one about £60.00

    If you order, send them an email telling which Adaptor you require, or tell them which equipment you are using it on.

    If you are thinking of using on multiple pits, ask for the price the adaptors, and purchase at the same time, saves shipping costs.
  13. [​IMG]   Good morning and welcome to the forum, from a windy but nice day here in East Texas, and the best site on the web. Lots of great people with tons of information on just about  everything.

  14. £120 seems reasonable so I've ordered one of those. 

    Looking forward to some play time. 
  15. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Which one did you decide to go for?
  16. Hello and welcome.  I see the guys got you sorted about the U.K. Group and the space age temp controllers.  Glad to have you with us.  Keep Smokin!


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