Wood not fully burning in WSM but maintaining temps?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by dandiele, May 21, 2013.

  1. maple sticks

    maple sticks Smoking Fanatic

    Hi, From my cub scout days I remember needing three things for a fire, fuel air and heat. I'm with others who have suggested smaller chunks of wood. Your not generating enough heat to consume the wood chunks. The wood is smoldering as long as lit charcoal is close enough to keep it hot. Wood needs more heat to burn than charcoal. Smaller chunks of wood get to burning temp faster. 

    I think.
    Last edited: May 22, 2013
  2. dandiele

    dandiele Fire Starter

    Ok I will try to remember to do that. Im going to be taking it out of town with me to cook for the family this weekend. I use what coals are left after the last time I use it when i shut it down and it goes out on its own. unless there arent many in there ill add more, but if im going to do a whole pork butt ill load it fresh so it will burn the whole cook and not have to reload. 

    I may need smaller chunks, the ones I got from walmart seem extremely dry, they don't show any signs of moisture sizzling out of them when there burning. how ever some are softball sized.....I have been trying to use the smaller pieces and not using the bigger ones yet. When I got the WSM in the cooler temps (we had a very cold spring) I could see the steam from the water pan and if I stuck my nose right in the steam I could not smell any smoke what so ever. You can tell if your sniffer inhales some smoke. or at least mine can. I am going to try the more smaller chunks idea and see what happens. I dont have a saw really to cut my chunks smaller but I could use my works vice and a handsaw to cut them in half.

    On average how much wood are you guys using for say a 4 hour rib smoke, and also a 12 hour pork butt smoke? I use about 5 for ribs maybe 6 or 7 for a pork shoulder. maybe I need to use 10 fist size pieces and then if that is to much adjust it down from there.

    You guys have been very helpful thank you for the information and advice.
  3. Use a hatchet and just split the chunks.

    I use this for splitting. Made it myself. Splitting wood chunks for BBQ is about all the action it sees.

    Last edited: May 22, 2013
  4. maple sticks

    maple sticks Smoking Fanatic

    Carlos,  that is a nice looking wood splitter.  [​IMG]
  5. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I was gonna suggest a hatchet too , but that is a real nice splitter! You made that? Nice work , brother!Thumbs Up
  6. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Another thing you can do is instead of putting all the wood in at the start of the smoke, toss 2 pieces in every hour, this provides a fairly constant stream of thin blue smoke. For ribs I'll do this for the first 3 or 4 hours, for a pork butt 6-8 hours. Also different woods are stonger than others, if you are using mesquite do 1 piece per hour if you don't want a strong flavor. I buy the bags at Home Depot or Lowes.
  7. dandiele

    dandiele Fire Starter

    Ill have to try some of these suggestions. for everyones information the wood I use is sold at walmart and is this http://www.westernbbqproducts.com/hickory1.html

    The same wood sold on the website for old smokey grills and smokers.
  8. Thanks. It works really well. .250" thick at the spine most of the way up gives it a good heft.
    Check out the post by fpnmf

    His link has a picture of a WSM with used coals and there are still brown spots on the wood.
  9. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  10. Dandiele when you get a chance would you update your profile so we can see where you are located? sometimes it helps to know where you are to give you better info.

    happy smoken.

  11. dandiele

    dandiele Fire Starter

    Ok not very informative but I updated it. :)
  12. thanks Bud. it helps. now i know you are straight north of me. this time of year we have about the same weather. in the winter you are much colder and more wind.

    Happy smoken.

    dandiele likes this.
  13. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've used Western hickory chunks in my WSM with no problems before.  If the flavor is right in the finished product, I would not worry about unburnt charcoal or hardwood in the smoker.  I generally do not try to save any left over charcoal by snuffing the flame by closing the vents.  I just let anything left at the end burn to ash and don't worry about it (charcoal is cheap and all I need is one hot coal in the trash can to cost me more than a fresh bag of charcoal will).
  14. dandiele

    dandiele Fire Starter

    hmm im not sure why you would worry about a hot coal in the trash can. I snuff mine out by closing the vents so I never have to dump out any coals, only ash and those i suck out with a shop vac the next day. I just carefully lift my charcoal grate with ring in place and set it aside, suck out the ash and place the grate back in. so next time I want to use the WSM I can put hot coals lit in my chimney starter on top of the old coals after I ruff up the old coals to release any ash from them.
  15. dandiele

    dandiele Fire Starter

    Yep cold and windy about sums it up lol. sometimes snow sometimes ICE we just never know. 
  16. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Myself.. I would go with the smaller and more chunks mixed throughout the unlit charcoal.... but instead of spreading the chimney full of hot coals all over the top.. make a hole and dump them all in one spot.... make sure there are a couple of chunks touching the hot coals.. maybe even throw a chunk on top of the hot ones...

    Just try that way one time and see what happens....
  17. dandiele

    dandiele Fire Starter

    Ok I will try that this weekend when im cooking for the family. 
  18. i lived and worked in storm lake iowa for a while. on the lake.

    happy smoken.

  19. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Get a 6 ft. x 8 ft. welding blanket and some spring clamps for cold windy weather. It provides both a wind break and insulation in one - wind is actually harder on your stable temps. than cold. The brown on the blanket is from the exhaust, I leave an opening above the exhaust and the lid therm. The blankets are rated to something like 1200 °F, and the outside of your smoker isn't even remotely close to that. With this set up I can run a 250° with 1 vent open on a windy 28° night.

    To access the lid and meat, just remove the top clamps and peal it down like a bannana.

  20. dandiele

    dandiele Fire Starter

    Thats for the info but that was slightly off topic haha. Good to know though.

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