WSM - Best Temp Control....Brinkman Pan w/Water, Piedmont Pan, Piedmont w/Water

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by burnit13, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. I've had my WSM for 8 years now.  I've used it less and less the past year or so because its been a bear to run.  It always ran too hot for me.  Turns out it just needed some TLC to bring it back to proper order.  Among other things I ordered a gasket kit, a new bottom vent kit, a stainless door, and a couple new Brinkman pans for the water.

    In the past I've used the Brinkman pan as a water pan.  Worked great.  Since I needed a replacement I ordered two, just in case I wanted to run a Piedmont pan. 

    I'm second guessing myself on whether or not to run a Piedmont pan for an upcoming smoke.  The idea is great in theory but temp control can suffer on long smokes.  I'm planning a 16-18 hour over-nighter for Easter and don't want to run the risk of a runaway while I'm sleeping.

    So what would give the pest probability of good temp control?  A single Brinkman pan with water, a plain-jane piedmont pan, or a piedmont pan with water?

    BTW....I always use the minion method.  Thanks!
  2. That website will show you the kind of charcoal arrangement and charcoal firing (yes there are differences depending on the meat and dish you wanna' cook) that you need to do, depending on the cut and type of meat you wanna' smoke.  Ribs vs Bostons.  As a matter of fact Kingsford has flown the moderator to Kingsford's site for a consult on Kingsford's products as applied to the WSM.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
  3. Thanks for the help but I'm no nooooooooob.  [​IMG]   Like I said I've had the WSM for 8 years now.  It runs hot because it has seen some work. 

    The fitment isn't spectacular because the sections are a bit out of round.  The gasket kit will help with that.  The door is beat to snot and can only be re-bent so much.  That's what the new stainless door is for.  The bottom vents are mangled from being moved over the years and can't adequately reduce the air.  They will be replaced with genuine Weber vents.

    For Easter and X-Mas I smoke raw picnic hams or shoulders in the 10-12lb range.  It takes about 16-18hrs to get it to 180F with a 225F smoker temp.  It has always worked great except for the past two years, due to the problems mentioned above.  Since I need a new water pan anyway....I decided to give the Piedmont a try.

    For a long smoke the Piedmont probably isn't the best since water acts a good thermal insulator helps keep the temps steady throughout the cycle.  I'm wondering if I should just go plain jane water pan....or the Piedmont pan with water.

  4. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    I'd run way hotter than 225 anyway.  Higher temps 275-300 turn out a better product imo and i used to be a 225 guy.  I'd go a dry foiled water pan. 
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
  5. Checkout the WSM site I listed and post your problem there.   Weber whose customer service is way and beyond, can help you with the fitment.  Check it out at the WSM website.  You have had some problems that shouldn't be there.
  6. delete delete delete
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
  7. Sorry.  But I'm not wanting a thread on Weber quality and fitment and what not.  I know what my problems are and I've fixed them.  It is 8+ years old and has been used hard.  It has been brought back to its former glory, so no more issues.

    I just want to know what helps control temps better.  A single Brinkman pan with water, a plain-jane piedmont pan, or a piedmont pan with water?  Whether its a WSM or not is irrelevant.
    If this smoke were during the day and I could keep a constant eye on it I'd completely agree.  But since this is an overnighter and I'll have 10+ guests eating it the next afternoon.....I'd like to keep to what I know.  I'll go with the dry foiled method on a shorter smoke to get a feel for it, which will be soon.  My temps tend to hover around the 225-250F range.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
  8. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    I gotcha but just to let you know there is no need at all to keep an eye on it.   My cooks the lid stays shut until it's done because the meat therm are my eyes.    It does zero good to be lifting the hood.    Most of us have something like a maverick ET 732 and it has an alarm you can set for meat temps. 
  9. Yes sir!  I've got two wireless therms telling me what the meat is doing, both with alarms.  There are three probe thermometers on the smoker as well.

    My concern is that it runs too hot while I'm sleeping and its done 12hrs early.  In the past I've had great success with 2gal of water in the Brinkman pan as it helps stabilize the temps.  I wonder if I do the same in a Piedmont pan if it will have the same effect, just take longer to boil off.
  10. I foil my large water pan and place inside of it a disk shaped piece of foiled terra cotta, the kind that sets beneath a flower pot and I seem to get a good steady temperature, whether it's 145F or 235F.
  11. UPDATE!!!

    Thought I'd post an update.  My WSM kicks butt again.  I replaced the lower vents, replaced the grates, put on a stainless door, and installed a full gasket kit this past weekend.  I also built a Piedmont style pan and installed a Tel-Tru BBQ thermometer to replace an older Walmart thermo.

    The smoker performed admirably.  There was no smoke spillage anywhere and the temp control was spot on.  I used water in the Piedmont pan and it lasted the whole smoke.

    I fired the smoker up at 10pm the night before Easter and had the shoulder on at 11pm.  She came off at noon the next day at 180F and got wrapped in foil, a beach towel, and rested in a cooler until 3pm.

    Pure Awesomeness.  For the first time I actually had the opposite problem.  Normally too much air was leaking into the smoker and making it run too hot.  For the first time I actually had to open the vents a bit to make it run hotter.  The way she is built now I could probably snuff out the fire if I shut things down all the way!

    But to answer my question.....the Piedmont pan with water offered great long term temp control.  It really helps for when you want to run at lower temps....say 200-250.  For temps around 250+ I'd say run the Piedmont pan empty with a couple foil balls and a layer of foil on top.

    I also highly recommend the gasket kit from and the stainless door from  The replacement vents and grate came from and the Brinkman charcoal pans for the Piedmont pan came from  The Tel-Tru thermometer came from

    I think overall I had $150 into the upgrade but it made it a completely different smoker. 

    BTW.  A 20lb bag of charcoal kept the smoker at 225F for 24hours straight before it died down.  At 11am when the ham came off I added what was left of the charcoal and put on a full load of ABT's.  When I went to bed around 10pm the temp was just starting to drop.  Awesome.  It was fairly cold both nights at around freezing.  I imagine during the summer I'll use even less fuel.
  12. The gasket kit, is there any problem with using a hose to spray clean the WSM?  Do the gaskets adhere fast?
  13. knifebld

    knifebld Smoking Fanatic

    Wow, I would love to be able to do this. I have a brand new WSM and although I am learning to get my temps regulated, I still can not leave her without tweaking the vent every hour or I am very nervous to plan a long smoke without staying awake for 18 hours!

    I have read about the gasket and will definitely look into this...but still don't understand the piedmont pan....was this necessary for you because yours was 8 years old, or is this a mod that I could use on my brand new one?

    Anyhow, congrats on your butt kicking smoker! lol
  14. I don't see the gasket handling a strong jet of water.  It is adhered using a high temp food grade silicone rtv.  The rtv will stick to the smoker just fine but the Nomex gasket has a tendency to be the weak point.  If you are careful I'd say go for it.  Who cleans their smoker anyway?  :)

    The Piedmont pan is a double water pan with about 1/4" of airspace between the pans.  Air acts as an insulator and keeps the pan on top a bit cooler.  This keeps the water from boiling off.  For most smokes, you don't even need to add water, just some foil.  The Piedmont pan acts as a thermal damper to reduce temperature fluctuations.

    And I can't say I'm not tired the day following an overnight smoke.  I went to bed at 12:30am after I was satisfied with the temp and checked on it at 3:30am.  She was running at 250F so I backed her off a touch.  At 6am I checked again and the temp had dropped to 180F....YIKES!!!  Looks like I closed her down a bit too much...never had that problem before! 

    At this point I was wide awake and opened her back up.  We ate dinner at around 3pm.  If it wasn't for a early holiday dinner and I wasn't serving 10 people I would have just got a smaller ham and started around 7am.  I had a 9.5lb picnic.  I could have gone with two smaller ones as well for a quicker smoke but whats the fun in that!

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