WSM Mods

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by shadowhawk, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. I just bought a WSM and have a couple of questions. Should I replace the access door with a steel one or should I stay with the OEM and install a gasket kit? Or...should I do both?  Also....the water pan capacity looks there an upgrade for this?   Thanks for responding.
  2. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Someone will be right along to answer your questions!
  3. resstealth

    resstealth Smoke Blower

    From what i've read the cajun bandit doors are a huge upgrade over the factory one, but I think you have to enlarge the door hole to install them.
  4. Slow down! Do 6-7 cooks to break it in and see how it seals up. You may have to adjust the original door to get it to seal good. There is always time to spend money, but why, if you don't have to.
  5. Thanks...I'll slow down but are you saying that Mods are totally unnecessary?  From everything I have read, folks say that the WSM is an OK smoker but the OEM door is flimsy and either needs to be tweaked into shape or replaced . The reason I considered a gasket kit is that my previous smoker was a Brinkmann Smoke n Grill and it leaked like a sieve. It was almost impossible to maintain temperature. (I guess you get what you pay for). I didn't want the same thing to happen with the WSM. I am restrained by budget and it seemed like the WSM was the first choice in the 400 dollar range so that is why I went with it...couldn't afford to go with something like a Lang or similar.
  6. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Shadowhawk, the WSM can be leaky, mine is.  The door that arrived with mine was actually damaged.  I bent it into shape but had Weber send me a new door.  The new door arrived undamaged but really didn't seal up any better than the one that came with it after I reshaped it.

    I bought the gasket kit right after getting the WSM because the lid was leaky too.   Would the gasket kit seal the leaks around the door and lid?  Absolutely!  Have I installed it?  Nope. Partly due to time, but mostly because the smoker hums right along without it.  It is a great smoker!  It has sealed up some with weekly use since Christmas, especially the lid.

    As leaky as it is it will hum along at 250-270F for hours without any changes.  I really don't follow the printed directions that came with the WSM for vent openings, charcoal loading, and temp control.  I typically close off all the vents after each smoke and have plenty of charcoal left over for the next one.  With the gasket kit installed it would choke faster and save more charcoal.

    For loading and temp control I pile the used charcoal in the center, bury my wood chunks in new charcoal, then add 1/4-1/3 chimney hot charcoal in the center for a low temp 225-235F smoke; 3/4 hot charcoal for a hot smoke of 275F or more.  The bottom vents are barely open (1/8") for a low temp smoke, maybe 1/4" open for a 250F smoke.  My top vent is almost never more than 1/2 open.  You can also use just one bottom vent open to control temps too and close off the other two.  Making small changes in the top vent impacts the temp up or down too.  Figuring out vent openings for temp control is half the fun of owning the smoker.

    My advice, use the smoker as is, figure out your vents for temps, and then decide whether you want to buy the gasket kit or new door.
  7. Thanks for the advice....I was beginning to get scared (I haven't taken the WSM out of the box yet) and wondered whether maybe I should have gone in a different direction like a UDS (I looked the  Pit Barrel Smoker and similar). It is kind of confusing because I read all the forums and everybody has the own favorites and although they all agree that WSM makes a fine product..they say that.theirs is ultimately better and is the way to go. I watch the PitMaster shows religiously and am hell bent on becoming a proficient smoker like those, I don't want to compete...I just want to be able to produce a delicious, quality offering whether it be Beef; pork or poultry. Unfortunately I cant afford to spend thousands of dollars on equipment so I was looking for the best bang for my buck. In any event, your input is greatly appreciated.
  8. What I'm saying is that, try it unmodified first. Many people think it works just fine out of the box.
  9. h2so4ca

    h2so4ca Meat Mopper

    You will love your WSM I have several smokers and I do compete and I just got my WSM earlier this year.

    It has earned a place along with my Lang for competitions. 

    So take it out of the box and get to smoking on it and you will love it. 
  10. .....Thanks for your comments....I will start using the WSM and I wish you luck in your competitive endeavors....I hope that I can start to move forward in the learning curve with the help of my new smoker......
  11. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Man, I need a break at work, so here I am. Shadowhawk, I hear you about making a choice of smoker. I have had friends over the years who had a variety of smokers and they seemed to have more complaints than praise for their gear.

    My wife bought me a Smoke-n-a-tor (dadgum auto correct) and I learned how to smoke on my Weber Kettle. It was easy to step up to the WSM when she said "buy any smoker you want for Christmas." There is probably not a more out of the box ready smoker on the market at the price point of the WSM.

    Put that baby together and get smokin'!
  12. By the way h2so4ca...I moved here (Arizona) about 2 years ago from the Seattle area...I lived in Arlington....prior to that in Oso.   Love the desert but I miss the trees; streams and mountains especially when it hits in the 100's here....
  13. h2so4ca

    h2so4ca Meat Mopper

    Well I hope you come back for a visit every now and again. Sometimes the winters here get to me a bit but the summers are beautiful.
  14. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I started with the SmokeEZ for my OTG but after I upgraded to the WSM (22.5) I converted the SmokeEZ to a Pizza oven for the kettle.  Cut a half moon opening in the side big enough to slip a pizza in on a stone.  Works great for the new application.  BTW, the ring that comes with the SmokeEZ found use in the WSM in the charcoal holding area.  It works great for one of the many mods I made to the WSM.  


    Back to the original subject about the door:  Like others have said, use your WSM a few times first to "seal" up all the little air leaks and find your way around the amazing WSM.  There's lots of info hidden away in these electronic pages and after a little digging, you'll wonder what you can do next.

    ~Dave  Still residing well north of Arlington WA.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  15. Another question guys...I have not taken the WSM out of the box yet so I can still return it....should I have gotten the 22 inch instead of the 18.5? I don't mind cutting ribs in half to make them fit but what about a larger a brisket or something....I know the 22 is a hundred bucks more but is it worth going larger?  thanks
  16. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Once again, size does matter.  J/K of course.  In this instance, it really depends on how much (not frequency but) food you're going to smoke in one session.  For me, a 22.5 was a no-brainer for two reasons:  one, cost:  I had a friend who had a friend who knew of a sale on a particular internet site (I didn't realize NewEgg sold smokers) and second:  I tend to need the larger capacity for when I go on the road to visit relatives and other gatherings since I have a son and son-in-law who foolishly believe that they can outsmoke this old phart (but don't tell them I said this!!!) at their "cookoffs".    

    If you expect to smoke mass quantities of meat or veggies at a time, a 22.5 is the way to go.  If not, go with the 18.5.  As to the whole rib rack....  I call b.s. on that particular problem.  Back in the day when I was gassing my smokes, I discovered that you could take a rib rack and make it into a vertical circle, similar to a Crown Roast, and smoke it with equal results.  True, the sauces didn't stick as well, but then, I'm a rub guy, who serves dipping sauces for those who want to ruin the taste (that's my own opinion of course).

    Welcome to the dark side of smoking.  

    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
  17. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    I want a 22.5 WSM so that on thanksgiving I can do a turkey and a ham at the same time. The rest of the year I would use a mini-wsm or my kettle. I just need to find a 32 qt pot...
  18. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The 18.5 is more fuel efficient than the 22.5 so I had the same debate about size. It is just me and my wife but I went ahead and got the larger one because I use K.B.B. mostly, stock up when it is on sale, and the savings was only going to be about $50 a year. I like the versatility of the larger grates and still use my Weber Kettle when it is going to be a small smoke.

    I smoke 8 to 20 lbs of meat per week, which isn't all that much compared to some, but it is plenty for me and my wife. When we have a lot of leftovers I use the handheld Food Saver vacuum sealer ($30) with reusable, resealable bags that keep the cooked meat fresh. Heck, I had tri tip I smoked on Mem. Day tonight and it was as good as the day I smoked it.

    If space and savings aren't a major concern just keep what you have.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  19. Thanks to all of you for your really helped and I truly appreciate that you took the time to answer my questions.....


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