WSM Temp spike, slow or not recovering

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by herkysprings, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    So I went to foil my chucks, and since then I have had a temp spike (max was 266 on my digital thermometer at the bottom gril) that I cannot recover from. Probably form removing the lid?

    I have almost completly closed the vents, and just recently added some more tap warm water.

    Any hints? Do I just wait it out with the vents closed? Will my charcoal burn out?

    Also I dropped a chuck when foiling. 5 sec rule recovery. The pavement was recently swept ;) I may not serve that one, but keep it for myself.

    Hope everyone is having a good weekend smoking!
  2. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Removing the lid can cause this in the WSM. However, it should settle back down after replacing it.

    Water? Ahh waterpan. I no longer use one. I use a grill covered in foil as a heat deflector. also- Do you have a charcoal basket?

    Keep your eye on the coals, I doubt they will go out, but your temps should stabilize.

    Heh..nice save.
  3. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Also have you done any mods at all to the WSM? They are usually pretty reliable. Sorry I do not know your particular details.
  4. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    The only thing I modded was some mid section handles.

    I think I figured it out, but I'm still running 255-260.

    I started in the morning and it was cloudy and a little wind going one direction. When I foiled the chucks, around that time the wind had chnged direction, the clouds burned off, and sun was hitting the WSM.

    I have since added some colder water, and closed the vents in the direction of the wind, and the one on the side where sun is, leaving the third vent (protected and no sun) only 25% open. I dropped to 254 but it seems to stablize around 260.

    I'm still running hot, luckly the meat is on the top grill. I guess its a learning experience. Unfortunately the meat is getting near done. Maybe I'm not used to quicker smokes, my Bradley electric had the opposite problem of not being able to keep a good temperature of 240.
  5. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Get the charcoal basket, and check into the "minion method". Burn small chunks, and that WSM is a rock star.
  6. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    Perhapse that is it. I mixed the Kingsford stuff with some other "lump" hardwood charcoal. Maybe that larger lump stuff is giving me too much heat.

    Any tips on the basket? I'd just buy a couple and have them at the bottom? I guess the idea is that the limit the amount of charcoal burning at any given time?
  7. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Lump is hotter, and better, especially because of it's much smaller ash production.

    That is the idea of the minion method, yes.

    And expanded metal baskets can be made pretty easy...there's more than a few threads here discussing them.
  8. mgnorcal

    mgnorcal Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Having the lid off will stoke the fire.
    You might try first closing the vents off on the bottom if you're going to be messing around for a while with the lid off.

    266 is certainly nothing to worry about, especially once your meat is foiled.
  9. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    I'm hoping tho if it runs that high all the time, that Ribs etc will be ok.

    I guess its all about practise.

    Thanks for the help! (Pictures soon)
  10. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    Finally dropped down to 240. i think I burned through the lump. no meat in there anymore but I'm trying to practise holding a temp.

    One thing I REALLY like about this smoker (aside from my first smoke ring) Is that the temp on the bottom and top grill were really close to each other. The Bradley had a noticeable difference in temp, even to the point of having to rotate meat because of the heating element.

    However the Bradley is going to be my number one fish smoker and cold smoker. It makes those two jobs very very easy.

    I'm having too much fun today smoking meat!
  11. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    Don't have a WSM, but I do have a Brinkman vertical. Don't know if yours' is assembled the same, but....... The main cylinder of mine sits on top of a lip on the charcoal tray. If I set it down skewd, it leaks and the coals run very hot. Whether you'rs is like that or not, I would start by looking for a leak somewhere. Something loose, not closed, skewed, etc.....

    BTW, I feel your pain. I've done probably 35 smokes in my Brinkman. I thought I had it completely dialed in. Last two smokes the thing is running like a blast furnace.

    5 second rule:
  12. herkysprings

    herkysprings Smoking Fanatic

    I ran it for a while are the cook, and I could easily control the temp. Must have been the lump.

    Funny thing is I closed everything last night and I went to clean it this morning, and the unused fuel lit back up when I the middle section off.

    So I dumped in some wood, kepts the water bowl empty, and I'll s[end the day finishing the fuel, and practising vent control while doing some more seasoning!

    Very fun stuff tho. I also just learned my Bradley runs 20 degrees cooler than the temp displayed on the LCD. No wonder my cooks took so long on that thing.
  13. mikey

    mikey Smoking Fanatic

    HerkySprings, check out This site is for geared for WSM owners and is loaded with xlnt information. Makes for some great reading!
  14. mgnorcal

    mgnorcal Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Check for leaks.
    In dozens of cooks where I've checked, I've never had live coals the next day.

    Might be that the lid wasn't on square or you might have a loose vent on the bottom.
    Or your door might be too loose. Lotsa people do stuff to try to get their access door to fit tighter, but fixing it can be as simple as increasing the bend or curvature to the door.

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