WSM too hot?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jerseyguy63, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. jerseyguy63

    jerseyguy63 Newbie

    Hey everyone. 2nd year of smoking, and still learning. My biggest problem is that it seems my smoker gets too hot, even tho I stay at a constant 250 give or take a few degrees. For instance, yesterday I tried my first brisket (approx 6Lbs.) Taste was good, but it only took about 3 hrs to get to 170. It seems all my food cooks so quickly. Am I using too many hot coals? Should I let the coals set for a while? I usually just wait for the smoker to get to the desired temp, and start smoking. A also saw after the fact that brisket should get to almost 200. But it still wouldn't have taken 6-7 hours. Even when I smoke poultry, it seems to cook incredibly fast. Any advice would help. Thanks!
  2. njfoses

    njfoses Meat Mopper

    What are you using to measure temp?
  3. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Absolutely you need an accurate thermometer but regardless you should be able to get way lower than that by limiting oxygen to the fire.  

    Do you use any type of wind break  and close down on the top vent partially when it get's windy?
  4. I'd say you're about right on track(although it seems like you may have been on the 275-300* side of the house)...its not like you had a big brisket. What did u have? A small flat? And as mentioned/asked above...what are you using for temp checks? Never trust any manufacturer thermo's...although not all are wrong but it's better to have an extra therm on hand. As for the temp of brisket, I personally don't start messin with it til it gets to about 203*...hopefully others will chime in.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
  5. jerseyguy63

    jerseyguy63 Newbie

    Thanks for the replays. Here's the answers. As far as the temp(I'm assuming cooking temp), I'm relying on the weber thermometer. Don't use a wind break(partly because I have no clue what that is[​IMG]), but it was not windy when I smoked yesterday. Is there a decent (not too exp.) thermometer for monitoring the inside temp? Thanks again for all the replies
  6. My WSM is about a year old as well and I can keep it at a temperature I chose, the grill has really gotten good at maintaining consistent temp. First, I highly recommend getting something to monitor your temps. I use a Maverick ET-732 which can monitor both the heat of the grill as well as the temp of the meat. I don't know how you can cook without knowing what temp your grill is at. The Maverick is pretty inexpensive and you can carry the remote around the house with you so you don't have to babysit the grill. About the only time I ever run into temp spikes is if I have to open the grill to spritz or mop and I am not sure how to avoid that. I have seen some minor temp spikes if the wind picks up even with the grill closed (I then close the windward side vent(s) or you can put something to block the wind. I don't get a lot of wind in my backyard so that isn't a big issue for me.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
  7. njfoses

    njfoses Meat Mopper

  8. jerseyguy63

    jerseyguy63 Newbie

    Just ordered the 732. Thanks guys!
  9. jerseyguy63

    jerseyguy63 Newbie

    When smoking the brisket, are you filling the water pan, or leaving it empty? Is it safe not to use water, but leave the pan in? Just saw an article elsewhere that says not to use water, as that tends to dry the brisket out.
  10. lot of ppl use water/juice in the pan..some prefer to use sand or peagravel. when using my bullet i keep the waterpan in there to use as a heatblock. so the meat doesnt take direct heat. thats just me.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  11. jerseyguy63

    jerseyguy63 Newbie

    So it does not damage the water pan in any way?
  12. id have to say no. in my XL i leave a dry water pan in there also..nothing seems to be happening to it. lol. although its a crap water pan anyways.
  13. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You do want to use water in the pan (or sand or something) - the whole point is it helps to moderate your temps and keep them more stable, it is a big heat sink. If you don't have water (or whatevere) in the pan the WSM will run a lot hotter - which is fine for chicken, but not good for low and slow.

    My basic set up for any long smokes is as follows:
    • Fill charcoal ring approx. 1/3 full, put 5 fist sized chunks of wood on top, fill the ring the rest of the way and top with another 5 fist sized chunks of wood. Arrange the top of the charcoal so there is a shallow well in the middle.
    • Dump 1/3 to 1/2 of a lit chimney of charcoal into the middle of the charcoal pile.
    • Assemble the rest of the body with the pan dry and all vents 100% open.
    • When the lid therm hits 200° fill the water pan with HOT tap water, put the lid back on and wait for it to come up to 200° again.
    • Then close two of the bottom vents all the way and adjust the third to 50% - here is where you need a good therm to measure chamber temps - wait for the temp to stable and adjust the vent as needed to hit your target temp.
    • Add meat! [​IMG]
    That set up will burn low and slow for many, many hours with no other input from you.
  14. Well.  Ya got some great advice here.  And you have just spent $50 + on a meat therm.  The thing you never said and nobody asked,  So what's wrong with your brisket or chicken?  Is your brisket moist and tender?  Is your chicken moist and cooked all the way through?  If the answer to both questions is yes, what's the problem??  If both are done, moist, and tender; why worry if you cooked it in 10 minutes??  Did you follow the basic safe smoking rules ( 40-140-4 )?  Does the family like the end results?  If yes; what do you care if member X*X81 smoked his 45 hours?  Just my 2 cents.  Have fun.  Keep Smokin!

  15. jerseyguy63

    jerseyguy63 Newbie

    Well I was disappointed in the brisket. Cooked it to med rare, BIG mistake. Taste was ok, but not tender at all. I've seen different opinions(guess that what forums are for) regarding using water in the pan for brisket. My goal is to have a great bark, and pull away tender meat. Danny, what is the 40-140-4? Haven't seen that. My poultry comes out awesome. Very moist. Ribs are also great. Gotta get brisket just right. Thanks again everyone
  16. njfoses

    njfoses Meat Mopper

    Brisket you want to start checking with a toothpick around 180 deg or so. When the toothpick slides in and out like butter it's done. The 140 in 4 rule means getting the internal temp of the meat to at least 140 deg in 4 hours or less. This becomes more critical if you pierce the meat with an injector or temp probe as you run the risk of driving bacteria to the center of the meat. Many people don't know or care to follow the 140 in 4 rule so the risk reward is up to you.
  17. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Either way will be just will learn your preferred way...
  18. Jerseyguy:

    Definitely look at the links that fpnmf posted. I bought my WSM earlier this year. I installed JIRodriquez' mod for the Maverick probes (I bought the 732), and I also installed gaskets. I did both before the very first use:

    I've been able to hold the temps pretty close to right where I wanted them, although it does run hot the first couple of times. I always use water in the pan: it helps regulate the temperature. I know some people like to use sand, but I like to keep my WSM portable...water's easy to dump and replace.

    I haven't cooked for a crowd yet, so I've never used the bottom grill for food. I put two foil pans side-by-side on that lower rack (lined with aluminum foil so I can reuse the pans), and clean-up is easy. Because of this, I have never needed to foil the water pan. If I get to needing both shelves, I'll probably line the pan, but I see that you need to be careful so that water doesn't wick over the top. I've never foiled the bottom of the pan: it's not difficult to clean.

    I plan on getting a welding blanket (per JIR's recommendation), when they go on sale at a nearby Harbor Freight. I also will either add wheels, or mount the WSM to a cart, but I haven't really needed to do that yet. When I get to doing that, I'll think about adding a side shelf.

    I still have much to learn, so if you have any tips, or "lessons learned", please post them. Happy Smoking!
  19. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yup... brisket needs to get to a minimum of 190° interal temp. I usually end up being around 195-205° when I hit the slides-in-like-cutting-butter point of the smoke - I use either a toothpick or even a butterknife. And don't forget to rest it for at least 1 full hour! Even after it is cooked right you can still end up with dry brisket if you don't let it rest.

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