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paul6057

Weber Smokey Mountain

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Hi all,

I got a 57cm WSM at the end of the summer that in yet to use, but thinking of cracking it out over the next few days. I'm thinking of doing a pork shoulder and probably spatchcocked chicken add they're both ready to get hold of, rather than ordering a full brisket from my local butcher. Any tips, advice, or warnings would be appreciated.

I also have a question. What fuel do you use in your WSM or bullet smoker? I have a few bags of heat beads and a couple of coconut shell charcoal, but what about lumpwood? What is most effective and controllable?

Thanks,

Paul

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Hi Paul, I would go with the Spatchcock Chicken first until you get to know how to set the vents up for temperature control.

The fuel you have is good, for a WSM, these are more controllable, but you can achieve it with Lump Wood.

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I use weber briquttes in mine. And sand in the bowl. Do not have to top up water that way. Vents:I use a pencil  to set width of all 3 vents. That way I have a base point to refer to.  Of course weather conditions dictates how much to close or open. Experience helps but having a base point is key point. Others lije a smartfire set up that they can set and forget. It depends what you want.

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What sort of temperature would you be looking for for that cook and for how long would you expect to cook it for? I have an iGrill (which is also new) so should be able to monitor temperatures, both ambient and internal, relatively well.

How long would you expect one 4kg bag of charcoal to cook for using the minion method? My coconut shell briquettes say 4 hours, but I'm presuming that's fully lit in a chimney. Would you double or treble that time cooking minion method?

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Hi Paul. Those briquettes can last a long time with minion method. I had them last for 9 hours when using the minion method and they could have carried on for another 9, but this was in the Weber Kettle. 

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Here we go...

 

Taking a bit of time to get up to temperature, so I added more coals to the middle.

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I'm wondering whether it took so long to get up to temperature, because I filled the water bowl with sand, and it had been out during the night and obviously got cold. That's going to take a lot of heat to warm up the sand I expect so maybe the reason for the slow start.

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I was reading about some "modifications" that people have made to their WSM, or certain upgrades. I'm not going to start drilling holes or anything like that, but what I did buy was this stuff - https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Gasket-Door-Ceramic-Oven-BBQ-Sealing-Tape-Self-Stick-Antiflaming-Guard-Adhesive/163908717700?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

 

I put it around the lid and around the door, and it does a really great job of helping to seal those gaps and stop the smoke from escaping where you don't want it to. I had to do two layers around the door because the stock "fit" on that thing is terrible! So far, so good though.

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Water also takes  while to get to temp. I wait 30 mins or so and it stabilises

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i put in hot water and it does ok. I’m gonna get sand later so it’s good to know you need to leave it to warm up

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Posted (edited)

Temperature has been pretty consistent for the last 5 hours or so. I had to give the coals a bit of a mix to bring some of the edge ones back in as the temperature was gradually going down. I think because I went with the massive smoker, and it's pretty cold outside, it takes a bit more fuel than I had expected.

 

I'm doing a "beer can chicken" as well, which I'm kind of winging, because the book cooking temp is 60 degrees higher than my cooker. It's looking good though and the internal temperature is going in the right direction.

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Edited by paul6057
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7 minutes ago, Simon said:

What temperature are you hitting?

Cooking temperature, I'm trying to keep it around 120 degrees. Internal temperature, I need my pork to get to 88, but it's stalled recently at around 77. Chicken is going well though.

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Final results. Some of the pork shoulder was a little dry, but still very tasty. Hard to tell whether that was over cooked or needed mor cooking to break down the meat fibres. I suspect it could have done with another hour, but we were hungry and didn't want to wait.

The chicken was probably the best chicken I've ever cooked. It was so so tender!

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Well done. I recommend a MEATER thermometer. I use one to ensure more consistent results. 

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I was also test driving my new iGrill. Seemed to do a good job and had much better Bluetooth connection than my Meater.

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I use cloud link. Can connect to MEATER from anywhere with Wi-Fi. If needed. Personally I like to stay close to the bbq

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Great to hear about your chicken. It’s all worth it once you sit down with the end result. 

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Never done a beer can chicken before, but I highly recommend it. Even in the WSM, I cooked it for about 3 1/2 hours at about 120 degrees, and it was fantastic.

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Question for people here after reflecting on my weekend smoking. What amount of coal do you tend to use for long cooks? I reckon I probably used about 6kg of charcoal to keep the temperature going for about 10 hours. I guess that being pretty cold out as it was January which would no doubt have an impact on this, but if I'm thinking about doing 12 - 16 hour smokes over the summer, should I expect to be use roughly that amount of charcoal, or would two or three (4kg) bags be needed?

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This is a very open ended question, as there are so many circumstances that can effect the cooking time.

You have mentioned one, the time of the year, January colder than the summer months, but all so the wind will effect the cook, a lot of wind will remove heat from the actual metal of the WSM, which will have to be made up from the fuel, like wise rain, rain will cool the metal of the WSM.

On the other side, Summer, hot day sun out, black WSM absorbing heat, can run over temperature.

The mass of meat will also dramatically effect the burn rate, 1 Kilo Chicken Spatchcocked will not use as much fuel as a 1 Kilo piece Rolled Pork Shoulder.

Moisture content, that dreaded Stall, this will use a lot of fuel to push through the stall.

Type of fuel as well, lumpwood charcoal doesn’t burn as hot as say Heat Beads, so you will burn more lumpwood than Heat Beads for the same temperature.

 

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