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Scottish New Start. WSM SOS!

Mince Pie

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How’s it going?

Live central belt of Scotland. Have a non-branded off-set smoker from B&M (1mm thick, £60 job). Mostly used it the past couple of years for smoking home cured bacon, until lockdown when I ventured into doing 1-1.5 kg joints of topside, brisket and pork shoulder. 

Picked up the courage a few weeks ago to go all out and try a 5kg brisket. It went really well considering I was never away from the blasted fire box for 13 hours trying to keep on top of it. The flat was dry, and the point was drier than I would have liked, but I’ve learned a lot from it. (After watching T-Roy and other Yanks, I went for the internal temp rather than the pierce test. Once the probe went in like butter, I left it another hour to get another 10 degrees which was probably where it went wrong...still ate it though😊).

Wife has bought me a 22” Weber smokey mountain for Christmas (ya beauty) so will be desperate to get out to do the burn in and tinkering/figuring it out on Christmas Day to do the first cook on Boxing Day of an 8kg pork shoulder already in the freezer waiting to go. 

Hoping to talk to like minded people (love smoked meat and enjoying the process of cooking the meat over the day with a cold drink in hand) and hopefully get pointers, suggestions and help to get me to the next stage in my learning. Maybe after a few years pass on things I might’ve learnt.

Any WSM owners who could possibly give the WSM virgin (Me) any kind of tips are warmly welcomed. Would also love to hear about what briquettes are good, as I’ve previously used the cheapest I could find, recently moving to Weber brand, but find there’s a tainted chemical smell to them.
Anyone living in Central Belt that can suggest local farm butchers doing brisket and pork belly would be greatly appreciated, not into the mass produced stuffs that land in supermarkets and local butchers.

Thanks for taking the time to read my spiel and hope to have a blether with some of you soon.

Cheers 👍🍻

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Lots of wsm tips. I gave a smartfire attached to mone and can dial in temp accurately. I love it and have used the small one for years. I use water in foill lined bowl at low temperatures and and if I want higher temps so as to save on the effort of refilling bowl with boiling water I use sand.  Before I got smartfire, for years I learnt  how to use the air vents through trial and practice but the smartfire makes it easy.

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Hi Justin,

thanks a lot for getting back to me. 
I appreciate the pointers on the water and sand. It seemed to me to be a personal thing to those on YouTube if either is better, and I was expecting to be doing a bit trial and error to figure mine out. I like the easy low or high way you’ve explained, cheers. How long does a pan of water, or half, or what you use usually take to evaporate running at 250F/120C? Does that have a huge effect doing an overnight cook once it goes dry?

Funny you mention the smartfire, I’ve spent quite a few hours in the last few days getting info on using the BBQ Guru. It looks brill idea. Do you not feel it’s taken away a bit of the process? Does it not make it a bit less....man cook on fire?! I think I’d feel I was not actually cooking and leaving something to plod away on automation?

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Water put in as boiling for 120c.  Minion set up on coals. Top vent very dlightly open or closed and bottom vents closed. Smartfire or whatever will keep it gokng fine.  Any hotter I would go sand. If you are worried use sand or hot rocks. It mskes little difference. Man and Fire or automation. That is why I have a weber kettle too! But adjusting vents on a wsm depending on wind and sunshine does not seem very man fire to me. 

Check out the smartfire thread on forum loads of advice there and it is possible to get a  discount.   

Bbq guru I do not know. Smartfire is bluetooth and wifi control. Of course if you can set it up right and it works right that for me is man bbq world and now you have more time to makes sauces,  sides, bread, dessert etc for a feast. 

I also do cold smoking in it like salmon, bacon cheese etc...i have done loads of posts on those here on the forum.



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