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WSM Burn Time Question
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istock74
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07 08 3:26 am    Post subject: WSM Burn Time Question Reply with quote

I cooked with my WSM this past weekend. Temps were around 50 during the day and got down to 30 or so on into the night. Very little to no wind.

I started the WSM with a full charcoal ring ( Royal Oak Briquettes ) and about 6 small chunks of Hickory Mixed In. Lit 20 Briquettes in a chimney and spread them out over the charcoal ring. Water Pan Empty and Lined with foil. Had all vents open wide until she came up to 250 and ended up with 2 bottom vents shut and 1 about 1/2 open for a nice cruising temp of around 240. I got about a 10 hour burn time out of this. Is that about all should expect out of the WSM when the air temp is cool like that? Did I put to many lit briquettes on to begin with? I feel as though I'm missing something. Don't get me wrong I'm real happy to get 10 hours of basically unattended cooking time, but I really thought I would get more. I thought maybe using sand In the water pan would help.?
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jrb03
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07 08 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all I use only Kingsford in the WSM, so Im not sure of the differences between K and RO. Your startup method sounds perfect. You say you filled the ring up, how full? I FILL IT UP. The K comes in a 18 lb bag these days, and I use almost all of it between filling the ring and half a chimney or so for startup.

It doesnt get that cold here, but I do notice the fuel lasts much longer in the summer here. I have gotten 20+ hours out of the above method in the summer time, temps in the 90s or 100s. Couple of weeks ago I think my burn time was around 14 hrs, it was in the 50s or so. It also depends on how much food you have in the smoker.

I always use water in the pan for low and slow, have never used sand or just foil. I use it empty all the time for high temp chicken or turkey cooks.
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istock74
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07 08 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well... I fill it level full. Ive only had the cooker for a couple weeks and was using Royal Oak because thats what I had at home. I had read on the Virtual Bullet that they recommend Kingsford and I planned on trying that this weekend.
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jib
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07 08 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can fill it waaaay over level. I've gone 16+ hours on Kingsford with a water tray. When I add fuel, I add lump because I don't like preburning Kingsford and adding it to an operating WSM.

When you fill the ring, shake it down to compact the briquette loading. It's amazing how much the level drops when you shake it down for a minute.

Jack
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istock74
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07 08 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh. That I have not been doing. The thing with the water pan... I guess I was trying to run it empty because I had envisioned being able to have the thing chug away overnight doing long cooks for butts or brisket without requiring me to get up and fiddle with it much. How often do you need to replenish the water?
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jrb03
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07 08 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many pounds would you say you used? It sounds like if you only filled it level and did not try to compact it, 10 hours is reasonable. Like I said, I make sure to fill that sucker up by compacting the charcoal and overfilling the ring. Doing that will obviously get you the longer burn time.

How and where were you measuring your temp? I just noticed you cruised at 240' for 10 hours. I think those of us that use water cook more in the 225-235 range, thats where the WSM likes to settle at with water in the pan.

On water usage, I couldn't tell you about the stock WSM pan, never used it!!! I use the Brinkmann charcoal pan mod that is found on TVWB site. It holds alot more water than the stock pan. I make sure its full when I go to bed, and I wake up 8 hours later and its still got enough water, but usually just about time for a fillup. I buy the Brinkmann charcoal replacment pans at Academy for like $5. To me they are disposable. I never bother to foil the waterpan, so when they get dirty enough to where I dont feel like cleaning it, I grab another one from th shed.
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istock74
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07 08 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed I only filled it level and did not try to compact the charcoal.

I measured the temp with A digital thermo stuck through a potato on the to grate as well as an oven thermo set on the top grate for comparisons sake.

I will venture to TVWB and check out the mod. i really appreciate your tip on that, as well as the other stuff.
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tinovr
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07 08 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've gotten a good 16-20 hrs or so out of one filled ring with the stock pan... Rancher charcoal...

I did notice you say you spread the lit coals over the entire ring??

Try using the Minion Method "coals in a can"..... I forego the can and just "dig" a little hole in the middle of the pile.. that's where the lit coals go.. they work their way lighting to the outer coals..
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istock74
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07 08 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tinovr, I was using that method per the VWB site. I did see the coffee can one while I was there but have not tried it yet. In my original post I stated that I used 20 lit briquettes. Does that sound like a good amount for the coffee can method? Also you said you were using the stock pan. Filled with water or sand or empty?
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bigabyte
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07 08 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like mentioned above, I get longer times if I put all my lit coals on top in the center. When I spread them out it burns up faster.
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Mike Lawry
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07 08 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Me , I start closing down all the vents into just a cracked position at 190 or so, then let it creep up to the cooking range 225-250 .

Maybe its just me though.


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jrb03
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07 08 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've tried all different variations of starting the Minion Method, and honestly havent noticed a difference in BURN TIME between them. I've even dumped a half chimney of lit coals into an empty ring, and then filled up the ring with unlit. All of the coals get "going" much quicker this way if your watching them, but the burn time is still the same. This is actually my method of choice lately, because it is easier to overfill the ring with unlit.
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T00lman
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07 08 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

just got mine about a month ago cooked on about 7 times coldest out side was 3 out got 13.5 hours of 225-250 temp using kingsford filled ring
mounded lit apprx 25 coals spread on top with all vents open on bottom
started closing vent down when I get to 200 end up with one vent on bootom about 2/3 open and walk away .still amazed how it holds a temp
but then again I,M easily amused.

post script no water in pan covered pan with foill used half fist size wood chunks about 6 per cook . food came out awsome well except
for the bb ribs I SLAYED ( over cooked knucklehead)
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roxy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07 08 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Lawry wrote:
Me , I start closing down all the vents into just a cracked position at 190 or so, then let it creep up to the cooking range 225-250 .

Maybe its just me though.


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tinovr
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07 08 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

istock74 wrote:
tinovr, I was using that method per the VWB site. I did see the coffee can one while I was there but have not tried it yet. In my original post I stated that I used 20 lit briquettes. Does that sound like a good amount for the coffee can method? Also you said you were using the stock pan. Filled with water or sand or empty?


I use the stock pan, filled with water (empty for hi-Temp cooks ie, chicken)... I've found that even when the water runs dry, the temp doesn't jump that fast.... I dunno how many coals I put in the middle.. 20 sounds about right...

as for the water... I use a long spout watering can... for overnight, I fill it before bed at about 11 and there's still fluid in it at 7 am... probably a mix of water and grease..

and definitely fill the ring... don't be "cheap" with the coals.. pile them up on the sides

I get abit of a temp drop when I wake up.. but I'll take off the middle section (since the water pan is low) using welding gloves, and tap the ashes off the coals to get them going again... if you feel it needs more coals, light another chimney and add them...

I know this sounds cliche-ish, but you do what you gotta do to cook the food... I was very nervous about an overnight cook.. it worked out. I've even taken stubborn butts off after 20 hrs, foiled and finished inthe oven...
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istock74
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08 08 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to all for chiming in and offering advice. It is much appreciated.
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jrb03
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08 08 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tip on refilling.

Watering can works good for refilling, but after I melted the spigot on my wifes I had to find an alternative Surprised I stole an empty wine bottle from Mom and that works great. Its always next to the WSM so I can find it.
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corndog
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08 08 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like everyone has said, your times are pretty consistant w/ the amount of charcoal...I have gotten about 15-18 hrs on mine. I use sand covered /w foil and that has worked for me so far.
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iadubber
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08 08 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the coffee can method myself. Seems to get just a bit more time out of it. 10hours doesn't seem too unreasonable, but I have gone more on very cold days here. I also shut the vents at about 200 and let it creep to the desired temp. It's easier to get up to temp than to come down.
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SoEzzy
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09 08 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I start mine with a full shaken down ring of briquettes, (I use Rancher but I'm down to my last three bags), I fill the water pan with hot water, (if I'm going to use water in the pan), I can then close it up and run it, once it has settled in the groove, for 5 hours before I open it and check on things.

I put in more hot water, somewhere between 3/4 and a gallon, flip or turn any meat that I'm going to flip or turn, and close it up for another 1 - 4 hours, I check 1 time / hour after 6 hours, and do anything that needs to be done.
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