Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Hassouni

Just got a Weber Smokey Mountain - what to do with it?

Recommended Posts

So in a shocking bit of coincidental luck, I found an 18" WSM being given away for free by someone in the neighborhood right when I was considering buying one for a few hundred bucks. It's now mine!

I've only ever smoked some jerk chicken drumsticks on a Weber kettle grill, but I do love barbecue. I've read the eGCI smoking lesson and Q&A, but I have a few questions:

1. What to cook first?

2. Right now the house only has 2 people living in it. Can I smoke only a pound or two of meat, or is that just wastefully inefficient?

3. Can non-meat items be cooked on a smoker?

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Start with whole chickens for short cooks, and once you figure out how to manage the temperature pretty well, go with pork shoulder/boston butt for a longer cook. Chicken and pork are comparatively much cheaper and more forgiving for the new cook.

2. Sure, just use less charcoal to shorten the time/waste, and if you want to practice w/more fuel there are plenty of things like pork butt that freeze really well.

3. Here is the definitive resource dedicated to the WSM.......check it out: http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/ . You get good BBQ the same way you get to Carnegie Hall.

Edited for bizarre small font....


Edited by Zeemanb (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I think I realized why it was being given away - lots of rust and gunk. (Just inspected it closely today).

The charcoal grate is falling apart with rust, the charcoal ring is starting to have a bit of rust, the middle cooking grate has a decent amount of rust, and the top grate is starting to get rust spots. The vent bolts are rusty and the vents wouldn't turn, but WD-40 fixed that. Additionally, the water pan is really gunked up - looks like it was never foiled. The previous stuff is all fairly cheaply replaceable. So I'm not concerned about that.

More concerningly, the bowl, or bottom section of the body, seems to have rust. How is this possible? I thought the enameled surface, which still appears intact, won't rust? I managed to scrape and wipe a lot of it out using WD-40 and an old towel, but I didn't get all of it. Could it just be settled, condensed rust particles from the exposed parts (grates, bolts, etc)? Half of the coal grate was sitting in the bowl in the form of flaked off splinters of rust.


Edited by Hassouni (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't worry too much about the rust. It won't come in contact with the food.

Fire it up empty and scrape with a good grill brush.

Replacing the grates is a good idea.


That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want a really good book on the subject, I suggest Gary Wiviott's "Low and Slow"

The first lesson in the book is Chicken Mojo Criollo, which is a whole chicken in latin-style marinade.

You can see how I did in his multi-step course. He threw me out.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't worry too much about the rust. It won't come in contact with the food.

Fire it up empty and scrape with a good grill brush.

Replacing the grates is a good idea.

The rest of the unit looks fine. Replace the grates and you'll be in business. Make sure you have the water bowl.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heck, at my house I'd still consider that "like new" condition! :laugh:

New grates are always good, and like Jason said, make sure you have the water pan as well. If NOT, a lot of us buy/order the Brinkmann "charcoal pan", which basically doubles the capacity and fits the WSM perfectly as a replacement. Then, when you get to a point where you can venture into the "water vs. sand in the water pan" debate, you will have arrived!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That looks pretty dangerous to me. I'll send you may address and pay for the shipping so I can dispose of the unit properly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can smoke all sorts of things--vegetables and ingredients such as oil included. You can par-cook things in there, as in the Momofuku wings recipe. Ribs, et al are lovely but don't limit yourself to the standards.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the same smoker and use is a few times each year to serve larger gatherings (25+ people). It's a very nice unit and if kept out of the wind, it holds a steady temperature for a few hours at a shot.

It seems best suited for smoking pork ribs and pork shoulder (some call it Boston butt). I second the recommendation on the www.virtualweberbullet.com web site. In particular, see the videos on how to prepare ribs, the basic recipes, and the instructions on the so-called "Minion method" for firing the unit up. Stock-up on Kingsford charcoal when it goes on sale and get some Hickory chunks to start. Get a good thermometer. I use a Maverick remote electronic thermometer with two probes, but this is overkill unless you use it a lot and like to fiddle with tempermental, battery-powered gear.

I've also used it to smoke beef brisket, but good cuts of brisket are hard to find in Northern California. Turkey works well too, though it requires a higher temperature and judicious (more limited) use of smoke.

The rust may be a result of the poorly-designed Weber cover and the fact that water landing on the top dome drips into the inside of the unit, mixing with caustic ash from burnt coals. This cover has a seam that lets rainwater drip in from the dome and seems to allow condensation. I wouldn't worry much about the rust, but would suggest keeping it in the garage or under a better cover that doesn't allow dripping and condensation. Keep the vent holes open during storage to prevent condensation.

If you're concerned about burning a lot of charcoal, you can also smoke most items for just an hour or so (most cuts take 6+ hours to fully cook when using the correct "low and slow" method). After smoking for an hour, finish in your oven at 225 degrees (f). Since most of the smoking part is done in the first hour, additional smoking is overkill and you merely need to finish in the oven at low temperature to fully cook and break-down collagen and connective tissue to get that "fall off the bone" quality that distinguishes real barbecue.


Edited by ericthered (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

+1 on Wiviott's Low and Slow. I've gotten really good results following his very clear, logical steps, and trying to ignore all the other widely-divergent smoker advice out there. His techniques seem eminently sensible, and have worked for me, while using a very modest, inexpensive vertical smoker, so I've become a true believer. However, I've found that becoming a believer is bound to get you into fist fights with followers of other paths, especially when to comes to the issue of (not) soaking your wood.

If you thought arguments over religion could be heated and violent, just wait until you get a few smoker enthusiasts together...


"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the world of smoking, the WSM is without question a fine piece of equipment

people win competitions with it.

I suggest ribs to start with, get the hang of running it for 4-5 hours before you go on to longer 12 hours cooks for brisket etc.

It is highly recommended you install a thermometer in it,

you just drill a hole in the top and put one there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got two WSMs (18" and 22"), they're great smokers. I was about to give up and get a gas smoker when I bought my first one. Really holds temperature nicely.

A few hints: I've found them to be warm weather cookers, hard to keep the temp up when it's chilly outside. For ease of clean up, thoroughly coat cooking grates, rib racks, etc. with cooking spray. As mentioned above, the larger water pan is a good idea. Wrap the pan in heavy duty foil, as you mentioned. An easy way to add a thermometer is to use the thermometer through cork method shown here http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/moretherm.html .

The neat thing about the WSM is if you follow the directions on virtualweberbullet.com, the learning curve is very short. I made excellent ribs the first time I fired it up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Longtime smoker, WSM and wsm owner;

Judging from the looks of the smoker, the frist thing you want to do is a burnout of the whole thing, foil the water pan but do not fill it with water; actually fill it with nothing at all:

-fill the charcoal ring and a chimney full of cheap charcoal

run it with all of the vents open and the door cracked as well

Run it for around 3 hours at above 300 in order to burn off any demons/gunk/schmutz not removed by the cleaning

Then you will want to smoke the fattiest things you can find; I prefer sausages (bratwurst) country ribs or chicken thighs. Do not fill the water pan with anything. Just use salt and pepper for the rub on your meats. Smoke for 2 hours at 275 (typically on an 18 inch WSM, that will be top vent fully open at all times, bottom 3 open halfway open after dumping a full glowing load off the chimney) Pull the sausagess and enjoy those while you wait another hour to 2 hours while the country ribs and thighs cook to tender.

After this first cook, you will have used little money/time both burning out and getting a nice fat/grease layer rebuilt on the smoker. Your subsequent cooks will taste better as the layers of grease rebuild on the walls of the smoker and it will cook better because that fat and grease will seal up any air gaps the smoker will have.

The 18' is great for the smaller family cooks, plus, using the minion method, you can shut off the coals for reuse when done. Non meats work well in the smoker also, simply foil what you plan on cooking and use just like an oven for a gentle smoke flavor on vegetables, starches and even whole spices.

The virtual weber bullet site is a great resource for your beginning cooks.

Cheers,

Bump

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...