Weber Smokey mountain charcoal smoker has gained massive popularity over the years among beginner and veteran smokers.
This popularity is due to the amazing flavors the WSM instills in food. Also, the build of this smoker suits even limited backyards.
However, one challenge with the WSM is that it is not easy to cool it down to achieve the desired temperature, but it is achievable.
Table of Contents
Weber Smokey Mountain Review
Here are some of the notable features of the Smokey Mountain:
Three sizes to choose from
The Weber Smokey comes in three sizes, namely:
• 14-Inch Weber Smokey that can serve three to five people
• 18-Inch Weber Smokey, which can serve four to six people
• 24-Inch Weber Smokey, which can serve six to eight people
These three sizes differ in their cooking area and price. So, whichever size you choose between the three will be dictated by the number of people you serve and your budget.
If you have ever heard of the term "water smokers," then the Weber Smokey Mountain cooker belongs to that category.
The Weber Smokey has a water pan sitting between the charcoal grate and a cooking grate. This water pan serves two purposes: Weber Smokey Mountain temperature control and preventing the meat from drying up.
Also, since the water pan sits under the cooking grate, it catches the drippings from your meat to ensure they don't mess with your coals.
Easy charcoal grate access
It's very easy to access the WSM charcoal grate from the outside. Well, you may be tempted to take this feature lightly, but it means a lot.
You will just open the grill door and reach out to your grill grate to add charcoal or briquette. This means that you lose minimal heat compared to barrel smokers, where you need to open the lid to top up the fuel.
The Weber Smokey Mountain smoker arrives in your backyard fully ready to serve you for years!
This smoker is mainly made of steel (body and grates). The charcoal door and dampers are all aluminum.
Speaking of dampers, Smokey Mountain has four of them. The chief role of these dampers is charcoal temperature control; you get to enjoy flexible ventilation and easier temperature controls.
And that is not all! In addition, the Smokey mountain has tough nylon handles. These handles are durable and will stay cool to touch during an entire cook.
Reasons Why Your WSM is Too Hot
So far, we have seen several features of the Smokey mountain. It will be great to note that most of these features are active contributors to the cooking temperature.
As discussed earlier, one challenge with the Weber Smokey Mountain is that it is not easy to bring the temperatures down, especially for beginners.
But you shouldn't fear. Veteran chefs mastered it in no time, and you too shall crack it!
Now, take this scenario: you have lit your charcoal and gone back to the house to prepare food for a smoke. Then, on coming back, you find that the temperature in your smoker is far beyond your desired temperature. What will you do?
Before we see what to do in such a case, let us first see some of the reasons that might have made your Weber Smokey Mountain too hot. This way, you can quickly identify the particular problem you will be addressing.
Excessive oxygen inflow from the bottom vents
I know you already nodded your head in agreement to this. Have you ever covered a burning candle? If so, what happened to it? The flame on the candle went off, true?
The flame went off because of the lack of oxygen. This principle applies to your charcoal smoker too. That said, the three vents at the bottom of your WSM determine the life inside your smoker. The more these vents are open, the more the oxygen travels into the charcoal bowl for more heat and vice versa.
Opening the lid too often
I know that your appetite for a nice bbq is at its peak, but you shouldn't allow it to tamper with your cooking. For example, opening the smoker's lid too often will load the lit coals with too much oxygen, causing your smoker to be too hot.
Too much lit charcoal
The more the lit charcoal briquettes in the charcoal chamber, the more the heat. This means that your smoker will be hotter when you have a full charcoal ring compared to when it's halfway or partially full.
Failure to use a water pan
As we had seen earlier, the water pan provides moisture to your pork butt, beef brisket, and other types of meat to prevent them from drying out.
Also, the water pan helps in controlling the temperature in your smoker. Here, the water pan becomes a heat pit since water has the capability of trapping and locking in heat.
Science says that it takes more energy to heat water than heat air. Thus, water is fully approved to be one of the temperature controllers for the WSM smoker.
Using lump charcoal
You can use two types of charcoal with the Weber Smokey Mountain, namely lump charcoal and charcoal briquettes. Unfortunately, neither of these charcoal types is better since each has its pros and cons.
However, for today's topic, it's good to note that lump charcoal produces more heat than briquettes. Therefore, if you are using lump charcoal, this could be one of the reasons for making your charcoal grill too hot.
Inaccurate temperature readouts
Are you sure that the temperature in your WSM is too high? Are your probes providing you with accurate readouts?
For example, a meat or pit probe can go bad if dropped.
Thus, you must test your thermometers often before using them in a smoke session. This way, you can always get accurate temperatures of your smoke.
How to Cool Down Weber Smoker
We have already seen the main reasons causing your Weber grill to be hot. So, I know that you already have an idea of how to cool down your Weber Smokey Mountain.
Let's pick out these tips to help cool down your smoker to attain the desired cooking temperature.
Reducing the amount of oxygen going into your hot coal is one way to reduce the cooking temperature in your smoke mountain.
So, you can start by closing the vents leaving a pencil-sized space. You can then continue closing the vents until you get your desired smoke temperature.
Remember not to completely shut the vents, which will ultimately cause the fire to die.
Sometimes, you can leave the top vent at the bottom open while the other two slightly open.
Also, remember to keep the top vent on the lid fully open; this exhaust vent allows smoke to leave the cooking chamber.
The right amount of coal
Not every grilling session needs a full chimney starter. However, you will need the right amount of hot coal to control the temp on the weber kettle or smoker.
For example, you will need a half-full chimney starter if your desired temperature for grilling meat is between 225° and 275°.
What if you want a long smoke for your meat cuts? Here, you can have a full charcoal ring. But, you will need to remember that the more the charcoal, the more you should close the vents.
Also, if you are doing a long smoke, you can use the minion formula to light your coals.
But, what does this minion formula entail? With this formula, you will place unlit coals and woodchucks in the firebox, then place lit coals on top.
The minion formula will provide your meat with a steady cooking temperature for a long time.
Use a water pan
As seen earlier, the Weber Smokey water pan is one of the highly essential WSM accessories that help regulate the smoke temperature.
So, fill the water pan up to a 75% level. Also, you might need to keep refilling the water pan depending on the length of the smoke to cater for evaporation.
Use charcoal briquettes
One of the ways through which you can escape Weber problems is by using charcoal briquette instead of lump charcoal. Weber recommends the use of charcoal briquettes in the WSM instructions leaflet.
So, if you have been using lump charcoal and have a high heating issue, it's time to switch to briquettes.
How to Shut Down WSM
After you are done smoking meat, the next thing you would want to do is bring the cooking temperatures down for a complete shutdown.
So, how do you shut the WSM? It's very simple.
Close all the vents, including the exhaust vent on the lid, fully; this will starve the coals of oxygen and finally extinguish them.
1. What do slow and low mean?
The words "slow and low" are used when smoking or grilling food. These terms refer to cooking food at a low temperature for a reasonably long time.
2. How long will charcoal take to burn out?
The lit coals in your WSM can take up to forty-eight hours to cool down on their own after shutting down all the vents in the smoker. Thus, removing the coals too soon can bring a fire hazard.
3. Which is the best temperature controller for WSM?
Flame Boss 500 is the best weber Smokey mountain fan controller. This automatic temperature controller allows you to control the smoke temperatures remotely.
Also, the flame boss app will send you text alerts whenever a cooking issue needs your intervention or when the meat has reached doneness.
4. Do you grill steaks with the lid open or closed?
As a rule of the thumb, if the steak is ¾ inch or less thick, you can keep the lid open. However, if the meat is more than ¾ inch thick, you should close the lid.
5. How many coals do you put in a Weber kettle?
We have looked at the different features of the WSM and how several of them contribute to the cooking temperature. Also, we have seen how to cool down Weber Smokey mountain.
So, excessive heat in your smoker should no longer make you panic.