When smoking meat, it’s important to keep a steady temperature. Make sure to not let it fluctuate too much, as it can mess with the amount of time it takes to cook your meat.
The actual temperature doesn’t really matter, just as long as it is kept stable. This keeps the timing of everything in sync, which increases your overall awareness of what’s going on.
When the temperature starts to drop, this can be the result not having the vents or fuel set properly.
What causes a weber smokey mountain temperature to drop?
The two main causes of temperatures dropping are inadequate vent settings and the amount of fuel used.
Inadequate Vent Settings
There are about four or so vents present on your WSM. The bottom three at the bottom of the firebox, and the top vent located on the top portion of the lid. The bottom three on the firebox control the ingestion of air into your smoker, which in turn controls the temperature. The top lid is for exhaust of all the smoke out of your smoker. It’s real use is to maintain a healthy flow and circulation of smoke, which ensures all the residual smoke being generated has a place to exit.
When you have a smoker that is dropping in temperatures, check to see how your vents are configured.
The top vent should generally always be open.
The bottom three are where you will begin to modify how open they are. Check them and see how open they are. If some of them are closed slightly, you will want to begin to open them and reassess the temperature in your smoker in roughly 15 minutes.
Waiting roughly 15 minutes lets everything stabilize, and is a good indication as to how the temperature is responding to the vents being modified.
Fuel is the basis for which the temperature in your smoker will originate from. Therefore, when pouring in your charcoal and wood, make sure to put in an adequate amount to sustain your entire cook.
Depending on how hot you are trying to get the temperature up to, it may be necessary to reload the firebox with fresh charcoal or wood chunks to ensure the temperature can be sustained at a high enough heat.
When you notice a dip in temperature, make sure to pay close attention to your fire at the bottom. If you start to see a lot of white ash everywhere with no clear embers, that may be a good indication that your fire is going out, leading you to need to reload your smoker.
How much charcoal and wood is needed to maintain temperature?
The amount of charcoal and wood needed to maintain temperatures can vary. Check to see how high of a heat you want to maintain your temperatures at. This also directly relates to whether you are attempting to cook a hot and fast style of cook, or a low and slow style. Lastly, consider what meat you’re smoking.
These different little tidbits can help you understand how you should react when you notice any temperature decrease.
Hot and Fast Style of Cooking
Normally in hot and fast cooks, the temperatures will need to be maintained above 275 at minimum. Using a bag of charcoal, it’s common to load your initial fire with about half a bag of charcoal, and a handful (3-4 pieces) of wood chunks to get it going.
When you notice the temperatures decreasing ever so slightly, check your vents and perhaps open them up to maintain your preferred smoking temps.
Low and Slow Style of Cooking
For a low and slow style of cooking, anything between 225 and 275 is acceptable. Just make sure the temps don’t go below 225! Otherwise you will be faced with an extremely long cook that will take hours to complete.
To keep the temperatures steady in this range, try putting the bottom vents about half closed.
This will still let in enough air to keep the overall fire going while keeping it in check.
However, if the temperature starts decreasing more than expected, feel free to readjust the bottom vents and continue to dial the settings every 15 minutes. This process takes some time to get used to, but overtime you should start to get the hang of it!
How to increase heat in Weber Smokey Mountain
When the temperature is decreasing, start looking at your bottom vents and open any that are closed. Allowing more air into the firebox will certainly start to increase the heat in your WSM.
You could also just add in more charcoal and wood chunks, but to make sure you’re not wasting more fuel that you have to, consider opening the vents first before anything else.
What temperature should I increase the WSM to?
Once you identify that your smoker is dropping in temperatures, you need to start attempting to increase it. The specific temperature to increase it depends on whether you are doing a low and slow or hot and fast cook. For low and slow, increase it to somewhere between 225 and 275 degrees. For a hot and fast cook, make sure the temps are somewhere between 275 and 350.
Once you increase the temperature to the specified ranges, it’s just a matter of maintaining them at a constant rate.
Don’t worry if it still spikes up and down throughout your cook, just make sure the overall temperature is set somewhere in that range!
Does the water pan decrease the temperature?
The water pan’s main objective is to stabilize temperatures. In doing so, it also has the tendency to cool off the inside of the smoker and absorb a lot of the ambient heat. This decreases the temperature.
It’s important to realize that if your temperatures are in fact dropping, it may be because of the water pan.
Does the WSM retain heat very well?
The WSM is made of porcelain, which does a great job in helping to retain heat inside the smoker. It has the tendency to capture heat generated from the firebox, while also allowing for the flexibility of decreasing and increasing the temperatures seamlessly.
Something you will find in other smokers such as those made of ceramic, is that they retain heat TOO well. Usually, it takes hours for these pits to come down in temp which can be good and bad from a fire management perspective.
Regarding the Weber smokey mountain, it provides an excellent balance of heat retention and ability to configure temperatures at will. Also, as long as you pay close attention to the firebox and vent settings, you should have no problem maintaining heat or losing temperature ratings.
What should the vent settings be to stop the temperatures from dropping?
To stop the temperatures from dropping, make sure to open your bottom three vents all the way. The top lid vent should also be wide open for maximum airflow. Once the heat has stabilized after a period of at least 15 minutes, start to close the vents ever so slightly and continue to reassess.
Which sizes of a WSM are easiest to maintain temperature in?
All Weber Smokey Mountains are quite easy, but the easiest is the Weber Smokey Mountain Mini 18.5 inch.
It’s so small and portable that it doesn’t take a lot of fuel to get going, making fire management a breeze.