After receiving my Weber Smokey Mountain cooker for Christmas, I finally got a decent break in the weather to do my seasoning. I had read around on the Internet, albeit not enough, and talked to a few people who have smokers on what was the best way to season my WSM, and after taking all of that into consideration I made the decision to put a full 14lb bag of charcoal in it and get it as hot as I could for as long as I could to burn off any residue that was inside from the manufacturing process.
It was an overcast day in January, mid-to-high 40 degrees, light breeze, typical weather for middle Tennessee. Around 12:00 PM I filled up a chimney about 3/4 of the way full, lit the paper underneath and waited for the the coals to catch. I then dumped the rest of the bag of charcoal in the bottom and opened up all of the vents. Once the chimney was burning (which took about 10 minutes) I dumped the hot coals on the briquettes. I then assembled the smoker and purposely didn’t add any water to the water pan. I then went inside.
An hour later I check the thermometer. I was only up to 250 degrees. Hmmm…. I was thinking that it should be warmer than that, but I waited it out.
Another hour passes and I checked the thermometer again. 375 degrees! Now that’s more like it! The breeze was starting to pick up so I knew that it would affect the temp and I didn’t anticipate the heat staying that high much longer.
I checked the thermometer at the 3 hour mark and it was holding at 325. Smoke from the charcoal was billowing out of the top vent, and I felt a sense of accomplishment. It stayed at that temp for another 2 hours at which time the charcoal gave all it could and the temp started to fall.
At the 5 hour mark the thermometer was showing 230 degrees, and fortunately, it stayed there for another hour. The end results were a 6 hour burn-in with a peak of 375 degrees. It may have been warmer, but that’s all that I saw.
Afterwards, feeling like I’m ready to smoke any piece of meat out there, I found through more research on the Internet and talking with even more people that I should have put some fruit wood chunks in to get a good heavy coat of smoke on the inside. It was even suggested that I coat the entire contents of the smoker with either cooking spray or olive oil to give the smoke something to adhere to. Had I only known about that when I “seasoned” it!
Oh well, lesson learned, and I’ll probably use some of those tricks on my next smoker!