I got this Weber Ranch Kettle grill off Craigslist for about 1/3 the price of a new one. Who buys a $1,300 grill and doesn't cook on it???
Well.................................we no longer have a "NEW" grill!
First off, I wanted to show the mods. Since this grill is going to be used for Low-N-Slow only, I wanted a charcoal basket so that it could keep things contained and not damage the side of the kettle by piling hot coals on it's side. After cutting two strips of expanded metal and welding them together end-to end I couldn't decide what size to make the basket, so I ended up just leaving it as a "wall" and tack welded it right to the charcoal grate. The welds are very small and could easily be ground away without ever knowing they were there.
Here it is with fire-bricks to keep the heat from "cooking" the food, and foil to help direct the airflow and catch the drippings.
The other mod I did was to remove the one hinged side of the cooking grate toward the back of the grill. Since this is primarily used for smoking/slow-cooks, this mod allows us to get to the coals more easily. A large cold-chisel driven between the crimp of the grate leg separated that section, and it can either be used separately if needed, or replaced as a hinged panel again by sliding it in place and closing the leg shut with a hammer. I'll probably hang that piece on a nail in the garage and never touch it again.
Here is kind of a funny size-comparison picture showing that grate-panel removed:
Here we are loaded up with the bird. (13.78lbs) (It looks like a tiny chicken on that huge grill!) We just coated it in olive-oil and gave it a shake of Lowrys Season Salt and Tyme to keep it simple.
Temperatures were tough to regulate until I realized that closing up the large lid damper about halfway would make things less "touchy". After that she hummed right along @ 325deg. Prior to that it had gotten as high as 365deg with only two of the three bottom dampers open and would have kept going up had I not reeled it in.
And we're cooking....
Two hours later, this is what it looked like. It was almost done, but I guess wanted to wait for the Vikings to finally beat those pesky Bears before emerging... :P
On the platter, going in the house for a rest. (I'm not sure why the breast-skin split like it did in the two spots)
It was a very juicy and well favored bird, so all was good with that. In the end, I'm hoping to try more in-direct cooks with this kettle. Ultimately I'd like it to replace the WSM, but only time will tell if that can happen. For now it's just going to need a lot more cooks done on it to get that nice rich coating on the inside so that it cooks better. I guess the family is going to have to suffer through some more of these 'horrible' cooks. Poor them!!!
Here's the comical part to all of this. This past summer I sold my Weber Performer because...... It took up too much space in the garage! LOL