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Unread 09-03-2011, 07:33 PM   #1
nralover
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Default Weber kettle ribs- what fuel technique?

Guys- is the minion method the best way to go for ribs on my kettle? If so, how many lit coals should I start with, and how many underneath? Any tips would be appreciated...
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Unread 09-03-2011, 07:42 PM   #2
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This is my kettle setup for... well, just about everything I do low and slow.



- The foilpack around the outer rim has a mix of hickory and cherry chips, with holes poked throughout.
- Yes, I meticulously arrange my charcoal to promote an even, long burn.
- The lit coals are grey - black coals are unlit. They burn around the half circle.
Open the lid exhaust wide open, and control your temp with the kettle vents.
- Drip pan in the open area if you like can contain some water for further temp regulation.

Good luck!
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Unread 09-03-2011, 07:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ground Pounder View Post
This is my kettle setup for... well, just about everything I do low and slow.



- The foilpack around the outer rim has a mix of hickory and cherry chips, with holes poked throughout.
- Yes, I meticulously arrange my charcoal to promote an even, long burn.
- The lit coals are grey - black coals are unlit. They burn around the half circle.
Open the lid exhaust wide open, and control your temp with the kettle vents.
- Drip pan in the open area if you like can contain some water for further temp regulation.

Good luck!
I like that setup. How long will that burn for you? It looks like it would go for quite a while...
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Unread 09-03-2011, 07:51 PM   #4
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i just use the bank on one side style. firebricks, minion method works for me.
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Unread 09-03-2011, 07:51 PM   #5
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That particular cook was 8 lbs of country style ribs cooked to pull, and a 3 lb. chuckie. That load of coals lasted 6 hours at 250, and was opened three times during the cook.

On my OTS with temps outside at around 85 degrees, I had the lid exhaust wide open and the kettle vents opened about 1/3 of the way for intake.
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Unread 09-03-2011, 08:01 PM   #6
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I usually bank some coals behind some fire bricks as mentioned in the thread. How many should I have lit initially?
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Unread 09-03-2011, 08:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ground Pounder View Post
That particular cook was 8 lbs of country style ribs cooked to pull, and a 3 lb. chuckie. That load of coals lasted 6 hours at 250, and was opened three times during the cook.

On my OTS with temps outside at around 85 degrees, I had the lid exhaust wide open and the kettle vents opened about 1/3 of the way for intake.
Called "The Fuse" or "The Snake", I use it,too, only I place small chunks of wood in the charcoal ring(about 1" square by 3" long). I use Stubbs briquettes, about 1/2 a bag and get 10-11hrs of cook time at temps between 250°-275°. I usually have unburned coals leftover.
The open spot to the left of the drip pan is for the lit coals, 12-14 of them. If you use wood chunks in the charcoal ring place them on end, if you lay them down they will light the charcoal ahead of the main fire and make it more a bit difficult to maintain even temps.

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Unread 09-03-2011, 09:42 PM   #8
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i just pack as much as i can. then i light about a 3rd of a weber starter. also i foil the rest of the charcoal grate. this prevents cold air from mixing with the hot air and driving temps all over the place. since i did this years ago i find it easier to control the kettle temps.
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Unread 09-03-2011, 10:43 PM   #9
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those are some good ideas on how to control temp. in a kettle.
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Unread 09-03-2011, 11:14 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by cliffcarter View Post
If you use wood chunks in the charcoal ring place them on end, if you lay them down they will light the charcoal ahead of the main fire and make it more a bit difficult to maintain even temps.
My only complaint using "the fuse" with chunks was the flare ups I'd get if I had to open the lid to shift the cooking grate/clear ash/foil/etc. That's one of the reasons I started using foiled chip packets instead.

Another plus to using the chips, for me, was the convenience of trying different wood combinations in a steady, controlled smoke without burning down whole chunks. It comes in pretty handy when I do a butt, which I use equal parts apple, hickory, and cherry.
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Unread 09-03-2011, 11:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nralover View Post
Guys- is the minion method the best way to go for ribs on my kettle? If so, how many lit coals should I start with, and how many underneath? Any tips would be appreciated...
Simple answer. Yes, use the minion method. On my 22.5 kettle, I just put a drip pan with water on one side, directly over one of the three bottom vents. I put unlit charcoal over the other two vents, and dump about a dozen lit coals on top of them. I mix my smoke wood in with the unlit coals.

Ribs are pretty good to experiment with, IMO. They are kind of hard to mess up. Your temperatures will fluctuate, especially if this is your first smoke on a kettle. Don't let it rattle you. Work mostly with the bottom vents. You will probably end up with the bottom vents open about 1/8 of an inch, and the top vent closed or just barely open. Temperatures will go up and down slowly, so don't over correct.

At the end of the day, you will eat well, and know more about your kettle. Just don't get flustered by the temperature fluctuations. You will be cooking for 4 to 5 hours with a big rack of spares, and at least 3 hours for baby backs, so those fluctuations will not be that big of a deal.

Relax and enjoy.

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Unread 09-04-2011, 12:36 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by JMSetzler View Post
I like that setup. How long will that burn for you? It looks like it would go for quite a while...
Would this approach still work using lump. I have sworn off briquettes for good. To Yucky and I can't stand the smell!!!
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Unread 09-04-2011, 08:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ground Pounder View Post
My only complaint using "the fuse" with chunks was the flare ups I'd get if I had to open the lid to shift the cooking grate/clear ash/foil/etc. That's one of the reasons I started using foiled chip packets instead...
I generally don't open it up until I take internal temp at about 6hrs in, and I only use 4 chunks of wood, enough for a good smoke ring and a light smoke taste.

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Would this approach still work using lump. I have sworn off briquettes for good. To Yucky and I can't stand the smell!!!
Yes you can use lump, I have in the past, but I recommend you get another charcoal grate and place it at a right angle to the other, this will help keep the smaller pieces from falling through the grate.
BTW Stubbs briquettes smell great IMHO.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 08:40 AM   #14
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- Yes, I meticulously arrange my charcoal to promote an even, long burn.
Ya know...

If you're going to spend the time to meticulously arrange the charcoal you should have taken a few extra minutes to make sure that all of the 'K's were showing and aligned to polar north. You'll get at least a 10% increase in burn time that way.
























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Unread 09-04-2011, 10:43 AM   #15
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Would this approach still work using lump. I have sworn off briquettes for good. To Yucky and I can't stand the smell!!!
I have done it with lump, and it works well, but do what Fiddy said and get another charcoal grate running at a 90 degree angle to avoid losing smaller pieces.

I find that the lump burns a little hotter, which makes it a bit more difficult to choke down using the OTS. With briqs, I'm already only open about 1/3 of the way for most of the cook, so choking it down further than that takes a very light touch.
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