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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 01-16-2013, 01:00 PM   #1
rwalters
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Default Weber Performer ?'s

Well, I am toying with the idea of picking up a Weber Performer. For those that own/use one, I have a couple of questions...

1) Using Kingsford K, how long does it take you to have your Performer ready for grilling (chicken, steak, burgers, etc). Wondering if a Performer would be practical for quick weeknight cooks...

2) How much Kingsford K do you use if you want a temp around 325-350? What about 500-550?

3) Also would love to hear what you guys call "must have" accessories.

Thanks!!
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Unread 01-16-2013, 01:28 PM   #2
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I do 2 or 3 weeknight dinners per week on my Performer (or one of the other kettles, but same diff). For that super-quick burger / chicken night cook I tend to use about 3/4 of a Weber chimney and light it with the Touch n Go gas assist. I light that up and turn off the gas after about 4 or 5 minutes or whenever the chimney is smoking and you can see the lower coals are lit through the vent holes. It probably takes 15 min for the coals to be lit well, then I dump them out and put on the cooking grate and lid to let eveything warm up a few minutes. so we're talking 20 minutes or so until ready for food? Which usually turns out to be a good amount of time to get food ready, get sides together, set the table, etc.

What helps with fuel usage is that for those quick cooks I tend to use the charcoal baskets to hold the coals (whenever practical). At the end of the cook I close the vents, top and bottom, to snuff them out. On a quick cook like burgers or etc. the kingsford is usually large enough to reuse. So before the next cook I take the baskets over to my steel ash can and shake to sift off loose ash, add a bit of fresh briquettes to the chimney (which prevent small pieces from falling through and also leave some airspace to help ignition), then put the used coals on top and re-light. I often get two cooks out of the coals before they're really too small to care about using again.
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Unread 01-16-2013, 01:39 PM   #3
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Thanks Foxfire. Great info! And I had no idea you could save/use Kingsford K again :-)
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Unread 01-16-2013, 01:46 PM   #4
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A couple minutes of propane and another 5-10 minutes to fully light a chimney. For a 'quick launch' I'd recommend lump as it seems to light faster. Like Foxfire, I close up and reuse charcoal when finished cooking.

One chimney easily hits 350º but I would go for two if I was aiming for 500º (Might hit that in the middle of a single chimney pile of charcoal.)

Accessories:
  • Charcoal Chimney - a must for any Weber owner!
  • ET-732 for measuring cooker and meat temperature
  • Cast Iron grate (look at the Stok grate at Home Depot or perhaps the Craycort.)
  • A head mounted lamp (your head, not the grill ) that you can use for grilling after dark - very useful on those short winter day.)
  • Cover to protect your investment
  • Basket for grilling vegetables.
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Unread 01-16-2013, 02:00 PM   #5
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I use my weber at least twice a week and my akorn on the weekends and at first I was using kingsford for my kettle and royal oak lump for my akorn. Now I just use royal oak for both I think the foods tastes better.


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Unread 01-16-2013, 02:09 PM   #6
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I rarely look at the thermometer on my Performer since I typically use it for grilling. I light about a chimney full of charcoal and spread it on half of the grill and use that half for searing and use the other half for indirect cooking. Like the other guys I am ready to cook in about 20 minutes.
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Unread 01-16-2013, 02:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big dawg View Post
I use my weber at least twice a week and my akorn on the weekends and at first I was using kingsford for my kettle and royal oak lump for my akorn. Now I just use royal oak for both I think the foods tastes better.


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Thanks HankB and Big Dawg!

Big Dawg: I used to have a Weber OTG and used Royal Oak exclusively... although I loved the product (quick ignition and good flavor), I would get soooo frustrated by how quickly it burned. I got tired of adding more to keep temp up and stable. It wasn't until I started dabbling with Kingsford K, that I really started to enjoy cooking with charcoal. With that said, are you not noticing a huge burn time/ stable heat difference with Royal Oak vs Kingsford? Just curious...
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Unread 01-16-2013, 02:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
I rarely look at the thermometer on my Performer since I typically use it for grilling. I light about a chimney full of charcoal and spread it on half of the grill and use that half for searing and use the other half for indirect cooking. Like the other guys I am ready to cook in about 20 minutes.
Hmmm...this is starting to sound like weeknight charcoal cooking is a possibility. Last week I took some heat for saying that I (me personally) can't really tell the taste difference with food that is grilled over a fuel like straight Kingsford K vs. Gas... But what I didn't say is that for straight grilling it is WAY more enjoyable to cook over a bed of coals... and WAY easier to throw in a chunk or two of wood for adding flavor if desired :)

For quite some time now, I have been a weeknight gas guy... wondering now if its time for a change??
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Unread 01-16-2013, 02:22 PM   #9
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rwalters, I rarely use my weber for slow n low but when I do I find it easier to control my temps but I think I will pick up a bag of the kingsford k this weekend to try it out. I also get longer burns with lump.


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Unread 01-16-2013, 02:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwalters View Post
Hmmm...this is starting to sound like weeknight charcoal cooking is a possibility. Last week I took some heat for saying that I (me personally) can't really tell the taste difference with food that is grilled over a fuel like straight Kingsford K vs. Gas... But what I didn't say is that for straight grilling it is WAY more enjoyable to cook over a bed of coals... and WAY easier to throw in a chunk or two of wood for adding flavor if desired :)

For quite some time now, I have been a weeknight gas guy... wondering now if its time for a change??
Toss some wood chips or a chunk or two in with the charcoal or switch to a hardwood briquette like Kingsford Competition or even use lump and you'll get a much better flavor.
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Unread 01-16-2013, 02:47 PM   #11
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I was reluctant to go all-charcoal for those weeknight dinners, too, but my old gasser tank ran dry nearly a year ago and I haven't missed it yet!

The one lesson I've learned (the hard way) about reusing charcoal is that the second time around the briquettes are smaller and burn out faster. So it's fine if you're doing something quick-cooking, but don't be surprised if your temps drop out while doing an hour-plus tri tip, whole chicken, etc. I've been thinking I need to get a second, smaller lidded steel can to store briquettes just for quick cooks and use fresh for anything that needs more than 15 or 20 minutes over the heat. Probably better ways to go about it, that's just mine!

You guys are making me want to try harder with lump. I get frustrated when they also burn out quickly in the kettle. Thinking maybe put (give or take) half a chimney unlit in the grill and pseudo-minion the other half lit to stretch the burn time? At least when you don't want it all going for searing?
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Unread 01-16-2013, 02:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big dawg View Post
rwalters, I rarely use my weber for slow n low but when I do I find it easier to control my temps but I think I will pick up a bag of the kingsford k this weekend to try it out. I also get longer burns with lump.


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Well let me continue whining... ;) The other thing that used to drive me nuts with lump was the unevenness of the pieces. The big pieces would of course burn way longer than the small. What would always get me would be the unevenness of the cooking temp, as the charcoal grate areas with small pieces of lump would quickly die out and go cool, only leaving the areas with bigger lump nice and hot. Therefore, I found myself always trying to fix the problem by throwing more lump in... just got to be to annoying and troublesome for me. And yes, I'll take some cheese with my whine. :)
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Unread 01-16-2013, 03:22 PM   #13
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the performer is the best way to do weekenight cooks. 20 min tops and coals are ready. I use the char-bins to pack the coals at one end. The propane lighting system is clutch! I put new coals on the bottom and put the old ones on top of the chimney so i always get a second burn from the charcoal. I someitme put chips in the corner on the coals and do a reverse sear which allows some nice smoke flavor on my steaks. I also do a low and slow minion style cook on it. You can really dial the temps. Never use the gasser anymore and its the only grill I have (for now)
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Unread 01-16-2013, 04:09 PM   #14
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I find its quicker to add them directly to the charcoal baskets and then turn on the gas. It is also going super quick (8-12 minutes) if you just use lump.
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Unread 01-16-2013, 04:15 PM   #15
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I use mine a couple nights a week but haven't used the propane assist in quite a while. I've got the older version with the 5 lb tank. It ran out a while ago and I haven't been able to get it refilled because it's out-of-date.

I light mine the old-fashioned way with some newspaper and my chimney, although I'd like to look into getting the propane up-and-running again but am not sure what I need to do.
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