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Unread 02-09-2011, 12:30 AM   #1
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Default Misc. Weber kettle questions

So this last year I really stretched my legs and got after brisket and shoulder on my Webers. The results were very good. Keep in mind I don't have the room for a bunch of kettles AND a WSM (I would love to win the lottery and have some cheesy Raichlen setup on a hill somewhere). Knowing the next step to get better will be easier here than on my own, I pose a few questions:

1. I have not tried using a water pan at all. I really think the brisket is coming off a little dry and wonder if a smaller stainless steel bowl under the grate would be a good route.

2. I only keep charcoal on one side and keep the top vent opposite the coals. Any other ideas? When there are two 7lb. shoulders or an 8lb. brisket, I don't see any other options.

3. Anyone ever use something to cover the two other vents on the bottom that aren't as close to the charcoal? I guess I'm getting too much variation in temp. and I seem to swing 75 degrees on the dome just looking at the lower vent handle.

4. Digital temp for the gate. A must have? I just drilled through the handle for a thermometer and keep the dome temp at 325 figuring it's a little cooler at the grate.

I will never say I do things the easy way. If I had room for an egg and WSM, a LaCaha China, and a few other things I would. I am sadistically obsessed in trying to do everything in an 18.5 and 22.5 Weber. You all can laugh at that, because I'm doing the same. BTW- My $50 Craigslist Performer is under 4 feet of snow. May longer days take all of our troubles away!
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Unread 02-09-2011, 12:33 AM   #2
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If landarc doesn't chime in tonight or tomorrow you need to PM him and call his attention to this thread. He would be the resident expert, in my opinoin, on smoking a brisket to perfection in a 22 inch kettle.

I know, after his great sploogie accident, that he uses a water pan of some sort. I wish I could be more help, but you really need to turn to landarc.

The best way to reach me is with email:
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Unread 02-09-2011, 01:22 AM   #3
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I seem to remember a post here recently stating the the temp difference from the dome and cooking grate on a Weber kettle was about 5*F.

I wouldn't use a stainless steel bowl for a water pan, a disposable foil pan works fine.

If you're using a "One Touch" system you can dial the lid tamp down lower.
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Unread 02-09-2011, 02:27 AM   #4
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Besides good fire control, I find that a water pan and a heat baffle help a lot. I like the baffle b/c it keeps the half-kettle fire from beaming directly onto large pieces of meat (brisket and butts namely). Alternatively, I have had decent success putting brisket fat side down in a deep walled cast iron skillet (I don't trim the fat when I do this).

Just a few humble options from a fellow kettle addict.

I use both a lower baffle (shown in pic) and an upper baffle above the grate, to deflect the direct heat.
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Unread 02-09-2011, 05:53 AM   #5
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I just picked up a 26" kettle and did 6 butts. Used a large pan for water.

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Unread 02-09-2011, 08:09 AM   #6
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As for Temp control, I recently purchased an iQUE 110. I don't think I will ever cook again without it.
And I used it on a Weber Kettle.

A simpler version of the Stoker or nano-que.
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Unread 02-09-2011, 08:41 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by tbone310 View Post
I just picked up a 26" kettle and did 6 butts. Used a large pan for water.

This is exactly the setup I used to use...charcoal trays to keep the heat to either side of the Q and a foil pan underneath.

As far as your gauge, you went a step further than I did, I still just stick the temp probe through one of the top vent holes and squeeze the vent against it so it holds in place.

I never regulated the temp with the vents. Always ran full open and added or removed coals as necessary.

The only pitfall with this setup that I ever ran into was keeping the wood chunks from catching fire and turning a 250 degree pit into a 450 degree pit very quickly. Other than that problem, you can leave the Weber kettle alone for quite sometime without messing with it because it really holds the temps well.

The beauty of the Weber kettle is its simplicity...don't try to take that away from her and she'll give you great results.
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Unread 02-09-2011, 12:10 PM   #8
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I use a bunch of different methods and have experimented with various forms of baffles, heat sinks, pans, vent settings etc...some basic observations.

1. Yes, a grate thermometer is very helpful, absolutely necessary, no. But, the dome temperature has a differential between the dome and grate. I have noticed a difference of several degrees in dome temps during winter to summer. The only true measurement is grate temperature. Get one, it really helps.

2. You need to add moisture to the cooking environment, the kettle does not hold enough meat to provide that moisture necessary for reliable cooking. I like to add 3 normal soup cans filled with water adjacent to, but not in, the coals. The idea is that these slowly evaporate into the cooking environment.

3. I add a drip pan, which may or may not have added water or juice in the bottom. This is primarily to aid in clean up of drippings and such. I find disposable pans fine for this. But, I really like to use a large cast iron skillet for this, as it adds a lot of thermal mass which smooths out the temperature.

4. I bank the coals to one side of the kettle normally for offset cooking, but, for a brisket or couple of pork butts, I find that a 'ring of fire' method works great, and if you have a large cast iron skillet in there, say a 12" diameter one, it leaves jut enough room around the skillet to fill the entire edge with charcoal and wood. Then I dump 1/4 chimney of lit coals onto the top of one side. This usually gives me a solid consistent 4 hour burn at 250 to 270 degrees. Plus, once that is done, I can add more coals around the edge, and get another 4 hours of burn.

5. I have been testing out another method, which I don't have time to get into now, which allows for the use of a fire basket and should result in longer burns and more consistent temps minus the tendency for an edge hot spot.
I'm feeling bearish, and I'm packing a Wusthof Grand Brisket slicer from MABA

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Thanks from:--->

weber kettle methods, weber kettle mods

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