Dodging rain showers!

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by kc5tpy, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. Hello Folks.  Since I decided against bringing the rib roast next weekend, well I just couldn't waste a nice piece of beef like that and the freezer is full so I am just FORCED to fire up the Weber.  Besides, I need a practice run for the brisket.  Those heat beads are the real deal when you get them going; but getting them going was a major undertaking.  Almost broke out the charcoal starting fluid!  Maybe I wasn't holding my mouth right.

    Just for fun and to offer some help to new folks I decided to stick the oven therm on the grill rack.  Now who knows if the oven therm is correct [​IMG]?  Never tested it.  The oven therm read 325 and the therm in the lid of the Weber read 350.  Anywhere between 225-375 I can live with so here we go.

    Yes you muppet, that's what they call a smoker!  Just follow the directions written on the underside of the lid. You'll be fine!

    As you can see the camping gear is out and had a wash.

    Fire added. Add meat (1.78kg ).  CHECK!  ( just salt and pepper )

    Add wood.  CHECK!

    Stop opening the lid to read the directions again!  If you're lookin you ain't cookin!

    Time to pull the sausage I snuck in when you weren't looking.  Is for my butcher.  He makes the sausage for me to my recipe so I thought he should at least have a taste.  You folks can decide if it's any good at the meet.  Maybe a bit over cooked but we won't tell the butcher.

    Cook until done ( 2 hrs. ).  CHECK!  Nothin to this smokin stuff!  Just follow the directions!

    Now c'mon, be honest!  How many of you looked under your Weber Lid??  [​IMG]

    Be back later with the "money shot".


    As it was lunch time and the coals were still hot, the Missus fancied something different.

    Smoked Shrooms stuffed with bacon, onion and cheese.

    Hope you like it.  Keep Smokin!

    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Weird, my weber just has a guide for grilling hot dogs under the lid. I must have the beginner's version.
    Good looking smoke!!
  3. Hello MD.  Good to hear from you.  Hope you and those you love are well.  Well you see, these are special edition U.K. version Webers.  [​IMG]   Thanks.

  4. I think our mistakes should be posted  as well as our successes. If you can show the mistakes and offer advice how to avoid them you are really helping folks out.  Well, I should have pulled this roast 1/2 to 1 hr. earlier.  Just goes to show new folks that a meat therm is a MUST BUY!!  Dumb old timers like me with no therm can get it cooked "kinda, sorta, almost, ok" but this beautiful piece of beef should have been served medium rare.  I do have a reason why not medium rare but the point is that without a meat therm you are guessing unless you have years of experience.  Don't learn the hard way, buy a good digital dual probe therm and use it religiously!

    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  5. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well at least it looks juicy. That is a shame, but if it had to happen a rib roast will still be good even medium well.
  6. jockaneezer

    jockaneezer Meat Mopper

    Hey Danny, great minds think alike ! I did one the other day too but forgot the "after" pics. Put some onions in a dish to catch the juice but just cremated them, as you say, the Guy who hasn't made a mistake hasn't made anything !

    Pleased to hear I'm not the only one practicing for the Bun Fight at the Woodhall Coraal, here's some scarbelly wings slightly overdone, trying to regulate the Go Anywhere is a bit of a challenge.

    They were appreciated by Scooby and the gang at the party 
  7. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great looking meat Danny. I support your comments 100% regarding the digital thermometer too.
  8. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Lovely looking wings Jockaneezer
  9. To avoid the rain I cooked it early.  It did rest wrapped in foil for 6 hours.  Maybe if I had only rested for 1/2 hr it might have been ok but a good therm would have made the difference.  It was juicy and really tender.  Fine meal.  Just should have been med. rare.  This old dog has learned!  The Maverick will be ordered VERY soon!

    We are our own toughest critics.  Most times not satisfied with the end product.  I'd eat those wings all day Jock.  The good thing is that over cooked doesn't always mean dry and or burned.  Keep Smokin!

  10. adenjago

    adenjago Fire Starter

    Hi guys
    speaking of mistakes below were the first time trying a small pack of ribs that did not work out as planned, I have two theory's why either I have over cooked it or the rub had to much sugar in (but the rub tasted nice an fine after) ....this was using the 2-2-1 method

    Apologies, if this is a :hijack: still new to these forums and not sure if this warrants a new post ?

    the Source of most my meat from the Clearance Aisles, and chucked in Freezer (worst point is now need a new freezer, cause of all the meat I'm being on offer )

    First add the Rub night before

    Left over night in fridge wrapped in foil ad the rub turned into a marinade, so this was the view in the morning

    about an hour or so into the cook

    about two hours in just before being wrapped

    after being wrapped in foil and cooked for two hours, and then cooked for another hour un-foiled (I forgot take picture of them in the foil)

    got a little be worried so took them off, but looked great at these point

    as you can see they were a little bit tough, but these were only two left so they could not be that bad..

    during the process I was spraying a little with apple juice (including when wrapped in the foil) I was hoping for meat to be tender and fall of the bone but my gut feeling was I left them on too long after the being unwrapped..or I should have left them wrapped for longer

    the heat of the grill was between 250 and 300, I could not get it go any lower (may to much charcoal)

    as per the great advice from Wade, I try to take pictures and notes at each stage as then it's easy o refer to whats worked and hasn't

    (if your wondering what the small meat is next to it is, a small belly pork joint next to it worked out fine, and was gone instantly (maybe a bit too much fat on there if being picky)....:yahoo:

    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  11. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Aden - A couple of comments and suggestions. 

    From your first couple of pictures it appears that your rub is very high in sugar. This will tend to caramelise quite quickly - even at fairly low BBQ temperatures. It can make the meat look burned fairly quickly and can even make then taste quite bitter. Also a rub is really what it says... a "rub" - rather than a "coating". You may want to try your next rub as more of a salt/pepper/spice mix and literally rub it into the meat the night before. Any that does not stick then let it fall away before wrapping tightly in clingfilm in a plastic bag or vac-pack. You can add more sweetness later by using a BBQ sauce during the foil wrapped stage or in the last hour.

    It is hard to tell the temperature in the Weber but from the quantity of coals and their colour it looks as if it would have been quite hot - certainly hotter than the 110 C that you would bee looking to maintain for the ribs. Your estimate of 250-300 C would seem about right. Do you have one of the Weber charcoal fuel holders or the charcoal retaining rails? You may want to try using just one of these full or two half full. Also keep the bottom vents almost closed and the top vents about 1/4 open during the cook. Placing a tray of water under the meat will also help to stabilise the temperature in the chamber until you get more used to adjusting the coals.


    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  12. adenjago

    adenjago Fire Starter

    Cheers Wade, all advice gratefully received, I know this is a learning process and not everything is going to work first time.

    Yes I thought it might have been to hot, all the Bottom Vents were closed and the Top Vent was open Fully.  but I think my next ribs will done with half the amount coals, the coals which were in was probably 3/4 of a weber Chimney's so i think next time it will be less than half and top up if needed.

    I do have a water pan (as you can see below), but up to yet i still find it hard to guess how much should be in there but I guess that will come with experience, of how much need to effect the Temp , currently I normally fill the water pan less than a quarter full .

  13. Hello Aden.  In our Group we don't worry too much about any thread hijacking.  We are all here to learn and help if we can.  If at any time you have something to add, even if off topic a little just jump on in there!  I have to agree with Wade.  He even gave you some good advice you probably wouldn't get in the General Discussion.  99% of the time folks will tell you to leave the top vent fully open.  As you can see by the above post I certainly don't know it all but Wade and I have been doing this a while.  I regularly use my top vent/smoke stack to control heat.  Always have with every smoker I have used.  So long as you can see smoke coming out or if you can't "see" smoke hold your hand above the top vent.  If you have air flow you will feel it, if not then you need to open one or the other slightly.  I know many folks poke fun and talk about vodoo and the smoking gods when you mention "feel" in the same sentence as smoking meat but think back.  The old timers didn't have fancy digital therms.  NOW! I'm not saying don't take advantage of the technology, far from it.  But I use feel quite a bit when smoking meat.  I learned from watching the old men doing it when I was a kid.  That takes years of watching and plenty of screw ups to learn.  What I am saying is use the technology but also play an active part.  Look at the coals to see the amount of ash and the amount of glowing coals at a few different temps.  Feel the heat coming from the top vent when up to temp.  Not recommending this but I even put my hand on the lid when up to temp.  These things help you to cook even if the therm you are using packs up during a 12 hr. smoke.  Just as an example, the oven therm read 325, and the therm in the lid read 350.  Now instinct told me it was hotter than that but I went with it.  As it turns out I think it was quite a bit hotter and that's why it was over cooked.  A good reliable therm would have made the difference.  BUY A GOOD THERM!!

    I don't follow the "rules".  I don't use rubs and normally don't use BBQ sauce.  I also like my ribs with a little "tug" to them but if you want that "fall off the bone" tenderness you need to add a liquid of some type during the wrapped portion of the smoke IMHO.  I don't wrap mine but the whole purpose of the 2 hr. wrap is to steam the ribs.  Many "BBQ Restaurants" here use that technique.  They simply steam the ribs and then smother them in BBQ sauce and try to pass them off as smoked ribs.  Sorry!!  Don't pee on my shoes and try to convince me it's raining!

    As to the water pan, Wade gave you some good advice there also but I have to also agree with Wade in that looking at the amount of coals you had in that Weber, I don't think a 20 litre bucket of water would have helped.  I have to admit I was a bit dubious about the Weber holding temp well but I was wrong, AGAIN!  I have found the Weber to be easy to control temp..  If you have a smoker that is tough to keep the heat down then the water pan helps alot.  Go 3/4 full and then if you can't maintain enough heat, pour out 1/4 of the water.  It's about learning YOUR smoker.  Each can be different.  Do some cheap foods to learn on.  Burgers and chicken leg quarters.  Worst case is the dog gets a meal.  Just practice with different amounts of charcoal and holding different temps.  Don't get hung up on trying to hold EXACTLY the same temp just learn to keep it in a zone, say 225f-275f.  I know that's 50 degrees but as most things are not temp CRITICAL you can live with that and just adjust cook times.  If you want 2 hrs. at 225 and the smoker is running 250-275 then start checking IT earlier.  When you start cold smoking and hot smoking sausage the temps are more critical but then you will be using a different rig for that.

    Sorry.  I do ramble on.  I'll shut up now.  Keep Smokin!

  14. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Whether you do it manually using the vents or by using a bit of technology, the secret of temperature control in the Weber is all about managing air flow over the coals. The more air (oxygen) that is allowed in contact with the burning coals the faster they will burn and the hotter the BBQ will get. To get a fairly stable roasting temperature of about 200-220 C split 2/3 of a chimney of lit coals between two of the fuel holders and place a foil tray of cold water between them.

    Several people have asked about how much water should there be in the tray - I usually 3/4 fill it and that lasts the entire roast. As the cold air is entering from underneath the coals and tray there is no direct heat under the water and so it does not boil away quickly during the cook. It will get hot and will simmer but it will stay at a nice 95-100 C whilst the convection heat from the coals will give an oven temperature around the meat of about 200-220 C. As well as helping to buffer the internal temperature the water evapourates and keeps the cooking area moist. A single (Weber size) foil tray 3/4 full of water will usually last 2-3 hours plus before it needs topping up.

    Unless I am grilling and want some fairly fierce heat under the meat the bottom vents on my Weber never get opened more than about 1/4. The top vents are only just cracked too.

    It is difficult to see in this photo so I have coloured in the OPEN space in one of the vent holes.

    You can get the temperature down to about 180 C by closing the bottom vent further but it is then a balance between reducing the internal temperature and the coals actually going out. If you close the bottom vents too far the coals will go out and so the cooking will need constant monitoring.

    There is a small mod that helps here though. Place some aluminium tape over TWO of the bottom holes to seal them off completely. You will find that you then have much more control using the remaining single vent. This method does also require a different layout of coals internally. If anyone is interested I am happy to share.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  15. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I just thought I would add some 40 years of cooking and smoking on a weber kettle and many other devices knowledge. You do not want to shut down your top vent. It should be all the way open at all times if cooking. The combination of a water pan and a quarter open top vent WILL result in black stuff dripping down onto your meat. That is what is known as creosote and it does not taste good. Good smoked meat needs good airflow. Yes you can control the heat totally with the bottom vents. I would say that black rack of ribs up there was probably done in the fashion in which wade explained. Sorry wade, the rest of your method is sound though. Hope this helps you guys and gals over across the pond. Happy smoking Timber.
  16. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Timber. We will have to agree to disagree on the top vent discussion. Whilst I may be a mere novice with only 25 years experience with Webers, in that time I have not seen the problem you describe with the black tar drips. In flat topped smokers yes - many times - but not with the domed Weber lid. Maybe our Webers are different.

    The Weber 22" today held ~110 C for nearly 6 hours with the vents as shown in in the photo (that photo was actually taken during the cook today) and for part of that time I used a water tray. There was not a drip to be seen on the meat afterwards! Even with the top vents 3/4 closed there is still plenty of air flow - that is evident when you place your hand over the vent or add wood block or pellets onto the coals.

    The book may say keep it open at all times but as has been mentioned so many times on here - everyone finds the way that works best for them.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  17. Hello.  I have also been doing this bbq/smoking stuff for 40 + years.  I'll stand by my long winded post above ( and Wade's comments ) IF anyone can be bothered to read that novel.  Keep Smokin!


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