I just bought some fire bricks at Menards yesterday, because I want to be able to do some smoking on the Weber One Touch Gold. I am just looking for some guidance on what exactly to do here. How many unlit coals should I use, and then how many lit coals should I spread on top to maintain a nice 250 degrees? Also looking for guidance on how much wood to use....I have seen lots of videos where people just end up using one chunk of wood. Most of the stuff I am interested in smoking is ribs, and we have a bunch of turkey legs/wings that I would like to cook up as well. Thanks.
indirect cooking on a Weber kettle newbie question...
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Weber are very precise about the number of bricks that you should use however in practice I have found that this does not really matter too much. I usually just get a full chimney starter alight and spread it equally either side of the coal retainers and then place a few unlit bricks on top.
Place your charcoal retainers on your grate making sure that you have left sufficient space between them for the drip tray. The Weber basket retainers also work well. I usually put in the drip tray and fill it with water before pouring the coals at the sides because you are less likely to get burned (soft Brit here - sorry :-) ). A few minutes before you place the meat centrally on the cooking grill and close the lid, place a few blocks of oak (our your preferred wood) directly on the coals.
Weber tell you to leave the top vent fully open when cooking however I have found that by leaving it 3/4 closed you can very easily adjust the internal temperature by opening and closing the bottom vents. I guess you will find out what works best for you.
The important thing is to invest in a good thermometer and not to trust any inbuilt dial that may be in the lid as they are notoriously inaccurate. Personally I swear by the Maverick Dual Probe ET-732 (other good brands are available) as it allows me to monitor both the meat temperature and the internal BBQ cooking temperature. With care you can make a single charge of bricks last 3 to 4 hours.
Depending on what I am cooking and whether I want to retain the juices, If I am fast roasting a joint of meat (e.g. not cooking low and slow) I will usually place it in a roasting tray on the cooking grill and about half way through the cooking time I will wrap it in foil to ensure that it keeps moist. After the first hour or so the surface of the meat has already formed a partially caramelised crust which means that further contact with smoke will do little to further enhance the internal meat flavour - and may even start to give it an unwanted bitterness. If you are trying to get a smoke ring don't panic - you will still get one cooking this way. Just keep the meat in the BBQ until the centre of the meat has reached your desired temperature and then remove from the heat, wrap in several more layers of foil and leave to stand for at least 30 minutes before carving.
I regularly use this method for beef/pork joints and whole chickens and turkeys and with little adaptation it also works well with ribs.
I am sure others will be able to elaborate further but I hope this helps to start.
Sorry, being from the UK the Centigrade and Fahrenheit scales threw me momentarily and looking back on your post it seems that you ARE trying to slow smoke on the Weber. This is still possible using the method above but only use half a chimney of lit coals to begin and the rest unlit on top. Keeping the temperature consistent and low in the confined space of the One Touch will take more care though and you will need to damp down the bottom vents much more. if you do not monitor the temperature carefully the bricks can easily go out. I have used the Pitmaster IQ-110 quite successfully to help maintain the low temperatures over the long smoking time required.
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I have a couple of Weber grills but haven't smoke on them yet. Here are a couple of threads to look at. I have not tried these ideas but I'm going to.
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I've been doing just what you're talking about.... I use around 40-50 briquettes depending on how long you want to smoke and maybe 8-10 lit.
I light the 8-10 in an upside down chimney. Make sure you put foil down on your charcoal grate opposite the coals.
I used the fire bricks but came up with this concept and it works out well so far. Basically this is a charcoal basket with a heat shield and the shield is just up off of the grate to let the ashes slide down easier. I put a bolt in the middle under the expanded steel to hang it up on. I put a water pan on top of the charcoal side, imo it's crucial at maintaining lower temps...and like Wade said watch your vents. I use a BBQ Guru to puff in air instead of messing with the vents on longer cooks.
Edited by FWIsmoker - 4/20/13 at 8:58am