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First smoke coming up. Need a little advice

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I am brand new to all this but I do understand the overall concept of low and slow.  Here is my situation.  I have an 18# Weber Silver Touch grill.  No thermometer in the top.  I would like my first smoke to be a pork shoulder/butt, probably around 8-10 pounds.  I know I am looking for a constant 225F if possible.  I have also been told to line the half of the grill with the meat on with two layers foil to prevent possible charring and get a more even smoke. 

 

So here are my questions.  I have Kingsford briquets for now.  I did try the Snake method once and it worked for about an hour and a half with all vents wide open.  So how would you all suggest I do the charcoal part?  I do have a chimney starter.  I guess my overall question is when would I put more charcoal on and how much?  I am told to check about every hour to hour and a half for temperatures.  If I need more coals how much would I put on?  What if I choose the Snake method? 

 

Also how do I get the initial temperature down to 225 and then hold it from there as long as I can?  I will have the two thermometer system going, 1 in meat and one in grill.  I know this will take hours and hours.if I'm lucky.  I will also probably be using a rub only for this one so I can get used to the overall process.

 

One last question.  Should I use wood chunks or chips in a small grill like I have?  I do have chips on hand.

 

Thanks in advance everyone.  Looking forward to getting to this in the next few weeks.

post #2 of 10

Welcome to the group Iceman!  8-10 lbs is a big butt and trying to keep low temps in that 18" kettle will be a challenge.  There isn't much room in there to separate the coals from the meat.  Lots of issues to deal with, plus opening the lid to check fuel and temp will also screw things up.  Not trying to be a downer, but I see trouble.

 

Mike

post #3 of 10
Welcome! So I've used weber kettles for a long time, but until the last couple years when I got some different smokers low and slow was a foreign concept to me. In the last year, after joining here've is when I really started to understand. That's my disclaimer.
- I'd only use chucks of wood. Chips will burn very fast. Line the charcoal with chunks to keep direct charcoal heat away from meat. They will do long smolder like that.
- when I did big hunks of meat in weber I'd do ten briquettes in chimney. Those would go into weber to heat then meat would go on.
- through the process I'd hold my hand near the damper and if It felt too cold I would put handful of briquettes or two in on top of coal. Since then I've read I could have put a bigger pile in and used one touch to reduce oxygen to lower heat.
- during this time I didn't have any temp probes but a cheap digital meat probe I couldn't leave in, just stick and look. Then pull out and wait if not to IT. So that is an advantage for you!
-for now I wouldn't worry about snake/minion. I'd start off with 6-10 briquettes and see where you can stabalize temp. Add 5 briquettes as you see temp drop. More if it's getting too low.
- possibly rotate meat when you add charcoal to reduce trauma on side closest to heat.
- first time will be very hard to maintain stable temps so don't worry. When meat gets done it won't taste bad. I think sometimes we get a little too picky. I'm an armature backyard smoker. Neither myself, friends or family tasted any problem related to a heat spike until I read about it here!
Good luck! Post some pics!
post #4 of 10

Hi Iceman.

 

By using a cross between the snake and Minion methods you should be able to maintain the 225 F for several hours without a problem. Here is a thread that was comparing two types of briquettes in a Weber kettle which should help. This was in a 22" Weber but the same technique will work in the 18".

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/171812/coconut-briquettes 

 

A couple of pointers based upon your post...

 

The higher the quality of briquette the slower and more consistently they burn. Kingston do several types of briquettes - which ones did you try?

 

The important thing to remember is that it is easy to get the temperature up but it can be very difficult to bring it back down again. You need to make sure that you bring the temperature up slowly and do not overshoot. Create the snake / Minion and place your flavour wood/pellets on top. Start the burn from one end and initially run with the bottom and top vents fully open. Place some foil on the grate directly over the coals to help distribute the heat more evenly inside the cooking chamber.

Once the temperature has reached 3/4 of the target temperature then close the top vent so that it remains about 1/4 open. At the same time close the bottom vent about 1/2 way. As the temperature slowly reaches the target gradually close the bottom vent further until the equilibrium is reached at 225 F. It should then remain at this temperature without too much attention being required for several hours.

 

On top of the coals you can use either pellets or wood chunks - both work well.

 

 

 

 

The cooking temperature was maintained for about 8 hours on a single burn in the 22" - however you will get slightly less time in the 18". The temperature profile above in in centigrade.

 

I hope this helps.

post #5 of 10
Hi Iceman,

I find that 6 to 8 briqs is plenty to get to 225. That way you are less likely to over shoot. Personally I shut the inlet vent down to about half right from the start. This should be fine so long as your coals are really well lit.

I try to put a little wall of foil inbetween the meat and coals.
In Wades last pic, inbetween the foil tray and coals and take it all the way up to the grate. If you have the grate in the same orientation as in Wades pic then you can poke the foil out through the grate and fold the top over to help hold it in place. obviously around the central bar.

I've have the snake or fuse method last 7 and a half hours, with about an hour left, in a 22"

I may get flamed for this, but I tend to only do smaller items on my 22 now.
Ribs, or small butt maybe. I have done a long burn but tend to just smoke for 2 or 3 hours in the kettle now and then finish in the oven when foiled.

Wood wise, I use chips, pellets, or very small chunks in the kettle. Without going into too much detail, you don't have much heat and so get white smoke which can get bitter quite quickly.
I put pellets on the coals or in a foil boat and lay it on the coals.
Great thing with chips or pellets is that you can add them quite easily. Just crack the lid enough to chuck them on the coals if you need more.

I have also used a gasket of foil around the edge of the lid lip. It's a bit fiddly but can help retain heat and smoke on cold days.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

All great information.  Thank you all. 

 

So what I am getting out of this is to use a starter of 6-10 coals/briqs and add as needed.  I would get these to just ash starting on them and then dump them in?

 

Control heat with the vents.

 

Will this be able to handle a 8-10lb butt/shoulder?  Would smaller sizes be more appropriate?  I am a single person and live with no one so either way makes no difference to me.

post #7 of 10
Hi Iceman,

I find that 6 to 8 briqs is plenty to get to 225. That way you are less likely to over shoot. Personally I shut the inlet vent down to about half right from the start. This should be fine so long as your coals are really well lit.

I try to put a little wall of foil inbetween the meat and coals.
In Wades last pic, inbetween the foil tray and coals and take it all the way up to the grate. If you have the grate in the same orientation as in Wades pic then you can poke the foil out through the grate and fold the top over to help hold it in place. obviously around the central bar.

I've have the snake or fuse method last 7 and a half hours, with about an hour left, in a 22"

I may get flamed for this, but I tend to only do smaller items on my 22 now.
Ribs, or small butt maybe. I have done a long burn but tend to just smoke for 2 or 3 hours in the kettle now and then finish in the oven when foiled.

Wood wise, I use chips, pellets, or very small chunks in the kettle. Without going into too much detail, you don't have much heat and so get white smoke which can get bitter quite quickly.
I put pellets on the coals or in a foil boat and lay it on the coals.
Great thing with chips or pellets is that you can add them quite easily. Just crack the lid enough to chuck them on the coals if you need more.

I have also used a gasket of foil around the edge of the lid lip. It's a bit fiddly but can help retain heat and smoke on cold days.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceman6409 View Post

 

Will this be able to handle a 8-10lb butt/shoulder?  Would smaller sizes be more appropriate?  I am a single person and live with no one so either way makes no difference to me.

 

I think that 8-10 lb is a little optimistic for an 18" Weber as the cooking grate is smaller than the 22.5". Yes, it will fit however it is likely to be a little closer to the coals than you would want and there will be less space around it for the hot air/smoke to circulate as effectively than in the 22.5".This can lead to uneven cooking unless you rotate the joint during the smoke.

Others have done it and we will probably hear from members that successfully smoke larger joints than this in their 18" kettle. Myself, I would be happy with that size in the 22.5" but would go for one that was closer to 5-7 lb in weight in the 18".

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceman6409 View Post

All great information.  Thank you all. 

So what I am getting out of this is to use a starter of 6-10 coals/briqs and add as needed.  I would get these to just ash starting on them and then dump them in?

Control heat with the vents.

Will this be able to handle a 8-10lb butt/shoulder?  Would smaller sizes be more appropriate?  I am a single person and live with no one so either way makes no difference to me.

I think your Weber can handle a 10 pnd, but unless you have room in the freezer that will be a lot of food for 1. I just fed 10 guys with a ten pound butt today. If you want to make the people at work happy go for it though!
post #10 of 10

:welcome1: To SMF glad to have you on board as you can see there is a lot of great guys and gals on here with tons of info. I have a gas smoker and a home built 55 gal. barrel and I also have a Weber 22" but have never tried to smoke in it. I found the reply's to your thread very interesting. Hope you did too.

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