Originally Posted by daRicksta
Look for my Wild Hawg Rub thread...I'd post a link but don't want to jack this thread or get too far off topic... You know, the way I figure it, what the hell? I've been involved in threads that mutated magnificently into topics of far-ranging oddities and other stuff. But I'm looking at your photos and you can indeed get a smoke ring from a Weber cooking at low, indirect heat. But I agree with you, smoke rings are cosmetic so I've never tried to attempt one. I just would've gotten a kick from generating one in grilled ribs so I could say "So that's what they look like in person!" But I brought this up because there are a few people on SMF devoted to generating smoke rings in a MES or something so they can post about their achievement here. I just want my Q--made in a grill or in my smoker--to taste really, really good.
I made a slow-cooked tri-tip roast in my Weber kettle grill that called for hickory wood chunks. I almost bought some. But seeing as how I have hickory wood pellets and a tube smoker I decided those would provide me with the same wood smoke flavor, and I was right.
Eric, are you a grilling purist like I am? To me, real grilling can only be done over charcoal. My Weber 22.5 inch One Touch Silver is my backyard buddy. We've been together a long time and made a lot of great stuff together. Yeah, this could be topic hijacking, but do you keep that vent on your Weber lid wide open or half closed when you're grilling low and slow? And while I'm at it, I buy the Kingsford Professional Briquets when Costco has them on sale in the double pack. Otherwise my preference is Stubb's Bar-B-Q Charcoal Briquettes. I'm not familiar with the Embers brand.
OK, you're right...I've been in the middle of a lot threads that turned into a lot of great reads on entirely different subjects than intended, myself. So, a couple links are coming here. The frustrating part is trying to remember where you read it (or wrote it), and then, find it again for future reference.
Yeah, I guess I would say I evolved into more of a purist...not full-blown hard-core...I use what will get the job done given the circumstances, although recently have not cooked with anything but solid fuel...been about 1.5 years without food over a propane flame...and I feel better about my cooking as a result...just makes me...maybe I was just a purist a heart and needed something to get things moving in the right direction. Well, right direction for me, at least. My cooking volumes are reduced from several years ago, and cooking style, methods and finished products have also evolved to some extent. I rarely foil meats...gotta get a killer bark on pork shoulder for sure...wet-to-dry smoke chamber method (with no foiling) was not just a fluke...I developed that method due of a perceived necessity. That's just one example of how my cooking has changed...to say I'm a purist, well, maybe so...if I had hardwoods to cook over as a heat source? Oh, crap, I'd really be a happy smoker...tend a wood fire for hours on end? Count me in...do all nighters every smoke I cranked up? No, that's pushing things too far...gotta mix it up and do it all, right?
I used propane grills and one vertical smoker (GOSM 3405GW) for quite a few years, converted the GOSM to charcoal for awhile, then got a horizontal pit (SnP-40"), converted it to propane when my fuel consumption went through the roof from a custom tuning plate mod, then quit using it when I got the Smoke Vault 24. I could do just about...OK, scratch that...I could smoke anything I wanted to in it. Somewhere in there, maybe 7-8 years or so ago, I started grilling with wally-world special charcoal kettles...like the even cooking temperatures, and flavor. I chose a Weber OTG 18 kettle for a 10-year service award at work...oh, my, all hell broke loose after that. Great temp control, no matter what I was doing on it. I was hooked, I think for life, and just didn't know it yet. Propane just didn't give me quite the same level of satisfaction at the end of the day...flavor wasn't the same, either. Propane grills, IMHO, suck for controlling grate temps and providing even cooking heat across the grate.
Well, one thing lead to another and I bought a Weber 26.75" OTG 2 years ago...love that beast...then along cam the WSM 18 last fall...love it too. Oh, and I've had a Smokey Joe 14 for a few years now, too...needs a mod to keep the cooking grate stable, and you have to keep the entire grate covered with coals for the best fire control, but otherwise, nice little portable table-top grill.
Anyway, my second oldest boy grabbed my SV-24 a year or so ago to use at his house...I don't miss it, at all, sadly...cooked a lot of great meals with that beast. If I ever took on the challenge to cook for a large gathering again, the SV-24 would be nice to have around, but, I could change things up enough to make due with what I have.
Oh, I found a rotisserie kit for my OTG 18 last winter...been a great spinner ride...I've even fired up my smallest sine-wave inverter gas generator to power the roti-motor a few times, but still enjoying cooking and eating those spinner meals. I'm still trying to justify the additional ~$240 for a 26.75" roti-kit with 2 extra sets of forks to do 3 birds/roasts, or whatever, along with my 18 spinning another 2 of whatever...good grief, that would turn my OTG 26" beast into a really diverse cooker as well, with some pretty decent capacity. The two spinner-capable rigs, together, along with my WSM 18, and the SJ-14 on the side? Like, 3 18+lb prime ribs on a stick, and all the sides to go with it...yeah, it'd be awesome. What else could I possibly need for charcoal-fired cookers? Oh, wait......did I just...oh, no I didn't just say that, did I? I shouldn't have asked that question. I cook on nothing but Weber for the time being...WSM and kettles with a little bit of everything for size and type. The kettles will do just about anything I ask of them, and I actually use them more than the WSM, although I really put the WSM through quite a workout last winter...documented in my I'VE GONE COMPLETELY DARK thread... that was more than a couple months of bliss, I might add.
Oh, Embers charcoal is a Home Depot exclusive...at least that's what I've read online...manufactured by none other than Royal Oak. It is a different briquette design/shape than I've ever seen before...they say it burns hotter (and longer), IIRC...I'd have to weight them on my digital scale and compare to, say, KBB and see if there's a difference in weight. I actually had some trouble getting temps up in the WSM with Embers last winter, repeatedly (so I'd sat no to hotter), but they do burn a long time, from what I was seeing, anyway. RO lump will kick out the heat if you want it to...Embers, not so much.
Anyway, that's me right now...taking this charcoal-fired cooking path where ever it leads me...just trying not to buy anything I won't get a lot of use out of, that's the kicker...I've thoroughly enjoy the ride, so far, and I don't see it ending any time in the near future. I plan on cooking over charcoal (probably with a Weber) when I'm retired and living full-time in a RV, while seeing all the places and people I want to visit...yeah, I think I'm hooked for life, uh-huh.
Oh, almost forgot to add: I keep my vent wide open when grilling or smoking, unless with some odd smoke or grilling cook going where I want to slightly decrease the draft and I don't want to mess with the intake setting..but I'm pretty careful to maintain enough draft to keep the smoke from getting stale. The only time I close it is when I've finished the meal, to kill the fire...intake gets closed then, too, of course...and as you already know, yes, you can kill the fire in a weber...even the little SJ-14 has snug enough fitted draft/intake controls to do that.
Crap, I digressed, a lot, there...but hey, you asked.