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Smoking on a Weber 22.5 Charcoal Grill

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I just picked up my latest edition to my BBQ hardware, a Weber Kettle Grill. It is the gold 22.5 size.

I have a Brinkman electric that I have used, and seem to get pretty good results, but miss that charcoal flavor.

So - I plan on smoking some Ribs next weekend for Mother's day, and want to try the Weber for the first time. Tips or suggestions from you all would be much appreciated.

Some of my questions :

1. I plan to use charcoal on one side only, many of the videos show them using indirect heat by placing the ribs in the middle and charcoals on either end.

2. Monitoring Temp - These dont have temp gauges. So - can I just put a thermometer in one of the vent holes from the top? Any other suggestions.

3. How much charcoal do you use (right now I have Kingsford - and always use the chimoney lighter, never use fluid) to get your initial heat going? How often do you add charcoal, and again - how much

4. I plan on using hickory chips

5. Water in the drip pan below, and possibly another pan on the side with the charcoal.

Any other tips you have on using the weber would be great.

post #2 of 12
Good luck, let us know how it goes. By the way, have you seen this? I have not used one, and I don't know anyone who has. But I have never read a single bad review about it. I think I'll ask for it for Fathers' day: http://www.smokenator.com/default.htm
post #3 of 12
I use my Weber all the time for smoking. I made a charcoal basket out of 1/2" expanded metal I got at Lowes. It is "D" shaped with the curved part being the same size as the outside of the charcoal grate and measuring about 8" at the widest point. I am not sure how deep it is but it comes almost all the way up to the cooking grate. I fill it up with lump charcoal with chunks of hardwood mixed throughout. I light around 6 briquettes in my chimney along with a couple chunks of hardwood and when the charcoal is well lit I put it in one end of the basket with the unlit lump. On mine I need all the bottom intakes closed and the lid exhaust I run wide open. I can usually maintain around 250* this way for a good 3 hours and usually longer. When I pull the ribs for foiling I "rebuild" the fire in my basket just like the first time or move all the burning lump to one end of the basket and refill with unlit lump.
I have used a turkey frying thermometer through the lid vent, I put a clothes pin on it to hold it in place. I now have a better one but that will work.
I don't use a drip pan and the ribs always turn out great.
post #4 of 12
I bought one of these a couple of weeks ago for grilling, the manual it came with gave pretty good directions for indirect cooking including how many coals to start with and how many to add during cooking.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses. I probably should not have my first run on Mothers Day.

I like the suggestions you all made, and I also have to read the Weber manual - glad that it has some directions as well. It always seems like they suggest a lot more coals than necessary, maybe it's just me?

My comment for #5 should have read, drip pan underneath, and possibly another on the grate with water to help keep the moisture up.


1. I do plan on picking up the side grates - thanks for the tip
2. How long after you add the coals do you wait to put the ribs (or whatever meat) on the grill? Do you wait for the temp to get to 225, or do you put the ribs on and then add chips and try to regulate with the vents
3. I have seen the Smokenator - very interesting.
4. It seemed to me that as long as I was not in a rush (and from reading here, True BBQ can never be rushed), I would want to start with a small amount of coals, it might be easier to regulate bringing the temps up to 225 rather than trying to bring down temps??? Any thoughts?

I think I will do a few weekends of test runs before I start inviting friends over, but man, I can't wait to get the hang of this and just have BBQ hangouts!!!
post #6 of 12
I've had a Smokenator for about 2 years and love it. It's a great invention. Using it I can get about 6 hours on a burn without adding any fuel. I've heard of people taking a steel cookie sheet and cutting it to act like a Smokenator and that works too. Good luck.
post #7 of 12
Okay, okay. You talked me into it. Mines on the way!
post #8 of 12
How I do it:
post #9 of 12
Heres how I do it.

The stock fire grate let to much charcoal fall through so I covered it with a piece of 3/4x9 expanded.

Made a ring to hold some charcoal for low-n-slo. Along with some 6" long pieces around the outside of the charcoal to allow more air under the charcoal and help let the ashes fall through. The inside ring is 4" high and about 15" wide. This set up will allow the kettle to bbq for 12+ hours, at 225*, with homemade oak lump charcoal. It will burn longer with briquetts but I havent tested it with them yet.

A new cooking grate.

A couple fattys I cooked while I was doing a test burn. The charcoal wouldnt burn consistantly without the pieces of expaned metal around the outside of the charcoal but it worked good enough to cook a couple fattys.

Heres a butt I cooked after I got the kettle tuned up and running nicely. If I remember correctly the butt had been cooking for around 7 hours in this picture.
post #10 of 12

The mod I did...not eleborate, no cost...works just fine

Just an idea for tossing your thoughts around. I have a (cheapo) Uniflame that I did a simple mod on. I ran a 50 minute warm (110-120*) smoke for steaks, and had coals left over for a sear to cook them to our liking. I have used this a few times so far, and get raving results.

Check it out:

And her maiden smoke (bone-in Beef Rib Steaks), they were delectible:

If you drilled larger holes, and maybe used 2 cans, you could raise the cook chamber temps.

I'm just dyin' to do some more steaks on this!!!!!

Hope this helps you out.

Good smokes to ya!

post #11 of 12
On many smokers you would be correct, depending on how well the smoker is set up with dampers and vents. But you're talking about a Weber grill, which has great (IMHO) temperature control due to the bottom dampers and top vent. I bring mine up quick, then throttle back with the dampers. It's usually all settled in faster than my Brinkman vertical.

There are dozens of ways to do anything. You'll quickly find something that works well, and makes perfect sense to you. When you do, stick with it.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much everyone again for your suggestions, and thanks for the pictures Cacus, that really helped get the idea across.

I got the Brinkman electric smoker as a gift about a year ago, and have smoked ribs, butts and I love smoking potatoes (with olive oil and steak seasoning). I did some reading here before joining, and went out and bought the Weber as it seemed the most versatile, and something I could use for family, and then my own BBQ adventures. I am dying to get out there and try my hand now with a live fire (wood and charcoal), still a little nervous about temperature regulation etc...
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