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Weber Performer (22.5 Kettle fancied up) Questions

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I bought a Weber Performer last weekend, put it together and fired it up for the first time last Sunday. I grilled a variety of different kabobs, some dogs for the kids and some smoked sausage.

Overall, I was impressed, especially by the ease of use as far as lighting charcoal. No taste difference since the gas burns clean.

I was wondering what tips anyone has on the kettle grills in general.

What's the best way to layout the charcoal for simple things like burgers, brats and steaks?

Any mods that I should consider?

As always, any help is appreciated.
post #2 of 10
I don't have any experience with one, but bumping this one back to the top for someone else to see.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the bump!

Man does it feel good to go away from LP back to charcoal without the lighter fluid.
post #4 of 10

My $.02 Worth

I bought my 1st Weber in 1972 so here goes my opinion. Hopefully you are using a chimney to start your charcoal, if not, you should pick one up. I don't like the taste of my food using fluid. I use Kingsford Comp from Costco or lump from Walmart or Sam's Club. When your coals are ashed over, just dump them on the grill and spread them around to the size area that you will be grilling on.

The only Mod I would suggest is to keep a cooler full of cold ones handy to facilitate the cooking process.
post #5 of 10
It is nice to have more than one temperature zone. Usually my grill is set up with charcoal on one side or half and none on the other. That way there is a spot to put the meat for indirect cooking and an area for direct grilling. If you really want to get fancy, three zones is just barely doable. Hot or a lot of coals, medium, fewer coals further away from the grate and a no coal zone.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have a chimney for the 18.5 kettle I already had but this fancy 'ole thing has a propane burner into the kettle that runs off a small camp stove bottle which lights the charcoal in about 3 minutes give or take a few minutes depending on the weather I guess.

I've never liked using lighter fluid.

The grill is never more than a few feet away from the fridge in the garage...
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
From what I've read, this is the way to go. I had 2 hot zones on opposite sides of the grill yesterday and the middle was the indirect zone. It worked well, but if I had a lot of meat on there, it wouldn't have worked.

post #8 of 10
I've gota weber with the gas-starter thingy, and I love it. What I ended up doing is using the two coal baskets it came with long side in and pushed together in the middle. More or less making a circle. I put these two right over top of the vents for the gas starter, so one side starts one and the oher side starts the other. As for the position they're mostly toward the back, so the jets shoot right around the center of the basket. Once they're lit I just leav em like that, mostly cause i'm lazy, and also cause it makes a nice direct zone in the middle with plenty of indirect space around the sides. Now by "plenty of space" I mean for burgers, steaks, veggies, etc. I did a chicken once and needed a larger indirect area (and no direct heat) so after they were lit I slid each basket over to the side, so it was clear in the middle.
post #9 of 10
The kettle is alot of fun to cook on. Just have patience with it getting going. Make sure your charcoal is good and ashed over. If you are using briquettes they will stay really hot for a long time. I try to cook with the lid closed as much as possible. You will notice the temp will drop off with the lid on, but once you remove the lid the temp will come back up. The flip up sides on the performer grate are really nice as well as the charcoal baskets, I use the charcoal rails on mine and have to grab a stray piece every now and then that has fallen through. Putting the lid on will help control flare ups as well. I tend to get some as I am putting marinated chicked on the grates, but once you cover it they die off pretty quickly. Just have fun with it, I like throwing some wood chips or chunks in with the charcoal and grilling.

post #10 of 10
Not sure I agree, I grilled with the Weber Kettle for nearly 20 years before my fantastic wife bought me Weber Genesis gas grill. I use them both, for shear convenience it is hard to beat a good gas grill. The Kettle can't be beat for several things, indirect cook whole BBQ chicken is the wife's favorite style of chicken, done on the weber kettle. I like to cook steaks and especially Tri-tip on the Kettle, but honestly with a couple of big wood chunks in the gas grill, you can not tell them apart.

The zone fires, one, two, three.
One zone fires are good for grilling only and use up a lot of charcoal, If you have a lot of meat to grill they are great. Just try to get a good bed of briquettes 2 or 3 deep.

Two Zone fires, the booklet that used to come with the kettle describes building two charcoal areas, and cooking something on the cook grate in between. For Roasting that method is great, I have used it for the whole chicken I mentioned above, turkeys, roasts, and years ago ribs.
About 10+ years ago the two zone became a hot area and cold area or cooler area on the grill. It works great allowing you to grill on the hot side, then pull almost done stuff to the cooler side and use the hot for cooking something else. I try to have a level bed of coals, and use a cut up baking tray placed on the charcoal grate as a divider mid way or where ever I choose. This really comes in handy for Tri Tip I can build a higher than normal bed 4" high level bed of briquettes for fast cooking steaks or tri tip. (See pic of baking tray below).

Three Zone setup, I just use the two zone above, I add the 3rd zone by using an old heavy duty alum. wok ring, on top of the wok rink I place a small grate. This gives me a third area, I can keep it over the hot side to finish stuff that needs more heat than the cold side has, or I can put it over the cold side for an in between heat, it still is fairly hot because of the head circulating under the dome lid. The ring will have stuff cooking inside and around it, and doesn't interfere too much. Often I will put hamburgers on the grill, then put the wok ring and have potatoes going above the hamburgers, or something else. (see pic below).

If you don't own a smoker the Weber Kettle can work as a smoker. The big problem is maintaining the proper smoke temps 225-250ยบ. Many Weber Kettle owners have bought the Smokenator, which work ok from what I have read. I decided to make my own hack mod. I used a piece off the backing tray I cut for the briquettes. (see pic below) (idea explained here)

To monitor temp, I bought some wood corks, that fit in the vent holes in the lid. I drilled a hole through and run my digital probe cord through it. I have long stem 7" dial type from Weber (came with the gas grill) I use it to monitor temp near the cooking grate, and the digital to monitor meat meat temp. ( I no longer smoke on the kettle since I now have a MES).

Pizza on the weber kettle, I have a couple of posts on cooking pizza on your weber. The taste is very close to a wood fired pizza. Like smoking on the kettle cooking pizza is a big chore, and requires learning some techniques, but the end result is so good you will want to do more. I explained how in this post, and a link to the first attempt is there too.

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