controlling temperature on a charcoal grill when smoking meat

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by loutro, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. loutro

    loutro Newbie


    I am smoking a chicken for the first time.  I haven't done much smoking so I don't know the tricks of the trade.  I am not using a smoker because the one I have isn't working.  Instead, I am using my weber grill.  I've put the coals on one side and smoking chips inside tin foil on top of the coals.  On the other side is the chicken.  

    I am having a lot of trouble regulating the temperature.  At first, it was too hot, about 480 so I took half the charcoal out.  Doing this brought the temp down to about 390.  I partially closed the vent and this brought it down to 350, then almost closed the vent completely, this brought it down to a little under 300, but after about 15 mins, the wood stopped smoking.  I was essentially extinguishing the fire.

    It seems that to keep the fire going, the vent needs to be more or less completely open, but this results in too hot of a fire.  Does anyone have any tips on how to keep the heat in the 225-250 range, and keep the fire going and smoking?


    btw, I'm using a Weber Performer and lump charcoal
  2. jack2u2

    jack2u2 Smoke Blower

    Lump will burn hotter than charcoal. Start with less coals. It still won't be as easy as a smoker, but it is managable. I smoke/grill my chickens at 300 degrees, so the grill works OK, although I usually use a WSM for my birds. Practice, practice, practice!
  3. 1 Pound of Briquits produces 9,800 Btu's. 1 Pound of Lump produces 13,000 Btu's. When I grill I keep an eye on the inside temp of the meat and the color of meat juices that escape, Not the grill temp. Grill with the vents open, Never closed. If you want to grill Low and Slow it's going to take alot more time and practice to cross that line. Stick with a smoker. I had a propane smoker that refused to work on a low setting. I converted it to wood and Lump charcoal and it works great. Maybe a consideration for you as well. 

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