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Difficultly grilling on a charcoal grill for a rookie. Need guidance please.

astrosal

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So I bought a 22-inch Premium Kettle Weber Charcoal Grill. I chose charcoal because from my understanding and research, charcoal grills produce the authentic BBQ flavour and easier to smoke compared to gas grills. As we already know, charcoal grills are more time consuming to set-up even with a chimney. With the chimney, it takes me around 40 minutes to light up the charcoals. Even with the difficult and time-consuming setup, grilling burgers was not an issue. I was able to heat up the grill to the required temperature and then grill the burgers.

However, I had great difficulty using it for indirectly cooking my beef ribs. The fire does not stay for that long and I have to keep adding lit charcoal. Also, it was difficult to maintain temperature. It either goes too hot or low and the temperature dies which forces me to add more lit charcoal. I tried playing with the vents but with no luck but that could also be because that was my first time indirectly grilling ribs. I admit that I am rookie when it comes to grilling which is why I am seeking guidance. After 12 hours, the beef ribs were still not cooked which is ridiculous. The same ribs were cooked with success in the oven for 3 hours.

So here are my questions:

  • Am I doing something wrong? With my limited expertise and knowledge, should I have done something differently?
  • Would you recommend a gas weber grill over the charcoal grill I have? If so, why?
  • So apparently there is not much difference in taste when grilling burgers on charcoal and gas grill but there is a clear difference when grilling ribs for instance between charcoal and gas due to the lack of smokey flavour in gas grills. However, there are methods of smoking a gas grill by using a smoke box. So my question is, will grilling on a gas grill using a smoke box produce similar results to a charcoal grill? Or at least close it? If the difference is not huge I might just go with gas using smokebox but I would not want to lose the smokey and authentic bbq flavour.
  • Ultimately, I am trying to figure out whether I should sell my charcoal grill and buy a gas grill. Your comments and assistance will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading!
 

drunkenmeatfist

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I have never tried smoking on a kettle, when I have smoked using briqs I have poured lit coals on top of unlit coals. You can google minion method and other ways of maintaining lower temps for longer periods. I am certain people here will point you in the right direction.

I wouldn't suggest giving up on charcoal though. I've had gas grills/smokers before. Once I really started getting into the hobby I moved away from them and have not looked back.
 

forktender

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You can make some killer grub on a kettle with very little practice on fire control, they work just as good as high dollar smokers with a little practice you'll be pumping out some killer Que.
1594961958053.png

There are tons of videos on YouTube," Google Weber kettle snake method".
 
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forktender

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15 minutes max to get a full chimney rolling wait until they get a little white around the edges and dump them in with the vents WFO. Or wide open for those of you that don't know what WFO means. LOL!!!
 

5GRILLZNTN

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15 minutes max to get a full chimney rolling wait until they get a little white around the edges and dump them in with the vents WFO. Or wide open for those of you that don't know what WFO means. LOL!!!
I know what it means. HA!
 

chef jimmyj

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12+ vs. 3 hours...What temp was the Grill and what temp was the oven? The Snake works for low, 225 to 275. There is also the $60 Slow 'n Sear for 8 hours of 225-250 Indirect heat. Or Sear and finish Indirect...JJ

 

forktender

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As in the fishing was WFO on the ocean today!!!
Eight 15lb grade salmon and a 13lb Halibut that was lost that came up 80' to eat a frozen anchovy that we were trolling 30' down in 110' of water. And the Hump back whales were giving us a show that was the most amazing thing I have ever seen on the ocean, six of them working together pushing up the Krill and Anchovies and busting through them like a freight train. I was so blown away by it that I didn't grab my phone to video it.

Sorry about the thread hijack, I'm extremely A.D.D.
Dan:emoji_joy::emoji_joy:
 
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mike243

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The Weber baskets work well for me sometimes I put 1 on either side and if a bigger load I put 1 or both on the same side, works very well for me, the vent goes to the center if using both split or opposite side if only 1 side has charcoal
 

SmokinAl

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I think most of us started out with a Weber charcoal grill. I still have 2 of them & use them frequently. It just takes practice, all the guys above have given you enough info to give it another try. I would also suggest taking detailed notes for the first few smokes, so you can look back at what you did & if you need to improve in that area. Unless you are one of the lucky one’s who make the best meal the first time, your like the rest of us who learned by doing it over & over until we got the result we were looking for. Your advantage is you have all these awesome pit masters ready & willing to tell you their secrets. It may take a while, but before long you will be helping other newbies!
Al
 

astrosal

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You guys are awesome! I appreciate all the information provided :) I am glad that I joined a forum full of people willing to help out a rookie.
 

astrosal

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I have never tried smoking on a kettle, when I have smoked using briqs I have poured lit coals on top of unlit coals. You can google minion method and other ways of maintaining lower temps for longer periods. I am certain people here will point you in the right direction.

I wouldn't suggest giving up on charcoal though. I've had gas grills/smokers before. Once I really started getting into the hobby I moved away from them and have not looked back.
Did you enjoy using the gas grill and enjoyed the taste it provided compared to charcoal?
 

astrosal

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12+ vs. 3 hours...What temp was the Grill and what temp was the oven? The Snake works for low, 225 to 275. There is also the $60 Slow 'n Sear for 8 hours of 225-250 Indirect heat. Or Sear and finish Indirect...JJ

I have the Weber baskets. They look quite similar. Do you think it is redundant to buy the Slow 'n Sear since I already have a basket?
 

drunkenmeatfist

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Did you enjoy using the gas grill and enjoyed the taste it provided compared to charcoal?
Personally I found that charcoal provides flavor that a gas grill cannot. Many people seem to like using gas because they feel it is more convenient. I can understand that reasoning, but dumping some coals in a chimney and waiting 15-20 minutes is worth it to me.

In my experience using propane was actually less convienient. I didn't like lugging the tanks around and I didn't like needing to have two tanks in the event that one emptied in the middle of a cook. This is just my opinion though, plenty of people swear by their gassers so who am I to knock it.
 

offsetNick

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When i learned on a weber kettle to understand the taste of good and bad smoke I found a set up that worked using a few bricks. I placed them in as a "V" on one side on the lower grate. Filling with lit coal, and feeding warmed charcoal to the side of the coals to burn in. By controlling the size of the "V" gave a smaller or larger pool basically controlling the base temp. Adding warmed flavor wood chucks as desired.
Keep your vents clean at the bottom and find your sweet spot. One critical factor was opening the grill and then getting it back to temp quickly, which was difficult and took a series of processes such as opening the vents to heat up a bit before lifting lid, then close and readjust. I did find some sweet spots that required cracking of the lid a bit. I tried the snake method but it was too slow of a cook as i was going for 250F plus which was a bit difficult to hold. I have not done more then a 3-5 hr cook due to constant baby sitting the temp,
so my desire to step up moved me to my 1st offset smoker for going bigger an longer.
 

gmc2003

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I have the Weber baskets. They look quite similar. Do you think it is redundant to buy the Slow 'n Sear since I already have a basket?
Yes they do look similar, but no they aren't really similar. The newer SnS has a removable water trough to help keep the temps down. It's also larger then the baskets. I use my kettles for smoking anything that's considered a short smoke - think ribs, hams and roasts. I use my WSM for smoking things like briskets and butts. Another kettle accessory worth considering is the Vortex for high heat grilling. The Vortex also makes beer can chicken a snap.

Chris
 

Berettaclayshooter

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OP: what type are charcoal are you using briquette? My suggestion if so is to try another brand like royal oak or the walmart version with is made by royal oak. I have regular Kingsford which I haven't used for like 3 years in the shed, ran out of lump charcoal and couldn't find any when the Covid-19 buying frenzy was happening during April. It was un-opened and very dry, but that stuff SUCKS compaired to lump to get going. Just my two cents on fuel source.
 

EvanKerr

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I love the flavor of a charcoal grill's smoke. Charcoal has a higher heat output than gas. Because you can't turn down the heat, you can adjust the temperature by leaving regions without briquettes. This allows you to sear your protein before transferring it to the colder sections to finish cooking.
When I was looking for a grill, I first checked how to use a Traeger pellet grill? I decided which grill to buy only after surfing all the possible BBQ forums in his world. So, now guess who makes the best BBQ ribs in the neighborhood, lol?
 
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RiversideSm0ker

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For me there is no comparison between charcoal and gas grill for flavor. Gas is simply convenient and fast. No inherent flavor whatsoever. Charcoal is wood in either briquettes or lump form. When I grill burgers or chicken I like to toss in a small chunk of some kind of flavor wood to give it a bit of extra punch. You aren't smoking it but giving it an open wood fire taste. Mesquite is my favorite for burgers and then anything else goes for chicken or hot dogs. Smoking on the Weber kettle is very effective and efficient compared to my offset. Not quite the same level of smoke flavor but totally acceptable when I have a smaller cut of meat. I use the Weber charcoal baskets when I smoke things in my kettle. It just makes for an easy way to focus the fire. Slow and Sear is pretty expensive in comparison but if you are good with the extra cost I have only heard good things abou that device. If you are really into grilling then it won't take long before you figure out the nuances of your grill and can cook pretty much anything that will fit with almost no effort at all.

With your chimney did you use some type of fire started like a tumbleweed or those cubes from Weber? I find those to be my best friend when starting my chimney. I never got that great at making the wadded up paper doughnut to work that well. 40 minutes seems to be an extreme amount of time. If your charcoal is dry, then like others have already stated, 15-20 minutes should be enough to get your coals blazing hot.

For smoking on the kettle I like to fill about 3/4 of the basket with unlit charcoal and then light 10 or 12 briquettes to drop in the other corner. Those burning coals will light the other charcoal over time. I check the coals about after 2 hours or so. I use a temp gauge on my grill grate to give me an idea of how much heat is being delivered to my food. When that temp starts to drop about 5 degrees or so below my low target temp I get an alarm and then I shake the ash and press my burning coals to one side of he basket and then fill the other side back up with unlit coals. You then will just add new unlit charcoal as needed until your meat reaches its target temp. Once you have used it a few times the process really becomes second nature. I love my kettle and wouldn't trade it for anything. I might add more to my arsenal but I will always have a Weber kettle from now on. Good luck with your future cooks.

G
 

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