Learning the Weber 22.5" Kettle - Results

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by teddymadison, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. So I was able to play a bit on Sunday with the Weber 22.5 and as expected, got unexpected results. :)

    Note that all of these runs were meatless using Stubbs charcoal.

    First thing I tried was a full load of coal in one of the holders, probably 20 or so brickettes. This went over 300 F even with the bottom vents closed.

    Next I tried the minion method, started off fine and stayed around 240 for about 1/2hr and then it started to rise. When I looked inside all of the coals were list so maybe I did something wrong with this one.

    It started to rain and was getting late so that's all I got to. My next try will be using 6 brickettes and see if I can just feed it. I'm going with 6 as this is how many I had on there lit at the start of the minion method and that was about right for temp.

    All advise welcome. :) 
  2. Was it a windy day???  Wind can cause temp spikes. Are you getting a good seal on the lid???? If I forget to open my bottom vent, I see it in a low temp, and then open or at least crack it open.

    I have a 22.5 weber that I've had for yrs. I smoke ribs and or grill steaks with no problem. I can control the heat from 200d to over 500d. Well, ok.........at 500 there's no control...........just high heat for my steaks.[​IMG]
  3. there was maybe a 5mph breeze. Total seal on the lid even with the probe wire passing through (well at least good enough that there was no smoke leaking out). BTW, I was using a Polder digital for temp monitoring.

    How many coals do you use for low temp and what method do you use?
  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  5. It's a kettle.
  6. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    As Al guessed, I figured it was the kettle, but the site was giving me the occasional long wait to post a reply.  I won't say you can't smoke in a kettle, because I have done it.  I will tell you that it is tricky and a pain at best.  You have one of the greatest grills that has ever been invented.  Now for your first smoker!!

    Good luck and good smoking!
  7. No doubt that a WSM would be more appropriate to smoke with but from what I have seen around, the Weber Kettle is fine as a smoker, we'll see I guess. I just need to figure out the temp thing...
  8. Check out the smokenator.  My FIL has one and we've used it a couple of times.  It works great.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  9. For the weber 22.5 I also recommend the smokenator. It's a heck of an addition and I have done 3 racks of spares at one time. Good investment for a weber kettle.

    I have my weber lit up right now, with maybe an 1/8" opening at the bottom and my temp is about 250. Top vent is at about 1/2 open, but will be opened more here in a few minutes. It's just gonna take practice-practice-practice...........till you know your grill.

    But...........I am also wanting the mes-40, but have to get to the big city to buy one.
  10. Positive results. :)

    I got 8 coals going and closed the bottom vents 90% and held 240 for close to an hour. When it started to fade I put 4 more coals (cold) on and it held and started to come back up.

    This is good, I feel like I will be able to do this without too much pain.

    The Smokenator, looks really cool but I don't see it doing anything that I cannot really do with the Weber coal bins and a water pan. It's bigger so longer time but besides that, I don't know.

    I AM a nub so I could be missing something.
  11. fife

    fife Master of the Pit

    I have not used one so all I can say is good luck with the smoker
  12. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I BBQed a pork butt on my Weber 22.5 for Easter dinner. The method is simple, load the briquettes around the outside of the kettle, placing the wood chunks in with the coals-


    note the space for the lit coals to the left of the drip pan, I use 12 lit coals to get started.

    When I place the coals in I have my intake set 1/2 open, when the temp gets to where I want I shut the intake completely, if the temps stabilize-i.e. flucuate up or down a degree or two, you're good to go, if they keep rising then keep the vents closed, if the temp drops crack open the vent(I start at 1/4 open) until temps stabilize. Don't be surpised if the temps stabilize at a temp higher than you may want, especially with lump charcoal or Stubbs briquettes which burn much hotter than most other briquettes. BTW those are Stubbs in the pic. I cooked an 8+ lb. pork butt in 10 hours on Sunday using about 9lbs. of charcoal and had just about burned the entire semicircle. Outside temp was about 43°F at 12am when I started I expect you might use less or start with less if you had temps in the 60's or higher. My temp stabilized at abou 255° at the start.

    One thing I have noticed is that the wood chunks can light coals more quickly than intended causing a spike in temp, if this happens close the intake completely and close the exhaust to at least 1/2, this will knock down the fire and make it more managable. The next time I use this method I am not going to lay my wood on top of the bottom row of briqs but stand them up between the rows, I think this may help control the temperature spikes.


    Here's the butt at about 7:30am, two and half hours before I took it off. BTW the Stubbs is all I will use when doing this, the best charcoal briquettes IMHO. I had a temp spike at 3am, when I got it under control the temp satbilized at 267°, a bit higher than I wanted but OK. Towards the end temps were back down in the 250° range.

    Hope you find this helpful. Good luck 
  13. Some good info there Cliffcarter!

    You also confirmed a theory I worked up. Get the charcoal lined up in a way that will cause 8-12 to be lit at any given time. So with 12 started at the beginning, figure the burn rate so you are igniting and  burning out at about the same rate and then use the dampers to control how hot the burn is.
  14. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have seen another post on this subject.  A circle or semi circle of coals only 2 or 3 briquettes wide, lit at one end and arranged to facilitate the minion method.  If I can find thread I will post it.

    Good luck and good smoking!
  15. justpassingthru

    justpassingthru Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

  16. Excellent, thank you. :)

    I got a big pack of drumsticks for the first smoke, I figure I can live with messing up chicken a lot easier than I could ribs. :)

    I'll be doing the minion method like you did, I think it will work just fine for me.
  17. justpassingthru

    justpassingthru Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Teddy, I used this method for low temperature smokes, poultry doesn't really benefit from low temps, I usually smoke chicken at 300° in my WSM.

    In reading you posts I think you understand the procedure, looks like cliffcarter has perfected it in his kettle, in his photo he didn't dump his lit coals on top of the unlit, but rather placed them on the left hand side beside the unlit coals and they burned around the semicircle, he is doing the same thing I did, but had more charcoal lit at one time to have higher temps.  When using the Minion Method if the fire becomes too hot it is because there is too much oxygen feeding the coals, hence the reason for adjusting the intake vents.  We control the temperature of the coals by limiting the oxygen and if the smoker is air tight that produces a stable temp, once we learn how to stabilize the temp, then we can raise or lower it by a slight adjustment of the air intake.

    To see if your grill is air tight, after you have a hot fire, lay some water soaked wood on the coals, or anything that will produce smoke quickly and close the top vent, watch if and where the smoke escapes, if it's where the lid fits then fold some aluminum foil and place it on the rim under the lid to block the gaps.

    You got it bro, now just put it to use, as for something inexpensive, you might want to smoke a fattie or ABT's, or maybe some hamburgers, ...there are many threads here about these if you do a search, they are pretty forgiving of mild temp fluctuations and are quite tasty!  Stable smoker temps isn't rocket science, we catch the temp on the way up rather than trying to bring it back down, you'll catch on real quick and if you have a fattie or something else on the smoker you will have the satisfaction of learning how to control your temps and produce a tasty meal to dazzle your family or friends.

    Have fun and don't forget to take some pics.

  18. See my qview in the poultry section. ::

    Thanks for all the advise guys, I think my first time was a winner!
  19. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Way to go Teddy.  Since you are off to a good start, there is no end to the experimentation you can do.

    Good luck and good smoking!
  20. welcome to the SMF,

    Hello Teddy, I have the same polder that you have and one thing I noticed is that it reads the meat well but i had a bad probe, so temp wouldn't read right when I left probe in the meat. Just tought I would let you know so in your quest to smoke, if you come up with weird results, check your probes.

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