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Low temp smoking on Weber kettle - advice?

scvinegarpepper

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I’ve always smoked on my Weber kettle at 225ish or hotter with a variety of methods (fuse, minion, baskets, etc). But I want to try a whole trout filet. In looking around all the recipes smoke it super low like 180ish. I searched the site and the webs for methods for going that low on a kettle grill with charcoal but couldn’t find much. Advice? Many thanks.
 

radioguy

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Start a fire in another grill or vessel. Shovel enough coals over to get your 180 temp. It shouldn't take very many. I cook with wood chunks mixed in with briquettes. Small fire is the key.

Good luck


RG
 

noboundaries

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Hmmm, I gave never tried to smoke that low on my Kettle, but I have in my WSM, and I believe the techniques would work in a Kettle.

Lower vents (or ash scraper vents) completely closed. Top vent full open. Smaller wood chunk buried in a pile of cold charcoal, but only covered by one layer of cold briquettes. Heat 2 to 4 briquettes to ashed-over and place on top of the cold pile. Let it stabilize over an hour or two, then add the fish as quickly as possible to avoid stoking the fire.

Let us know what you do and how it turns out.
 

scvinegarpepper

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Start a fire in another grill or vessel. Shovel enough coals over to get your 180 temp. It shouldn't take very many. I cook with wood chunks mixed in with briquettes. Small fire is the key.

Good luck


RG
Good idea on mixing in chunks. Thanks for the heads up.

Hmmm, I gave never tried to smoke that low on my Kettle, but I have in my WSM, and I believe the techniques would work in a Kettle.

Lower vents (or ash scraper vents) completely closed. Top vent full open. Smaller wood chunk buried in a pile of cold charcoal, but only covered by one layer of cold briquettes. Heat 2 to 4 briquettes to ashed-over and place on top of the cold pile. Let it stabilize over an hour or two, then add the fish as quickly as possible to avoid stoking the fire.

Let us know what you do and how it turns out.
Excellent tips! I’ve been cooking on my kettle for almost a decade and still haven’t figured out all the vent nuances. I’m gonna give this a shot. Thanks.
 

noboundaries

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Even with the lower vents completely closed, some air will still flow through. Don't be in a hurry when you are looking for low temps. If you try to control the temp rise or timing, you'll end up chasing vent settings and chamber temps. By burying the wood, the fibers preheat and burn cleaner.

Looking forward to the results.
 

gmc2003

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I'd probably go with a minimal snake method. Two rows of charcoal next to each other and each leaning on the one behind it. Think of two rows of domino's standing next to each other that have fallen over. Place a chunk of apple wood or two on top of the unlit coals - one near the start of the snake and one about a 1/3 of the way into the snake. To start keep all vents top and bottom fully open. When your near your desired smoking temp(about 25* below) start adjusting the bottom vent until your settled in. If your temp starts running away adjust your top vent if you have a clean burn going on. A water pan in the middle of the snake will help keep the temps down. Sorry I don't have any pics to show you what I mean.

Chris
 

Fueling Around

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My experience.
I start with a single row snake. I get colder than you so may go with a double or double with stack to get the coals going.
Patience, it may take up to 2 hours to stabilize the burn and heat to desired range. Lower vents mostly open and top vent throttled down.
No chunks as they cause spikes. Smoke is with pellets in a tube.
 

chopsaw

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For years I have controlled the temps in a kettle with the amount of coals . The old Weber cook book that came with the kettle told you how many coals to start with , and how many to add per hour . I'm with radio guy , small fire to start , then see what's needed .
 

forktender

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scvinegarpepper scvinegarpepper

Buy a smoke maze or smoke tube and a small bag of smoker pellets to make dust for the maze, you can use them whole in the smoke tube to cold smoke things. Delicate fish like trout and salmon turns out 10X better cold smoked in my opinion. But you could always run a load using the maze or tube to get the smoke flavor than finish it off in the oven with the door propped open 1/2". I use the handle of a wooden spoon as a spacer to hold the door open, this works great for making jerky as well, I used this method for many years it works great. Make sure you put a fan on the fish for at least 2 hrs before smoking to for a nice glossy pellicle. I take it a step further and place the fish in the refrigerator uncovered for 2 days before smoking to get a nice and thick pellicle, I like how it turns out much better that way.

Good luck.
Dan
 

scvinegarpepper

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Make sure you put a fan on the fish for at least 2 hrs before smoking to for a nice glossy pellicle.
Can you expand on this a little? Two hours out at room temp with a fan on it? I'm used to using a fan or cold blow dryer to dry out poultry skin before smoking, but never done a whole fish filet and never used a fan for two hours. This sounds great, just want to make sure I'm understanding you correctly. I'm a homebrewer as well, and when I hear pellicle, I think of my favorite gnarly surface coatings on still-fermenting mixed fermentation beers!
 

forktender

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scvinegarpepper scvinegarpepper
Yes, at room temp put the fish on the rack or grate that you are going to be smoking it on then put a fan on blowing onto the fish before you put it in the smoker, don't forget to spray a little nonstick onto the grates first. Even when I smoke fish in the middle of the summer when it's 100* outside I fan the fish for at least 2 hours before I smoke them, it's a very common practice and essential to turning out a better product.

Good luck.
Dan
 

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