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Replenishing charcoal in slow ‘n sear

Primerib

Newbie
5
2
Joined May 31, 2018
I haven’t found any threads dealing with my exact same problem so thought I’d start a new one.

Recently got a Weber 26” kettle and a slow ‘n sear XL. I’m new to charcoal smoking/grilling but am loving the heck out of the learning curve, even in the cold MN winter.

Trying my first longer smoke today, smaller brisket flat. The problem I’m running into is when it’s time to replenish charcoal, the kettle spews nasty thick white smoke (like when you initially light up a charcoal grill) for about 30 minutes before finally calming down. I’m using Kingsford blue bag. I’m worried I already killed my brisket when adding charcoal earlier.

Any tips or ideas to mitigate this, or is it just an inherent downside of the Weber/SNS combo? Perhaps I’ll need to abandon the SNS for long smokes and look into the snake or minion method.

I appreciate any advice you can give me! Thanks in advance.
 

bill1

Smoking Fanatic
524
160
Joined Apr 25, 2015
Kingsford leaves a phenomenal amount of ash. (Walmart charcoal briquettes do the same.) So when replenishing coals you can spray ash all over your food. I've just grown to hate the stuff. Clean up is always a mess too.
I've found the solution is lump charcoal product. They all seem to burn near 100% compared to Kingsford. You should search this forum; folks have strong opinions on their faves. Some think Royal Oak briquettes are OK, others only will buy Royal Oak lump (which I agree is uniformly high quality, but pricey.) Athough I've been happy enough with just about any lump product, some think certain lump products do a poor job of sorting out stuff you don't want, e.g. pressure treated lumber.
My only hard and fast rule is Don't Buy Kingsford. But search and ye shall find.
 

Primerib

Newbie
5
2
Joined May 31, 2018
Thanks for the tip, I’ll definitely buy a good bag of lump charcoal for my next long smoke. We’re on the finish line with the brisket now so any acrid smoke damage that has or has not been done is water under the bridge.
 

SlickRockStones

Smoking Fanatic
313
186
Joined Mar 12, 2018
I fill my SnS xl with briquettes and add about a dozen fully lit to one corner. This will give me about 5-6 hrs. For briskets and butts that’s when I pull the meat, knock all the ash down and add charcoal. While I’m wrapping the meat the coals are catching and the meat goes back on til done. For butts I’ll usually put them in the drip pan and cover with foil to finish. The added charcoal does sometimes smoke a bit as they’re catching but the meat is wrapped. Lump does burn cleaner but also hotter and faster.
 

Fueling Around

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
1,231
545
Joined Dec 10, 2018
I don't have a SnS for my kettle.
I usually go with a snake or the side baskets for offset cooking.
Never had the white smoke when adding briquettes to side baskets.
Is your coal a bit damp from humidity & storage? I notice it steams more if damp when starting in a chimney.
If you add a lot of briquettes that get heated from the bottom it will blow off the moisture. This time of the year let it stand outside in an unheated area

I wish I could find the lump the users swear by for a smoke. I've purchased a few brands and most of it is junk mixture of raw and kiln dried lumber. Irregular sizes of pieces that don't nestle into a fuel basket so I have to add faster than using a uniform compressed briquette.
I get better results with Royal Oak briquette over Kingsford. All charcoal briquette of lump produces a lot of ash. Nature of the beast.

Hey pellet grills (poopers) produce a lot of ash, too. Most of the (fly) ash is blown out the chimney by the forced air convection fan.
 

unclebubbas bbq

Smoking Fanatic
321
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Joined Jun 26, 2013
If you can get a solid 5-6 hours on the Weber kettle then just finish you brisket in the oven. There are no penalties for using the oven and you will still get that outstanding smoke flavor from cooking on coals.
 

Primerib

Newbie
5
2
Joined May 31, 2018
If you can get a solid 5-6 hours on the Weber kettle then just finish you brisket in the oven. There are no penalties for using the oven and you will still get that outstanding smoke flavor from cooking on coals.
I had definitely considered it yesterday but wanted to try and ride out the long game on the kettle just to see how it would go.

Brisket was pretty good, and most fortunately I didn’t detect any off/“dirty” flavors to speak off from it’s brief exposure to dirty smoke.
 

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