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Old 10-03-2015, 06:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I use a chimney and newspaper then place the burning charcoal on one side of the grill. A chunk of hickory (or other wood) goes on the coals. A pan of water goes next to the coals. The item to be smoked goes over the water. The vent in the lid is opposite the vent in the bottom so smoke has to travel across the food. I have a probe thermometer in there and watch the temps and fiddle with the top and bottom vents to try to maintain a fairly constant temp.

My current thought is that I'm using too much charcoal. I'm going to try less next time and see if that helps.
Perhaps you are starting off with too many lit coals.
I load the big Weber chimney full, light it, and only when the bottom fourth of the coals in the chimney are lit I dump the entire contents into the kettle. So I basically end up with roughly 15 lit coals sitting on top of the rest of unlit coals in the kettle and bring it up to temp using only the bottom vent. Top vent is almost always wide open. With the coals burning down very slowly I get a few hours worth of smoking time.

The water in the pan makes a good heat sink and should keep temps pretty steady for the duration of the cook. I don't use a water pan but use a couple of bricks to keep the charcoal contained to one side of the kettle.
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Old 10-03-2015, 06:04 PM   #12
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I try to keep my WSM at 250, but have a hard time getting it to run below that.
I pretty much use the same wood that you mentioned, but I'm cutting down a peach tree in my back yard in a few weeks. I've never tried peach before, but there's always a first!
Peach is good smoke wood.I just don't get to use it much.
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Old 10-03-2015, 06:23 PM   #13
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Perhaps you are starting off with too many lit coals.
I load the big Weber chimney full, light it, and only when the bottom fourth of the coals in the chimney are lit I dump the entire contents into the kettle. So I basically end up with roughly 15 lit coals sitting on top of the rest of unlit coals in the kettle and bring it up to temp using only the bottom vent. Top vent is almost always wide open. With the coals burning down very slowly I get a few hours worth of smoking time.

The water in the pan makes a good heat sink and should keep temps pretty steady for the duration of the cook. I don't use a water pan but use a couple of bricks to keep the charcoal contained to one side of the kettle.

Thanks for the tips. I've been waiting for the whole chimney to go gray before I dumped it into the grill. Following your suggestion I can start earlier and a full chimney means I don't have to add new coals as soon.

Re: vents, I've read that you should operate with the bottom vent wide open and regulate using the top vent. Any thoughts on that?
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Old 10-03-2015, 06:25 PM   #14
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Sorry Paymaster. We shouldn't have hijacked your thread.
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Old 10-03-2015, 06:32 PM   #15
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Sorry Paymaster. We shouldn't have hijacked your thread.
No! Don't mind a bit. Please, any of my posts that generate discussion, I consider successful.
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Old 10-03-2015, 06:35 PM   #16
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Re: vents, I've read that you should operate with the bottom vent wide open and regulate using the top vent. Any thoughts on that?
I've always done just the opposite, regulating temp with the intake vent. I believe most kettle owners do just that.
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:46 PM   #17
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I'll add that to the list of things to try.
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Old 10-03-2015, 08:17 PM   #18
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I'll add that to the list of things to try.
Depending on which style ash catcher you have this is what most people do for accurate vent control:

Marking the Bottom Vent Position for Improved Temperature Control in a Weber Gold Barbecue
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Old 10-03-2015, 09:04 PM   #19
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That's not the model I have but I have marked vent positions.
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Old 10-04-2015, 08:12 AM   #20
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Andy, have your heard of the "Snake Method"? I used a version of it last month for rotisserie chicken on the Weber.



I split the coals and wood chunks to opposite sides of the kettle and lit the coals from opposite ends. I used "Tumbleweeds" to start the coals. These are bundles of what looks like straw, that have been dipped in paraffin wax. The drip pan went between the coal lines, with some water. Birds came out very tasty.
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