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Old 07-15-2008, 08:01 PM   #1
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Aspiring grillsman with some questions.

So for my birthday/christmas my wife got me a Weber Performance. I've been having fun grilling with direct heat, but I want to "graduate" to some suitably manly BBQ accomplishments. So help cure me of my rookyness.

There is a vent on both the top and bottom of the grill that can each be opened or closed. Thinking back to high school science, I figure the coals need oxygen to keep burning, so I've left the things open. When I was done with the grill I shut the vents figuring it "chokes out the coals". Then one day I looked at the thermometer after I was done and shut the vents and the temp had spiked.

Am I doin' it right?

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Old 07-15-2008, 08:05 PM   #2
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Second question

With the proper use of those vents and the "coal cages" that come with the grill, allowing me to separate the coals to each side of the grill, can I effectively turn the grill into a smoker?
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Old 07-15-2008, 08:10 PM   #3
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first .. thats a really nice grill ...
next .. i have a few friends with that same one ..
the first thing is learning how to control the heat ..
that has as much to do with vents as it does the coal you
use for the fire ..
it takes time but can be done ..
start with something easy ..
chicken thighs is where i started ..
hard to do wrong .. and can taste grate either way ..
also .. a water pan is helpful .. it eats up BTUs ...
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Old 07-15-2008, 08:21 PM   #4
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also .. keep a notebook .. write down everything ..
time of day .. temp .. wind .. wind direction ...
temp of grill at all times ...
did you rub the eat ..
marinate it ...
you know what i mean ..
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Old 07-15-2008, 08:48 PM   #5
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Got basically the same thing here, without the fancy ignition.
I always close my vents when I'm done and most times I have charcoal left to make something fast like hot dogs in the next day or 2.
We've been attempting smoking this week in ours, 1st try landed in the crock pot today.....
For your 1st indirect heat exp. I reccomend beer can chicken. Hard to screw up. (even for me!)
Last week we made a whole turkey, added apple wood chips to the coals.
THAT was a good turkey!
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Not that there's anything wrong with that.....
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Old 07-15-2008, 08:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Medwayman
There is a vent on both the top and bottom of the grill that can each be opened or closed. Thinking back to high school science, I figure the coals need oxygen to keep burning, so I've left the things open. When I was done with the grill I shut the vents figuring it "chokes out the coals". Then one day I looked at the thermometer after I was done and shut the vents and the temp had spiked.

Am I doin' it right?
In a word...NO! There will always be a temperature spike when you close both top, and bottom vents, but this is not a "cooking postion" for your butterfly vents. Fire/temperature control must be mastered first. Leave the tops vents (exaust pipe) fully open! Regulate you fire/temperature by using the bottom vents (accelerator) More open...more oxygen...more heat. Obviously the reverse is true...Less open...less oxygen...less heat.
Think about your car...to go fast you press the accelerator...to slow down you don't press it as much...You will also note your exaust pipe remains fully open in both cases.....Nice Grill!

Have Fun & Enjoy!!
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:16 PM   #7
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[quote=Uncle Bob;645855.....Think about your car...to go fast you press the accelerator...to slow down you don't press it as much...You will also note your exaust pipe remains fully open in both cases.....Nice Grill!

Have Fun & Enjoy!![/quote]

Yes but, a partially closed exhaust gives you more backpressure, which gives you more power than a fully open exhaust....
oops, wrong forum

Good explanation, UB. One that I can remember if I get that type of grill.
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:26 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
Yes but, a partially closed exhaust gives you more backpressure, which gives you more power than a fully open exhaust....
oops, wrong forum

Good explanation, UB. One that I can remember if I get that type of grill.
IMO the process/method is the same regardless of the charcoal/wood coals appliance used.


Fun!
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Old 07-18-2008, 08:50 AM   #9
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We purchased a "Performer" for Fathers Day and I've spent the last month learning how to cook on it. I've had a Weber Kettle for years, so I've had a bit of experience with cooking on one, but the "Performer" cooks a bit hotter than what I'm used to.

Things and techniques you need to learn with a "Performer"
1. The bottom vent control handles heat, however there is not much movement required from fully open to fully closed. Maybe about 1/2" in the 6" movement of the control. It's something you really have to play with.
2. Get a remote "Grill" thermometer and set the probe directly at grill level. The thermometer in the lid is nice but doesn't give an accurate grill temperature. There is sometimes a 100 degree difference between the cooking chamber and the grill temps.
3. Experiment with different charcoals. I use hardwood lump charcoal for steaks, burgers, etc. I use briquettes for anything that needs to cook longer or for indirect cooking.
4. Learn to build a 2 or 3 level fire. For a 3 level divide the coal grate into thirds from side to side, stack coals 2 deep on the first third, 1 deep on the middle third, and nothing on the last side. As your food cooks you can move from hotter to hot to warmer. It also helps you control foods that burn easily. I use the hottest area for searing a steak and then move it to the other areas to cook or stay warm. You'll find the easiest way to set this up is to use a charcoal chimney, which works great with the "Performer" ignition system. You can distribute the coals without burning your arm up.
5. For indirect cooking use the baskets that came with the grill. You will however want to experiment with the amount of charcoal you use in each. If you use the same amount that you would for a direct cook, your temperatures will still be the same. Again the key words here are experiment. Different brands of charcoal burn at different temperatures. I use Kingsford, not because it's a brand name, but because it's consistent, and it takes one more variable out of the situation.

If you decide to purchase a chimney, I would recommend the Weber, it's larger and holds more charcoal. I would also recommend purchasing another coal grate, that you set on top of the other, but at a 90 degree angle. It solves the charcoal drop thru problem, especially with lump charcoal. When you are at the store to buy the grate also pick up a set of Weber Charcoal Rails. They serve the same purpose as the coal baskets, but it gives you a larger area to place charcoal in, so you can spread the heat out a bit more. Also if you haven't figured it out yet Weber's large drip pans are made to perfectly fit between the baskets and rails when you indirect cook.
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:16 PM   #10
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I don't have this particular grill so this may not apply:

I use the built in thermometer in conjunction with a second probe. For indirect cooking I'll "set" the temp at the grill level with the probe and note the reading on the built in thermometer to keep a running guess-ti-ment on fire activity and temp. IE: The grill level probe reads 250, the hood thermometer reads 200, I work at keeping the hood thermometer at 200. But only as an example.

It works pretty much the same way for direct grilling but the layer of 'material' between the fire and hood thermometer can, in short, mess things up.

Also #1: Factory hood thermometers are, for the most part, not that good.

Also #2: After finding out what is in briquettes I quit using them and moved to lump charcoal and hardwood.

Years ago Sister in Law started her Webber for me to cook n, she put way too many briquettes and the fire was way too hot. I tried closing off both vents but the fire didn't want to go out? Got me looking .... Oh, among the additives in many 'charcoals' is Rocket Fuel. ? No thanks.

Have fun! Grilling is Great!
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