This is VERY good information - I shall give it a go.
Lumpwood is definitely the way to go. Which brand did you use?
Interesting to hear the love for lumpwood here! Not tried it myself but just used high quality coconut charcoal which burns for 15 hours plus if set up right. I’ll have to give lumpwood a go though.
In response to the question about using a standard Weber kettle for smoking, there are some great videos online and the general idea is to use a disposable roasting tray as a water pan on one side with the meat above that and then use the “minion method” on the other half of the BBQ.
I’ve found the number one most important thing for smoking on a standard kettle BBQ is having a thermometer constantly poking through the top air vent and regularly adjusting the bottom vent to regulate temperature. It’s a great excuse to drink beer in the garden for hours on end if nothing else!
I’ve just been given a baby weber (47cm kettle) to refurb and use while I save up to buy a new BBQ.
How important is it that I have control over the vents at the bottom? Theoretically I figure I can cover 2/3 with tin foil when low’n’slowing and just use the top for control and just deal with a lot of heat when I’m doing a more direct grilling.
Hi read your Interesting post, glad your brisket worked well, the saying it’s done when it’s done has been the bane of many experienced BBQers let alone us novices. My thoughts regarding time are for larger meat joints it can be done overnight using a digital thermometer with alarm function, alternatively and much easier, Franklin cooks his briskets at 275f admittedly he has huge smokers, but 250f wouldn’t hurt and it would cut down cook time. I save 225f for ribs. Have you cooked brisket again? If so how did it go? What did you think of mesquite I’ve heard differing views. Keep on smoking it’s one helluva rollercoaster ride.
Good question, and I’m afraid I’m unsure how to answer it, my limited knowledge leads me to believe that the bottom vents are the input for oxygen and the top vent is the exhaust, having said that it’s definitely worth giving it a try, let us know how you get on. I imagine windy conditions could be challenging. Best of luck
Science agrees with you on that, but also that due to science you should only really need one or the other for control (and Weber call the bottom vent control the ash remover, which also leads me to suspect). I’m going to have another go with some Sodium Bicarbonate and Vinegar paste tomorrow (and then maybe some WD40 and a hammer, because engineering), but if that doesn’t work I’ll just light it up and see what happens.
It’ll be very tricky without working bottom vents. I have the top vents almost entirely closed with just a gap caused by the thermometer probe sticking through. I adjust the bottom vents almost every 20 to 30 minutes through the day to maintain a consistent temperature. You can cool the BBQ by opening the top vent but if temps are dropping you won’t get then back up again without being able to open the bottom vent up and then almost closing it again when you get to around the right temp.
Same here. Temp control with top vent really erratic. I think keeping them almost totally closed helped slow down the fuel consumption as well.