How do you setup your charcoal for indirect cooking?

Charcoal cookers (such as Weber Kettles)
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cs_rlewis
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:30 pm

How do you setup your charcoal for indirect cooking?

Post by cs_rlewis » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:04 pm

Hey guys, im having trouble maintaining my weber kettle temperature around the 225-250F mark.
The common method ive tried is filling up the one of standard charcoal chambers it comes with. However after a couple of hours the temp starts to drop below 200. I always have to refuel.
Im thinking of not using the charcoal chambers and just filling a chimney starter 1/4 full, light the briquettes then pour this over about 50 unlit briquettes into the pit of the weber and see how that goes. I want to maintain the low temperature for about 5-7 hours of cooking.

What are other peoples methods? I hear the snake method is quite popular for low n slow cooking.

Cheers pitmasters


12x7
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Re: How do you setup your charcoal for indirect cooking?

Post by 12x7 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:41 pm

What sort of briquettes are you using?

gnol
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Re: How do you setup your charcoal for indirect cooking?

Post by gnol » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:54 pm

Try the snake.

Lovey
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Re: How do you setup your charcoal for indirect cooking?

Post by Lovey » Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:26 pm

cs_rlewis wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:04 pm
Hey guys, im having trouble maintaining my weber kettle temperature around the 225-250F mark.
The common method ive tried is filling up the one of standard charcoal chambers it comes with. However after a couple of hours the temp starts to drop below 200. I always have to refuel.
I don't know if you have access to the Weber kettle cookbook, but it goes into some detail about how the fire and heat works. Which ever fire you start out with, ie hot,normal, etc (as per the amount of heat beads/briquettes you use) will drop down to the next fire level after an hour or 2. So maintaining a certain temp with a set amount of lit briquettes is virtually impossible.
Im thinking of not using the charcoal chambers and just filling a chimney starter 1/4 full, light the briquettes then pour this over about 50 unlit briquettes into the pit of the weber and see how that goes. I want to maintain the low temperature for about 5-7 hours of cooking.
That is referred to as 'the minion' or 'fuse' method, and it doesn't have anything to do with yellow cartoon characters :lol: . If you do a search for either of those, you'll get heaps of hits.
What are other peoples methods? I hear the snake method is quite popular for low n slow cooking.
Cheers pitmasters
I've used the snake in the past and it's very successful. Once you get a handle on a few of the variables, it's a very reliable and long lasting way of maintaining a good temp for low and slow.

cs_rlewis
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:30 pm

Re: How do you setup your charcoal for indirect cooking?

Post by cs_rlewis » Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:33 am

Cheers for the response. Yeah I read the weber Q book and yes after 2 hours its normal for the coals to reduce in temp.
Im gonna try the snake method that seems ideal for a low n slow temp!

12x7
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Re: How do you setup your charcoal for indirect cooking?

Post by 12x7 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:08 pm

cs_rlewis wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:33 am
Cheers for the response. Yeah I read the weber Q book and yes after 2 hours its normal for the coals to reduce in temp.
Im gonna try the snake method that seems ideal for a low n slow temp!
It can make a big difference what type of briquettes you use.

eg Head Beads last a lot longer than Kingsford

Davo
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Re: How do you setup your charcoal for indirect cooking?

Post by Davo » Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:07 pm

I'm assuming you're using heatbeads in the red or grey bag or possibly the grean bag so i'll go with this.
Whilst i like the snake, i find it rather time consuming and fiddly...so i do a minion method instead.
Just dump a 3/4 chimney of unlit coals hard up against one side of the kettle, place one of the charcoal baskets in front of them to help hold them in place.
Light up about 15 beads till they are all grey and dump them ontop of unlit.
Before placing the grill grate on, put a aluminium foil pan on empty side and fill it up about a 3rd full.
Place on grill grate, throw a couple of wood chunks on fire then close lid with top vent over where the food will be.
If you have a top temp guage built in the lid, keep an eye on it till it gets to around 200f then close top vent about 40% open. Doesnt matter if it spikes to 250f, it'll settle...if it doesnt get to your temp, just open the top vent a bit more.
I find this method will give me about 6-8 hours in a kettle.and a lot less mucking around.

The fire will burn down but will keep constant and 15 lit beads won't consume your smoking wood chunks too quickly. You only need a fine smoke coming out.

Cheers

Davo
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12x7
Posts: 693
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Re: How do you setup your charcoal for indirect cooking?

Post by 12x7 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:56 am

Davo wrote:
Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:07 pm
I'm assuming you're using heatbeads in the red or grey bag or possibly the grean bag so i'll go with this.
Whilst i like the snake, i find it rather time consuming and fiddly...so i do a minion method instead.
Just dump a 3/4 chimney of unlit coals hard up against one side of the kettle, place one of the charcoal baskets in front of them to help hold them in place.
Light up about 15 beads till they are all grey and dump them ontop of unlit.
Before placing the grill grate on, put a aluminium foil pan on empty side and fill it up about a 3rd full.
Place on grill grate, throw a couple of wood chunks on fire then close lid with top vent over where the food will be.
If you have a top temp guage built in the lid, keep an eye on it till it gets to around 200f then close top vent about 40% open. Doesnt matter if it spikes to 250f, it'll settle...if it doesnt get to your temp, just open the top vent a bit more.
I find this method will give me about 6-8 hours in a kettle.and a lot less mucking around.

The fire will burn down but will keep constant and 15 lit beads won't consume your smoking wood chunks too quickly. You only need a fine smoke coming out.

Cheers

Davo
Have a look at how the Slow n Sear (SnS) works. You can try it out using a Weber charcoal basket.

This method is heaps easier than a snake as it is far easier to add briquettes during the cook.

If you do a lot of low and slow using the kettle you might consider buying a SnS. Because of the SnS design it can cook an awesome seared steak as well.

SnS Meathead review - Amazing Ribs

https://amazingribs.com/ratings-reviews ... -setup-and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YctEIFigx6I

musty
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Re: How do you setup your charcoal for indirect cooking?

Post by musty » Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:59 am

What the others have said re: burn time is true and cant be avoided so you either have a method to have unlit fuel being lit progressively while cooking (not my thing), or you work out the best way for you to replenish the dwindling heat source and crack another beer while you out there.

I've never tried the snake method although I can see how it would work great for low and slow, I don't like the idea of having my food anywhere near unlit heat beads. IMO heat beads and charcoal in general emit a smoke and smell when initially being lit and from all my years of bbqing I have always lit the charcoal out in the open, waited for the smell to wear off and once the hot coals have settled down I start my cooking. Hence when I am slow cooking on the Weber using indirect heat I fill one charcoal frame with beads (or in my case natural lump charcoal) which has been well lit and settled down. The other spare frame stays outside ready for a change over in a couple of hours or so ( usually closer to 3). I use australian gidgee wood which seems to stay hotter and burn longer than the imported mangrove and mallee stuff but not for that reason- moreso because I bought a whole heap and have had a garage full of it for the last 2 years! 30 mins or so before you think your going to need fresh fuel in the kettle light another batch and switch it quickly.

When I wasn't using the natural charcoal, standard heat beads were my preferred option and have used them for slow cooking beef ribs, lamb shoulders, brisket etc without any issues. Stay away from any of the cheap non reputable stuff.

Musty

Davo
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Re: How do you setup your charcoal for indirect cooking?

Post by Davo » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:30 pm

I'veen using heatbeads for nearly 20 yrs and 15 of them doing low n slow using the minion or snale method and not once have i ever experienced any foul tasting food thats ever been cooked that way.

Cheers

Davo
Moderator/ Admin

Weber Q320
Weber Performer Kettle
Weber WSM 18.5

musty
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Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:33 am

Re: How do you setup your charcoal for indirect cooking?

Post by musty » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:40 pm

Davo wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:30 pm
I'veen using heatbeads for nearly 20 yrs and 15 of them doing low n slow using the minion or snale method and not once have i ever experienced any foul tasting food thats ever been cooked that way.

Cheers

Davo
Maybe so, but the initial smell of getting charcoal started particularly using fire lighters like jiffy, has always turned me off and so Ive just always made sure the meat comes out once the smell has well and truly gone. Maybe thats just me!

Musty

Bill44
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Re: How do you setup your charcoal for indirect cooking?

Post by Bill44 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:53 am

I agree with Davo, never had a problem, but then again I've always used gas to start any beads or charcoal, using starters is a sure way to disaster taste wise.
Bill
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