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Recommend some things for a newbie to smoke and grill on a kettle

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    Recommend some things for a newbie to smoke and grill on a kettle

    I officially have a worthy kettle setup and have cooked a couple of things on it this past weekend. Some grilled ground lamb kabob skewers and a small lamb shoulder roast that I smoked for a while and sliced and finished on my gas grill. I didn't like the amount of smoke and charcoal flavor and I feel I have some learning to do on the basics of smoking and grilling on the kettle. I know too much wood ruins the taste of smoke and that is something that is prob part of bbq'ing 101.

    What are some good cuts of meats to learn how to bbq and what methods?

    I have a 22 inch with SNS Deluxe and a Vortex and a fireboard, some weber charcoal and some hickory chunks.

    I’ll start by saying Hickory is a very strong flavor. Smoke wise.
    The Weber charcoal is ok, but if you can get KBB ( Kingsford Blue Bag) It will probably work better.
    You can tone back the smoke flavor by either not using any wood chunks or using Apple or Cherry.
    Also how many chunks are you using? Depending on the size one or two will be more than enough.

    I shall let the rest of the team chime in now.
    BTW great to have you here.


      Pork butt is one of the easiest and most forgiving meats. Definitely a good place to start.


      • LA Pork Butt
        LA Pork Butt commented
        Editing a comment
        I second that. Check the YouTube for how to do the snake or fuse method for low and slow.

      (cracks knuckles....)

      OK, so I have a similar setup. I'll start by saying that you should cook what you like (i.e. don't cook pork butt if you don't like pork. duh).

      Some stuff I like on the kettle:

      1) Smoked chicken. Butterfly a whole chicken, smoke the halves or the whole thing if you'd like. Do this at 325 or so if you want crispier skin.

      2) pork butt. If you like pulled pork, this is a no brainer.

      3) chuck roast. All the way for pulled beef that's great in tacos too or to about 180 for sliceable stuff. A great alternative to brisket if your doing it for you or. you and a partner.

      5) fish and smaller chicken things - these only take an hour or so.

      Smoke amount - you don't HAVE to have smoke going for the entire cook. This will be personal taste but if you like lighter smoke influence, just put a chunk on at t he start and then let it go. Or 2, arranged next to one another so you get smoke for longer, but not the entire cook. Lighter foods (chicken, fish) take less smoke.

      The cook:

      1) start with a small fire on one corner of the SNS or in a chimney. Maybe 8-12 coals. Let them fully ash over, then shove them to one side of the SNS. Pour in coals next to t hem (NOT on top). You want them to light the coals next them and for that to traverse from one side of the SNS to the other over the cook.

      2) Put chunks of wood on the coals, pop the lid on and WALK AWAY for 20 mins or so. The smoke will billow at the start and I like to let it settle in a bit.

      3) 15-30 mins in, plop the meat on.

      Some recent stuff...

      Click image for larger version

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      Pork butt before...
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      and after

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      oh and ribs

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      Last edited by rickgregory; August 4, 2021, 08:40 PM.


      • Bbqmikeg
        Bbqmikeg commented
        Editing a comment
        Well if that ain’t a good answer I don’t know what is!

      Tried typin in a post, but it done got et...

      With a Vortex, yardbird wings, or drumsticks are always a purty easy, an delicious option...lamb, poultry, fish definitely require less smoke than big ol hunksa beef, or pork...

      As pointed out by Steve B ; Hickory is strong flavoured...it can be used, quite well, in proportion to what yer cookin...

      Yer askin some very good, focused, an pertinent questions, Amigo...keep bringin em!

      Never be afraid to ask a Stoopid one, on accounta I done burned them up, Years Ago....


      • glitchy
        glitchy commented
        Editing a comment
        Definitely wings and legs with the vortex, Get er hot and let er rip.

      I’ll throw another vote out there for chuck roast. So versatile, easy, and just darn good. I make bbq beef sammies one time, season for shredded beef tacos the next maybe. Been liking halved chickens lately too.

      On the SnS in my WSCG, I usually use around 3 chunks of wood maybe a little bigger than a half stick of butter (unsalted for this reference). You also might try getting a small bag of pecan, similar to hickory, but a touch milder and sweeter.


        Good advice above.

        Just to add to what rickgregory said. For lighter smoke flavor, don't put your protein in the Kettle until the white smoke is gone. That white smoke puts out a lot of stuff, and not all of it is good for flavor.


        • Steve B
          Steve B commented
          Editing a comment
          Good advice RonB

        • big_mack
          big_mack commented
          Editing a comment
          rickgregory RonB I did not wait for the white smoke to finish. that is probably the biggest factor in what resulted in an over smoked cook for my tastes. can't wait for the next cook so I can do it the right way.

        Getting started, steaks are a great way to flex the strengths of the SnS. You want steaks around 1.5 " thick. Hickory will work fine for the wood, but as glitchy mentioned above, pecan is a great all around smoking wood. Set things up for a straight reverse sear cook, monitor the meat temp closely, and you should end up with a right tasty chunk of beef. An added benefit is, this is not a real long cook. If you can keep your kettle temp a steady 250° for a hour and a half, you should be golden.

        To practice fire management over a long cook, then pork butt is a good choice. It is pretty cheap to buy, is extremely forgiving to cook, and gives you plenty to share.

        The most important thing to remember is to take pictures and share them with us! The good, bad, and even the "right before we ordered take out".


        • ecowper
          ecowper commented
          Editing a comment
          No pictures means it didn’t happen!

        10 years ago I bought a Hasty-Bake because a kettle with Weber baskets was kinda meh and I didn’t want to buy a quality offset and a kettle and a bullet smoker and ….. you get my drift.

        Fast forward a few years and you can get a 22” kettle plus SnS plus Drip n Griddle and all of a sudden a 22” kettle plus for about $400 could compete with the $1500 Hasty-Bake that I have. About 90% as good as that Hasty-Bake for 30% of the price. That’s crazy!

        So, what would I cook on your set up? Everything!!! But here’s my favorites on my Hasty-Bake, which my daughter replicates on her 22” Weber + SnS

        Spatchcocked chicken — spatchcock, dry brine for 4 - 24 hours, cook indirect at 350F and then direct for 7-10 minutes …. Carve and love it

        Ribs — set the SnS up for low n slow, cook 2 racks of ribs until they pass the bend test

        Pork butt or Brisket — the kettle plus SnS is made for this!

        Ribeye steaks, steakhouse burgers, pork loin roast, tri-tip …… you name it, you can do it.


          PS if you want the best damn smoke flavor there is …. It’s red oak. All day long. Don’t listen to these other yahoos. Get some red oak that’s been naturally seasoned, not kiln dried. Cut into chunks. Toss on your fire. Be amazed. :-)


            First, smoke a fatty, then smoke a pork butt, then smoke some ribs, repeat, repeat, repeat, then smoke a brisket.


            • ecowper
              ecowper commented
              Editing a comment
              If you have never smoked anything before, Pork butt is always what I say people should start with

            I agree that pork butt is a good place to start and very forgiving. If you dont want to go with pork the chuck roast is another great cook and will allow you to experiment. I would also recommend chicken thighs which you also can take to a higher internal temp and it will produce great flavor.


              One thing I’ve recently started to smoke on my Weber is a center-cut pork loin. Low and slow for about 2 hours or so until 140 internal temp, rest for and hour and then finish with a sear. I use pecan chunks.



                I agree with pork butt or chuck roast for long cooks and chicken halves for shorter/hotter cooks to learn how your rig performs. Regarding the smoke, tastes vary. Some like lighter smoke taste and some like more. I would start with a minimum amount of chunk wood, and wait 20-30 minutes for initial white smoke to turn to blue before adding your meat. My personal favorites are apple and mesquite.

                If you want to learn reverse sear technique I recommend starting with tri-tip. But be sure to review slicing method as getting it right makes all the difference.

                And welcome to The Pit.


                  It's been said... but I would say pork butt is the best thing to learn on.
                  1- It's generally cheap.
                  2- It's frequently on sale.
                  3- It's got so much connective gook and intramuscular fat.
                  4- They are generally big enough that you cannot over season.
                  5- They don't require anything but a rub, some smoke, and a lot of time.
                  6- The finished product is hyper flexible...

                  When I want to learn a new cooker, it's generally a pork butt first, or ribs (because I love the ribs... and if you do the 3-2-1 method, they're pretty bulletproof as well).

                  In:Re: Hickory chunks. Use fewer. Maybe two chunks for a whole pork butt. Maybe 1.
                  I like all sorts of wood, and enjoy experimenting. I like hickory a lot, but judicious use is recommended.
                  If you like hickory flavor, but find it a bit intense, pecan is a good substitute (pecan trees are actually a variety of hickory trees, but are milder).

                  With the SnS, a thick steak will show off what that can do better than near anything else.
                  The Vortex is a chicken machine. If you like wings, check out the right configuration for that... Vertical roast of a whole chicken is also good with a vortex set up for indirect.



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