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Top vent stuck

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    Top vent stuck

    Apologies if this has been posted before. Smoked some amazing last meal ribs yesterday on my 22" Weber premium kettle. It had been previously quite clean--really only used with the top off for high heat cooks. I guess the 6+ hours of greasy smoke and water really gunked things up, cause the top vent damper is totally stuck to the point where if I tried to push things too hard, I'm afraid I'd bend the metal. Any suggestions from the veteran pitmasters on how I can get things back in working condition?

    And is there something I should be doing to avoid this in the future? Thanks!

    #2
    Weird. I've seen mine get dirty but not so it was hard to move. Can you move it the other direction? What I'd try would be to warm it and then see if it moves when warm (i.e. if grease softened). Be careful, it can get hot.

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      #3
      I agree with rickgregory, build a fire in it. Then tunk the vent very gently with a hammer on the edge if you still can't move it by hand.

      Comment


        #4
        Agree with others here. I would heat it back up. Since grease is probably the culprit I sure would not add any type of oil to break things loose. Curious do you see any rust at all? If I used the hammer, I would make sure it is a rubber mallet.

        BTW, welcome to the PIT!

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          #5
          If you have a power washer give it a good blast, then as others have suggested heat.
          Vegetable oil when she's loose to lube.

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          • Alabama Smoke
            Alabama Smoke commented
            Editing a comment
            As smokin fool said. Especially the part about lubricating with vegetable oil. Under no circumstances use a non food oil! No non food cleaner either such as WD 40! I expect when you heat it up, the clog will soften and the problem will be gone.

          #6
          Welcome to the Pit! I've even had the bottom ash sweep get a little stiff to move after a greasy cook. Another reason to either put some foil on the charcoal grate or use a drip pan under the meat when doing low and slow. Build a small fire or even let it sit out in the sun to warm it up.

          Comment


            #7
            This has happened with my SNS Kamado as well as my kettle. Put a half chimney of lit coals in there and let it warm back up, and it should free up. Or maybe pour some hot water over the vent to heat it up enough to soften the build up. You can then spray it with some degreasing cleaner of some sort and clean it up once you break it lose.

            I found that the key with my kamado to keep it from getting gunked up is to work the vent open/closed once or twice during each cook, while the cooker is still hot. I also always close the vents at the end of each cook, to snuff the fire.

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              #8
              Welcome to The Pit.

              You have some solid info above...

              Comment


                #9
                Welcome from Western Massachusetts.

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                  #10
                  Thank you everyone for the warm welcome and advice! I will follow up and let you all know how it goes!

                  Comment


                    #11
                    My SNS lid sticks something fierce after a 9 hour pork butt smoke. Tap it with a hammer/mallet to get it loosened.

                    Comment


                      #12
                      You can also just use a propane torch to heat it up so it will move, rather than build a big fire. You’ll have to clean it eventually once it moves as this will keep happening.

                      I cooked some hot fast chicken this week and melted the handle, which is another way to get it stuck. In my case I forced it to move and did end up bending it a little. So warm it up and be gentle with it.
                      Click image for larger version  Name:	1F3DC864-2B32-4F75-9BB3-5E126F6D6947.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	3.24 MB ID:	1090404

                      Comment


                      • jfmorris
                        jfmorris commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Ouch! That was one hot kettle! I think I've had mine over 500 degrees before, to do pizza with the lid cracked, and never had the handle melt.

                      • Polarbear777
                        Polarbear777 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        The lid thermo was well over 600F. Didn’t have any probes to put in there to know for sure.

                      • Alabama Smoke
                        Alabama Smoke commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Based on this photo I am beginning to wonder if the lid is stuck due to the plastic handle bonding with the lid and then cooling that way rather than grease buildup between the vent and the lid.................is that a possibility?

                      #13
                      And don’t force it. Get a bigger hammer!

                      Comment


                        #14
                        I agree as well. It is astonishing what a really hot fire can fix. Months ago, I got out of the habit of putting foil liners down near the charcoal grate when using my SnS and I got a lot of grease built up around the cleaning vanes. They got to be where it took some serious effort to get them to move.

                        Then I did some chicken wings with a Vortex and afterwards the vanes moved like new! I was astonished!

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