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New to Weber Kettle - Looking for Sage Advice

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    New to Weber Kettle - Looking for Sage Advice

    Hi Everyone,

    I joined this club a few years ago when I purchased a Traeger from Costco not knowing anything about Low and Slow and I realized I knew nothing about BBQ! Prior to that, I only knew grilling, and even then, not the best. While I really enjoyed learning about Low and Slow and tried my hands on smoked pork ribs, beef short ribs and even brisket, the T always felt lacking as a proper grill. Fast forward to today, I recently had an issue with my Traeger which prompted me to return it to Costco, and instead of getting a another Traeger, I opted to join this channel and purchase a Weber Kettle (22" Performer Deluxe). (My cousin kept telling me that I need to switch to Charcoal). And yes, ideally it would be nice to have both, but he convinced me that I can do everything in a Kettle, and thought I'd try this for a while. Can always add a pellet smoker back into the arsenal if the Kettle doesn't cut it.

    Couple of questions.

    1) I don't have the Slow n' Sear but only the two weber charcoal baskets. Seems everyone on youtube has that accessory. Can I still smoke two racks of ribs at one time without it and if so, what do you recommend as ideal charcoal config?

    2) If I were to use rib racks to smoke more than 1 rack, what do you do once you wrap the ribs? Do you put them back into the racks with the foil/butcher paper?

    3) If there was one accessory I should buy (besides chimney starter or grill probe - all set there), what would it be? Vortex, Slow N'Sear, anything else?

    Thanks, and looking forward to your thoughts.

    Well SnSGrills is having a good sale right now on both of the 22” Slow N Sears. The Deluxe deal ends today:

    Best accessory there is for a kettle is what I believe many would say.

    As far as your former pellet grill, if you venture down that path again, there are a lot of better options than Traeger. Traegers are just fine, but many others are a lot better value, perform better for grilling and have a better smoke profile.


    • Mr. Bones
      Mr. Bones commented
      Editing a comment
      Has me 4-22.5", 2 26.75" SnS.
      Never had me no Higher math, there in Public School, but, by my best reckonin, that there would probly tend to indicate one them, what they call it? Trend, kinda things.

    Hi There, the Weber Kettle is a very versatile cooker indeed and yes, you can absolutely cook 2 racks of ribs with out the Slow-n-Sear. I'm sure plenty of the pitmasters will chime in with their experiences and sage knowledge.

    For starters to cook your ribs you need to establish a 2 zone fire in your kettle. There is plenty of information on how to go about that here on the pit. Basically it involves building a (slow burning in this case) fire on one side of the kettle and keeping the meat on the opposite side. There are various methods for charcoal setup with out the Slow-n-Sear, such as the snake or minion methods. These methods start by lights a small amount of charcoal and then let it burn through unlit charcoal adjoining the lit stuff. You then set your vents to give you the target temp you are looking to achieve. That is typically in the 225 - 275 range. You want to position your top vent over the meat to create convection that will bath your meat in smoke & heat. Finally you can absolutely place your wrapped ribs back in the rib rack. Happy smoking with the new Kettle and be sure to report back on how your cook goes.


    • sigaris
      sigaris commented
      Editing a comment
      Awesome, thank you. Yeah.. I've see all of these methods on YouTube, but haven't yet seen an example showing 2 racks of ribs at the same time. Seems the rib racks are the way to go then. Every time I've done ribs on the Traeger, I always did 2 and everyone ate them up.

    If choosing one accessory, I would choose the Slow N Sear. It’s the best all around add on to a kettle IMO. But the Vortex is indispensable for chicken. Especially wings and bone in thighs. It’s fairly cheap. Get them both. That’s what I did anyway.


    • HawkerXP
      HawkerXP commented
      Editing a comment

    • Jared49
      Jared49 commented
      Editing a comment

    • StrikeBBQ
      StrikeBBQ commented
      Editing a comment

    Definitely the Slow N' Sear followed very closely by a Vortex. If you mod it with a thermostatic controller and a fan, you'll never have the need for a pellet grill.


      1) I don't have the Slow n' Sear but only the two weber charcoal baskets. Seems everyone on youtube has that accessory. Can I still smoke two racks of ribs at one time without it and if so, what do you recommend as ideal charcoal config?

      Yes, a SnS is absolutely not necessary. You can arrange the Weber baskets to create the same space a SnS creates or you can use the snake method or the minion method. Personally, I like the snake method.

      2) If I were to use rib racks to smoke more than 1 rack, what do you do once you wrap the ribs? Do you put them back into the racks with the foil/butcher paper?

      I don't use my rib rack often and I don't always wrap. But I would think once wrapped the ribs could lay overlapped on one another.

      3) If there was one accessory I should buy (besides chimney starter or grill probe - all set there), what would it be? Vortex, Slow N'Sear, anything else?

      Vortex (or make your own), SnS, and a Santa Maria attachment are all great accessories.



        I've been smoking with a Weber kettle for several years now, and I just finally bought a slow n sear (and haven't used it yet), so you can absolutely smoke without one. However, the general consensus seems to be it is a great addition to a kettle, so consider it. Vortex too, which I also have never used .

        The accessory I would recommend is a quality thermometer. I have a couple that will send a signal to a remote unit so I don't have to run out to the grill to check the temperature. Makes life much easier. And, if you wish, you can get a higher end unit with a fan that will control the temperature of your kettle much in the same way your pellet pooper used to do for you. A fan controller will be my next purchase (unless I get sucked into another smoker ).

        Check Youtube videos on the snake method and minion method. I mostly use the snake for pork butts and beef short ribs. I suspect the minion would be better for racks of pork ribs due to the configuration.

        As for wrapping, I don't. I like a heavy bark so I do a Memphis style rub and leave the ribs alone.


        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes - a good thermometer is a huge necessity. He needs one with a temp probe for both the meat and the grill temperatures.

        • Attjack
          Attjack commented
          Editing a comment
          jfmorris I think someone like ThermoWorks should make an instant-read with a leave-in probe. I guess that new Fireboard one is kind of like that but it has a lot of extras too. I'm thinking of a product that could sell for $99.

        • sigaris
          sigaris commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you Murdy! I'm all set on the thermometer. Got the Thermoworks signals with the intent of eventually getting the Billows fan. But for now, just want to get the basics down. My ideal set up would be an all-in one grill / smoker. I don't have the luxury of additional space to keep multiple units.

        sigaris You've come to the right place, and I can personally vouch for the Weber Performer Deluxe as my favorite grill, and one of the last I would ever part with. The propane ignition, the charcoal storage, the large working table, and the sturdy cart all combine to make it a winning combination. And your cousin is right - you can do anything on it.

        Now, a couple of pieces of advice.

        For GRILLING, I advise you to master the "2 zone" setup, which you will find plenty of information on the free side of the site. Basically, spread charcoal over just 1/2 of the charcoal grate, to give yourself an indirect and a direct heat zone, that you can move stuff in and out of. If you ever find that limiting, the only good way I know to have a full-grill direct zone without burning stuff up is to get a set of Grillgrates, which act to block flareups and even out the heat. I have one that I use often on my performer if I need to direct grill lots of stuff. That said, master 2 zone first, before you spend money on anything like that.

        For SMOKING, I advise forgetting the Weber charcoal baskets for now. Yes - you can put one on each side, or even just one on one side, and smoke indirect in the rest of the grill and do a couple of slabs of ribs, but the problem is you will need to refuel every 90 minutes or so. Those baskets just don't hold a lot of charcoal. Your goal for smoking is to maintain 225 to 275 in the indirect side of the grill for 5-6 hours for most ribs.

        While I HIGHLY recommend the Slow 'N Sear (I have the original $59 model), what I advice you to try instead of the Weber baskets is what is called the charcoal "snake". You can see the setup here:


        I used the snake method shown on that web page for YEARS, with a foil drip pan in the middle of the grate, and have smoked ribs, butts and other items quite successfully.

        Here are some other links over on the Amazing Ribs free side that you should read:


        One last tip on ribs - I recommend getting a Weber rib rack - its stainless steel, and will hold up to 5 slabs of ribs on edge, so that they take less space. About halfway through the cook, I flip the racks over, so that the top/bottom edges are reversed, since heat does rise and it is hotter higher in the dome of the grill. Here is what I am talking about:


        *IF* you wrap the ribs in foil (I don't), just remove the rib rack and stack them on the grate, even if you have to pile some of them a little on each other. Once wrapped, they are not taking up smoke, so a little overlap of the wrapped slabs of ribs won't hurt anyone. I did 6 racks of ribs on my Performer that way once. 5 in the rib rack, the 6th one laid acoss the top of THOSE, then wrapped in foil all piled up as I could.

        Just a few links to the things I've talked about earlier...

        Original SNS, currently on sale for $43.99. This is the single most useful accessory for your kettle:


        Grillgrate set for Weber 22" kettles - GREAT for doing direct grilling on entire grill, or flip it to the flat side for griddle like smash burgers and such. Not necessary obviously, but to me a nice thing to have available:


        And last of all - if you really want to turn that charcoal grill into a full fledged griddle like the Blackstone flattops - get a plancha like this at some point:


        Not cheap, but cheaper than buying a separate griddle.
        Last edited by jfmorris; December 17, 2021, 02:34 PM.


        • sigaris
          sigaris commented
          Editing a comment
          Wow, thanks for all of this info. All great and much appreciated.

        • Razor
          Razor commented
          Editing a comment
          I posted this comment as a symbolic way to give jfmorris a +2 on his above post. If there a colored ribbon I would wear that too. 😉

          Oh and another + for Murdy recommending a thermometer. That is the #1 thing to have above all else.
          Last edited by Razor; December 18, 2021, 02:33 PM.

        • Mudkat
          Mudkat commented
          Editing a comment
          I use the Grill Grates, flat side, at least once a week. Not necessary but it's nice too have. Maybe put it on your Christmas list and let someone else contribute to your MCS!


        Never, in alla my born days, did I ever see someone open up sucha INDUSTRIAL SIZE Can o Worms.

        1)No. Ya don't NEED a Slow an Sear, although it makes th process far easier, more consistent, an repeatable, IMCE. I have 6 of em:4X22.5, 2x26.75

        2 I dunno: Never have neither used a rack, or wrapped. Hopin to learn, right along with yerself, on accounta I gots me a rib rack, mebbe two...probly oughtta either try em, or re-gift em LOL

        3) As a guy who mebbe has a kettle, or two...my recommends would be prioritized as such:

        ************************************************** **************************************************

        a)Stainless steel cookin grate, git ridda th plated factoury one...repurpose it over yer firepit, to make occasional caveman food fer guests...I have.

        b)Slow n Sear, Original


        All are Great tools, in their own right, an will up yer game, Brother!

        But, today, tonight, Supper??? Ya can certainly use th Weber jus fine, without, jus takes a lot more experience, an fire management skills.

        Th Weber firebaskets can successfully be utilized in a multitude of ways to do multiple cookin techniques on yer kettle...

        In addition, many types of fires can be built in one, even sans baskets, etc.

        Jus ask up, anytime ya have a kettle question, there are thousands of kettle users on here.

        Any other questions are always fair game, as well...lotsa right smart an experienced folks all up in here (I ain't one of em), what is always willin to help learn somebody up, some.
        Last edited by Mr. Bones; January 8, 2022, 02:01 PM.


        • Murdy
          Murdy commented
          Editing a comment
          I like Mr. Bones suggestion for a stainless grill grate. I have one and just kinda forgot about it I guess. The Slow n Sear folks make a nice one as well.

        • sigaris
          sigaris commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes, I like the Stainless Grate suggestion as well. I'll let this factory one get alll nice and used and maybe I'll get the SNS Easy Spin later.

        • Richard Chrz
          Richard Chrz commented
          Editing a comment
          +2 on the stainless steel grill grate. I don’t have lot’s of experience with all the options people are talking about, But I do have a stainless steel grill grate from SnS, and it’s a great purchase.

        Well, let’s get the can a worms & throw em on the pavement & play with em awhile. Get the Slow N Sear. I’ve had the baskets & they are nice, fer holdin charcoal, I’ve had the Smokenator, still do somewhere. If you want to make life easy the SnS is far superior to anything out there turning yer kettle into a great grillin machine fer steaks & great fer 2-zone cookin, turning your kettle into a bonafide smoker. Get it! Easy! The recommendation from Max & Amazing Wibs is Platinum.
        Last edited by FireMan; December 17, 2021, 02:39 PM.


        • HawkerXP
          HawkerXP commented
          Editing a comment
          hell. lets stick them worms on a hook!

        The Slow n Sear is a nice tool, but not a necessity. There are many ways to keep the coals to one side for low and slow, and kettle users have managed to do that for decades. The Vortex is kind of a one or two trick pony, but it does those tricks extremely well.

        If you are using rib racks and wrap, it is fine to just put the wrapped ribs back into the racks.


          So, I have a Weber and the one thing you should get for it if you want to use it as a smoker is the SNS. No, you don't NEED it, but it makes life a LOT easier, esp with the integrated water reservoir. If it was $200 I'd waffle, but it's, what, $50?

          ALSO... make sure your new grill seals well around the lid. It should, being new, but check.

          If the grates you have aren't hinged like these https://www.weber.com/US/en/accessor...arts/7433.html buy them. Adding wood or more coals to the SNS is much easier if you can simply access the SNS by flipping a part of the grate up.

          For everything else, see if you need it. One of the good things about a 22" kettle is that there's a TON of accessories, both from Weber and third parties including hinges for the lid, the Vortex, rotisseries and more. Whether you want/need any one of those depends on what you cook. If you never do wings etc then maybe the Vortex isn't needed. If you do them a lot, get it now.

          Oh... and get a cover for it.
          Last edited by rickgregory; February 18, 2022, 10:11 AM.


          • sigaris
            sigaris commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you! The performer comes with the hinged grate, so all set there.

          Thank you all! Much appreciate the comments and feedback. Seems like the SNS is the way to go. Having 2 kids in Little League, I need to make it as easy on myself as possible. Looking forward to learning more from this group.


          • Mr. Bones
            Mr. Bones commented
            Editing a comment
            Lookin forward to learnin along with yerself, Amigo!

          One overall technique comment.... you can dial in temps pretty well with some practice but some people freak out if they can't nail a precise temp, if it fluctuates over time etc. I know, I used to do that. Here's a secret though:

          As long as the temp is between 200 and 300F, you're fine. Lower will mean a longer cook, sometimes hours longer but the results at 225 and 275 are pretty much indistinguishable to most of us. I personally go for 250-280 or so.

          Also, if you're doing a longer cook, try to find and use B&B charcoal. It seems to burn cleaner and last longer than the Kingsford blue bag (KBB) stuff.


          • sigaris
            sigaris commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks Rick! I was wondering about this as well as most online videos were recommending a target temp of 275. I was more accustomed to hearing 225 as being the ideal temp for low and slow. Good to know that there is leeway there.

          • rickgregory
            rickgregory commented
            Editing a comment
            sigaris - Yeah there really is no one ideal temp. There are preferred temps and for things like pellet grills they tend to put out more smoke at lower temps but for pulled pork, brisket, chuck, etc it doesnt matter much.

            For chicken, etc, if you want crispy skin, try 325 (or go low and finish in a hotter oven to crisp the skin. For fish, lower will give more time in smoke since they don't take much time at all, being thinner.
            Last edited by rickgregory; December 17, 2021, 04:24 PM.

          Congrats on the Performer. That's what I use. With 2 kids, $$ is probably tight. The SnS is great, and I wouldn't be without it, but it's not necessary. Do get one when you can afford it though.

          And remember that we are here to help.


          • Panhead John
            Panhead John commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah, we’re here to help…..help him spend his damn money!


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