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Thermal Mass with a Weber Kettle, a PartyA, and a Slow'N'Sear

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    Thermal Mass with a Weber Kettle, a PartyA, and a Slow'N'Sear

    Howdy folks:

    Will Wyatt, a new smoker speaking, no surprise, learning almost everything I've needed here, (and watching Aaron Franklin on PBS and YouTube. I think I've seen everything they have there at least 3 times each.)

    My question is has anyone tried putting some solid iron, (I'm thinking one or two 12" or so sections of railroad track or similar) in the grill to help hold the temperature even more steady? I can already hold it pretty well now, what with the PartyQ and the Slow'N'Sear but wonder if the extra mass of a few pounds of steel would help even more. I know there's been discussion of bricks or rocks, but the use of hot iron would be cooler, (pun FULLY intended.)

    #2
    Will Wyatt, Will, I can't say I have Tried Any Thing like you are suggesting but I can see the Wisdom behind the Thought! My only reservation would be do I Really Want To Warp The Best Anvil I Own? 😙😚🤔😚😙. Dan

    Comment


      #3
      Dan: I actually do own a 150# anvil, but it's a little big for this purpose. but a couple sections of railroad track, or maybe a couple dumbbells might do the trick. (I wonder if the wife will notice that two of our dumbbells have suddenly changed color?)

      Comment


        #4
        That is a great idea. If i had them and the smoker to hold'em id do that in a second. It's any different then using a brick or some other dense mass in the smoker. Plus a Rail would just be sooooo much more bad a$$

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Spinaker View Post
          That is a great idea. If i had them and the smoker to hold'em id do that in a second. It's any different then using a brick or some other dense mass in the smoker. Plus a Rail would just be sooooo much more bad a$$
          I can go to the store or local BBQ place, (and we have some GOOD ones nearby) to buy food.

          At the end of the day, it's ALL about how Bad A$$ you are.

          Did I get that right?

          WW

          Comment


            #6
            Anything that adds thermal mass to your cooker will have the effect of stabilizing temps. Many people have used fire brick to great effect. Have you considered using them as thermal mass? To my mind, fire brick is the duct tape of the BBQ world.

            Comment


              #7
              Iron will hold much more heat than will anything ceramic.

              Comment


                #8
                Hmmm - I have to pieces of1/2" steel plat that at should fit. Might be worth a try...

                Comment


                  #9
                  As an engineer, I don’t see why it would not work, as thermal mass of steel is what the big offsets have going for them, as well as the kamado grills. That said, the drawback is that the rail section will need to be in the side of your kettle where the meat is, sine you have a SNS in there, in the area where you normally have a drip pan. So it means your butt or brisket is dripping on it and you have a greasy mass of metal to deal with when cleaning the grill.

                  Comment


                  • Troutman
                    Troutman commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I would disagree on the kamado, they have ceramic going for them, that's their heat sink.

                  • jfmorris
                    jfmorris commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You misunderstand me. I am saying that a kamado grill HAS thermal mass, as does a large offset made from 1/4” steel, unlike a thin walled grill.

                  #10
                  Click image for larger version  Name:	8B4651AD-3F01-4E15-8FCE-6C92103B79CA.jpeg Views:	1 Size:	170.4 KB ID:	475639 JF do engineers still wear those cool stripped hats? I bet it’s easy for you to get train track chuncks.

                  My question ia how long will it take and how much fuel is needed to heat a hunk of train track?

                  Will How much variation in temp are you getting with your rig?

                  Last edited by Jon Solberg; April 1, 2018, 06:06 AM.

                  Comment


                  • jfmorris
                    jfmorris commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Haha, I don’t know, maybe on reruns of Petticoat Junction?

                  • Jon Solberg
                    Jon Solberg commented
                    Editing a comment
                    jfmorris bummer I would like to think you train pilots stuck with this tradition.

                    That said it takes a lot of skill to operate a massive train. Much respect to the engineers of the world that move the goods we need! Thank you to engineers and truck drivers everywhere!

                    DWCowles
                    Last edited by Jon Solberg; April 2, 2018, 06:10 AM.

                  • jfmorris
                    jfmorris commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Jon Solberg sorry to bum you out! I hang out with engineers of the electrical/mechanical/software variety much more than I do the ones who drive trains. I'll let you keep imagining them in those striped hats!

                  #11
                  I would be concerned with the weight of that setup on the notoriously wobbly legs of that grill. On a Performer, I would say go for it.

                  Comment


                    #12
                    Also, you mentioned dumbbells. I think weight plates could work and would lay flat. And since you apparently have the means to cut railroad track, you should be able to remove a SnS-size piece from a large enough plate to sit on the charcoal grate just like a Drip n Griddle.

                    Comment


                      #13
                      Ceramic like they use in kamdo cookers is probably your best bet. Some of the worlds best ovens are pizza ovens made of the same material. Like Jon Solberg mentions, you're going to be taking a lot of time and extra energy in the form of heat to get that metal up to temperature, not thinking there would be any bang for the buck. Lava rocks are another option often used as heat sinks.

                      Comment


                        #14
                        For heat retention, while the overall thermal mass is important, and a big chunk of metal has that going for it, you probably also have to consider the thermal conductivity. Case in point - cast iron is less conductive than aluminum, and takes longer to heat up, and longer to cool down. Steel is somewhere in the middle between those 2 metals. I would think fire bricks or other ceramics would be even less conductive than cast iron, meaning they take longer to heat up, but retain the heat longer as well.

                        Comment


                        • EdF
                          EdF commented
                          Editing a comment
                          That matches my intuitive understanding and experience!

                        #15
                        I don't see the overall benefit. If you don't have insulation like a kamado, what's the point? Yes, you're saving some heat on the back end of the cook, but you're also taking it longer to get up to the proper heat. If you're using a kettle and an SnS, your temps are pretty stable already. Add a fan, and it's not going to waver at all unless you open the lid or run out of fuel.

                        Maybe I'm missing something?

                        Comment


                        • jfmorris
                          jfmorris commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Your thoughts match up with mine Buck. If you want heat retention get a big 1/4" thick offset or a kamado. That said, the original poster's idea is worth an experiment. I see the mess (greasy chunk of metal in the bottom of the grill) as making it not worth it for me, even if it does stabilize the cook. I'll just use a water pan for a thermal mass, and throw it away after the cook.

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