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Difficulty getting to 225 on a Weber Kettle

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    Difficulty getting to 225 on a Weber Kettle

    Hey Everyone. I recently bought a Weber Kettle 22.5" Charcoal grill and some other goodies to get me started smoking meats. Here is that story. I have done several dry runs to learn how to control the temps with the vents. These are the results from my latest attempt, and this is the first time I was able to get to 225o since starting. A couple of questions:

    1) How can I improve getting to 225o and not going to 241o first?
    2) When should I add more charcoal? unlit or lit? how many briquettes?
    3) Will adding meat help bring down the temp a bit?

    Dry Run #3 - 11/17/15 5:45pm 52o Clear with a slight breeze, SE Pennsylvania
    Top vent was full open unless otherwise noted Started 20 briquettes in chimney
    Left briquettes for 15 minutes in chimney
    Added 3 cups warm water to SnS

    (hh:mm:ss - temp in F - bottom vent + top vent)
    15:00 - 180 deg. full open

    17:14 - 210 deg. 1/4 open
    19:00 - 225 deg. closed
    23:30 - 239 deg. closed
    26:30 - 235 deg. closed
    37:45 - 225 deg. 1/8 open (dropped to 180 deg) added 15 unlit briquettes
    45:30 - 225 deg. closed
    47:00 - 230 deg. Closed + 1/2
    50:20 - 228 deg. 1/4 + 1/2
    55:30 - 223 deg. 1/4 + full
    56:35 - 226 deg. 1/4 + 1/2
    57:42 - 230 deg. 1/8 + 1/2
    58:48 - 237 deg.
    1:03:50 - 239 deg. (went to 241 for a bit before)
    10:7:58 - 237 deg.
    1:11:20 - 235 deg.
    1:15:00 - 234 deg.
    1:22:40 - 232 deg.
    1:27:00 - 230 deg.
    1:29:00 - 228 deg.
    1:30:00 - 226 deg. 1/4 + 1/2
    1:36:48 - 225 deg.
    1:59:30 - 223 deg.
    2:02:00 - 219 deg.
    2:05:10 - 216 deg.
    2:07:12 - 212 deg.
    2:09:23 - 210 deg.
    2:13:30 - 205 deg.

    Any help is greatly appreciated!


    #2
    bhleigh Seems like you did great except at 19:00 when you closed the vents. Why did you close the vents at 19:00?

    Starting higher than 225 works great because the cold meat will bring down the temp.

    You'll stress yourself if you try to cook at exactly 225. Those temps look pretty good for a kettle, keep the bottom vents halfway open and regulate the temp using the top vent.
    210 - 260 range is perfect for a cook. If you fight to keep it at 225 you'll quit BBQing.

    Reloading with coals depends on how long your cook will last. the SnS should hold enough for 8-10 hours cook.
    Last edited by Ernest; November 17, 2015, 07:41 PM.

    Comment


      #3
      I'm not sure what you mean when you say closed. Were the vents fully closed? You should never fully close the vents while you're cooking. That just starves the fire. You want the fire getting a consistent amount of air that keeps the temp steady. All that said your temps look pretty good for the most part. Like Ernest said, don't stress too much. If you are holding 225F to 250F on your first few cooks you're actually doing very well. You can get your temps tighter with more practice, but 225F to 250F is a smaller range than your oven probably operates in.

      Comment


        #4
        +1^ x2

        Relax about hitting temps exactly. It's never going to happen except by accident. Something close will do just fine for every purpose in BBQ. We're not trying to control a nuclear reactor here, so +/- 10F isn't fatal.

        I give it up to you for taking time to get to know your cooker. Most people never do that and then they wonder why they get bad results from their cooking efforts. You will do just fine.

        I would urge you to never shut your bottom vent. All you'll do is successfully kill your fire. Keep your bottom vents something like 1/2 to 2/3 open. Regulate temps with your top vent. For something like a 225F cook try setting your top vent at about 3/4 closed. If you overshoot, close down the top vent some more - about half there remaining open aperture. Kettles aren't well insulated and temps adjust relatively quickly, especially at the beginning of a cook.

        You have a really nice cooker and you're doing the best thing possible in trying to know which vents settings yield which temps. Again, the bottom vent is for gross temp adjustments and the top vent is used to fine tune temps. Give your temps time to adjust. Make note of the vent settings that yield which temps as those setting won't change much for your specific kettle. Finally, enjoy this whole learning experience because it will be fun if you think about all the great cooks you'll have on your kettle!

        Here's to great cooks and even better memories with family and friends!

        Comment


          #5
          My experience with the Weber kettle is that it tends to react strongly to minor adjustments. I have also found that the temperature range for low/slow is actually fairly wide. 210-275 is a great range for brisket, chuck roast, St Louis ribs and pork butt. Baby back ribs are best in the 210-250 range. Poultry and meatloaf are best in the 320-250 range.

          The point was made above - don't obsess about nailing a precise temperature. The optimal range is broad enough for most cuts - the meat is pretty forgiving.

          Comment


            #6
            Using a drip pan with some water in it will help stabilize temperatures.

            Comment


              #7
              bhleigh here's my two cents how I do it using the SnS.
              I only use 10 to 12 briquettes to light at first and put them in a pile after they're ashed over. Then add the rest of a unlit chimney full from there. Put the lid on with top at half and bottom wide open till temp starts approaching 200 then set bottom to about a 1/8 -1/4. Like Jeff said then make small increments adjusting bottom to maintain. Also I foil the rest of the Charcoal grate under the meat as to direct my bottom vent air through the charcoal in the SnS.
              Hope this helps, Dean
              Last edited by Powersmoke_80; November 18, 2015, 02:07 AM.

              Comment


                #8
                thanks everyone! I read the thread about seasoning and getting started with a smoker before getting started. The thread suggested doing several dry runs to learn your smoker. That's the only reason why I did dry runs...people with more knowledge and experience said so. Same way you make a million dollars, talk to someone who has and do what they did. Also, I am a bit of a numbers geek and a little OCD perfectionist which is why I was fretting over the "must hit 225" bit.

                Takeaways:
                1) relax, its about having a good time.
                2) Use bottom vent for gross adjustment and top vent for fine tuning. I was doing the reverse.
                3) Getting within 5 degrees of target temp is pretty good for a kettle.

                Powersmoke_80 I'll try the foil wrap and see how that works. Thanks for the briquette numbers and SnS advice.
                Ernest David Parrish I closed the bottom vent because I thought that's a way to keep the heat from climbing up out of control. And yes they were fully closed. I know better now thanks to you guys so I will keep it at least a little bit open so as not to starve the fire.

                Going for my first smoke on Sunday! I might even buy an extra turkey to give it a whirl next Thursday!!

                Comment


                  #9
                  bhleigh enjoy the process, 210-260, adult beverages and throw some brats on there for nibbling

                  Comment

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