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How-to: Weber kettle and fan combo

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    How-to: Weber kettle and fan combo

    I post this in an attempt to help our newbies (to which I once was a short time ago) not feel so overwhelmed on the topic of selecting a cooker that is right for them. There are a lot of “looking for advice on a cooker” posts from newbies and seasoned vets looking to expand their arsenal.
    Obviously, the choices and opinions vary greatly. One that I personally believe can satisfy most needs is the kettle/fan combo. That can be A LOT of research to do and potentially discourage someone from pursuing their BBQ interest. So, the following is what I did that I think can address most if not all check boxes for anyone starting out or looking to expand. I do not take credit as this set up is used by several here in The Pit. I don’t know who was the first. I’m just trying to put it all in one location to hopefully make it easier to find all you need in one topic. Huskee said he would make it a sticky (provided I put it together worthy enough). So here goes…


    Weber 22” Performer ($250). It doesn’t have to be a Performer. The standard 22” Weber kettle is the same thing, just without the cart. This also works for the Weber 26” kettle.

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    SnS Grills bundle ($260). The Easyspin grate is not needed for this set up if one wants to be budget conscious. You probably don’t really need any of these. You could maybe just push the coals to the opposite side of the fan and it would work. It’s just the SnS and DnG makes everything much easier and efficient. I personally have never tried it without these fine accessories. One could try it if the funds aren’t available and then add them later on.



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    BBQ Guru’s Pit Viper fan ($44) and Weber charcoal grill adapter ($20).

    https://bbqguru.com/storenav?CategoryId=2


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    Fireboard Thermometer ($189) and fan control cable ($79).

    https://www.fireboard.com/shop/


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    Step bit to drill a hole for the above fan adapter ($10). Obviously it doesn’t have to be this exact one. It just needs to be big enough to drill a 1" hole. It’s a cheapy but it worked for me. To date, I don’t know how many uses you can get out of it. I was definitely apprehensive to say the least about doing this. I didn’t use any cutting oil. I just gave the bit several rests and tried not to apply too much pressure. You will most likely have to file off some burrs when done drilling.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1


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    The kettle in the video link below appears to be on a 26”. On the 22” the adapter will go between the fins of the ash sweep (scroll down for photos of my actual kettle).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWZ1tIC1RLU



    I have a really good pellet cooker and this set up is far superior in every way except for capacity, in my opinion. I started out with a pellet cooker because I wanted something that would hold temps consistently without having to fuss with vents as well as not being tied down an entire Saturday. If I would have started out with just a kettle as is, I probably would have gotten frustrated and gave up. Now having been here on The Pit and absorbing the wealth of knowledge it has to offer, it gave me the confidence to branch out. Hence, this particular set up.



    This is my pellet cooker as graphed with the Fireboard.




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    Kettle/Fireboard/Pit Viper fan. Large spikes are due to removing lid for various reasons (wrap, rotate food, add fuel etc).

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    Although the pellet cooker maintains great temp control, the kettle/fan is even better. Every time I see this I just can’t believe how constant the temp is held!!



    Miscellaneous points:

    The location of the fan should be opposite of where the coals will be. On a 22” kettle you have to place it below the charcoal grate and between the fins of the ash sweep. You can see in the pic below that you still maintain full travel of the sweep by the ash residue left on the bowl where the deflector plate is. On the 26” you can place it anywhere around the bowl as there is enough space between the charcoal grate and the top of the fins all the way around.



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    Once I get my coals going and dump them in with all vents wide open, I close the bottom vents completely and position the top vent to ½ open when I’m about 20 degrees from my target temp. Then I power on the fan. It only takes about 20 minutes to level out and I’m ready to cook. I haven’t played around too much with this timing. So I’m sure it can be refined to maybe shorten the time it takes to level out.

    The Fireboard powers the fan. So therefore you don’t even need to plug anything in. I haven’t actually done a long cook solely on battery power, but I know a full charge can easily last an entire brisket or pork butt cook for the temp probes. Just not sure how long with the addition of a fan. Or you can just have it plugged in to an outlet the whole time. It’s just nice to have the option to cook anywhere there isn’t power.

    The Fireboard also allows you to adjust the set point from anywhere (provided it has access to wi-fi). So not only can you monitor the cook from your phone, but you can also adjust the temperature. It’s also a great way to record cooks and add notes to refer back to when needed.


    So for $842 you can have it all. It can be done cheaper as mentioned above with other equipment or slowly piece it together if the budget is tight. You can also wait until some of these companies have their sales.

    Again, this is exactly what I did. There are other brands of cookers, thermometers and fans. I just can’t speak to them with experience. This site has fantastic ratings and reviews page. I’m sure others with the same or similar set ups can chime in with their respective knowledge to answer any questions this post does not address.

    I also want to be clear that I am not trying to discourage anyone from buying anything different. I also have a Pit Barrel cooker, a Rec Tec pellet cooker and a Weber gas grill. And I use them all.

    If you are new there’s a little thing here called MCS. Which stands for More Cooker Syndrome. This post represents the effects of this tormenting condition. Though there is seemingly no cure, making good BBQ and sharing this passion with others here, you can manage it quite well and lead a somewhat normal life.

    Above pricing is as of the date of this original post.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Rod; July 23, 2020, 09:20 AM.

    #2
    I was actually going to do the same thing when I modded my kettle last spring but never got around to it. Good job Rod , very through step-by-step. The only thing I would add would be a Weber probe bladder up at the grate line. It's really helped keep my probes tucked away. Surprised they don't offer it standard like on the WSM.

    Again, nice work, hope someone out there benefits from this very useful upgrade !!

    Comment


    • Rod
      Rod commented
      Editing a comment
      Troutman Thanks! I thought about mentioning the probe port mod, but since I haven't done that I couldn't speak to it with any experience. I know a member or two posted some pics of that mod on here somewhere. Which is a perfect example of why I came up with this post to kind of put Frankenstein together in one location.

      I just run my probe wires under the lid and have had zero issues. I totally agree, it would be nice if Weber would come around with this on all their grills.

    #3
    Nice job! Thanks!

    Comment


      #4
      Well done. You have done what I, (and a number of other other members), have done in the past. I used a CyberQ, SnS, and DnG. This combo works great, but if someone is on a budget, the SnS is the essential component. It's a little more work to maintain temps without a controller, but it can be done. And placing foil on the part of the charcoal grate not covered by the SnS works great, but takes a little more effort than using a DnG. And the DnG can be used as a griddle.

      Comment


        #5
        Thanks, Rod. I got a partyq delivered yesterday, and I was wondering how to modify my kettle to use it. First cook with it will be on the WSM, so no mods needed, but eventually I'll use it on the kettle. Great post.

        Comment


          #6
          Thanks fellas! It was my pleasure.

          Comment


            #7
            I'm on the verge of buying a BBQ Guru Digi Q DX3 for my Weber kettle. What kind of low'n'slow cook times can I expect in your experience? And what kind of setup do you use: a two-zone-setup or do you spread out the coals Kamado styl?

            Comment


            • jfmorris
              jfmorris commented
              Editing a comment
              I've got a PartyQ with the same adapter as shown above, but made the hole between the ash sweeps in the front, so that my PartyQ would be on the front side of the Performer. I use it 2 zone with the Slow 'N Sear, and get up to 12 on a load of Weber briquettes, 8+ on KBB, and 6+ on Royal Oak. I think the fan just keeps things at a stable temp, and lets you use up every bit of fuel without a temperature drop. I only use the fan for overnight cooks (butts and brisket).

            • jfmorris
              jfmorris commented
              Editing a comment
              You don't want to spread the coals out Kamado style, as unlike a Kamado, there is no heat deflector (plate setter?) to let you use the entire kettle in an indirect smoking mode. You really would only use the fan for smoking indirect, in a 2 zone setup.

            • Rod
              Rod commented
              Editing a comment
              What jfmorris said.

            #8
            Awesome write up! I recently did this exact mod with the exact same part and approach and can vouch for this 100%.

            Comment


              #9
              I just ordered my Fireboard with competition probes this morning as my original Maverick 732 finally crapped out on me over the weekend. This is a big step up for me. I will order the fan cable as soon as they are back in stock. I had been eyeballing it for over a year ever since Danjohnston949 walked me through this set up last year. RIP Dan. What a friendly dude he was. Thanks for the step by step Rod.

              Comment


              • Rod
                Rod commented
                Editing a comment
                It was my pleasure!

              • HawkerXP
                HawkerXP commented
                Editing a comment
                Good old Dan. Miss that man.

              #10
              Thanks again Rod I ordered my Pit Viper and Fireboard today for my 26". Glad I have a step by step guide to go by!

              Comment


              • Rod
                Rod commented
                Editing a comment
                It was my pleasure. I eventually got myself a 26 and modded it the same way. The only difference is you don't have to worry about where you put the hole radially. There's enough room between the end of the fins and the charcoal grate all the way around on the 26.

              • jhapka
                jhapka commented
                Editing a comment
                Rod aaaaahhh not having to worry about where to put it. I like it. Should I try to keep it on the side opposite the SnS to minimize ash getting blown around?

              • Rod
                Rod commented
                Editing a comment
                jhapka You don't have to worry about ash blowing around with the Pit Viper. It simply does not blow with enough force. You should set it up so the fan will be opposite the coals wherever you choose to put it. You'll just need to decide where you like to have your coals. In the back so you're not reaching over the coals? Left or right depending on your dominant hand, etc. Since you can only do left or right on the 22, I just did my 26 the same. When you get all the components,play around with it

              #11
              So I've been using a 22" kettle for 10 years --- no clue about using a fan . What does it bring to the table exactly ?

              Comment


              • Attjack
                Attjack commented
                Editing a comment
                Temperature stability. Set it to 225 and that's what you get unless you run out of fuel.

              #12
              I'm a slow learner. What kind of drill does one use to make this hole to put the fan in? Single parent product who lived w/ my mom who was a music teacher. Hammer and nails are intimidating.

              Comment


              • lostclusters
                lostclusters commented
                Editing a comment
                Take another look at the write up. The answer is in there. Clue: It's the golden triangle looking thing on a steel post.

              • Rod
                Rod commented
                Editing a comment
                Any decent powered drill should work. If you're asking about drill bit, it's a step bit (pic in the above write up) or hole saw.

              #13
              Rod - your write up inspired me to buy the Fireboard 2 drive. Can’t wait to set it up, thank you for the instructions! Also have a Weber Smokey Mountain 18” and PK360. Was thinking of getting a pellet, but this set up will easily help me dial in the temps for a long and slow. Also have some form of MCS.

              Comment


              • Rod
                Rod commented
                Editing a comment
                hnittman Congrats! You're gonna have a lot of fun and will be making some killer Q with that set up.

              #14
              Here's when I placed the port on my 26". I drilled a pilot hole from the inside and used a step bit from the outside for a clean hole.

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              And here's where I placed the probe port.

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              Comment


              • Rod
                Rod commented
                Editing a comment
                Nice!

              #15
              Hooked up the Fireboard this past weekend to a Weber Smokey Mountain and attempted my first brisket. I couldn't believe how consistent the heat was and how far off the lid thermometer was. One thing I learned is the brisket flat cooks a lot faster than a packer. Didn't realize it when I bought at Costco, but when I saw the temps go past 170 so quickly, I googled the difference and learned flats go faster because they're thinner. Absolutely delicious !
              Attached Files

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