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Charcoal Snake?!? (technique seen on Cooks Country television show)

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  • brlteach
    Club Member
    • Jul 2020
    • 8

    Charcoal Snake?!? (technique seen on Cooks Country television show)

    I am wondering if anyone has had experience creating a charcoal snake with an off-set wood box thingie. I saw this today on a re-run episode of Cook's Country, #138, Orig Air Date: 8.24.19.

    The technique is to shingle briquettes in a line as a perimeter around the edge of the grate, 2 at a time, but to leave a gap so the "tail" doesn't touch the "head," with the gap being large enough to add a few lit coals at the head to start the burn w/out touching the tail. Then placing a pan of water in the center to assist with temp and humidity stability.

    Then, as the tail of the snake burns, it ignites the two down the line, and so forth, to allow for 6 hours of constant 275 degrees.

    I am curious if others have tried it and if there are tips. I'll be trying that technique tomorrow.
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  • HawkerXP
    Club Member
    • Jul 2016
    • 5506
    • Virginia
    • 2 Weber Performers, 1 kettle, 1 Smoky Joe and a PBC
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    #2
    I haven't tried this on my kettle but I understand its a proven technique for a long burn with constant temp. Good luck!

    Comment

    • Troutman
      Club Member
      • Aug 2017
      • 7197

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      #3
      Thanks for sharing. It’s a relatively common method used frequently by folks here. It’s debatable whether to use the water pan or not but that’s another 3 hour discussion. I still prefer the minion method but the snake is very effective for low and slow cooking.

      Comment

      • Attjack
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        • Aug 2017
        • 3968
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        #4
        Yeah, I do it all the time. It's part of kettle cooking 101. Works flawlessly.

        Comment

        • LA Pork Butt
          Charter Member
          • Dec 2014
          • 5362
          • Grew up in New Orleans, lived in Texas for 20 years, lived in Mandeville, LA for 22 years. I now liv

          #5
          I have done it a few times on my son’s 26” kettle, and if I didn’t have a BGE for low and slow I would do it all the time. If you own a Vortex it makes the snake method even easier.

          Comment

          • Steve R.
            Club Member
            • Jul 2016
            • 2319
            • Elizabethtown, KY
            • Current line-up of cookers: Weber 26" kettle w/ SnS and BBQ Guru adapter; Weber Smokey Mountain 22" w/ Guru adapter.

            #6
            I think most of us here do this, or some variation of it. But it would take more charcoal than it's worth to run an offset smoker that way, if that's what you are asking.

            Comment


            • Dewesq55
              Dewesq55 commented
              Editing a comment
              I agree with Steve R. I don't think my offset works every guy to, let alone stay at 275° (or 250, or even 225°) with that little amount of charcoal burning at any given time. I once tried a "beefed up" version using stainless steel mud trays connected up to contain the snake of briquettes. It was s huge fail - it couldn't really keep the temp and the fire managed to "jump" the walls of the trays and started burning in all 3 trays at once.

            • Dewesq55
              Dewesq55 commented
              Editing a comment
              That said, some folks use a charcoal basket with heavy gauge t-plates insider to set up a charcoal smaller in an offset. Lone Star Grillz sells the components good such a system (basket and t-plates) that fits in their firebox. I imagine that works fairly well.
          • brlteach
            Club Member
            • Jul 2020
            • 8

            #7
            Hmm... Thanks, Steve R.. I hadn't taken into account the reduction of temp in the smoke chamber as opposed to the kettle grill. We shall see, as I've already got it set up.

            Comment

            • Richard Chrz
              Club Member
              • Mar 2019
              • 914
              • La Crosse, Wi

              #8
              If I am cooking longer then 2-3 hours, my kettles get set up in snake. My smoker, it is minion method.

              Comment

              • brlteach
                Club Member
                • Jul 2020
                • 8

                #9
                I had to look up "minion method," .Troutman. Since I had already set up the snake, I converted it to a Minion Snake.

                Still waiting to see the results.

                Comment


                • holehogg
                  holehogg commented
                  Editing a comment
                  If you are wanting to let a person know you are responding to something its best to first type the @ symbol directly followed by their username. Usually when you type the first couple letters a list will appear and you can click on the relevant person.
                  Not sure if what you doing goes to their message box.

                • holehogg
                  holehogg commented
                  Editing a comment
                  brlteach
              • brlteach
                Club Member
                • Jul 2020
                • 8

                #10
                holehogg Thankyou! I thought I had read the newbie stuff, but clearly I didn't absorb enough! Thank you for the feedback!

                Comment

                • jfmorris
                  Club Member
                  • Nov 2017
                  • 3016
                  • Huntsville, Alabama
                  • Jim Morris

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                  #11
                  I use charcoal on my offset, and a 2x2 snake would never generate enough heat to reach cooking temperatures in the main cooking chamber in my opinion. I do a minion/snake when using charcoal where I light about 1/4 to 1/2 a chimney of charcoal, when going good dump it into the firebox and rake all the way to one side. I then pour charcoal in to fill the rest of the firebox, and it burns across. I throw some oak splits on top or some chunks of hickory for smoke. With this technique, I can get a few hours before I have to refuel, as it take 2-3 hours to burn across the firebox.

                  Comment

                  • brlteach
                    Club Member
                    • Jul 2020
                    • 8

                    #12
                    So... After snaking it and trying the minion method multiple times each, I have to use the snake method in my off-set. Don't know why, but the minion method just will not burn slowly. It all ignites rapidly and the coals are consumed within an hour or so. Very odd. When I tried it the second time, I completely blocked my vent, same thing. It just does not want to burn slow. The snake method, on the other hand, was a bit too cool the first time. I beefed it up the second time and just poured charcoal all willy-nilly around the permiter of my tiny box, kept the water bowl in the center, and it kept the temp in the middle of my smoke chamber at around 250, give or take 10+-. I had to refill it twice during the 6-hours. Though one trick I had to learn about refilling, I have to put on serious grill gloves and clean out any embers along the perimeter so that they would not ignite all areas of the snake at once.

                    Comment


                    • HawkerXP
                      HawkerXP commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Congrats! Each and every cooker works just a little differently and we need to figure it out.
                  • Cheef
                    Club Member
                    • Oct 2015
                    • 658

                    #13
                    I wonder how this would work in a Ranch Kettle. I'm guessing it would have to be a wider snake? just a thought/excuse just in case.

                    Comment

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