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Problem setting up 2-zone for thick cut steaks

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    Problem setting up 2-zone for thick cut steaks

    I am trying to setup a 2-zone fire for thick cut steaks, as described in "How To Grill Better-Than-Steakhouse Steaks". I *just* got a new thermometer, to get proper temperature readings. I am having trouble getting the indirect side down to 225°F. I checked the temperature, just before putting the steaks on, when the lid was fully closed, and it was over 500°F. When putting the steaks on, I left the lid partially open and it still was around 400°F. I haven't full calibrated my grill, but I don't see how I can really get the temp down much, while keeping the hot side really hot for searing. Any ideas? Attaching a couple of pics.



    Try not putting so much lit charcoal and using the minion method


      Hey Dave! I'm my humble opinion, I think you may have too many coals in there. I too have been experimenting with 2 zone cooking and have found that 15 briquettes is a good place to start. This pic shows how I set mine up, but I probably added coals to it twice. Click image for larger version

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        Use fewer coals during the low and slow. Have a chimney full of HOT coals ready on deck at the time the steaks hit 115F. Then throw the hot coals in the grill and sear the heck out of those steaks. Works like a champ!


          What I do with my performer is about a dozen coals in a weber basket for the low part, then raise the basket to just below the grates and add a few more lit coals. With the basket raised more heat is concentrated closer to the cooking surface and you need less charcoal


            I use the snake method on my weber performer. If you youtube it should get a couple of hits.


            • Papa Bob
              Papa Bob commented
              Editing a comment
              I agree, I used the wrong terminology when I said minion. I just couldn't think of the snake thing, good call.

            I agree with Pit Boss. Use maybe half what you have there. I use a dozen to 15 in my small Weber. You don't really need the minion or snake/fuse methods when reverse searing steaks- these methods typically work real well for long low & slow cooks like ribs or pork butts, to avoid having to keep adding coals. A steak may only need an hour or thereabouts to bring up to temp, which one load of charcoal can accomplish. Give 15 min to get the new searing coals hot, dump in and sear away when you're 10-15* away from your end target temp. Tighten the vents right away to preserve those coals, Webers seal up nicely for that.


            • Ricky Good Times
              Ricky Good Times commented
              Editing a comment
              I always keep my coals set up in the snake. I find I can control temp by using vents. I can get it pretty hot with open vents. Probably adding hot coals like you suggest would work better since you don't have to wait for temp to come up. Like you say tighten the vents and preserve coals.

            Thanks for all the responses! I will try fewer coals. I was worried about not having enough hot ones for searing. Adding more hot coals is a good idea, but I'm not sure how y'all are doing that. ;-) I put the chimney starter in the grill, so once there are coals/food in there, I've no where else to do it. Seems like I'd new two grills to have hot coals ready to go.

            Maybe I will try the snake/fuse method, or just dump half a chimney of hot coals on top of unlit coals. It'll probably take 15-20 minutes for the unlit coals to get up to temp. This might keep the temp low enough until the unlit coals get hot enough for searing.


              I would just light 1/3 or half a chimney of coals with a few pieces of paper (I use charcoal bag shreds), place it on some sort of a heat resistant area or in your driveway. Then after they've heated up for ten minutes, or when the blue smoke dies down, toss 'em on.


                I use a Smokey Joe for my chimney grill when I am on my deck with my Performer


                  Originally posted by jmeier64 View Post
                  I use a Smokey Joe for my chimney grill when I am on my deck with my Performer
                  Great idea! The Smokey Joes are useful little guys. I can do an hour long cook on 12 briquets.


                    Originally posted by Aaron 'Huskee' Lyons View Post
                    I would just light 1/3 or half a chimney of coals with a few pieces of paper (I use charcoal bag shreds), place it on some sort of a heat resistant area or in your driveway. .

                    If your using one grill I think this is about the only option. I have tried a lot of ways to use a singular grill for the reverse sear. Its challenging at best.

                    If you dont have a second grill maybe you have a cast iron skillet. I have used a cast iron skillet on top of the chimney with good results just to save the dumbing step.

                    I use a 12x12, $1.25 paving stone from Home Depot to set the chimney on.

                    Let that dry skillet get just smokin lava hot on the chimney while the steaks are doing that low slow thing. Take the stakes from the grill right to the skillet.
                    Last edited by Jon Solberg; September 11, 2014, 06:45 AM.



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