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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 05-22-2013, 11:08 PM   #1
BisonStew
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Default Beginners Question

Hi guys, I'm new here and after years of cooking with gas I got myself a small Weber Kettle.

I apologize if similar questions have been asked but I couldn't find anything similar using the search option.

I need some simple answers to getting the lump up to temperature. I think it's a question of patience and amount of fuel.

I loaded up the chimney (just about full) after about 10 mins it had a nice orange glow so I dumped it to one side of the kettle. I fully opened the bottom and top vents and waited another 5-10 mins, at this point when I peeked the charcoal looked like it was going out and there was not too much glow. Thermometer read close to 400F. In my mind it was like I was losing my fire so I put the rib eye and tenderloin on and covered it. I kept peeking and it seemed that the bottom layer of charcoal was getting there but the ones at the top were still black.

Steaks still turned out great but I know I'm missing a step, do I need to be more patient with the chimney or after the chimney step? More charcoal? Should I be covering the kettle right after I load it from the chimney?

After I finished dinner the fuel was really hot, it got to at least 500F.

I'm looking forward to your tips on how to be more efficient.

Thanks
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Unread 05-22-2013, 11:18 PM   #2
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Lump can be tricky and unpredictable like that sometimes. For me, when lighting either lump or briquettes in a chimney (for grilling) I let both go for a standard 20 minutes before I dump them into the kettle. Once in the kettle and arranged to how I want, I let it sit for another 5 minutes or so with the lid off, sorta of a "settle" in period while I grab the steaks or whatever from the kitchen.

Next time (now you have a good excuse to fire up the kettle again), try the 20 minute light up and see if that helps you out.
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Unread 05-22-2013, 11:37 PM   #3
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If I am cooking two or three steaks, a small cook on a Weber, by small, I am assuming 18" (?) I will try to contain the coals on one side of the cooker, either with a charcoal basket or other device, so that the heat is contained. I almost always put a layer of unlit coal down, then light the chimney with it full. If I am looking to do a high heat cook, like a steak. This is allowed to fully ignite, then dumped over the existing unlit coals in the kettle. I let this sit for 15 minutes or so, with the lid on, all vents open. Then go to cooking.

In a really small kettle (Smokey Joe) then just build a layer of unlit coals in the entire cooker and spread the fully lit chimney over those coals. Keep the vents wide open. Everything else stays the same.
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Unread 05-23-2013, 04:29 AM   #4
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landarc covered it, keep the grill uncovered, and use lid only to cool down once it is rocking
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Unread 05-23-2013, 05:33 AM   #5
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It seems like a full chimney is a little much for a weber. I use only 1/2 cimney. For grilling, I mostly use Kingdsford Blue. For me, lump is too hot, especially when cooking hamburgers. I like to toast the buns, but the last time I used lump, I burned the buns. Anyway, I have a 22.5" kettle and 1/2 chimney has always worked for me. My 2 cents.
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Unread 05-23-2013, 05:33 AM   #6
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Yup... there's the expert...

Good luck next time... you were not far off!

Cheers!

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Unread 05-23-2013, 05:38 AM   #7
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Good choice on the grill, by the way. Not much that a Weber can't cook.
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Unread 05-23-2013, 07:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeSmellsLikeSmoke View Post
Good choice on the grill, by the way. Not much that a Weber can't cook.
^+me & welcome to the forum. Even with a bunch of other big boy toys, our Webers are still the "go to" for most weekday cooks, probably average 2 weeknights and at least one day on the weekend cooking something on one of them. An added benefit, if you take care of them they can last forever.
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Unread 05-23-2013, 07:40 AM   #9
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Thanks for the feedback guys. Just one clarification though, landarc says, "I let this sit for 15 minutes or so, with the lid on, all vents open. Then go to cooking. "

BigBelly concurs with landarc but states, "landarc covered it, keep the grill uncovered".

Flyingbass also replied lid off.

I just wanted to clarify because that's the one step I'm definitely not sure of, lid off or lid on after chimney step?
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Unread 05-23-2013, 07:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BisonStew View Post
Thanks for the feedback guys. Just one clarification though, landarc says, "I let this sit for 15 minutes or so, with the lid on, all vents open. Then go to cooking. "

BigBelly concurs with landarc but states, "landarc covered it, keep the grill uncovered".

Flyingbass also replied lid off.

I just wanted to clarify because that's the one step I'm definitely not sure of, lid off or lid on after chimney step?
I do both

After pouring the lit coals out of the chimney, I let them sit for a few minutes with the lid off to fully ignite.

Then I put the lid on for a few minutes to allow the temps to settle down to cooking temp.

Then commence to cooking

Dont overthink this. Its really pretty simple. You will get it
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Unread 05-23-2013, 07:55 AM   #11
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Welcome to the forum, you are certainly in the right place for answers, you'll get plenty of friendly advice here.

KC
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Unread 05-23-2013, 08:01 AM   #12
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Welcome and don't be a stranger. Share some pron once you get your Weber figured out!
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Unread 05-23-2013, 10:44 AM   #13
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Just started with a Weber last summer a few cooks, and I was doing it "wrong"...tossing the lid on when I dumped the chimney in (with vent wide open) tried it the "right" way today, BIG difference :-). It was acting before like one chimney full was not enough for a 22.5"
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Unread 05-23-2013, 11:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BisonStew View Post
Thanks for the feedback guys. Just one clarification though, landarc says, "I let this sit for 15 minutes or so, with the lid on, all vents open. Then go to cooking. "

BigBelly concurs with landarc but states, "landarc covered it, keep the grill uncovered".

Flyingbass also replied lid off.

I just wanted to clarify because that's the one step I'm definitely not sure of, lid off or lid on after chimney step?
Another way to look at it is with the lid off is like cooking on a stove top, cooking with the lid on is like cooking in an oven. Both work, but with the lid off you have to monitor for flareups. Lid on is more hands-off.
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Unread 05-23-2013, 11:29 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dadsr4 View Post
Another way to look at it is with the lid off is like cooking on a stove top, cooking with the lid on is like cooking in an oven. Both work, but with the lid off you have to monitor for flareups. Lid on is more hands-off.
In my case it is probably learned behavior from gassers, with them if you want to build heat you have to have the lid closed.
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