A Great BBQ Grill - The Weber Kettle

Dear BBQ Friend:weber kettle

My book "Competition BBQ Secrets" is all about slow smoked BBQ. But just about everybody has a Weber kettle BBQ grill in their back yard. They are great for grilling directly over high heat. In my opinion, it's the only way to cook a steak! But what if you want to slow smoke some ribs? Can you set this BBQ grill up for slow smoking? The answer is YES!

The secret is to set your BBQ grill up for indirect heat like this...weber charcoal baskets

  • I like using two small stacks of charcoal on opposite sides of the BBQ grill. Some people use just one stack on one side of the grill, but that's up to you. You'll get a more uniform heat throughout your "smoker" if you use two.
  • You can either start your coals in a charcoal chimney or just stack the coals in two piles on the charcoal grate and start with lighter fluid. Just make sure your coals are completely white before placing your meat on the BBQ grill. This way, all of your lighter fluid will be burned up and will not impart a lighter fluid taste to your meat. They also sell odorless lighter fluid these days. Either way, try to keep the coals as close to the sides as possible. Weber has a handy accessory for making this easier... the charcoal boxes as seen in the picture.
  • Place an aluminum water drip pan directly in your BBQ grill on the charcoal grate between your two piles of charcoal. This will keep the cooking chamber moist so your meat does not dry out. You can fill it with water or something like beer.
  • Place your cooking grate on the BBQ grill so the holes located near the handles are directly over the coals. This way, you can easily add more charcoal briquettes as needed. Weber has another nice accessory for this too - the hinged grate as seen to the right.
  • The next thing you will need is a remote dual probe thermometer. One probe is for your meat, but more importantly, the other probe is to check your cooking chamber temperature "at the grate" where the meat is - not directly over the coals. You can also use one of those confectioner type thermometers with the long stem. Just stick it through one of the vent holes in the lid making sure to get the end of it as close to the grate as possible. You always want to measure your cooking chamber temperature at the grate next to the meat.
  • The air intake vents in the bottom of your BBQ grill should be fully open and not clogged with ashes.
  • The vents in your lid should be fully open also. You need maximum air flow to keep your coals burning good.
  • For slow smoking most meats, you will want a cooking chamber temperature around 220 deg F. If the temperature in your BBQ grill gets too hot for the first 30 minutes (up to 350), don't worry about it too much. If it gets over 350, just crack the lid a little bit to let out some heat.
  • Of course, you'll place your meat directly over the water pan away from your piles of charcoal. Use a rib rack for ribs.
  • Try to stay ahead of the game when it comes to keeping your fire going and your heat up. Just throw a few charcoal briquettes on as needed. The new briquettes will catch on a lot better if thrown on top of some hot coals than if you throw them on top of some completely burnt out coals. This is what I mean by "stay ahead of the game".
  • About two hours before starting your fire, soak some of your favorite wood chips in water. Then just throw directly on top of the coals. Not too much... just a few chips at a time will produce plenty of good smoke. Too much smoke in your BBQ grill is not good.

weber hinged grate

weber smoky mountain

weber ranch

Weber also has their Ranch Kettle and Smokey Mountain smoker models available too. The Ranch is just a bigger version of their standard kettle BBQ grill and the Smokey Mountain is a traditional vertical style smoker. For more information on Weber grills, visit our BBQ Store....

Indirect slow smoking on your Weber kettle BBQ grill is fairly easy once you've done it a couple of times. Good barbecuing is all about times and temperatures. To learn how we do it on the competition BBQ circuit, get our book  "Competition BBQ Secrets" today! We give you all the secrets that the other teams would like to keep secret. You can use these secrets in your own back yard on your old trusty BBQ grill.


Bill Anderson