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Charcoal Overflow

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Post Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:01 am
willisamrhein medium

Posts: 161
Location: Louisville, KY
Today I smoked a 15 pound turkey on my 22.5 inch Weber Kettle. I set the grill up for classic indirect grilling. I have the one-touch platinum that comes with fuel baskets and they were used on each side. The problem I ran into was that after three hours of smoking the fuel baskets were completely full and could no longer accomodate new charcoal. I have been using gas grills for years, but I have only been using charcoal grills and a very small barrel smoker for less than a year.

My question: Did I simply start with too much charcoal? I started by filling my chimney starter and then once the coasl were ready, dividing them equally amoung both sides. And I followed the recommedndations of Steven by replenishing the coals and wood chips every hour. It's a good thinkg the turkey was done in 3 hours, otherwise I would have had to remove it, remove the grate, empty the baskets, and start again with a new chimney starter.

Any suggestions?

Post Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:10 am
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 6079
Location: Central Alberta, Canada

Did you try knocking the ash off the coals in the baskets? I found that doing this will often shrink the lit coals to 3/4 to 1/2 of their original size and give you room to refill the baskets each time. Otherwise, you have a briquette-shaped piece of dead ash with a small coal at the center.

Post Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:20 am
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
I too had a similar problem in my chargriller side box this weekend. I've done mostly shorter smokes in my chargriller thus far and hadn't had that problem because shorter = less fuel but for a 16 hour smoke I ran out of air room just using the ash pan rack. Fortunately I remembered BBcue Z's advise (which I didn't really understand the importance of until now) as to using the upper rack to allow for more ash room. You saved the day Z and didn't even know it.
But the otherthing I do is keep a little coal shovel around just for the bbq. When I start clogging up with ash I shovel some out into a metal wastepail and dispose of it later.
Thats should solve your ash problem.
Good luck.

Post Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:57 am
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3209
Location: Atlanta-GA
I’m glad my tip helped you. :D

Post Tue Jul 06, 2004 9:04 am
hawgpimp rare

Posts: 35
Location: Stanford, KY
try the charcoal baskets that have been discussed here before, allows you to shake the ashes off.
"Listen, I didn't get to where I am today, worrying what I was gonna feel like tomorrow" Ron White

Post Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:00 pm
DarkRubiTJ medium-well

Posts: 221
Location: Livingston, TX.
I keep an old set of BBQ tools around just for messing with the fire and the coals. I rake the coals around right before I add new to the fire. It knocks the ash off and settles the coals that are still left. I've also heard that the baskets do create a problem, similar to what you are experiencing.
Weber "Q", Weber Performer, Weber 22.5" Bar-B-Kettle

Post Thu Jul 08, 2004 3:50 pm
snapshot0729 well done
well done

Posts: 366
Location: New Lenox, IL

You need what Weber calls "charcoal rails". They'll run you 6 or 7 bucks for the pair. The big advantage to these is that for any "long cookers" the charcoal ash will fall through the charcoal grate to the bottom of the kettle. Replenishing the coals becomes a non-issue. You have allready found out the big drawback of the baskets. The only other thing you'll need is a poking stick to reach through the cooking grate to arrange the coals on the charcoal grate. I use a piece of 1/4 inch cold rolled square stock about 30 inches long that's available at any home improvement center or hardware store. I stuck it in my bench vise and fashioned a hanging loop to hang on the kettles handle. Works great and is over 20 years old... Here's the link to Webers charcoal grill accessories page. Get the rails, install them so the hooks will be under the coals, and not under your drip pan (they'll stay locked in place as you poke at the coals) and your backets will never runneth over again.


Joe ... rgear.aspx

Post Thu Jul 08, 2004 3:56 pm
Airfoils well done
well done

Posts: 1063
Lose the baskets and get some rails as these fine BBQ gentlemen reccomend. :D Don't shovel or otherwise disturb the ash too much if possible while cooking as this can cover your food in soot. I use a 3 prong hand garden rake to manage my coals and just do enough so the ash falls away (not shaking or anything). Often just adding fuel will be enough to get the excess ash to fall away when using rails. The kettle is shaped such that some of the excess will fall through the bottom vents and into the ash catcher, not always but some does. Lastly, the rails are an advanatge because you can adjust the room you will use for your fuel not to mention your fire can breathe better with the rails. Good luck! :D

Post Fri Jul 09, 2004 3:36 pm
willisamrhein medium

Posts: 161
Location: Louisville, KY
Thanks for the advice folks. I don't unsually smoke on my Weber so normally this isn't an issue. But as I stated, I smoked a Turkey that was just too big for my liitle off-set barrel smoker (the smallest of the New Braunsfel sp?). I can normally smoke for about 8 hours before I have an ash overflow problem with my smoker. That was a 4.5 pound brisket that came out fantastic. Once this little smoker goes to smoker heaven, the chargriller that everyone has been discussing is next, or a small commercial one on a trailer so I can enter contests or entertain large picnics and gatherings.

Thanks again. I'll pick up some of those rails this weekend.

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