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Young Griller in need of some help !

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Post Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:19 pm
Influx raw
raw

Posts: 3
Hi Guys

I just recently picked up Steven's "How to Grill" book along with a Webber Kettle Grill and some cool accessories.

My first attempt at something with longer cook times was Beer Can Chicken and the results were great but not quite what I expected.

I tried the first chimney starter with real Hickory Wood but found the flame to be a little large for the apartment building I'm in, so used briquettes for my second chimney starter full.

I was hoping a few kind people might help me out with some questions that came up.

1) When using Wood such as Hickory, I let the flame burn out in the chimney starter and the coals ash over before adding them to the Kettle grill - It seemed to me like most of the heat power had burned away by then I would say at a guess the temperature was in the low 300's for around 40 mins before I felt the need to refiill. Is that typical ?

2) When refilling wood chunks, can I just add them to the grill and re cover it - I know with briquettes its better to do the second batch in the chimney starter to avoid acrid smoke.

3) I the Beer can Chicken Recipie, the cooking time was between an hour and an hour and a half for a 3/2 lb bird. I think the chickens we had in our store were 5lbs but the cooking time ended up being 3 hours or so . I kept the lid down and all the vents open 99% of the time- do you guys think I should have done something differently like cook with the lid off ?

Thanks very much for the advice, I hope to learn a lot with the book and this forum and feed my family some amazing food over the Summer.

Cheers

Kevin

Post Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:59 pm
Old Smoker well done
well done

Posts: 1243
Well I'll try to help a little if I can. The first thing I personally would change is using wood, I assume you mean wood chunks like they use in smokers, I would use lump charcoal or briquettes. If you want a smokey flavor go with the lump or use chips or maybe a chunk added to the briquettes. When doing your BCC either put the coal on each side with a pan in the center under the bird or bank the coals on just one side with the pan and bird on the other with the exhaust vent open over the bird. Yes it can take 3 hrs to cook a 5 lb bird. When using a chimney starter it's best to use either lump or briquettes and let them ash over a little before dumping, how do you light your chimney? If you use balled up news paper it will cause a lot of smoke at the start try using a couple of paper towels soaked a little in vegetable oil or starter cube, I'm thinking of getting a small propane torch to light mine. You can add wood to the fire direct or if you feel the need to refill with hot coals do them in the chimney then add to the grill but you really shouldn't have to add more fuel doing a chicken. Yes, you have to leave the lid on while you cook that's what keeps the heat in. This is just a quick once over, someone will be along with better info I'm sure.
22.5 WSM - Chargriller - Traeger Texas
I cook to eat not to compete

Post Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:30 pm
Influx raw
raw

Posts: 3
Thanks for the reply Old Smoker ! Some great advice in there. I light my chimney starter with old brown paper bags but will definitely try your method !

Could you describe what lump charcoal looks like ? I think I bought wood chunks yesterday which look like they sound , smallish pieces of wood. I usually get my gear from Home Depot if you have a recommended brand.

Using lump , how often do you need to replenish the supply of coals ?

Thanks for the help

Post Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:06 am
Old Smoker well done
well done

Posts: 1243
Lump charcoal is charred wood and can be found at Lowe's or Home Depot. Cowboy is probably what you'll find in those places and Walmart carries Royal Oak and the bags are labeled something like 100% Natural Charcoal and won't have the word briquettes on the bag. If what you used isn't black charred pieces but looks like something you cut from a tree limb then it wasn't lump. Lump takes some getting use to because it burns hotter and faster than briquettes , I would suggest using briquettes until you become more familiar with you grill and temp control. Stubbs makes a good briquette that's better than Kingsford, though I have no problem using Kingsford which comes in a blue bag and a Competition blend in a brown bag. The only time I've ever had to worry about adding more fuel to a fire was when I had my offset Chargriller for smoking. IF you did have to add more fuel it probably wouldn't be more than once. To be honest, I have never cooked on a kettle, I want one but I have to get rid of something before I do but even using my Chargriller barrel I put one chimney of lit on one end with some soaked wood chips next to it and can do 2 5lb birds with out refueling. I don't use much lump myself except sometimes when I grill, I use mostly the briquettes because they are easier to predict burn time and temp control. I did forget to mention that Cowboy lump isn't liked by many because it has a tendency to sparkle and pop a little where the Royal Oak or some of the other brands may not or not as much anyway. heck you can sometimes find small bags of lump in your local grocery store, I know both Harris Teeter and Food Lion do, just check around and read the bag.
22.5 WSM - Chargriller - Traeger Texas
I cook to eat not to compete

Post Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:50 am
sroach well done
well done

Posts: 1160
Location: Warrington, PA
Hey Influx,

Welcome to the board!!! Can't wait to see some pics of your cooks!! You have all the right gear, the Webber Kettle is an awesome grill, and you will produce some of your best bbq on it!!

Great job picking up Steven's HTG book, that thing is just the bible on how to grill!

I agree with what Old Smoker is saying, if you can't find a good lump (Personally, I would stay away from Cowboy) I would go with Kingsford. and not to start a religious war on the forum, I have always had a lot of success using kingsford in the kettle with wood chunks, You can buy them at Lowes and Home depot Image.

I usually give myself 20 minutes to have the coals ready to go, like OS said fill it up to the top with 3 balls of news paper underneath and let it run, should pretty much look like:

Image

if I am doing a longer burn I do the Minion method, that is where you basically load up the grill with unlit charcoal, light about 12-15 coals in the grill and dump them on top, when I put the unlit coal in the grill I bury some wood chunks in there. Check out this link:

http://virtualweberbullet.com/fireup2.html

Hope this is helpful to you. Keep cooking, that kettle will do right by you for years!!
Image
_________________
XL BGE
18.5 Kettle Gold
18.5 WSM

Post Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:11 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 7423
Location: Stoughton, WI
Welcome, Influx! We're glad you're here and are looking forward to your contributions!

If your Weber has a built-in thermometer you might want to check it for accuracy; the most common way is to put the sensor in boiling water and see what the gauge reads. If it doesn't have a thermometer a simple probe-style model dropped through one of the lid vents will work fine.

Post Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:34 am
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5827
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Welcome aboard, Influx! Another old standby of mine for lump charcoal is Royal Oak, as it burns hot without a lot of sparks. But if you can find it, my favorite lump charcoal is Maple Leaf, which is made from maple wood (hence the name). This stuff is really dense and burns very hot. It also seems to burn a bit longer than other brands listed here that I've tried, but it's tough to find.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:43 am
Influx raw
raw

Posts: 3
Thanks very much for the help everyone. Tonight based on allthe great advice I was able to pull off a 5lb pork butt slow cooked over Hickory - took around 3.5 hours , the photos didn't turn out great or I would post but the flavor and texture was magnificent ! I plan on cooking my way through "How to Grill" so there will be many more pics coming :D

I'm considering having a go at cooking a whole fish next time if anyone has recipes or ideas I'd love it !

Old smoker, Sroach, screaming Chicken and Char Griller you guys rock - thanks !

Post Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:31 am
ScreamingChicken BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 7423
Location: Stoughton, WI
No worries if the photos didn't come out as well as you hoped...post away!

Post Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:41 am
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5827
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Influx wrote:
Thanks very much for the help everyone. Tonight based on allthe great advice I was able to pull off a 5lb pork butt slow cooked over Hickory - took around 3.5 hours , the photos didn't turn out great or I would post but the flavor and texture was magnificent ! I plan on cooking my way through "How to Grill" so there will be many more pics coming :D

I'm considering having a go at cooking a whole fish next time if anyone has recipes or ideas I'd love it !

Old smoker, Sroach, screaming Chicken and Char Griller you guys rock - thanks !


Congratulations, Influx! Cooking a medium or large pork butt can be a challenge. In fact, a lot of grillers rarely try bigger pieces of meat on the grill, if ever - I've known literally dozens of grillers who've never cooked anything bigger than a thick steak on their grills over the past 30 years. Those same people gasp in amazement when they see a roast or a chicken (or especially a whole fish or a big leg of lamb) come off the grill.

But you've also got one of the best books ever written on the subject as a guide too. I'm not saying that because I'm a moderator either; How To Grill is the book I recommend for all grillers, from beginner to expert. I buy a few copies every year and give them away as gifts, and they're always appreciated.

Incidentally, it's not just the lucky recipient that loves HTG - their spouse loves it because they don't spend as much time in the kitchen or fast-food lineup. The kids also love it because it's tastier than fast food, and because grilling is more interactive (and sometimes more dramatic) than a lot of other types of cooking. In fact, I gave a copy of HTG to my cousin's new husband this Christmas, and he uses it a couple times a week, but his kids use it almost daily. (And he just told me yesterday that he bought a second copy as a spare because he's afraid they'll wear the original one out.) :D

If you search this forum for "whole fish" you should come up with a few hits at least. There's also a Smoking Fish FAQ if you ever want to try that:
http://barbecuebible.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=16794

So when you picked up the Weber, did you get the rotisserie kit? It's yet another great way to cook and the Weber model is excellent, so you may want to get one if you don't have it already.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:41 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5827
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Influx - there's another thread that just opened up on the Ask Steven forum here, and it's related to grilling whole fish. It might be helpful:
http://barbecuebible.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=25887
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.


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