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Using Vents

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Post Wed Apr 14, 2004 1:31 am
Aroberts rare
rare

Posts: 37
Location: Seattle
Hi folks,
For those of you doing covered cooking with a charcoal grill, do you open or close both vents when doing indirect cooking? Or just the top or the bottom? Or does it even make a difference which vents you use? ? I know that closing the vents lowers the temperature, but any tips on mastering the use of vents is much appreciated. (And if it helps, I use a Weber 22.5 inch)

BTW, for any novice grillers reading this: try making Beer Can Chicken. I made it last month (Here in Seattle we're lucky if we can start grilling in March) and it was fantastic. It looks great, tastes great, and makes you look like you actually know what you are doing.

Thanks!

Post Wed Apr 14, 2004 2:09 am
hotchef well done
well done

Posts: 319
Location: Florence, AL
Well I can't offer much help with the vents because I don't really know either but thanks for asking because I look forward to the answers.

Full agreement with the beer can chicken. I've only made one so far, but it was the best chicken I've ever made.

Post Wed Apr 14, 2004 8:38 am
YardBurner BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5365
Location: Damascus, Maryland
This info is in your manual, (still got it?)

If not check out the mfg. web site

www.weber.com/

Hope this helps.

Quicker to go there and read it than it is to type it.

YB

Post Wed Apr 14, 2004 10:54 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
Let’s see, I have a few minutes so I’ll try to keep it short. :wink:

If you close the lid and close the vents you’ll effectively turn off the heat by smothering the fire. If you open the vents you’ll give the fire more oxygen allowing it to burn hotter. Hence opening the vents turns up the heat.

On my Patio Classic Series charcoal grill the food and charcoal grates are fixed so they cannot be adjusted. The only way to control the heat is by adjusting the amount of fuel if grilling with the lid open or by adjusting the vents if cooking with the lid closed. When I am using the vents to control the temperature I will open the top and the bottom vents the same amount to regulate the airflow.

I have heard many people express the idea that if you close the vents then you’ll keep the heat in. This is a misconception. Opening the vent does let some heat out but the oxygen being drawn in is keeping your fire burning and keeping it hot. So the old adage, “you’ve got to spend money to make money” sort of applies here, “you’ve got to let some heat out to create more heat.” Think of the vents like the temperature knob on an oven; closed=off, open slightly=low, open half=medium, and full open=high.

Hope this is helpful. :D
Image

Post Wed Apr 14, 2004 3:20 pm
Airfoils well done
well done

Posts: 1063
Hi, I've been cooking on a Weber kettle for coming up on 20 years now (currently drivin a Platinum) and I've found it easiest to leave the bottom vents open and adjust heat with the top vent. With the botto open and the top vent closed the fire will eventually go out so for low temps, the top must still be open slightly. There is no need for adjustable grates, you can do everything you need with the vents and using heat zones. As Bob said, the more oxygen the fire gets the hotter it is and thus, with the vents all fully open and the lid closed the fire is its hottest. An accessory you might want to consider is the warming rack to give you even more surface area and another heat zone. If you have a Platinum, when you aren't using the warming rack, you can put it on your table as a handy shelf; it fits perfectly.

Post Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:22 pm
Aroberts rare
rare

Posts: 37
Location: Seattle
Thanks for the tips everyone! I really appreciate the willingness you all show to help people out with their barbecuing questions! What a great board!

Aroberts

Post Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:40 pm
Vinsect well done
well done

Posts: 576
Location: Middle Tennessee
Right now I hope this doesn't confuse you more if your just trying to master the basics. But there is a gadget I'm dying to try. Its a thermostatically controlled fan that mounts onto your vent. It lets you dial in a temp sort of like you can on your oven. A temp probe placed in the grill or smoker tellls the fan when to turn on and blast up the heat and when to cool down.
You can check it out here...
http://www.thebbqguru.com/
If it aint broke, Break it!
Then rebuild it better.

Post Thu Apr 15, 2004 10:52 am
chagan well done
well done

Posts: 1350
Location: Central NJ by way of NY
Hey Vinsect, you sound like a gadget fiend- a man after my own heart! Still, I would rather master the vent/charcoal combo for heat control. You are just adding more players into the fray=more points of failure. What if you run out of batteries? What if the dog chews it up? What if it just plain breaks? I love my GPS navigation, but I still want to learn how to use a sexton and compass :wink:
Image

No, it ain't burnt- it's barbecue

Post Sun Apr 18, 2004 12:21 am
Vinsect well done
well done

Posts: 576
Location: Middle Tennessee
Chagan, I'm not suggesting the gadget as a cheat around learning manual methods. I'm not advocating "Lazycue."
But I wouldn't buy a traditional oven without a thermostat or a car without a carbeurator (fuel pump). If the Barbecue Guru really is a working thermostat for a smoker, that would be awesome. We would still have to tend a fire and replenish coals and keep an eye on it, but it would be nice to have just the right amount of air blowing on your coals like a carbeurator.
I may try to find some old fashioned bellows in the mean time. After all the device isn't cheap and sometimes I do need more air in my smoker. Once I get the hang of it I may decide the thermostat isn't neccesary. Then again I doubt I'll change out the carbeurator-regulated engine in my lawnmower for a steam engine any time soon. There has to be a happy meduim between lazycue and going Amish.
If it aint broke, Break it!
Then rebuild it better.

Post Sun Apr 18, 2004 11:20 am
Guest

Vinsect wrote:
But I wouldn't buy a traditional oven without a thermostat or a car without a carbeurator (fuel pump)


I guess that we have been out of the loop on modern car design :lol: I was just speaking about my preferences- I agree that there can be a happy medium :)

Post Sun Apr 18, 2004 11:21 am
chagan well done
well done

Posts: 1350
Location: Central NJ by way of NY
From me :?
Image

No, it ain't burnt- it's barbecue

Post Sun Apr 18, 2004 11:10 pm
Vinsect well done
well done

Posts: 576
Location: Middle Tennessee
One thing I would like to master is avoiding temp spikes. I don't know how well that gadget would regulate temps where spikes were involved.
Chagan, I hope I didn't sound like I was giving you a hard time there. Your input is always appreciated.
If it aint broke, Break it!
Then rebuild it better.

Post Mon Apr 19, 2004 8:02 am
chagan well done
well done

Posts: 1350
Location: Central NJ by way of NY
Not at all Vinsect; ... as is your input :D
Image

No, it ain't burnt- it's barbecue

Post Mon Apr 19, 2004 10:19 am
YardBurner BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5365
Location: Damascus, Maryland
I think the problem here is OUTput! :lol:

Post Mon Apr 19, 2004 2:24 pm
Airfoils well done
well done

Posts: 1063
Vinsect wrote:
One thing I would like to master is avoiding temp spikes.



Fill your drip pan with water. The thermal mass will help even those out. Otherwise, I don't find temp spikes a problem when grilling since the cook time is so short. In my WSM, I can easily maintain temps around 220.

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