How To Use a Weber Charcoal Kettle Grill.
- AND -
How To Use The Vents on a Weber Kettle Grill to Control and Change the Temp.
Welcome to Kettlepitmasterbbq.com
This website is in place to provide kettle grill enthusiasts that are new to the world of barbecuing with helpful tips on using their Weber Kettle Grill. - I also explain the method I use to control the heat or temp in the grill as well as how to use the vents to control and change the temperature on a Weber kettle grill. So if you're having trouble controlling the temperature in your Weber kettle grill or are not sure which vents to use hopefully you will find this website and my video tutorials helpful.
Because of their design kettle grills are very versatile and can be used for much more than just grilling up burgers and dogs. They can also be used to barbecue and smoke if you know how to use them. On this page I explain how I use my kettle grill and I also have a YouTube Channel where I've posted videos showing how I setup my kettle grill for different types of cooks. I also provide demo cooks so you can see how well my setup works. So if you're having trouble getting your kettle grill to do what you want it to do, read on or visit my YouTube Channel.
The problems most people have with their kettle grill is not being able to target a certain temp, not being able to maintain the temperature (the temp is constantly spiking or dropping) and not being able to adjust the temp (using the vents). - I found the key to getting a kettle grill to do what you want it to do lies in the setup. The setup I use allows me to target any temp I want, maintain that temp throughout the cook, it allows me to adjust the temp and to cook up to 10 plus hours on a low and slow without having to add coal.
Note: The temp/degrees mentioned on this website are in Fahrenheit.
While a lot of videos will show you to dump a chimney load of hot coals in the grill then use the vents to control the temp, anyone who has tried this method especially for a low temp cook knows it's not that easy. Think about that for a minute; a low and slow cook is normally 225-250 degrees and a full load of hot coals will take the temp in the kettle to 500-600 degrees depending on the size of the chimney. Why start a 225-250 degree cook with such a hot fire just to have to wait for the temp to drop a couple hundred degrees?
How To Control the Temp (my method) on a Weber Kettle Charcoal Grill for Indirect Cooks.
I use the Minion Method (placing hot coals on top of unlit coals) for most of my cooks. I start my cooks with only the amount of hot coals I need to obtain the maximum temp I want. Meaning; if I want a temp of 300 degrees I place only enough hot coals in the kettle to climb the temp to 300 degrees then stop climbing. The time period for this is approx. 20-30 minutes. What enables the temp to stabilize at the temp I want is determined by my vent settings. Once the temp has stabilized I can fine tune the temp if needed by using the top vent. I control the length of the cook (how long I will have constant heat) by using a fuel supply (unlit coal/minion method). For Weber vent settings and charcoal amounts for different temp cooks click here.
Low Temp Indirect Cook Setup (Low and Slow Cooks)
For an indirect cook temp of 225-250 degrees I start the cook with only 5 hot coals. The left image shows where I place the 5 hot coals. The 5 hot coals are my heat source and the unlit coals is my fuel supply. This setup will stabilize the temp of my grill at 225-250 degrees and burn at 225-250 for 4-5 hours. The more unlit coal (fuel supply) the longer I can cook without having to add more coals. The more hot coals (heat source) the higher the temp at the beginning of the cook (right image).
Low Heat Direct Cooks
For direct cooks where I want a low heat to slowly cook over the coals for more than 30 minutes I use the same set up; a heat source and a fuel source. The image below on the left is the setup I used to cook the half chickens shown on the right. I mop/basted the chickens while cooking directly over the coals for an hour. The half chickens were just ready to come off the grill in the image, notice they are not burnt after one hour of direct cooking. Instead of placing the hot coals in a pile I spread them out sparsely so I have low even heat under the cooking area. I kept the coals from getting too hot by using the lid. Watch video of this cook.
Using the Vents to Control the Temp
I found the key to using the vents to change the temp is first making sure the temp in the kettle is stabilized. If the temp is not stabilized when you adjust the vents you will not be able to target a new temp accurately.
For example; if the temp has been constant at 300 degrees for 30 or more minutes this means the coals are burning constant so the temp is not in the process of climbing or dropping. If the temp is stabile just a slight change to the top vent (open or closed by about 1/8) will change the temp plus or minus 10-15 degrees. And every time a change is made to the vents it takes about 15-20 minutes for the kettle to restabilize at the new temp. This is because the coals have to either perk up or cool down. And a dial or lid thermometer will also need to adjust to the change in temp which can take 15-20 minutes or so. Dial thermometers are mechanical so they do not respond to changes in temp instantly like digital thermometers.
My rule of thumb for vent settings is: For cooks of 275-350 degrees I normally start the cook with both vents set at half. This way once the temp stabilizes I can fine tune using the top vent. The bottom vent I use if I am unable to get enough of a temp change from the top vent. I also use the bottom vent towards the end of a cook if the heat starts dying. If I need to open the bottom vent fully it's a sure sign the heat is dying and if the cook is not about done it's time to add more coals.
My video on using the vents and charcoal amounts' explains how I use the vents (see vid at bottom of page or on YouTube). - I also provide the vents/charcoal amounts info on a web page on this website.
(Is Your Weber Kettle Grill Lid Thermometer Opposite The Vent?)
Below is a list of what some of my Weber Kettle Grill how to videos cover. - If you have any questions about anything I covered on this website or in my videos please feel free to contact me via YouTube or my contact page.
- Video - How to set up a kettle grill for long low and slow cooks (225-250 F.).
- Video - How to set up a kettle grill for high temp cooks and long high temp cooks (325-400 F.).
- Video - Weber Kettle Grill Setup for a low temp direct cook to a medium to high temp indirect cook.
- Video - How to set up the grill for a low and slow DIRECT cook.
- Video - How to use the vents on a Weber kettle grill and Charcoal Amounts.
- Video - Weber kettle grill maintenance tips.
- Video - How accurate are grill lid thermometers.
- Video - How to light charcoal in a kettle grill in the rain.
- Video - How to light only a few (5 or so) charcoal briquettes.
- Visit YouTube Channel
- Charcoal Amounts & Vent Settings (web page).
- Download Charcoal Amounts & Vent Settings (Document)
A few cooking videos which include:
- Video - BBQ Pulled Pork (low & slow Boston butt).
- Video - BBQ Pork Roast.
- Video - BBQ Chicken wings.
- Video - BBQ Chicken leg quarters.
- Video - BBQ Half Chickens, Cooked direct, open pit style.
- Video - How I Grill a large batch of Bacon on a Weber Kettle Grill.
- Video - Stuffed Thanksgiving turkey (cooked in oven).
- Video - Turkey Stuffing Recipe.
- Video - How to make canadles (filling balls cooked in water).
- Video - Ground Chicken and Beer Brat Meatloaf.
- Video - Open Pit Pork Shoulder on Weber Kettle Grill- Temp Control.
- Video - Kettle Grill Setup for Indirect Chicken Thigh and Drum cook.
- Visit YouTube Channel
The video below shows how I setup my kettle for low and slow cooks. The video below that shows vent settings for different temp & types of cooks.
Weber Kettle Grill How To's:
How to set up a kettle grill for low and slow cooks, high temp cooks, long cooks, charcoal amounts , vent settings and more.
How to Use a Weber Kettle Grill.
How To Control the Heat on a Weber Kettle Charcoal Grill.
How To use the Vents on a Weber Kettle Grill.
Best Thermometer Placement on a Weber Kettle Grill