Weber kettle-style grills allow grill masters to prepare meat using charcoal fires--the purist's form of barbecuing. Using Weber grills as smokers takes barbecuing to a new level, offering tenderness and smoky flavour imparted from slow-cooking with charcoal and hardwood. A commercially available kit called the Smokenator-Hovergrill converts Weber kettle grills into professional-grade smokers.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Dry, aged hardwood chips or chunks
- Dry rub seasoning
- Desired meat (roasts, racks of ribs, chicken, etc.)
- Smokenator-Hovergrill kit
- Natural lump charcoal or briquettes
- Electric charcoal starter
Apply dry rub seasonings to the desired meat the night before cooking and allow the meat to sit, covered in cling film, in the refrigerator. This allows the seasonings to absorb into the meat, curing it.
When ready to smoke, place a Smokenator (a half-moon-shaped metal smoking chamber) into the lower kettle so that it rests on top of the charcoal grate, with the rounded side against the kettle sidewall. Secure the water pan in place.
Place a layer of charcoal in the bottom of the Smokenator chamber, keeping about 12 lumps or briquettes aside. Fill the water pan at the top of the Smokenator about three-quarters full with water.
Huddle the remaining lumps or briquettes on top of the electric starter in the main grill body and allow them to ignite for about eight minutes. Wearing protective hot mitts, use a small metal gardening trowel to scoop the hot coals into the hole at the top of the Smokenator. Allow the lit coals to ignite the other coals inside the smoking chamber for several minutes.
Feed the wood chips or chunks through the hole, stirring the coal/wood combination with the provided metal skewer. Add wood chunks and charcoal through the top hole throughout the cooking process.
Place the desired meat on a dripping pan next to the Smokenator, or on the provided elevated grill racks, and slow smoke at about 93.3 degrees Celsius. Consult a grilling cookbook for slow-smoking times for various meats.
Preparation and Cooking
Tips and warnings
- Wet wood chips and chunks produce more smoke, so soak them ahead of time in water, beer or wine. Adding a handful of chips and charcoal to the fire every 30 minutes to an hour feeds the heat source and creates enough smoke to flavour the meat. Consult grilling or smoking cookbooks or websites, such as Steven Raichlen's Barbecue Bible site, for suggested smoking times based on meat type and weight.
- Control cooking chamber temperatures by adjusting the vents on the lid and underneath the Weber kettle grill.
- Always use fire-resistant cooking mitts when feeding coals or chips into the fire, and handle meat with long grilling-style cooking tongs to avoid burns.
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