A longer burn process for kettles

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K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Lump (possibly) 'burns hotter' only relative to air intake. If the air is restricted it does not.

Tim-- If you are using chips make a pouch with foil to put them in, packed somewhat well. Make a tiny hole in on side of the pouch then place, hole up, on the coal pile. This will allow the chips to smoke but not burn up quickly.


New member
A really good point on the lump and ash buildup. And thanks for the tip Kevin; for a newbie like me, that kind of info is very helpful.

Robert Terry

RO - you brought up a cool point. I have the rotisserie also. I could have been using it in conjunction with the "kettle smoker" all along! If my WSM doesn't get here soon...

As for wood chips, I started using them at first before getting chunks. I soaked them 30 minutes in water, added a big fistful at first and then every time I opened to add water, coals, or for any other reason. Chunks are easier, chips are doable.

I concur about ash buildup. I used the one touch apparatus to control air flow/temps not to move ash. Guess one could if the charcoal grate is foiled beneath your meat. (keep ash off dinner) I did find ash needed to be knocked off periodically, and more coal after 6-7 hours. However, if one did not use the water pan I believe the fuel would last much longer.

After a year and dozens of smokes, it goes to show that you can get results with a kettle if you need to. I'm quite thankful to be in Amazon's que for a WSM though!
Ok here we go. This is my first try at ribs on the kettle. I foiled some bricks dropped about forty unlit coals with two pieces of apple wood. Dropped a dozen lit coals on the unlit.Trimmed spares to St. Louis style,filled waterpan with real hot water and foiled the charcoal grate. Temp at 10:00a.m. was 27 degrees. Threw ribs on at 265 degrees temp dropped to 230 and stayed for over an hour. Wood and unlit must have caught cause temp went back to 265 shut everything almost down temp returned to 230. Now I'm into it for 2 hours will kep you all posted. Here's a few pics to start. Was a bit breazey today.


Kinda reminds me of babysitting my old offset but then things setttled down. So far staying at 230 to 245. Looking great. Everything looking good at 226 degrees and 4 hours.

Yep it's time. Great smoke it was. I'll do this again for sure.All in all it kept about a 240 degree temp average. A tad more tendinging than I'm used to with the WSM. bUT IT WORKED.


Robert Terry

So sorry about those 27 degree temps!

The ribs look awesome! I never thought to foil my bricks. They're a tad dirty by now. Also, I always put my water pan on the top grate. I put meat on the remaining top grate (up to a 10 pound butt) and also put food underneath where your water pan is. I've learned a lot from this thread!

Pat Smith

TVWBB Wizard
I never thought to use the remaining charcoal grate as a second level cooking grate. Robert, you're thinking in 3-D!


Robert Terry

It never occured to me to put the water pan underneath. I didn't think it would act as a heat sink that way. Good thing I get the extra capacity from it, since I finally got my WSM two weeks ago but due to a missing part I can't use it yet! No word on part availability either...

Joe InJersey

TVWBB All-Star
Nice job on those ribs. I'm in the same climate and I really don't go for much more than grilling a steak or cooking beer can chicken during weather like this. (high 20's). I get depressed if I have to go back outside more than 2 or 3 times!


TVWBB Emerald Member
Originally posted by Joe InJersey:
I get depressed if I have to go back outside more than 2 or 3 times!
There are pills for that,
, but you get no BBQ chicken unless you cook it. I was out this morning at 8 (7* temperature) putting a chuck in the WSM. After being out in that cold, this chuck better turn out good. I get depressed after November anyway.

Pat McCreight

I went looking for firebricks today, but couldn't find any. So I purchased regular gray concrete bricks for $.32 each. I plan to wrap them in foil. Do you think they will work? Has anyone actually had a brick explode on them?
I used regular old red bricks that had holes in them then wrapped in foil. I think bricks get a lot hotter when they dry them then they get in a kettle.

Pat McCreight

Thanks Robert. I drilled holes in my kettle earlier today so I could mount one of my stoker fans on it. I foiled up 2 bricks and lined them up, filled the grate with charcoal briquettes and added 10 lit. This was a test run with no food on. I ran the kettle at 180* for about 30 minutes. It ran about 5-10 high, but didn't go above 190*. I then bumped the temp to 275*, which took 7 minutes. It held 275 just as well as my wsm for the next 45 minutes. I then raised the temp to 325, which took 4 minutes. Ran that for 30 minutes. Told it to go back to 275 and was there in 7 minutes.

Sorry for the long ramble.

Anyways, I'm going to keep it at 275 for another 30 minutes and then see if I can get the temp down to 200 degrees. I'm just playing around to see how quick the kettle can adapt, and so far it is much more responsive than my smokers.

Robert Terry

I did purchase fire bricks, but I needed an additional brick and ended up grabbing a paving brick I had laying around...the kind used for constructing driveways from. I have never had a problem with it, and have used it quite a bit.

Pat McCreight

Well I cooked up some chicken last night using this set up. I used the stoker again. I mounted the temperature probe for the stoker on a 5" bolt mounted to the charcoal rack, so it would sit just below the chicken. I think I had the probe to close to the meat, as it was about 50 degrees off. I'll just need to lower the probe next time.

Stoker said 275 and I went to check the chicken after one hour, and it was well done. I was expecting at least 1.5 hours, but it was cooking closer to 325. Not the kettle's fault, but the placement of the probe.

I think the setup will work very well for small cooks when I don't want to fire up the wsm. Just need to figure out probe placement.

For the next cook, I'll have the probe 2-3" below the cooking grate, and I'm also going to place a probe on the grate level to see what differences there are, and go from there.
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