Charcoal ring and diffuser set up for Weber 22 kettle


 

DaveInLA

New member
Hi guys, I have a 22 and SnS but want to use the whole cooking grate to smoke— mostly ribs but also chicken quarters and maybe even pork belly slabs. Probably nothing like a shoulder or brisket. Don’t want to buy the Master Touch Premium. I tried messing with a ceramic stone a while ago, but I got busy and that is no longer an option. In any case, these are the parts I have.

The first is something I found on Amazon, can be used as a vortex or also to put a charcoal snake around. There are 3 different potential 18” diffusers.

The questions I have are:
1. Will the ring allow enough air/smoke movement? The charcoal ring on the Weber MT Premium has large holes on the side, my guess is about the same overall very ventilation as this. Also, how should I orient the ring? This way or turn it upside down? I can also open the ring and shape or so that the “wings” flare outward. Would that be better?
2. Which diffuser? The stock pot lid is thick stainless steel. I’ll have to find a way to saw off the handle. Any suggestions? The other 2 are aluminum pizza pans. One is much heavier than the other. One basically feels like plastic. I’ve read mixed things on whether aluminum is ok as a diffuser.
3. Does the diffuser need holes? The one that comes with the MT Prem has no holes, but the one that comes with Summit kamado has holes. I’ve seen some people drill holes in diffusers and some don’t. Any final word on that?
Thanks!
 

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Chuck-roaniecowpony

TVWBB Member
That ring should be fine for air flow for low and slow as long as a lower vent is within the ring. I'd place it like shown in your picture, but it likely won't matter much either way. If you are planning a hot and fast cook, it may restrict air flow at some point, but only trying it will tell. I'd steer away from aluminum for a primary heat deflector/diffuser if very close to the fire. Aluminum melts at 1221F but starts weakening much lower. Stainless would be my choice or just some plain carbon steel. That handle on the stainless stockpot lid may interfere with setting a drip pan on top, so loose it. I wouldn't do holes in the diffuser if you're looking for indirect heat.
 
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Maybe a FireDial as a diffuser in a kettle?

They make them sized to fit the water pan bracket of the 14/18/22 WSMs, so one of those would fit.

Very durable steel. Has slots for airflow. TBD if holes are a good or bad thing given how close the coals are to the cooking grate.
 

DaveInLA

New member
Thanks, guys. I’ve seen the Tom Horsman video before and he uses 3 layers of metal, 2 aluminum pans sandwiching what I believe is a steel piece for rigidity. But it’s still aluminum directly above the coals. This is why I’m confused on whether aluminum is OK or not.

The concept holes in the plate (such as in the Firedial) is another uncertainty. Weber didn’t put holes in MT premium but the Summit charcoal plate has holes along the periphery. Yet the first gen Summit had a hinged plate without holes. Do you think lack of holes would put aluminum at greater risk for warping?
 

Darryl - swazies

TVWBB All-Star
I wouldn't use holes in a diffuser plate if you can avoid it. Setting this up in the 22" will pose different problems than other traditional vertical smokers I would presume. Maybe not problems but there is a lot less room between the new diffuser plate you are going to use and the cooking grates. As well as not being able to put a ton of charcoal in the ring, you just don't have a ton of room to work with. It will all work out for sure but the smaller space is what I would be toying with when you are making decisions on this setup. Hotter cooking perhaps, and how long can you go without adding fuel. To reload in a situation like that will definitely not be fun chore.
If a smaller charcoal grate on the bottom was an option, you could possibly get more usable room in that kettle. Not sure if that would work but I would start there and see if it was an option.
 

Chuck-roaniecowpony

TVWBB Member
Warping is not the issue. The surface temperatures of coals can exceed the melting temperature of aluminum. In very close proximity, directly above the coals, it is a poor selection to chose aluminum. Will it work? Undoubtedly, for a while with a small fire.

Holes in the diffuser are not necessary unless the ring side holes are inadequate.
 

Chuck-roaniecowpony

TVWBB Member
You said you had a SnS. I agree it's a compromise compared to say a good offset or a deep komado type grill, in terms of even heat distribution. But it is still a very good setup and fuel/wood replenishment is easy with a hinged panel grate. As for usable grate area, most indirect heat cookers give up some. Maybe think about a 26" kettle with about 40% more area.
 

DaveInLA

New member
ts weakening much lower. Stainless would be my choice or just some plain carbon steel. That handle on the stainless stockpot lid may interfere with setting a drip pan on top, so loose it. I wouldn't do holes in the diffuser if you're looking for indirect heat.

Ok, I’ll avoid using aluminum in direct contact with the coals.

Any suggestions on removing the handle on the stock pot lid? It has two small welds on each side of the handle. I don’t have any fancy tools for metal, but I’m willing to buy a cheap hacksaw if I know it will cut through this.
 

Colin

TVWBB Pro
I made the diffuser in Tom's video and had a ring made from expanded stainless steel.
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The temperature was very easy to control with the bottom vent at about 1/3 open and using the top vent to adjust. The small pork butt was cooked to perfection in about 5 1/2 hours. After taking the butt off, just for curiosities sake, I let the full load of charcoal burn out while maintaining 250*F. It took twelve hours.

Now that I have the Performer Deluxe with the P shaped vents I need to try another cook. Maybe two or three slabs of ribs.
 
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DaveInLA

New member
I made the diffuser in Tom's video and had a ring made from expanded stainless steel.

View attachment 37743
View attachment 37744

The temperature was very easy to control with the bottom vent at about 1/3 open and using the top vent to adjust. The small pork butt was cooked to perfection in about 5 1/2 hours. After taking the butt off, just for curiosities sake, I let the full load of charcoal burn out while maintaining 250*F. It took twelve hours.

Now that I have the Performer Deluxe with the P shaped vents I need to try another cook. Maybe two or three slabs of ribs.

Wow, that’s awesome!
The Horsman plate uses aluminum in direct contact with the fire. What’s the highest cooking temp you’re done with it?
 

Colin

TVWBB Pro
Wow, that’s awesome!
The Horsman plate uses aluminum in direct contact with the fire. What’s the highest cooking temp you’re done with it?
If I remember correctly, the two pizza pans are SS. The project turned out kind of expensive, around $100 total. After Tom's video published, prices on Amazon went up.
I've only done the one cook and it was low and slow at 240-260*F. Hope this helps.
Oh, added another photo above.
 
If I remember correctly, the two pizza pans are SS. The project turned out kind of expensive, around $100 total. After Tom's video published, prices on Amazon went up.
I've only done the one cook and it was low and slow at 240-260*F. Hope this helps.
Oh, added another photo above.
In the video he shows screenshots of his Amazon purchase, and they're aluminum.
 
Warping is not the issue. The surface temperatures of coals can exceed the melting temperature of aluminum. In very close proximity, directly above the coals, it is a poor selection to chose aluminum. Will it work? Undoubtedly, for a while with a small fire.
After studying this thoroughly, I've come to the conclusion that it's unlikely. According to what I could find, while a charcoal briquette can — in a forced-air furnace — reach temps to melt Al, the achievable temperatures in a BBQ are substantially lower (in the 700-800 degF range) than the melting point of Al (around 1220 degF).

I've yet to hear of anyone making one of these and having it melt. I'll be building one myself in a week or two, and I'll use the Al pans I got from the restaurant supply. If they melt, I'll report it here and enjoy a helping of crow!
 
I think aluminum pizza pans will be just fine:

1. The pan will be over a minion burn or a snake. We are cooking ribs here. Not forging metal. Which means LOW and slow.

2. It's a pizza pan. Pizza ovens are really really hot. I don't think anyone would make a pizza pan that would melt if placed in very hot temperatures. People use aluminum pizza pans to cook pizzas over raging hot charcoal on their grills all the time.

Weber Genesis fireboxes and end caps are aluminum. PK charcoal grills are all aluminum. The GrillGrates I use on my gasser are aluminum. Most pots and pans are aluminum. Aluminum foil is aluminum.
 
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DaveInLA

New member
I just did my first cook using the SS stockpot lid as a diffuser. Chicken drumsticks. Since this wasn’t low and slow, I was afraid of using aluminum. I put almost a full chimney mostly lit coals and at half vent on the bottom, open on top. Ran 350-380 for 45 minutes. The photo shows how much coal was left at that point. Probably could’ve run another 30-40 minutes at this temp range.

I attached a photo of the bottom of the lid. You might be able to see that the lid still has the handle on it in the cooking photo. Prevents me from putting a water pan but I didn’t need it for this. Any ideas on how to cut off the handle?
 

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Rich G

TVWBB Diamond Member
@DaveInLA , another possible thought is to use a 22" rotisserie ring to give you more space if you have one/can find one. It will give you more vertical space, allowing for a bit more flexibility on your setup along with more distance between coals and food. When I competed back in the early 2000's (before I had a WSM), I built a smoker using two rotisserie rings stacked on each other with some bolts to hold grates. You will have to close the gap between the kettle and rotisserie ring, but it worked quite well (until one of my leg sockets failed.......but I was using sand in a 20" cake pan as a diffuser which was WAY too heavy......)

I don't know about using aluminum (don't have positive or negative input on that part......

If you go this route, and make all mods to the rotisserie ring(s), then your kettle is still left in its native configuration.

R
 

DaveInLA

New member
I actually have a rotisserie ring but it lets out way too much heat and smoke. I think it would be too difficult to seal.
 

 

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