cooking chicken on the 14.5


 

Dave Calvery

New member
I cooked competition chicken on the 18.5 with an empty water plan and lump charcoal. Had no problem hitting my desired temperature (325-350). Recently, I switched to the 14.5 and am having trouble getting it over 300 degrees with no water pan. Is anyone else having this problem?

thanks,
Dave
 

Bob H.

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Leave the lid open just a little bit. Just need a little time to get to know the little guy.
 

Dave Calvery

New member
Tried an experiment

Leave the lid open just a little bit. Just need a little time to get to know the little guy.

After comparing the charcoal grate location on my other WSM's and a baby weber kettle I concluded that the airflow to the fire might be the problem. In relation to the air vents the charcoal grate on the 14.5 is much lower. I added some L-shaped tabs to the existing screws/bolts that support the charcoal grate and raised the the grate about one inch.

That change made a big difference. At 40 minutes into the cook I was cruising at 325 degrees. Can't wait to try it out in competition but that won't happen until 2015.

Dave
 

ChuckO

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
So you raised the rack that holds the charcoal an inch and got that kind of performance increase? Wow!

I made the Smokey Joe Mini, and heat is my issue (I have the silver, the air vents are in the bottom) I wonder if I added some small vents like that on the gold, if it would solve my need for heat? I've long thought about doing that, and now that I know that the forthcoming vents should be at the height of the charcoal rack, I'm probably going to move forward with this mod. Thanks and good luck in your 2015 competition quests
 

TonyUK

TVWBB Guru
Great tip/mod Dave.
I've only done SnL on my wee fella, but that's good info for future high-temp cooks. Thanks.
 

Paul Pearson

TVWBB Fan
In that picture do you have two charcoal grates stacked 90 degrees to each other?

I noticed that even with lump and an empty pan in mine i was having trouble getting the temps above 250 over the weekend. It looked like there wasn't much room for airflow under the fire so this makes sense to me.
 

LinBerl

TVWBB Member
I've done chicken 3 times on my 14.5". Last time was the best in terms of crispy skin. I propped the lid with a screwdriver, used a full load of Trader Joe briquets and a full small chimney of prelit spread on top. Held 350 degrees for more than an hour once it reached that temp (then I snuffed it because the chicken was done). I left the door off until the temp got up to 350 to speed that process.
 

Dave Calvery

New member
In that picture do you have two charcoal grates stacked 90 degrees to each other?

I noticed that even with lump and an empty pan in mine i was having trouble getting the temps above 250 over the weekend. It looked like there wasn't much room for airflow under the fire so this makes sense to me.

Yes I use two criss-crossd grates in all my WSM's to keep the smaller pieces of lump charcoal from falling through instead of burning. Have also used a piece of expanded metal.
 

Paul Pearson

TVWBB Fan
Does having the grate an inch higher noticeably reduce access to the fire with the water bowl installed?

I am seriously considering doing this.
 

Paul Pearson

TVWBB Fan
of=50,480,270
 

Dave Calvery

New member
I'm reposting the photos using photobucket instead of snapfish:



As far as the tabs go, I just bought some half inch stock aluminum at home deport, cut it to length, drilled some holes in it and bent them on a vise.
I haven't tried a low and slow cook since I raised the grate but suspect it might get crowd the water pan. I mainly want to use the 14.5 for hot chicken cooking and may half to remove (or rotate) the tabs for a long, low temp cook
 

Dwain Pannell

TVWBB Hall of Fame
That's interesting. I have the opposite problem. My 14.5" runs hot if I don't watch it. I don't cook on it a whole lot so I attribute it to lack of seasoning.
 

TonyUK

TVWBB Guru
Dave. Rotating all the tabs 90 degs, & tightening them back up, would lower the charcoal grate to it's original position for slow and low. Good thinking.
 

Paul Pearson

TVWBB Fan
I went to cook chicken direct in my 14.5 a week ago and noticed the chimney starter was taking much longer than normal to get going sitting down in the charcoal bowl.

I thought of this thread and set the chimney on a old baking pan on top of the charcoal ring and in no time there were flames shooting out of the top. I think the factory level of the charcoal grate puts the fire below the air flow and stifles the fire.
 

 

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