Lowering the charcoal grate for smoking in a 26er


 

Joel H in Brat City

TVWBB Member
Lee, your numbers seem right to me. I wouldn't worry about the charcoal grate sitting on the enamel, since you are planning on doing low and slow you aren't going to be hitting the temps needed to damage the coating. Plus if you are using the charcoal chamber it will keep the coals away from the walls of the kettle. But some foil cushions wouldn't hurt and it may help stabilize the grate.
 

Joel H in Brat City

TVWBB Member
I did get a chance to try out the basket over the weekend - I did a whole pork loin adapting Malcom Reeds "Peach Smoked Pork Loin Recipe".

His method was for use on a drum smoker, but I figure that's basically what I'm doing when using the Vortex plate - so I seasoned it per the recipe but used pecan wood instead of peach. It's a little tougher keeping temps down when using the plate - it also doesn't help that the grill is new and sweeps haven't been gummed up with grease and ash yet. But I was able to keep temps between 270° - 300°.
Bottom line - it came out awesome! The plate gives you a different flavor profile somewhere between grilled and smoked - the exterior reminded me a ribs finished on the grill. The rubs from the recipe almost gave it a sauced flavor even though it was rub only - my 3 year old even liked it!
 

LeeHarvey

TVWBB Fan
Yeah, I was more worried about scratching the enamel, but I wasn’t thinking that the only part of the grate that would present contact to the bowl would be the lower half of the outside ring. Once I think through how it would make contact, I’m not so concerned. As Joel so astutely noted, though, the cushions would probably make the grate more stable, so I might end up using them, anyway.
 

WaltS

New member
Lee, I got the charcoal grate from a WSM to drop in my 26 incher and that increased the distance between the grates by the distance you indicated. I have been using the WSM charcoal grate lying directly against the enamel of the grill for about 6 months and I have seen no indication that it is scratching or otherwise damaging the enamel. It doesn't move around even without being on anything to hold it in place. Sounds like you have a good setup going and I wish you many great cooks with it. Best regards
 

LeeHarvey

TVWBB Fan
Remember when I said that I didn't feel like getting into heavy math? Yeah... I felt like getting into heavy(-ish) math. I know these numbers aren't exactly 'right', but they're close enough for comparison purposes.

The interior volume of a 26" Kettle is about 8550 cubic inches. That's assuming that the bowl is a hemisphere with a radius of 13.25", and the lid is a half of an oblate spheroid with a height of 10".

An 18" WSM has an interior volume of about 7500 cubic inches, assuming the lid and bottom together make up a sphere of 9" radius, and the center section is 17.5" tall.

The 22" WSM has an interior volume of - I hope you're sitting down - 13750 cubic inches, or getting close to twice the volume of the 18" model. Assumptions here were an 11" radius and 21.5" center section height. It should now be obvious why the 22" WSM has a reputation as a fuel hog.

Considering that the 18" WSM has a rated cooking surface of 481 square inches, and the 26" Kettle is 508 square inches, I'd call them pretty close in terms of both volume and area. I'm a bit more confident in my idea to use the charcoal chamber intended for the 18", especially since the CB model is a bit larger than the Weber original.
 
The 22" WSM has an interior volume of - I hope you're sitting down - 13750 cubic inches, or getting close to twice the volume of the 18" model. Assumptions here were an 11" radius and 21.5" center section height. It should now be obvious why the 22" WSM has a reputation as a fuel hog.

If I was ever going to upgrade from my 18 WSM, for this reason I'd probably go for a stacker on a 22 kettle rather than the 22 WSM.

Is there a functional reason why the 22 needs to be any taller than an 18?
 

LeeHarvey

TVWBB Fan
I think they made the center section height about the same as the diameter as much for aesthetic reasons as anything else. I mean - is there really anything you’d want to smoke that wouldn’t fit between the grates of an 18” WSM?
 

LeeHarvey

TVWBB Fan
Finally got all my pieces together. I’m not sure where I messed up - the charcoal ring is true to Cajun Bandit’s stated dimensions, and my pizza stone is only half an inch thick, but I ran out of space quicker than I anticipated. Everything still fits, but I can’t use the cheap aluminum pans from Costco as they’re at least half an inch taller than the Weber pans.

No matter... now my biggest concern is thawing out the pork butt that’s in my freezer.
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Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Interesting but, why not make the diffuser at standard height and get a rotini ring to gain the height? Steel tape the “extra slots” or simply add more smoke medium?
Simple curiosity, I’m not equipped to do the simplest of these modifications but, where they are quite clever, some seem like making the result “the hard way” as they said in “Vegas” way back when.
 

 

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