I’ve been posting a lot of homemade food porn on social media of late and several people have asked me how I’m getting such great results from a simple Weber Kettle grill.
The “secret” to low-and-slow grilling is temperature control. While you can buy lots of fancy (expensive) gadgets to control the cooking temps in your grill, you don’t need a single damn one of them — they are the props of the desperate and hopeless!
The “Snake Method” of grilling produces perfect results with almost no work. Simply arrange a line or “snake” of Kingsford Charcoal Briquettes (not lump, but real NON MATCHLIGHT briquettes) two wide and two high along the exterior wall of your kettle. Light about 10-12 briquettes in a chimney and pour the pre-lit charcoal on top of one end of the snake. The snake ring in this picture burned about 5 1/2 hours at about 250-degrees.
I place a few chunks of wood on the charcoal to add smoke along the way (these are Pecan.)
Open the bottom vent the whole way and use the top vent to control the airflow) which controls the temperature. Opening raises the temp and closing lowers the temp. I check every half hour or so, but NEVER remove the lid unless you’re planning to wrap your meat in foil and return it to the grill (or, you think it’s done and you want to take the internal meat temp.)
In this particular case, I smoked baby back ribs 5 1/2 hours to fall off the bone perfection!
A note on the fuel — contrary to what you might have heard, Kingsford Charcoal Briquettes have no added chemicals, binders or fillers. You don’t need to worry about a bad taste using them in this method. While lump charcoal burns fast and hot, briquettes burn slower and lower. By all means, use lump for steaks and situations where you want to sear the meat, but in a low-and-slow cook, the briquettes are the best choice.
Also, use wood CHUNKS for this type of smoking. Chips (wet or not) are too small to do the job right. I find three chunks of wood to be the best amount. The food gets the right amount of smoke without being overcome by the smokiness.
Finally, if you want “bark” on your meat, wait till the end and raise the temperature to sear the outside of the meat to your liking. Doing it at the beginning makes the surface harder for the smoke to do its magic.
So, 5 1/2 hours of grill watching requires five more critical things — a hand full of good cigars to smoke, a cooler full of beer / soda / margaritas, a great “grillin” playlist on your iPod AND a comfortable chair in which to relax. The grill does is almost all by itself, so don’t fall asleep in the sun — wear sunscreen!
There you go!