Just wanted to share some pics of my Weber 22" kettle that I have modified to be a smoker. Did a pork butt on it last Sat, Beef ribs this Sat and then arrives the new Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5". Yikes!!!!
excellent. could you share some of the details?
I've used that set up with great results on Boston Butts, salmon and even some corned beef (Pastrami, anyone?)
It's not a real smoker, but it'll do for my modest needs.
NOT A REAL SMOKER!! Why I never.........
Pray tell why the Weber kettle is not a REAL smoker?
Well essentially you get 2 fire bricks, hopefully not too long. Set them on the charcoal grate. Cover the side of the charcoal grate that is away from the meat with foil. Some folks don't do that, but it supposedly directs the input air from the bottom vents to the coal side. I added the hinged Weber food grate for easy addition of coal during the cooking (smoking ) process. I place a pan of water over the coals, this creates some moisture but mostly helps diffuse the heat coming of the coals. On the meat side I put a drip pan under the meat on the coal grate. So now your'e ready to fire her up. I use the Minion method of starting the coals. found here:http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/fireup2.html
What I do is fill a starter chimney ful of lump hard wood coals and place them on the coal grate cold. I then heat about 1/2 a chimney of lump coals in the chimney till they are hot but not spent. I then lay the hot coals on top of the cold coals. I also add hard wood chunks to add smoke flavore. I used apple chunks for the butt. So now I put the cover on and make sure the 3 bottom vents are full open. Also leave the top vent open throughout the whole cook. I use a remote dual probe thermometer. One prob sits on the cooking grate to give smoker temp and one goes into the meat to give internal meat temp. I want to smoke this butt at between 200-225. So when the smoker temps got to 200 I closed the bottom vent furthest away from the coals all the way, and closed the other 2 vents to about 1/2. When the temp got to 225 I closed the 2 open bottom vents to about 1/4. You control the smoker temp with the vents. This kettle holds temp well for about 1-1 1/2 hrs. At that point I take the lid off, check the coals and water pan and maybe add 1 more apple wood. I smoked this 7lb pork butt for 12 hrs. I would say the ave temp was about 225. When you take the top off you loose temp but it comes back quickly. After the meat internal temp was at 190, I took it out of smoker, wrapped in Saran wrap, then foil,then a couple towels and put in cooler, no ice, for an hour. This is too let the meat rest and to reabsorb liquid into the interior of the meat. After that I pulled the meat with my fingers into chunks. It fell off the bone. Next day I shredded the remaining meat with 2 forks. Another tip. To reheat meat from frige, I wrap in foil and make a tent, all edges secure. Put in oven at 250 till ready to eat maybe 1/2 hr to 45 min. I also save some of the fat from the original cook and lay it on the cold meat. It bastes the meat as it heats.
Try it you'll love it. Just remember don't leave the kettle for more than 90 min at a time cause it does need attention.
Should lowes, home depot, ace, etc... sell fire bricks?
My Home Depot did not, I found them at a rock quary that sells rock etc for yards. I have read that some folks use regular bricks wrapped in foil. Apparently there is some evidence to suggest that reg bricks can explode if they get REALLY hot. Others have poopooed that idea.
I would try either a concrete block manufacturer/masonry supplier or a fireplace dealer in your area for firebrick. Also regular brick can "explode" which is really just a function of any moisture that is trapped in them creating enough pressure once heated to bust it apart.