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How to Smoke on a Kettle Grill

Are you looking for a smoker for your barbeque that doesn’t cost a ton of money?

Your kettle grill can do a decent job as a smoker without breaking your bank account. It is also an incredibly flexible grill that you can use for all sorts of grilling.

Barbecuing has turned out to be a favorite pastime for most people. There are lots of families that invest in exquisite smokers for their Saturday barbeque routines. 

However, if you are on a budget, or don’t have space, you can turn your kettle grill into a fantastic smoker and still get remarkable results.

Useful Accessories

Chimney starter

A chimney starter is one of the few accessories you cannot miss for your kettle grill. When you are using charcoal lumps or briquettes, you use the chimney starter to ignite them. Chimney starters are safer when compared with lighter fluids.

Charcoal briquettes

For normal grilling, charcoal lumps would be the obvious choice. However, when it comes to smoking, charcoal briquettes are the better choice. Briquettes give off a steady heat and burn much longer than charcoal lumps. Get briquettes with no chemical additives.

Smoking wood/wood chips

Wood or wood chips are what give flavor to your barbecues. Oak is a favorite for many followed by hickory. Be careful with hickory, too much of it makes your meat bitter. A subtle option is maple wood. Choose wood that works for your meat and the flavor you want.

Charcoal basket (Slow ‘N Sear 2.0)

A charcoal basket ensures adequate airflow around and inside the fuel. This added airflow makes better smoking. The Slow ‘N Sear 2.0 is an excellent charcoal basket. It offers efficient fuel burn plus a removable water reservoir.

Aluminum tray for water

An aluminum tray for water during smoking is essential for evening out the heat. You can place the tray above the heat to control the temperature. Water vapor also helps smoke stick easily to the meat giving it more flavor.

How to smoke on a weber kettle


Step 1: Prepare the meat

Most people rely on commercial rubs for their smoking, it is fast and efficient. The results are always guaranteed. However, learning to make your rub is also important. The first step in making an incredible smoke is meat preparation.

There are many types of meat you can smoke on your grill. Pork and chicken require sugar for the final rub. To make the Dalmatian or Texas-style rub, add salt and pepper to your meat and rub evenly. Use a 50/50 ratio for the salt and pepper by volume.

The SPG or Salt Pepper Garlic rub builds on the Dalmatian rub by simply adding garlic. A perfect ratio is 2:2:1 for salt, pepper, and garlic. SPOG is an all-purpose rub that is quite popular. The new SPOG ration becomes 2:2:1:1 for salt, pepper, onion, and garlic, respectively. This rub is excellent for beef, pork, chicken, or goose.

If you prefer a spicier rub, you can add a few spices and herbs to your SPOG rub. Some of the more popular ingredients to include are cayenne, paprika, mustard powder, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds, among others.

Soaking your meat in brine for a few hours before adding the rub will ensure the flavors soak in.


Step 2: Set up the grill

If you want to have a perfect smoke, the first thing you need to do is to soak your wood chips or chunks. A handle of these chips or chunks soaked overnight should do the trick. If you are using chunks instead of chips, soak them up longer. Soaking the wood allows them to produce more smoke instead of burning up.

Since the average cook time for a smoker is around nine hours, you need a constant heat supply throughout the period without disrupting the cooking process.

One of the quickest ways to achieve this is by the modified minion method. You place lit charcoal or charcoal briquettes on top of unlit ones. The coals will in time light the ones below them.

Place about 70 unlit charcoal briquettes on one side of the grill or 35 briquettes on either side. Fill the charcoal chimney with 16 charcoal briquettes and light the chimney.

Let the briquettes burn until they have turned grey.

Place an aluminum tray right below where the meat will sit and add some water to catch the meat drips.

setup the grill

Proceed to add the lit coals on top of the unlit ones once you have the tray in place. You can then add some of the soaked wood chips or wood chunks on the lit briquettes. Once you placed the grate back on, close the lid and let it smoke.

You will need to regulate the temperature of the grill to maintain a constant of about 250 degrees Fahrenheit. You can do this by regulating the bottom and the top vents. Start by partially opening the bottom vent while the top vent remains closed. Making adjustments to temperature on your grill is straightforward. Open the vents to raise the temperature and close it to lower it.

Put the meat on once the grill starts to smoke and the temperature hits 250 degrees Fahrenheit.


Step 3: Smoke

Place the meat on the grate, close the lid, and start the timer. It's going to take you many hours, including prep time, to smoke the meat. Since the prep and cook time is high, you should plan your smoke.

Once the meat is in the smoker, you will need to constantly monitor the temperature to ensure it cooks evenly ( I recommend good smoker thermometer setup for this job ). The optimum temperature is between 250F-275F.

You will have to play with the vents a little to maintain a constant temperature throughout the day.

If the temperature drops, add more lit coals if you feel the meat is still a long way from being done.

To avoid losing heat, don’t open the kettle lid. Just sit back, relax, and let the kettle do its work. 

smoke with weber kettle

It is normal for the temperature to drop as your meat cooks. Most times, you won’t need to add more coal.

Depending on the type of meat you are cooking, check the temperature of the meat during the final stages. Ensure it reaches the optimum temperature to get the best results.

Let your meat rest covered in aluminum foil for at least 30 mins after you have taken it out of your kettle grill.


Step 4: Enjoy the results of smoking

The best part about barbequing is eating. After spending endless hours watching and tending over your meat, the results are nothing short of satisfying. Smoking will turn any tough meat into a juicy and tender treat your friends and family will love.

Take out the meat from the aluminum foil and pull out the bones. They should come straight off without any problems. Use a fork or your hands to pull the smoked meat apart. There are plenty of sauces you can make to go with it or serve it the way you want. The juices in the tray make an incredible sauce.

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