I’ve had a lot of people on my YouTube channel ask me various questions about slow smoking on my 26.75″ Weber One Touch Gold Charcoal Grill. Up to this point, my current setup has been fairly straight forward and I generally follow this process:
- I place a few chunks of my favorite smokewood along one side of the kettle directly on the charcoal grate
- I bank a pile of unlit charcoal on top of the smokewood chunks and wrap the pile (about 5-6 briquettes in width) around about 1/2 the length of the kettle
- I pour a small pile of lit coals on one end of the unlit charcoal (this produces a long and slow burn, up to 8 hours in my experience)
- I place a water pan on the other side of the charcoal grate and fill with water
- I have a BBQ Guru DigiQ DX temperature controller that I use to control the temp of the kettle
- I then have a perfectly controlled kettle smoker and toss my food on
OK, so considering all of that, I was absolutely stoked when I found out about the following 2 products that aid in converting your Weber charcoal grill into a smoker.
The Smokenator is basically a bent piece of thick 18 gage stainless steel that will contain a large pile of charcoal and wood chunks and also has a water pan built in. The stainless steel wall acts as a heat diverter giving you better control over the temp inside the kettle during a low and slow cook. I don’t own one of these yet, but I see a couple major advantages:
1) The Smokenator is going to provide a lot more grate real estate than doing it my way above and will allow you to put food on part of the charcoal grate. If you look at the picture to the upper left (that I snagged from their website), you can quickly see how you could even fit a turkey and then also have your entire top grill grate to put food on as well. That is a TON of space.
2) Because of the steel wall that separates the charcoal from the rest of the kettle environment, you’ll have better control over temp, so if you don’t have a temp controller like I do, it should still be fairly easy to keep the temp down. The water pan that sits directly on top will also help control the temp and it’s also in a convenient location so you can quickly access it and refill it when it gets low.
The Hovergrill is also a nice little add-on that I think I’m going to purchase soon. Basically, it’s just an extra “hovering” grate that expands the cooking capacity of your Weber kettle. As you can see in the picture to the right, it sits nicely on top of your grill grate and if you’re using The Smokenator mentioned above, then you will essentially have 3 racks for food, all on your kettle! Please note that The Hovergrill only fits the 22.5″ Weber Charcoal Grill and the 26.75″ Weber Charcoal Grill.
A lot of you out that read my blog may be occasional BBQ’ers that aren’t really looking to invest into a stand alone smoker, so if you prefer grilling with charcoal (who doesn’t????) but also would like to start experimenting with low and slow smoking, then I think this is a very affordable and wise option to go with. If you grab either/both of these add-ons, let me know in the comments below how it works out for you.
Update 8/7/12 – The makers of the Smokenator and Hovergrill recently hooked me up w/ one of their Smokenator 2600 / Hovergrill kits. Check out my review HERE.