How to turn your Weber charcoal grill into a smoker

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:

  1. I place a few chunks of my favorite smokewood along one side of the kettle directly on the charcoal grate
  2. 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
  3. 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)
  4. I place a water pan on the other side of the charcoal grate and fill with water
  5. I have a BBQ Guru DigiQ DX temperature controller that I use to control the temp of the kettle
  6. 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 Smokernator

The SmokenatorThe 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

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 The Hovergrillcooking 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.



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4 Responses to How to turn your Weber charcoal grill into a smoker

  1. bbqjunkie August 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    I was a little hesitate to purchase the Smokenator, but I watched your video, and many others, of the Smokenator and just had to pull the trigger. Ordered mine yesterday and it should be in this week. I can’t wait to try it out. I’ll make sure to leave a review here after I try it out. Digging your youtube channel by the way, keep those videos coming brotha.

    • Steve August 7, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

      right on man. lemme know what you think.

      side note: i just checked out your site. pretty sick. i like the layout and like how you have quality graphic elements. looks like you’re using a WooThemes template. that’s what i’m using too. best templates around in my opinion.

      are you interested in trading links? if so, lemme know and i’ll get ya added to my fav links list.

  2. Carl Harrison April 29, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    Hi there,
    Im just about to purchase my new weber 67cm (26inch) grill, and have been looking into this smokenator idea, i also have ordered the DigiQ and was wandering if you can easily use both together and if so would the smokenator be placed over the fan port for temp control ?

    Thank you in advance


    • Steve April 29, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

      Yes, they work great together. They basically turn your kettle into a VERY functioning little smoker 🙂 And yes, I would drill the hole for the DigiQ adapter on the side you plan to use the Smokenator on.

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