Weber Kettle Vents...Help!
My husband exposed a deep, dark secret tonight.
How in the hell do ya control the heat on a weber kettle? Is it the top vents..or is it the bottom vents?
I was very surprised at his admission..as he seems so great on the grill!
He says he is having a hard time with BBQ ribs, in particular. He reads all the books on grilling, BBQ, smoking, etc. Says none of them really say what to do with the vents! Trust me...the guy has the Alton Brown thermoeters, etc.
The way to control the temperature of a fire is to control the INTAKE of fresh air. More fresh air = hotter fire. Less fresh air = cooler fire. The air intakes on the kettle are on the bottom. Thus, control the temps by using the bottom vents.
Closing the top vents will choke the fire, too, but it'll make it a 'dirty' fire, with more soot and creosote (esp. if using briquets). It also really messes with the air flow through the kettle.
Keep the top vents wide open (until you want to extinguish the fire, that is), and control temperature by controlling flow of fresh air at the bottom.
I use all of the vents to control the heat. However, I never fully close the top vent. So, for example, for ribs, after the charcoal is fully lit, I close all vents half way. After about 15 min, check the temp and see if you need to let more or less air into the grill. If you need to close anything, close the bottom vents only.
I wrote up a long primer on how I do ribs on the grill. See my post in the thread below that begins with the line "Sure thing..."
I have had the same Weber Kettle for the past 35 years and have smoked ribs, pork loins, brisket, chicken and turkey in it without any problems. I usually open all the vents, and carefully manage my fuel (briquettes), adding more at intervals, but not so much as to crank the temperature up too high. Practice makes perfect.
I've had a Weber Kelttle for a long time, and keep the bottom vents WIDE open, and contol the heat with the top vents.
I've done ribs, four slabs at a time (stacked on top of each other) often, and with some pratice you can cook low and slow.
what i cook -----> http://dcinsideout.blogspot.com/icook