Weber Temperature Regulation


Yesterday I scored an 8-lb picnic roast from Giant Eagle for about a buck a pound. I'm cooking it for my neighbor who helped me cut down a tree several weeks ago. There should be a few scraps leftover for our dinner. I was giddy as a school girl. The picnic is my favorite pork shoulder cut. It's fattier, but the fat is more easily separated from the meat than the more common Boston Butt during the pulling (the more times you state butt in a post, the more it gets read).

I gave it a rub last night and plopped it on my weber this morning at 6:15 using the minion method for setting up the fuel. In the past, I had regulated the temperature of the Weber using the bottom vents cracked and the top full open and "controlled" the temperature by placing only a few briquettes in at time. This requires intermittent fussing during the day. Maybe only every few hours, but still kind of a pain. Using this method the temperature bobbles around 250-325-deg-F.

The minion method permits one to charge lots of fuel at a time and have it ignite slowly over time. This way, less maintenance during the 10-12 hour burn is required. More time to sip brew and contemplate life (or chase little girls around the park).

I've only been moderately successful with the minion method. My heat undoubtedly gets to 400 and then slows down but takes too long to cool. In all the years I've been cooking pork roasts, I never bothered to attempt to regulate the heat via the top vent of the Weber.

Today, on the sabbath, my eyes have been opened.

That top vent is as precise as the dial on your oven. After the erratic morning I spent trying to control dome temperature, I nearly shut down the vent, all but a crack, and left a thermometer in the dome to watch. There's a TON of fuel charged (briquettes, maple and mesquite) ignited and the temperature is ROCK STABLE at about 240-deg-F. I think I have conquered the ultimate lazyman's slow cooking method on the infamous Weber. I hope I haven't hurt the roast from the early exposure to high heat. Over the next few hours, the temperature never moved more than +/- 5 deg-F. I'm going to pull it off around 4 for a rest before a 5:30 dinner. A damn good day for 'q.


Andrew said...

Glad to read that you got this technique nailed down, one less thing to worry about. I've never smoked a picnic before, but it sounds great.

Willem said...

Bought myself a Weber, thought now I am going to make a great braai. What a waste of money...

WildcatRudy said...

Dave, you actually mention "school girl" and "butt" in that first paragraph...that guarantees more readers!  ;o)

I've been reading your posts here and a couple of long threads at TVWBB, getting ready to attempt my first smoke on a 22-1/2" kettle.  I am going to try the top vent just as you have it here, but I have a "one touch" as opposed to the three separate bottom vents.  What would you suggest--do I crack the bottom to about the same as the top vent, or open it halfway, or...?  

Going to attempt a boneless butt (there's that word again!) we have in the freezer at some point next week, probably after midnight so it can go all night long, although I may also throw on a rack of baby backs in the early morning.  I'm going to use the mini minion method for the burn.  I'll have to report back with my success story (or lack thereof).