I got a crazy idea to buy a grill a few years ago. I don’t remember what inspired such an adventure. I think I hadn’t been to the ballpark in a week or something and was craving a grilled brat. But it’s been a couple of years, so who knows what was in my crazy head that particular week. After some research and reviewing my lease to make sure I could have it, we went to the local Lakeview Ace Hardware and bought a Weber. I bought the smaller, 18 in, kettle because how much was I really going to need to put on there at once…
I maybe grilled brats or steaks or burgers a few times. Then, the idea hit me to smoke. First, I was looking at smokers online. Then I found a story about turning your Weber into a smoker. All bets were off. I’ve been smoking at least twice a month since. I’ve smoked pork, lot of pork. I’ve done dry rubs, marinades and both hot and cold brines. I’ve smoked a turkey for Thanksgiving. Last year, we admitted we don’t even particularly care for most of the turkey and smoked two chickens instead. I’ve smoked a lot of chicken legs and thighs, which are our favorite part. I’ll admit something here that most of my meat-crazy friends will scoff at, but I used to be a big chicken breast fan. I still like them, but when smoking meat, the dark meats are where the flavor is hiding. I’ve smoked beef, which is okay, but I truly prefer pork.
And the smoking isn’t limited to meats. I smoke things for the veggie eaters, too. Smoked portabello mushrooms are a huge hit around here. Smoked tofu is trickier. The first time it was well received. The second time I tried to do it, it got a weird rubbery texture. I got some tips from a guy at a meeting for an upcoming bbq competition I’m participating in, and so I plan to try those out the next time. But you can also smoke veggies and side dishes. Yellow, red, and orange bell peppers and onions smoke fantastically. I tried potatoes, and they didn’t pick up much of the smoke, but they were good baked pototoes.
If you google it, you’ll read a lot of opinions on the best way to smoke on your Weber. I keep it simple. I pile all my coals on one side of the kettle after lighting them in a chimney. I add some water soaked wood chips. I then put a pan of water on the other side. I have one of those grill racks with hinged grates on each side so that I can add coals or wood as necessary. I put the meat on the side over the water pan, as far from the heat as it will fit. Then, it’s just a matter of monitoring your temperature. I have an instant read thermometer that has a long cord so you can keep it in the dish in the oven. It works perfectly for this purpose. You use your top and bottom vents to control your temperature until your meat is up to the desired temperature.
My favorite part about all this smoking is how much my husband loves smoked meats. Like, getting him to share some with his co-workers took months. But next to that, my favorite part has been when sharing them with a couple of my friends who, unlike me, are like true, could go to competition and win, smokers. Having someone at that level, who you know understands all that jargon and what-not, compliment the finished result is the best!