Smoke Me Some Butt: Turn a Classic Weber Grill into a Smoker (Snake Method)
Goodbye, Summer. Hello, Fall! You know the perfect thing about the beginning of Fall in San Francisco? This is the warmest time of the year a.k.a. Indian Summer. The leaves are changing colors; the sky's blue; the grass is still green. You know how much I love a variety of colors, so this is my favorite time of the year. But what makes it even more perfect is that my barbeque season gets extended just a little while longer. Who doesn't love the idea of being outdoors surrounded by friends and family with food on the grill, sun in the sky, and music in the air. If it's a nice day out and I'm not working, there's a high probability I'm outside in the backyard grilling something.
Unfortunately, I'm not constantly camping and grilling in the woods, but I felt my campsite photo set the mood. Now, I can't seem to decide on the perfect smoker to purchase.: Traeger, Weber, Pit Barrel, Masterbuilt, Big Green Egg, Char-Broil, the list is endless. In the meantime, I've had to convert my classic Weber Original Kettle Grill into a makeshift smoker. Yes, there are methods out there that require deconstruction and reconstruction of your grill, but we're looking to work smarter not harder here, folks! A coworker of mine introduced me to the snake method. (Thank you, Grill Master Hawkins!) All you'll need is your everyday barbeque supplies: charcoal briquettes, wood chunks, chimney starter (for convenience), and an aluminum pan.
Remove the top grill rack from your Weber Original Kettle Grill and set aside. Create two rows of charcoal briquettes along the half of the outer rim of the lower rack creating a semi-circle. Then stack an additional two rows on top of your semi-circle creating a 2 row x 2 column semi-circle. I like to place a single briquette on each end because we'll be stacking some ashed briquettes there later.
Next, chop up some wood chunks and scatter them on top of the briquettes. I have a bag of apple wood, but the choice is entirely up to you.
Toss some charcoal briquettes into the chimney starter until ashy. Place hot charcoal on both ends of the semi-circle. This will be the fuel for your semi-circle.
At this point, I like to close the lid for a bit (about 5 minutes) to let the coals cuddle and warm each other up. It'll be a slow domino effect, so don't freak out if it seems to be slow. Then fill your aluminum pan about 2/3 full of water and place on the open space of the lower rack. Place the top rack back onto the grill.
Place pork shoulder/butt onto top rack above the pan. Insert thermometer prongs. Close the lid and walk away.
I'll come back after a few hours to check on the charcoal in case it needs replacing. The problem with the snake method is that if you're smoking a large chunk of meat, you'll burn out your coal before your meat is done. It's not that big of a deal though. Just grab some heat-resistant gloves, remove the top rack with the pork shoulder/butt and set aside. Quickly place more charcoal briquettes into a semi-circle on top of the ashes of the old ones. You should still have some hot coals left on the lower rack, which will supply heat to the new coals. Place the top rack with the meat back on and cover with the lid.
Keep an eye on your charcoal and the thermometer during the process. Once meat is cooked and tender, remove the prongs and place meat into a fresh aluminum pan. Shred with hands, forks, or claws. Serve hot with barbeque sauce on the side. I have a variety of barbeque sauces, so people can choose which one they prefer to place on your pulled pork. Hope you all have a wonderful autumn and a successful barbeque!