How to refuel your Weber Smokey Mountain fast
We have all been there at one point or another. You’ve got a fire going, the meat and wood smell amazing, and then the temperature gauge slowly starts to drop.
You’ve been holding steady at 225 but now it’s getting dangerously close to dropping below 200. Thankfully, Weber made refueling the Smokey Mountain easy so you don’t have to stress about adding more charcoal and wood.
Adding unlit charcoal through access door
One of the best features of the Smokey Mountain is the access door. During the cook, you can add unlit charcoal through the access door to increase the amount of fuel you are using.
You need to be careful with how you add it, however. You do not want to choke out the charcoal that is still burning by smothering it with unlit charcoal.
Pulling the barrel off and adding the charcoal directly
When you need to add a large amount of charcoal, you may be tempted to pull the middle section of the Smokey Mountain up and off the charcoal chamber. This is possible, but it is dangerous. The potential for fires, ruined food, or injuries is high here.
Adding charcoal mid-cook
As the charcoal burns down in your Smokey Mountain, you may need to add more charcoal during a longer cook to maintain the necessary temperature to smoke that brisket or pork shoulder. While it can be annoying, it is part of the reality of smoking meat.
How much charcoal to add-in
If you are careful checking temperatures regularly, that will prevent having to add a substantial amount of charcoal.
Weber recommends adding 12-14 briquettes on the 18.5-inch Smokey Mountain and 18-20 on the 22.5.
How do you replenish coals?
The safest method of replenishing coals is by adding charcoal through the access door. Carefully adding charcoal is the key, whether you are using tongs to carry the charcoal or any other method.
You should be monitoring the temperature in your Smokey Mountain regularly, so you should notice when the temperature starts to drop before the coals burn out completely.
Using a charcoal chimney
Adding lit charcoals can be key if the temperature has dropped considerably, and the best way to light charcoal is a charcoal chimney.
However, with the standard access door, adding lit charcoal in larger amounts can be hard. You need to be careful when attempting this.
Refueling during a long cook
Whenever you are attempting a longer cook, such as brisket or pork shoulder, there is always a possibility that your charcoal will run out before your meat has reached its target temperature.
You should always have more charcoal on hand before you start cooking for this reason.
Dumping out the ash
During your cook, you should not need to dump out ash. The charcoal bowl is deep enough that if you are cleaning it after every use, there should not be enough buildup during a cook to affect the charcoal.
Adding new unlit charcoal
You add charcoal through the access door as needed. Some people use tongs to carefully place charcoal into the coals while others fashion a chute to slide more charcoal in at a time. Over time, you will find a way that works best for you.
How much charcoal does a Weber Smokey Mountain use?
If you are looking at cooking a brisket, you are looking at roughly half a bag of charcoal to start.
You want to have the charcoal ring full between unlit charcoal and the chimney of lit charcoal you are going to add to start the fire.
How often does it need to be refueled?
If you are using the Minion Method or any of the variations on that method, you may not need to refuel. It is possible to need to refuel every four or so hours, though.
As you spend time cooking and learning how to use the Smokey Mountain, you will learn how much charcoal you need to use at the start of the cook.
Making sure the smoker stays hot long enough
Monitoring your temperature is important, but you also need to know what to do to keep your Smokey Mountain in your desired temperature range.
Proper vent settings
Airflow is a fire’s best friend. If you need to catch unlit charcoal you added or the temperature has dropped on your Smokey Mountain, open your lower vents. If the temperature is rising out of your range, you need to close vents partially or completely to cut down on airflow.
Letting the coals come up to temperature
When lighting coals in a charcoal chimney, you need to let them come up to temperature before dumping them into your Smokey Mountain.
If you do not, it can affect how long before you can cook and if the rest of the charcoal in your grill lights.
Not opening the lid
Do not open the lid more than necessary, otherwise all that heat and smoke will leave the Smokey Mountain.
Using the water pan properly not only helps regulate the heat but also keeps the moisture surrounding your brisket, cutting down on any need to spritz. Keep the lid on to keep your Smokey Mountain working well.