Not having a hot enough weber smokey mountain is a common problem for many. It is usually caused by not having enough fuel in the chamber, incorrect vent settings, and not letting the charcoal catch fire before placing the rest of the chamber on top.
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Let’s explore some common pitfalls and solutions to getting a hot enough weber smokey mountain!
Things that make a weber smokey mountain not hot enough
A weber smokey mountain will not get hot enough if you do not make sure the vent settings and amount of fuel are properly implemented. Furthermore, letting the charcoal in the bottom bowl will need to actually catch fire completely before placing the rest of the cooking chamber on top.
Vent Settings in a Weber Smokey Mountain are important because they directly control how much airflow is let into the smoker.
When air is exposed to burning charcoal, more combustion happens, thus creating a hotter temperature. It is important to let enough constant air into the smoker for optimal air flow, and maintenance of ambient temperature, especially when starting the cook.
Once the vents have been positioned properly at both the bottom and top of the weber smokey mountain, be sure to check that enough charcoal has been placed in the fire bowl.
You should be using roughly a quarter to a half bag of charcoal at the start of your cook to ensure the temperature is increased to a hot enough temperature right away. Not doing this will prolong your cook, since you will eventually have to reload the firebox bowl with more charcoal.
Therefore, make sure to load it properly with enough charcoal to get enough combustion.
After both the vents and charcoal has been loaded into the weber smokey mountain, light the charcoal and wait about 10 – 15 minutes before actually placing the rest of the chamber on top.
Not placing the chamber on top of the fire bowl will let the entirety of catch.
When most of the charcoal is lit, the temperature will be very hot. This is what you want, as it will directly heat the rest of the smoker very quickly.
Increasing the heat in a weber smokey mountain
Increasing the heat in a weber smokey mountain is the result of letting the charcoal catch fire and having all the vents wide open. This lets maximum airflow hit the already burning charcoal, which will start to combust more of the briquettes.
It is recommended to pre load your firebox bowl with plenty of charcoal so the rest of the cooking chamber does not have to be constantly removed to add more.
Adding in the right amount of charcoal is very important, and will serve as the base from which the heat will generate from throughout the length of the cook.
Be very generous with the amount of charcoal when putting it in the firebox bowl.
When the charcoal has been placed properly and has had time to catch, just modify the vent settings to the proper configuration and you will be able to start increasing the heat.
One of the most important things when wanting to increase the heat in a weber smokey mountain is to ensure the airflow is constant. That is what will directly increase it.
Weber smokey mountain vent settings
The vent settings in a weber smokey mountain are one of the most important ways to start increasing the heat. In order to get maximum heat, leave all of them wide open. This ensures maximum airflow, which will start to ignite the charcoal exponentially.
There are a variety of vent settings you are able to configure if you want to increase the heat in your weber smokey mountain.
If you want to increase the smokey mountain shortly after starting the cook, slowly start opening each of the vents on both the bottom and top.
Opening the vents in your smoker will let the airflow in, allowing you to control how hot you want it to get by simply closing or opening the vents.
Weber Smokey Mountain Top Vent
The top vent in your smokey mountain should be the first vent to be opened all the way. It is near the top of the cooking chamber and is furthest away from the burning charcoal. Therefore, it does not directly add in airflow in such a manner that increases the combustion of the charcoal.
Not only does the top vent of a weber smokey mountain not do much for adding in extra air to the fire, its’ primary purpose is to actually let the smoke escape.
Letting the smoke escape from the smoker will serve as an exit point for all residual smoke. This ensures clean air quality for your meat.
Weber Smokey Mountain bottom vent
The bottom vents of the weber smokey mountain are the most important since they directly let airflow hit the burning charcoal. Increasing this airflow is what will start to increase your heat, and as such, you should be primarily using these vents to modify the temperature going forward.
When you want to increase the temperature for your weber smokey mountain, be sure to use the bottom vents.
If you are experiencing too low of a temperature and want to quickly increase the heat in your smokey mountain, open all the bottom vents. This will ensure you are doing everything you can to start increasing the temperature.
By opening the bottom vents all the way, the air should start hitting all of the lit charcoal, causing the temp to rise.
Once you have hit your preferred temp range, go ahead and slowly start closing the vents until the temperature is relatively stable over a period of 10-15 minutes.
Should the vent on my smoker be open or closed?
If you want to increase the temperature in your weber smokey mountain, you should open all the vents. This will make sure air is present enough to begin igniting your already lit charcoal. When this charcoal ignites further, the heat starts to increase.
Opening the smoker vents on your smokey mountain ensures the air can hit your briquettes, increasing the temperature as a result.
Not having the smoker vents opened all the way can still increase the temperature in your chamber. Even though they are not open, airflow is still coming in and lighting your fuel, which will certainly increase the temperatures.
Only when you wish to decrease the temperature, whether for shutting down your smokey mountain or by simply trying to maintain the temperatures, should the vents be closed.
Adding charcoal to Weber smokey mountain
Adding charcoal is one of the best ways to increase temperature in a weber smokey mountain. As more fuel is added to the already ignited charcoal, there is more combustion and thus a larger amount of heat. More heat means high temperatures, and in your smokey mountain – this is a great way to ensure you have the high temps you want.
Simply adding charcoal to the fire bowl at the bottom of the smoker is important, but you should consider at which point in the cooking process you add it in.
It is far beneficial to begin adding in the fuel right at the start and not throughout the cook.
When you only add a small amount to the smoker and begin adding more and more as time goes on, you begin to waste time.
Essentially, when you take the cooking chamber off to reload your Weber Smokey Mountain, the meat inside is not cooking. Meat not cooking means a longer cook, as you start to reload the fir bowl.
Not only that, but the charcoal then has to wait roughly 20 minutes to fully ignite, further increasing the cook time.
This article was written by Robert McCall, the founder of bbqdropout.com. Robert also owns and operates the BBQ dropout YouTube channel where he demonstrates his first-hand experience cooking all kinds of meats and strives to provide helpful, authoritative content for people looking how to barbecue.
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