Author Topic: Weber mods  (Read 2827 times)

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Online DynaGlide

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Weber mods
« on: August 09, 2021, 01:56 PM »
As some of you may know one of my other passions is grilling. Specifically charcoal. I don't own or want a gas grill. I'm a Weber fanatic and Big Green Egg lover.

I ended up with two of these Weber Performers after my neighbor put his on the curb. I sent one up to my in-laws vacation home in Massachusetts where we go for at least a week every summer and I do all the cooking while I'm there. Lately I've been cooking for a lot of people at once and I kept looking into how I'm going to do that on this little kettle. This is the start:







Next to come is a hanging rack system that will let me hang ~10 racks of ribs at once, or several half chickens etc. A friend of mine's pictures:





And the last thing I'm just about finished with is modding my temp controller fan to fit over the existing gas assist burner tube found on the Performer kettles:



When I'm done I'll be able to take the setup back and forth every year, throw a ton of food on it and regulate the temperature with the fan and go to the beach for a bit without babysitting the grill.

Matt
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline JD2720

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2021, 02:18 PM »
That looks great Matt. That is a lot of food to cook on a small grill.

I have started grill cooking since I retired at the start of this year.  My prior cooking experience was reheating something in the microwave. I took the easy rout to start, I got a pellet grill. I did not want to learn to build a fire & cook at the same time.
Someday I hope to be at your level.

Online DynaGlide

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2021, 02:35 PM »
That looks great Matt. That is a lot of food to cook on a small grill.

I have started grill cooking since I retired at the start of this year.  My prior cooking experience was reheating something in the microwave. I took the easy rout to start, I got a pellet grill. I did not want to learn to build a fire & cook at the same time.
Someday I hope to be at your level.

Pickup a Weber kettle to play around with. They're dirt cheap and plentiful on the usual secondary markets. Best part is the porcelain enamel cleans up so well you can make a 15 year old grill look brand new with some elbow grease.

Here's a 26" I did

Before


After


They're a lot of fun to learn and the results are worth it. I know guys with both Pellet and charcoal and they all say the pellet just can't do what the charcoal can.

Matt
« Last Edit: August 09, 2021, 03:10 PM by DynaGlide »
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline Packard

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2021, 02:56 PM »
You can same some elbow grease by sealing the bottom of the grill (melted candle wax works well), and filling it with warm water, vinegar, and Dawn dishwashing soap.  Allow to sit for several hours (overnight is better) and then scrub.

It won't eliminate all the scrubbing, but it will make the scrubbing work better and faster. 




Offline Alex

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2021, 03:37 PM »
Hehe, when I read "Weber Mods" I originally thought about something else. It is a well known brand of building materials here.

Their stuff ain't that tasty though.  [smile]



Offline Packard

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2021, 04:23 PM »

Their stuff ain't that tasty though.  [smile]


(Attachment Link)

Yeah, well...maybe you are no Chef Ramsey. [big grin]

Offline Alex

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2021, 04:28 PM »
Lol, that's a fact.  [big grin]

Offline jeffinsgf

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2021, 04:29 PM »
Love the riser. Is that Weber or 3rd party?

Must confess that I use gas for weeknight cooks, but I have both a Big Green Egg and a Weber for weekends. The Weber's been idle for quite some time. Time to give the Egg a rest and fire up the Weber.

If you and your family like Mexican food, check out a convex Comal...sample here: https://www.amazon.com/Concord-Stainless-Convexed-Mexican-Discada/dp/B08HGP8HPP/ref=sr_1_19?dchild=1&keywords=comal&qid=1628540508&s=home-garden&sr=1-19

You concentrate your fire in the center of the Weber and cook on the raised part of the comal. Then, slide the nearly finished stuff into the outer ring and put the next element in the center. For example, pork cubes, then chicken cubes, then onions and peppers. Each element gives up some juice that works down into the well and flavors everything else. Best fajitas ever.

If you want to fall down a rabbit hole, google Comal cooking.

Offline tsmi243

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2021, 04:46 PM »
when I read "Weber Mods" I originally thought about something else.

Same here, but I was expecting a VW bug

I also want to know about the riser- I've seen home-built ones before, but that looks pretty sharp.  How did the bottom end of the ribs turn out?  I can see a diffuser in there, but that's still not a lot of vertical space from the coals. 

Offline Bob D.

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2021, 04:56 PM »
I had a Weber side draft on my MG Midget years ago.

Matt, that's what you found under all that grime or you refinished it.

I've had a couple gas grills in the past but we don't grill that much
so they sit until I give them away after being used a couple dozen
times or take them to the dump when the wife gets tired of looking
at it on the deck. But a month later she'll want to grill.

WTH can you do.  [bite tongue]
-----
It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?


Offline FestitaMakool

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2021, 05:26 PM »
Dynaglide.. how on Earth did you get the kettle so clean? [blink]

I’ve got a Performer myself, and I did do a good portion of elbow grease on mine this spring
(included the obligatory wash-down-with-all-the-grease-return-right-to-my-face.. using the pressure washer  [scared] [big grin]
I’ve found that a regular oven cleaner works well (Weber’s products - not so well)

Love charcoal grilling myself! - Really want a Smokey Mountain for fish, whole steak and ribs.
“The Stig” Yes, it is true, at least some part of it..
“If you have an old Land Rover and a fit wife, you’re most likely always busy”

Online DynaGlide

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2021, 08:04 PM »
Dynaglide.. how on Earth did you get the kettle so clean? [blink]

I’ve got a Performer myself, and I did do a good portion of elbow grease on mine this spring
(included the obligatory wash-down-with-all-the-grease-return-right-to-my-face.. using the pressure washer  [scared] [big grin]
I’ve found that a regular oven cleaner works well (Weber’s products - not so well)

Love charcoal grilling myself! - Really want a Smokey Mountain for fish, whole steak and ribs.

http://weberkettleclub.com/weber-grill-restoration-interior-and-exterior-kettle-cleaning/

Wealth of knowledge on this forum if you decide to join.

I've cooked on the WSM and I much prefer the kettle. A little creativity goes a long way. With this latest round of upgrades I think I'll have a better grill. One that can do everything the WSM can plus more.

Hope this helps. Love the performers.

Matt
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 9117
Re: Weber mods
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2021, 11:25 PM »
Thanks for posting this Matt...

I'm a solid believer in the Weber Performer grill, we have owned this one since 2000-2002...so for all of you with failing math skills...that'd be about 19-21 years ago.

It's an absolutely solid performer and it's used at least once every week in the summer and at least once a month in the winter. So that's at least 50 events every year times 20 years...do the math.

A number of years ago I decided to cook flank steak on it for a Christmas meal at around 10 degrees below zero. The wind was blowing so hard that the grill was incapable of maintaining a temp of 200 degrees. So I moved it into the garage and inspite of that warmer climate, it still took 2 hours and 6 bottles of a nice Cab Sav before the flank steak was finally cooked...every one of the garage chefs had purple teeth by the time the steak was done.  [big grin]

For those that don't know about the performer, it's a charcoal grill thats started on gas, after about 5-8 minutes, the gas is turned off and it's strictly charcoal cooking then at it's finest. No chimneys and it's good to go with gray ash charcoal within 15-20 minutes.





PS...Matt, I also initially thought you were talking about a different situation as many, many years ago the hot setup for a strip focused HD was to machine an intake manifold and install a Weber carb. It was probably spillover from the Ferrari/Cobra years.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2021, 11:00 PM by Cheese »

Offline jeffinsgf

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2021, 06:14 AM »

Online DynaGlide

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2021, 07:54 AM »
Thanks for the pics @Cheese . I really like those old SS Performers as well. It looks like you've really taken care of yours. I didn't mean for this to turn into a Performer thread but here we are. And my clickbait title worked for you auto enthusiasts and apparently concrete mixers. Learned something new there.

I'm cooking on some form of charcoal probably 4 out of 7 nights every week rain or shine year round. What I've found is that I really like the raised grate over heat source with the option to bring it closer like on my kamado. With a kettle you're usually doing indirect for a while until it's time to sear but certain foods just need that heat under them while they cook. Think chicken, sausages, burgers. Steaks I'm happy to do indirect until they're about temp then sear. With this new riser @GarryMartin shared the link to, I'm able to do either setup on the Performer. There's another company that does those, a bit nicer quality but lacks the handles on the side: https://www.cajunbandit.com/ They're the ones who made the SS charcoal basket I use in the bottom.

I finished my modification for the temperature controller last night. It takes all of 10 seconds to go from this:



to this:



I'll give it a trial run soon but I expect it will work well.

Another fun accessory for the 22" is a rotisserie.







Matt



Instagram @matts.garage

Offline Cheese

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2021, 11:28 AM »
I finished my modification for the temperature controller last night. It takes all of 10 seconds to go from this:



to this:




Thanks for that Matt @DynaGlide , I've been looking at the ThermoWorks blower but I didn't want to punch a hole into the porcelain bottom. Your adaptation could be the charm.  [cool]  Is there anything weird or unusual about your mod?

Online DynaGlide

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2021, 11:47 AM »
@Cheese You're a much better metal worker than I, it will be easy for you to do. The burner tube is 3/4". You can get a couple different adapters for the Billows. The one I used is the universal: https://www.thermoworks.com/billows-mounting-kit?quantity=1&mounting-type=2. It has a 0.9" I.D. which I put a 7/8" O.D. SS pipe into. The 7/8" pipe has an I.D. of 0.77" and fits nicely over the burner tube. I smeared JB Weld to make the connection between the 7/8" pipe and universal adapter.

Alternatively you could buy this one: https://www.thermoworks.com/billows-mounting-kit?quantity=1&mounting-type=3 and ream it out with a carbide burr to the required diameter to slip over the burner tube. Which is what my friend did.
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline FestitaMakool

  • Posts: 1063
Re: Weber mods
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2021, 06:40 PM »
Dynaglide.. how on Earth did you get the kettle so clean? [blink]

I’ve got a Performer myself, and I did do a good portion of elbow grease on mine this spring
(included the obligatory wash-down-with-all-the-grease-return-right-to-my-face.. using the pressure washer  [scared] [big grin]
I’ve found that a regular oven cleaner works well (Weber’s products - not so well)

Love charcoal grilling myself! - Really want a Smokey Mountain for fish, whole steak and ribs.

http://weberkettleclub.com/weber-grill-restoration-interior-and-exterior-kettle-cleaning/

Wealth of knowledge on this forum if you decide to join.

I've cooked on the WSM and I much prefer the kettle. A little creativity goes a long way. With this latest round of upgrades I think I'll have a better grill. One that can do everything the WSM can plus more.

Hope this helps. Love the performers.

Matt

Thanks Matt! Bokmarked..
Love the Performer as well, I’ve the exact same as yours - initially I was going to buy Cheese’s version but they went obsolete suddenly and the next looked more like the former version so that’s what I ended up with. I do mostly use the firestarter, and light it with gas - your mod look interesting though.
As Cheese mention, we’ve used it in the winter for the Easter steak - in pretty cold weather - takes some practice and enough coal to get the heat right. But what a reward! Cold moist air heated makes for a whole steak like nothing else. My brother in law and I are barely able to breath after these meals..

The risers that Gerry links to, I’ve seen some other similar locally, but not these. I did almost pull the trigger on one back then, now there’s nothing as gas is everything and everywhere  [mad]
- But I know coal will be back, and then the accessories  [wink] Actually, as film is becoming retro popular in photography, there has been a slight increase in charcoal grills lately after Gas dominance for more than a decade.
“The Stig” Yes, it is true, at least some part of it..
“If you have an old Land Rover and a fit wife, you’re most likely always busy”

Online DynaGlide

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2021, 07:38 PM »
I do mostly use the firestarter, and light it with gas - your mod look interesting though.

In case it wasn't clear - the fan isn't for lighting the fire, it's for controlling it once it is already going. It hooks up to the Thermoworks Smoke and you set the desired temperature and it kicks the fan on and off to maintain that temp.
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline Cheese

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Re: Weber mods
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2021, 11:28 PM »
Hey Festita...like Matt said the ThermoWorks Billows is really the bomb.

I enjoy cooking a beef brisket but because it's usually a 10-12 hour project, I only cook one every 4-5 years. And the beauty of that is that everything you learned while cooking the brisket has now been conveniently forgotten.  [smile]

And then there's the issue of trying to maintain a constant grill temperature. It seems like I'm constantly opening & closing vents and by using the thermometer in the cover of the Weber, the response time is fairly slow. All of these issues mean I have to babysit this thing for pretty much the entire cooking session. I think my failure to maintain a constant/consistant temperature is the reason the brisket takes so long. I'd like to get the time to be under 8 hours. 

The ThermoWorks Billows modulates the air input volume into the Weber kettle thus controlling the cooking temperature of the Weber grill. It's controlled by the "Signals", "Smoke X2" or "Smoke X4" temperature devices to vary the air input into the kettle to achieve a uniform kettle temperature. You set the kettle temperature you want to maintain and it will admit more air or less air to maintain that temperature.

So for the brisket, you set the grilling temperature by installing an air probe inside the grill, then set the meat pull temperature by installing a meat probe in the food and as a bonus round, if the grill temperature goes below the desired temp, you'll get a warning on your phone to add additional charcoal briquets. Pretty slick.

https://www.thermoworks.com/shop/products/Cooking-Alarms
« Last Edit: August 11, 2021, 09:34 AM by Cheese »

Offline Mike Goetzke

  • Posts: 775
Re: Weber mods
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2021, 10:10 AM »
I love Weber grills too. Sort of stuck on gas though. For some reason my wife started to hate any smoke taste in the grilled food. I had a performer and was sad to see it go. Today I have a Primo Kamado ceramic grill (similar to BGE) built into a nice cabinet I built. Funny my wife loves the brisket and pork shoulder I cook on it. I use a Flame Boss temperature controller on it and it's nice to do the overnight cooks and just set it and forget it. My main grill now is a NG 3-burner Genesis II. For on the go and tailgating I just picked up the Weber Traveler. This is another great Weber product (check out the video on how this grill folds down).

Offline FestitaMakool

  • Posts: 1063
Re: Weber mods
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2021, 05:43 PM »
Matt, Cheese - That was understood [smile]
I’d likely try out removing the gas ignition in order to have this fan. I always use the Weber firestarter anyway, and I do frequently use small firestarters (like the one one use in a fireplace) with the Weber firestarter instead of using gas (As I often forget to buy when the canister is empty..)

Thanks for the links too!
Regards, Stig
“The Stig” Yes, it is true, at least some part of it..
“If you have an old Land Rover and a fit wife, you’re most likely always busy”

Online DynaGlide

  • Posts: 1143
Re: Weber mods
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2021, 11:20 AM »


I got to try out my hanging setup last night. I bought two whole chickens and cut them up into quarters and breasts and hung them in the Weber running ~400 degrees according to my ambient probe. They turned out really juicy, on par with the rotisserie. I'll be using this setup again.

And my first time using the griddle last week:



Some wagyu smash burgers. They were good, but I need to perfect my technique for next time. More smashing required they were a bit too thick and I didn't have the fire going right so the center of the griddle was perfect whereas the outer area wasn't hot enough.


Matt
Instagram @matts.garage