A Tour of My Old Weber Kettle

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by bluewhisper, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm guessing this faithful kettle is about 30 years old. It has cooked countless meals and I still use it. Here's a tour to give you an idea of what one of these can look like after a few decades of service - as Weber people will tell you, they're an expensive investment, but they last!

    To begin, the nameplate on the top vent - perhaps some of you can pin down the production era by the information or style shown here.

    A few things here - first, the wooden handle is long gone. The handle welds are showing some corrosion but they're still sound. Otherwise the paint is a bit faded but still good. This grill stays out in the weather.

    Front handle wood rotting off - but not burned off!

    The original grates were replaced about five years ago. I got the hinged type.

    Here's most of the dam-age: The bottom vents are long gone and even the holes in the shell are getting to know each other better. The biggest problem by far is the failing weld on the front leg. The problem began with the plastic shoe wearing off of the front leg, Then when you drag the grill, the front leg hops and bangs, which causes the weld to fail. But, it hasn't broken off yet.

    Because the front leg is now at a different angle, the grill doesn't sit level.

    But it still rocks!

    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
  2. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey, BW!

    Looks like that kettle doesn't owe you a cent! I always like to see a kindred soul who uses it up, wears it out and makes do!

    Just a hint. Start haunting Craig's List. You will soon find a practically new 22.5" OTG for cheap.

    I got mine about 3 years ago for $25. You might even snag a Performer for $150 or so.

    Good Luck!
  3. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The letter C on the top vent indicates a 1981 build year.
  4. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks! Hah, I thought it was early 80s but I was guessing conservatively at 1985. So that's 34 years of service, so far.

    I need to brace that front leg before the weld breaks completely.
  5. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Here are the codes from 1979 to 2014.

    If your grill is 1979 or newer, the top vent on the lid will have a letter code.
    A: 1979
    B: 1980
    C: 1981
    D: 1982
    E: 1983
    F: 1984
    G: 1985
    H: 1986
    J: 1987
    K: 1988
    L: 1989
    M: 1990
    N: 1991
    O: 1992
    P: 1993
    EH: 1994
    EO: 1995
    ER: 1996
    EI: 1997
    EZ: 1998
    EE: 1999
    DD: 2000
    DA: 2001
    DU: 2002
    DT: 2003
    DH: 2004
    DO: 2005
    DR: 2006
    DI: 2007
    DZ: 2008
    DE: 2009
    AD: 2010
    AA: 2011
    AU: 2012
    AT: 2013
    AH: 2014
  6. Looks like it's just getting broken in to me !!!

  7. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Broken into by Vent Weasels! They typically create a number of entrances and exits to frustrate potential predators.

    Kinda cute though when three of them poke their heads out of the top vent, like meerkat sentries.
  8. bwsmith_2000

    bwsmith_2000 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great post and thanks for the coding for determining age. Mine isn't that old but it does have a list due to the short leg. I also have a gas Weber that is just great. I continue to be impressed with all the Weber products I have had.  Hope you continue to enjoy yours for another 35 years.
  9. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You can get a replacement vent cover for it pretty easily.    Would have to see more detailed pictures, but you might be able to repair the leg socket as well if you want.
  10. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I don't worry about the bottom vents because I always run them wide open, and control the flow with the top vent - which is the opposite of how to run the offset. I don't know if the WSM guys choke at the top, or bottom, or both.
  11. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    From what I've read, most WSM and kettle folks choke from the bottom and run wide open on top, but not everyone.  But, if it works for you, why change ?  
  12. Do you not get to heavy of a smoke ?

  13. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    No, it breathes fine. You just don't need much smoke or it can start to taste strong.

    The more difficult thing is trying to smoke direct and still manage to cook through before scorching the outside. For something like burgers it's fine to have a smoky taste to an otherwise grilled burger. For smoking pieces of salmon, it's tough to tame the heat enough to avoid cooking the fish too quickly. Here's what happens with a larger piece, the outside starts getting rather browned before the IT is fully up

    I can resort to tricks like this, using a probe to measure the temp. That vent position is typical for a slower cooking session.

    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
  14. Nice, Looks Great

  15. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Have you tried the "indirect heat" method for that bird? Set the coals on opposite sides and leave a clean area in the middle at least half the diameter of the grill and maybe a little more (4-5 inches on opposite sides banked about 3 coals high; that leaves you 12-14 inches down the middle for the bird). It will take longer but you can add fresh charcoal as it burns down. Keep the heat inside the grill as low as you can. Bottom vent covers would help. You can also put a foil pan under the bird and put water in it. The water vapor will help to give an even temperature and some of the early heat will go into heating the water instead of over-crisping the skin.

    I've done numerous Boston butts on my Weber and a couple of chickens. I put wood chips - usually hickory but sometimes mesquite or oak - on the coals banked at either side. Works for me. I'm not brave enough to try a turkey like this. I would use the MES or a turkey fryer.

  16. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes I've used a few charcoal arrangement methods with success, but the kettle still tends to run faster and hotter than an offset.

    That said, there's a whole world of flavors and results falling between grilling and smoking. That's why the kettles are good for learning some smoking techniques before getting a dedicated smoker.

    I'm fine without the bottom vent controls, the lid still fits well enough that closing the top vent completely will snuff the fire.
  17. Have you ever tried the snake method worked real nice for me.

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