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It's time for me to buy a charcoal grill. I am looking into the Weber 22.5 inch.

I hope I will be able to use it to get smokey flavor as well with Alton Brown's "wood chips in aluminum foil method".

However, I am worried about durability. Since the the shape of the grill is cylindrical, I suspect I am going to have a hard time catching drippings effectively. Most dripping catchers are rectangular.

How does one go about solving this? I am thinking of just using aluminum foil, but I am afraid that it might melt.

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It might help if you were a bit clearer about what you were looking for. The video you linked didn't address catching dripping at all, and Mr. Brown uses the very same Weber you're looking at in his second example. Could you clarify the concern? –  wax eagle Mar 18 at 20:18

6 Answers 6

The melting temperature of aluminum is 660C/1220F. It's extremely unlikely your grill will ever achieve that temperature.

Although a rectangular pan doesn't fit a cylinder very well from a geometric perspective, in practice on a grill it fits just fine. Your food is rarely circular in shape either, after all. The Weber grills have a very good reputation as smoking/grilling devices. I wouldn't hesitate.

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If you're getting a charcoal grill you don't need the wood chips in aluminum foil method, just wood blocks/chunks directly on the charcoal works. Alton Brown's method is if you have wood chips and you want a slow smoke that... wood chunks give you anyway.

If you want to catch drippings you can use aluminum foil or a disposable pie pan. Carey's on point for that.

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If you're going to smoke on a Weber, especially on your 22.5" model you're getting at, the single best thing to catch drippings will be an aluminum foil pan. You can use either a square one or a round one.

Generally there is no problem setting one of these on the bottom of the grill (Weber uses a 2 grate system, the bottom grate holds the charcoal, the top one the food). The bottom of the grill is quite wide (I have the 18.5" model and I can fit a 9" pie plate comfortably with a ring of charcoal around it).

If you look carefully at Mr. Brown's video, he is actually using a Weber 22.5" in his second example.

For a practical guide to doing long cooks on a Weber, I've written a blog post for this site. I've successfully used this method for pulled pork, brisket and ribs, as well as roast beef and turkey.

As far as the melting concern goes, unless you're trying to sear a steak, you don't want your grill that hot, and generally it's not going to get that hot, you have to try very hard to get anything approaching 1000F.

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I am wondering if I should get the 22.5 or 18.5. Can you do proper smoking and indirect heat with the 18.5? Maybe 22.5 is too big for me, I would have to use a lot of charcoal each time. –  l3win Mar 19 at 23:13
    
@l3win I used to smoke all the time on my 18.5 (got a smoker, honestly prefer how my 18.5 handles to the smoker, but I'm trying to learn it well). However, the original instructions that got me doing it were for a 22.5) –  wax eagle Jul 3 at 15:35

I use an aluminum pan to catch drippings in my 22.5 Weber, and it fits just fine. I put it on the charcoal grate, and I'm good to go. It also makes for a nice barrier for fuel if you want to maintain hot and cold cooking zones.

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i've got a 22 inch OTG and i just have a disposable weber brand aluminum pan on one side (the right) and pile my wood charcoal on the left. works like a charm and provides a great 2 zone fire. furthermore, i very rarely change my drip pan - i just let the heat from the wood boil it for a bit and it's all good. it has made my meats unbelievably delicious. i can definitely tell all those drippings adding mucho flavor.

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In our experience that particular grill is the best grill for anything less than the cost of Big Green Egg (the Egg beats it at slow cooking but it's also 16x the price and temperamental).

  • Durability: Over the Six or Seven years I have put it through all kinds of punishment (1000+°F grilling, frying oil fires, etc) winters and summers and not a peep from the poor thing.
  • Drip Tray: The shape of the grill tends to help burn off most of the drippings (flavour). The round tray that comes with it should do the rest along with charcoal ash.
  • Improvements: The only modification we made to this grill was to add a $6 thermometer on the lid and stack two pizza stones for pizza.

Overall, I find myself using this one over the Green Egg. I've only used real wood charcoal and sometimes even real cedar but never the briquettes.

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How did you add a thermometer on the lid? –  l3win Mar 19 at 6:23
    
@l3win likely he's talking about a modification to drill a hole in the dome and place a thermometer. –  wax eagle Mar 19 at 12:44
    
@l3win wax eagle's correct. Drill a hole in the lid and place thermometer. It's pretty painless. –  MandoMando Mar 24 at 18:20

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