Found in countless backyards across the country, the kettle style charcoal grill is as American as baseball and apple pie.
A buoy meets grill love affair was kindled nearly 70 years ago when Americans fell for a shapely new arrival that forever changed outdoor cooking. According to Weber, in 1952 George Stephen, Sr. made a buoy into a revolutionary grill with a domed lid, vents, and legs. At the time, few grills had lids, so Weber’s design protected food from flies and ash, sealed in moisture and smoky flavor, and most important, allowed the cook to control temperature.
The essential form and function of the original Weber Kettle remains the same. You can buy the stripped down version for about $100, or you can get their deluxe model with gas ignition, a nifty ash collection system, a side table, and charcoal storage for four times the price. There are also several other kettle style grills available today, including the Slow ‘N Sear Kettle among others.
But some of the best improvements have come by way of third party accessories that make the Kettle better. Like adding a state-of-the-art sound system to your grandfather’s classic Mustang, they allow you to hack your grill and build a customized powerhouse of a cooker. We have a large list of our favorite grill and smoker tools and accessories, but here are some that are just for kettle grill lovers.
This pair of weather resistant LED grill lights from KOSIN feature 4-inch flexible goosenecks that allow the user to aim the light in virtually any direction. The aluminum alloy body of each light has a magnetic base so that they can be easily attached to most metal surfaces, though not with stainless steel grills.
For about $90 you can easily convert a standard Weber Kettle into a much better grill as well as a smoker capable of making restaurant quality smoked ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, turkey, salmon, or whatever you want to smoke.
The BBQ Guru DynaQ is a two-channel wireless remote food thermometer and thermostatic controller that comes with a stand, and an AC adapter. It's a well-made unit with only Bluetooth connectivity, and should be fine for many backyard cooks.
Transform your kettle grill into a smoker with the Smoke EZ Conversion Kit. The Smoke EZ kit contains a large powder coated 20 gauge steel ring that sits between the lid of your kettle and the bottom. Inside the ring are brackets to hold two standard round Weber grates or you can hang food with the hanger rack.
I use mine for something else entirely. I have a second bottom grate that I put on top of the rails, and the coals go on top of this elevated grate. That puts them at the perfect height for searing steaks, just below the cooking grates.
On the Weber Smokey Mountain and the Weber Kettle, as charcoal burns down to small nubs, the tend to fall through the grates. The way to remedy the situation is to put a second charcoal grate on top of the one that came with your device so they form a cross hatch pattern.
Create a variety of charcoal configurations thanks to the Vortex, a unique stainless steel cone shaped add-on for the grill. It is designed to work in Weber Kettle and kamado cookers and can be used four different ways to create two zones of direct and indirect heat by placing charcoal in or around it.
The Smokenator is a popular add-on that turns your Kettle into a smoker. A bit less expensive than the Slow 'N Sear, it lacks the sear function, and because it has a cover over the charcoal and a small water pan just doesn't do the job as well as the SNS.
An easy upgrade to make to a Weber Kettle is replacing the standard grate with a flip side grate. This is a great feature to have for long cooks which may require adding charcoal or wood during the cook. This model fits the 22 1/2 inch kettle and is made of heavy nickel-plated steel.
Adding a hinge makes opening and closing a Weber Smokey Mountain smoker and Weber kettle grills effortless. It has a clever little latch so when you open the lid it stays open and won't slam on your head when you stick it in there to smell your meat and a pin that you can remove so you can take the lid off completely.
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Our Favorite Backyard Smoker
The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat-controlled oven. Click here for our review of this superb smoker.
The Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker is the first propane smoker with a thermostat, making this baby foolproof. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin’. Click here to read our detailed review.
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