Welcome, Guest

Shop Amazon.com and support the WKC | WKC T-Shirts

Author Topic: too much ash with diy vortex?  (Read 3339 times)

ohen

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 17
too much ash with diy vortex?
« on: August 24, 2020, 09:43:40 AM »
Hi!

Last year I refurbished my dad's 1981 18".  Fun project.  I used it a few times to grill chicken, steak, snake method for a pork butt.  Had fun :)  Using it was put on hold for a while.

Family got together this weekend and fired it up to make wings, and used our home-made "vortex"-like accessory. 

Wings were dried overnight in fridge, then slightly seasoned with oil, salt, and pepper.  We're not big on rubs, our preference is simple.

Charcoal was kingsford natural hardwood briquettes (brown packaging).  Heat gun used to light bottom layer, then filled the "vortex" to about 3/4 full.  Waited for the coals to ash-over (~15-20 minutes), placed wings in a circle surrounding the coals, all vents bottom and top opened, and covered.  We checked temps every 10-15 minutes, rotating the lid 90 degrees.

After about 25 minutes, the wings had an odd, unpleasant color.  Closer inspection revealed a layer of soot that could be wiped off.  We still finished grilling them to an internal temp of 160F (total cook time about 36 minutes).  The wings probably needed another 10 minutes to crisp up the skin but we were hungry.  They tasted like ash! :(  However, taste improved tremendously once we wiped the soot off with moist paper towels.  Wings were tender and moist, very evenly baked.  I would've liked crispier skin, but whatever. Still good!

What did we do wrong to get the soot?  We've very little charcoal grilling experience.  Was it the choice of charcoal?  Should we have lined the base outside the vortex with foil?

Thank you for any help :)

HoosierKettle

  • WKC Ambassador
  • Posts: 6775
Re: too much ash with diy vortex?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2020, 11:45:49 AM »
Not sure what went wrong. I haven’t had soot unless the top vent is closed. But practice makes perfect. You can experiment with other wing methods as well.  The sear and slide method works well. Just set up a hot zone and a cool zone and sear wings over the hot area until desired color then slide them over to the indirect side to finish cooking.  There is a ton of different methods and recipes and most are all good. Cook them often. Experience is the key to success.


Sent from my iPhone using Weber Kettle Club mobile app

1911Ron

  • WKC Performer
  • Posts: 4293
Re: too much ash with diy vortex?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2020, 12:44:27 PM »
Did you get a guest of wind that may have blown Ash up?
Wanted: 18" Platinum any color will work
This is my Kettle there are many like it but this one is mine......

Stoneage

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 78
Re: too much ash with diy vortex?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2020, 02:09:22 PM »
Quote
all vents bottom and top opened, and covered.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding. "soot" usually means poor combustion!
Did you open the vents, then cover them?
What color was this soot other than "unpleasant"?
Whitish, blackish some other color?

SMOKE FREAK

  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 981
Re: too much ash with diy vortex?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2020, 04:39:27 PM »
Start with the vortex fully lit and adjust bottom vents down to keep temps from approaching 750 degrees. I like to run mine around 450-500...No soot or ash problem. 45 minutes for a load of wings in my 22...

HoosierKettle

  • WKC Ambassador
  • Posts: 6775
too much ash with diy vortex?
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2020, 04:51:11 AM »
Quote
all vents bottom and top opened, and covered.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding. "soot" usually means poor combustion!
Did you open the vents, then cover them?
What color was this soot other than "unpleasant"?
Whitish, blackish some other color?

I missed that clue. You might be onto something. The “covered” part.


Sent from my iPhone using Weber Kettle Club mobile app
« Last Edit: August 25, 2020, 05:01:06 AM by HoosierKettle »

ohen

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 17
Re: too much ash with diy vortex?
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2020, 06:24:24 AM »
Hello!  Thank you all for the responses.  Apologies for the late replies here.

Some answers and clarifications:
 - by "soot", maybe I mean ash?  Combustion appears to be complete, but I don't know how to tell.  The wings were evenly (very evenly, it was unusual) coated in a light gray powder that mostly wiped off
 - the lid vent and all three bottom vents were fully open through the entire bake; by "covered", I meant we left the lid on
 - it was a bit breezy, but I don't think we had any gusts?

Is it possible that flare-ups could cause disturbance in the ash, maybe timed with a little breeze?  I'm not sure how though, because the grease drippings fall down on the kettle and sizzle, while the ashes were below the coals.  Now that I recall, we did not fully clean out the grill when starting this bake, there was some ash at the bottom.  But I'm not sure why this would such an issue, because the coals themselves create ash during the bake anyway?  I do recall when we took the lid off after the first 10-12 minutes, there was particulate floating around but didn't think much of it since he wings looked okay.  It was the second inspection when they had that sooty or ashy appearance.

Current theories:
 - we began the bake too early becore
 - gust of wind
 - running with everything open created a very strong internal convection that caused ash to be distributed
 - burnt seasoning

For the last theory... I forgot to include in my original post that we added paprika when seasoning the wings with the oil, salt, and pepper... with vents fully opened, maybe it got too hot and the paprika burned... ?  I wish I'd taken a photo, the color was so unusual.

Thanks again for reading :)  We plan to try again this weekend, not sure whether we'll do the vortex or try a different method.

Foster Dahlet

  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 1236
Re: too much ash with diy vortex?
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2020, 05:35:12 PM »
Hello!  Thank you all for the responses.  Apologies for the late replies here.

Some answers and clarifications:
 - by "soot", maybe I mean ash?  Combustion appears to be complete, but I don't know how to tell.  The wings were evenly (very evenly, it was unusual) coated in a light gray powder that mostly wiped off
 - the lid vent and all three bottom vents were fully open through the entire bake; by "covered", I meant we left the lid on
 - it was a bit breezy, but I don't think we had any gusts?

Is it possible that flare-ups could cause disturbance in the ash, maybe timed with a little breeze?  I'm not sure how though, because the grease drippings fall down on the kettle and sizzle, while the ashes were below the coals.  Now that I recall, we did not fully clean out the grill when starting this bake, there was some ash at the bottom.  But I'm not sure why this would such an issue, because the coals themselves create ash during the bake anyway?  I do recall when we took the lid off after the first 10-12 minutes, there was particulate floating around but didn't think much of it since he wings looked okay.  It was the second inspection when they had that sooty or ashy appearance.

Current theories:
 - we began the bake too early becore
 - gust of wind
 - running with everything open created a very strong internal convection that caused ash to be distributed
 - burnt seasoning

For the last theory... I forgot to include in my original post that we added paprika when seasoning the wings with the oil, salt, and pepper... with vents fully opened, maybe it got too hot and the paprika burned... ?  I wish I'd taken a photo, the color was so unusual.

Thanks again for reading :)  We plan to try again this weekend, not sure whether we'll do the vortex or try a different method.
When you pull the lid off, are you doing it fast and straight up?  Or slowly off to the side?  Sometimes with ash in the bowl pulling the lid up can yank up a small dusting. 

Also, I've seen some folks use the ash sweeps during the middle of a cook in an abrupt manner, causing a mild dust storm.  But other than those, I can't think of anything.

Sent from my LM-X420 using Weber Kettle Club mobile app

I like my Kettles like my coffee....strong and black.

2019 Black 26" OKP; 2015 Black 22" OKP; 2017 Black CGA; 2000 Black GGA; 2004 Black SJP

ohen

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 17
Re: too much ash with diy vortex?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2020, 11:27:02 AM »
When you pull the lid off, are you doing it fast and straight up?  Or slowly off to the side?  Sometimes with ash in the bowl pulling the lid up can yank up a small dusting. 

Also, I've seen some folks use the ash sweeps during the middle of a cook in an abrupt manner, causing a mild dust storm.  But other than those, I can't think of anything.

Sent from my LM-X420 using Weber Kettle Club mobile app
Not sure how we took the lid off, but I'll be mindful of a dramatic reveal so thank you for pointing that out!  Mine doesn't have sweeps, only a basic catch pan under the grill.

Transit98

  • WKC Brave
  • Posts: 247
Re: too much ash with diy vortex?
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2020, 03:53:28 AM »
Clean out all the ash and the ash pan at the bottom - get some wings and try again - have fun


Sent from my iPhone using Weber Kettle Club

ohen

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 17
Re: too much ash with diy vortex?
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2020, 09:29:41 AM »
Hello again, hope you are staying nice and cool this labor day weekend!

We tried everything at once: cleaned the kettle and ash tray well; waited longer for all coals to be ashed over; gentle with removing cover; positioned best we could away from drafts; adjusted lid and bottom vents to about half-open, leaving us a temp in the 400 range.  Only two things we did not try: different charcoal and line the bottom with foil.

Didn't work.  See pictures after about 25 minutes into the cook.  We could taste the ash, unpleasant, so gave up, wiped them down, and moved them over to the gas grill.  The larger black bits on the chicken are pepper, but you can see all the fine ash/soot dust on the chicken.  When the lid was off, a lot was flying up out of the vortex.. I took a video, but was hard to see.

I have a feeling this is normal, but then, why doesn't this really show up when we grill steak, lamb, pork?  Or maybe we just don't do this enough, are too picky?

Next time we will try a regular zone cook, but I suspect it'll have the same result.

HoosierKettle

  • WKC Ambassador
  • Posts: 6775
too much ash with diy vortex?
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2020, 09:40:18 AM »
Looks like your not cooking near hot enough imo. And I wouldn’t wait for coals to completely ash over. At that point your past peak heat and won’t recover. I start cooking when flames are prominent coming out of the top of vortex but coals still have some black on them. I haven’t ever noticed any ash or soot problems cooking hot and fast with this method. Ignore the temp gauge and just make sure your cooking as hot as possible. I actually cook wings for 30-45 minutes and crack the lid the last half of the cook to keep the temp high. And I also flip halfway.

Chicken should be nicely browned and skin getting crispy at 25 minutes.

 It honestly, I would experiment with different methods until you find your desired outcome.

Sent from my iPhone using Weber Kettle Club mobile app
« Last Edit: September 07, 2020, 09:45:21 AM by HoosierKettle »

Stoneage

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 78
Re: too much ash with diy vortex?
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2020, 09:40:58 AM »
Maybe your DIY Vortex has too much, well, vortex? Kind of a mini dust devil generator?

Foster Dahlet

  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 1236
Re: too much ash with diy vortex?
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2020, 10:07:22 AM »
Maybe your DIY Vortex has too much, well, vortex? Kind of a mini dust devil generator?
This is a possibility.  One way to find out.....skip your DIY vortex....take 2 char baskets and push them together in the center.   Make your ring of wings around the baskets...keep open vents on bottom and top.  Let er rip.   You will have crispy wings in 45 minutes

Sent from my LM-X420 using Weber Kettle Club mobile app
I like my Kettles like my coffee....strong and black.

2019 Black 26" OKP; 2015 Black 22" OKP; 2017 Black CGA; 2000 Black GGA; 2004 Black SJP

ohen

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 17
Re: too much ash with diy vortex?
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2020, 11:43:54 AM »
Thanks to all for trying to help figure out what's going on here, I think we've got it figured out.

Now that I think about it... there was quite a smoke "tornado" at the beginning as the thing heats up, which likely points to this thing being too vortexy.  We followed the dimensions of the small one they share online, except our bottom diameter is about half inch shorter - this isn't a high-precision tool so I'm not sure that would make such a different? 

Since I don't have any other accessories for this grill like char baskets, etc, I will look into them and certainly try a different method next time :).
« Last Edit: September 07, 2020, 11:46:53 AM by ohen »