Weber Summit Charcoal

On Field tests for the new Weber charcoal device

The launch of the new Weber Summit Charcoal was for barbecue enthusiasts a trickle comparable only with the outcoming of the Awakening of the Force for the Star Wars fans. The first rumors now date back to nearly a year ago, just before Christmas, when the on the net a video-preview began to circulate. As always happens in these cases, it does not let you understand virtually anything except the fact that Weber was about to launch a new product on the charcoal line that had no direct relationships with the historic Kettle of the Brand from Chicago. With each passing month the informations started to leak out some way: it was a sort of Kamado but it was not made with ceramic, it was very “stylish” and precious finished and had the gas ignition, such as the Performer Deluxe. Finally at Spoga in Cologne, the first direct contact, the first visual impressions and the possibility to begin to play around with the different set-ups. Today, the last yearn step: I was lucky enough to get my hands as first in Italy on this little gem and to finally proceed to the first starting up. Then it came to me that maybe someone of you may be interested in the thing.

General Description

We start by specifying that it is not a Kettle but it is not even a Kamado. During the months of waiting I came across many video and reviews from America, where it arrived a few months in advance, and they had been able to test it. They were talking about a new device that obeyed its own rules and to which you can not fully apply the set ups you consolidated on existing models, this is a thing on which I found quite agree. The figure of the Weber Summit Charcoal looks like a classic Kamado with the classic of inverted egg, hinged cover lid and the hermetic seal.

Weber Summit Chacoal Sezione
Credits: Grillschule GUEM

The model at our disposal it is the Black and not the Grill Center and unlike this last, it does not have the side table but only the box with the ignition system in canister, connected to a small burner settled at the bottom of the brazier. Three grid levels has been provided: a lower combustion level, a high combustion one and finally a cooking level. The combustion grid contains a smaller grid within, which can be moved on the lower level, and then be replaced by a deflector, consisting of two sheets of steel and insulated inside. The cooking grid is made of steel and is equipped with the GBS system. The bottom flaps, in the classic Weber One Touch system with ash collector, report some notch on the slider ring, corresponding to the configurable set-up preset on the machine. The upper flap flows clockwise as in classic kettle but the outer ring is hinged, so that it can raise of 90 degrees and leave the upper ventilation duct wide open.

Possible Set-Ups

The Weber Summit Charcoal avowedly aims to combine the versatility of a classic kettle with the stability of a Kamado, all with a crazy-surface grid (diameter 67 cm.), Previously exclusive domain of the Original 67. Placing grids combustion in set up raised, it becomes in effect a kettle. If you lower the insider combustion grid to the lowest level, replacing it with the deflector and setting the bottom vent lever on the “Low & Slow” notch, the temperature should automatically settle on 110 ° C. We just have to try it.

On Field Test

I start by saying that the following is the result of my personal experience and that, somewhat as with stabilization procedures, has to be dropped on the skin of everyone.

I decided to start with the basics and the first experiment that I did was to use a GBS plate. So I placed the combustion grates on the lower level, I poured the correspondent of a briquette basket in, I turned on the gas burner, I closed the lid and lifted the top ring of 90 °. In this way, the Weber Summit Charcoal becomes in fact a sort of gigantic chimney starter. The distance between the burner and combustion grids entailed a few more minutes of waiting in order that the classic column of smoke started but once triggered, the briquettes have come to complete combustion briefly. Once stopped smoking I turned off the burner, I lowered the top flap ring, leaving them completely opened and we were ready for cooking. Comfortable.

Result: I disintegrated everything I tried to griddle on. I fully applied the amount and modalities which usually I adopt on the Master Touch but the Weber Summit Charcoal has a very high level of insulation, also the combustion grate at the upper level is closer to the cooking grid compared to a classic kettle. A really crazy power, a similar thing happened to me only when I tried to put the Weber Summit 670 at maximum firepower with all the burners on. After several attempts I can say that the ideal setup for using most of the GBS accessories is half of briquettes basket and a degree of opening of the lower vents not wider than three quarters.

The thing that intrigued me most, however, was the set-up test for the Low & Slow. Also in this case the first firings has been traumatic and I took 3-4 attempt to learn a few simple (in a sense logic, seen with hindsight) but fundamental rules:

  1. The Weber Summit Charcoal has been thought up as a Kamado. So the idea is not to create a Minion Method to ensure continuity of operation to the instrument, but to exploit the higher thermal inertia of the device for long term storage of the power expressed by a reduced amount of fuel, ignited by the traditional method. With this set up therefore, I found the use of the briquettes to be absolutely not suitable. The partial combustion triggered by the burner carries on the initial smoking of the briquette to the entire cooking time: absolutely to be avoided. Using instead the charcoal, as soon as lowered the upper vent ring, the device magically quits smoking (unless you add no chunks, of course) and stabilizes at 110 ° C.
  2. I care to clarify that I’m not a big advocate of water using in the WSM’s Water Pan and I tend not to use it, except in special conditions. Despite this I had to find the water in water pan placed over the deflector to be essential for the Weber Summit Charcoal. In the first place, the first cooking of ribs without WP have given a result certainly dry, dehydrated. Secondly, without a protecting pan, the deflector gets dirty in a crazy way with burnt cooking juices. After the first trial I spent an hour on the sink with a steel wool in hand to clean it.
  3. at the beginning I fought a lot with the bottom vents to fine-tuning th device at the desired temperature. Respecting the suggested settings, the device automatically sets around the Low & Slow area, about 100 to 120 ° C but when I tried to act on the lower vents lever to bring the temperature for example to 110 ° C, the minimum movement entailed too significant temperature changes.  It took me a while, but then I realized that the idea is that the lower vents have to be placed exactly on the L&S notch and the fine tuning to be done by acting on the upper vents. Once assimilated this, moving of a degree more or less became easy as pie.
Weber Summit Charcoal L&
Credits: Barbecue Exclusief

I saw on the web several approaches concerning the best ways to set the device in L&S mode and the most accredited was to move down the inner combustion grate to the lower level, put the charcoal in, turn it on with the gas ignition and the upper vent ring fully raised, wait 5 minutes, lower the ring, set the bottom vent lever on L&S notch, putting the deflector on and wait for stabilization.

According to what has been my experience instead, the best method is to start already with the L&S set-up, then with the lower vent lever set in the specific position, the upper one raised, with the deflector inserted with a 6 portions foil pan lead with 1.5 liters of water on it and to leave the burner switched on until temperature reaches about 90° C, then to move down the upper vent ring and allow for the thermal inertia of the device to stabilize at 115 ° C approximately.

The final test was carried out at 11° C outside, with the quantity of about one and a half basket of charcoal. The Weber Summit Charcoal smoked for about 18 minutes without apparently give signs of life, then suddenly wins the thermal inertia and within 4 minutes went at 90 ° C. Once lowered the top vent ring and closed it at 4/5, within about five minutes it brings to 110 ° C, a quick setting of the upper vent opening grade and we are at 115° C. The temperature did not move to a degree for about 8 hours, with the need for a water refilling after the sixth hour.

Conclusions

What I read on overseas sites is true: I have to admit to having quarreled a bit ‘with the Weber Summit Charcoal before understanding how to make me obey by him. I must say though that once we understood each other, we began to get in love and harmony. It is unquestionably a nice tool, with high performances and most of all a very considerable potential. At the very idea of when I will have on the Weber Summit Charcoal the confidence that I have on the Master Touch, my eyes glisten at the thought of what I could fulfill on it.

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