Controlling temperature is an important part of turning your charcoal grill into a smoker. Low and slow is the name of the game, especially when smoking ribs, pork butts, and other larger cuts. A single pile of charcoal can burn too hot and too fast, requiring cooks to add more coals during longer smokes. That means lifting the lid, which allows both heat and smoke to escape.
As this video shows, there’s a better way. It’s called the snake method, which entails a double-line of coals wrapping around the outside of the kettle. Lighting one end causes the coals to burn around in a circle and, if done correctly, it’s possible to maintain a low temperature in the neighborhood of 200-225 degrees for 8-10 hours or more. By varying the size of the snake, both in terms of length and width, you can get hotter, longer burn times as well. It takes a little practice and experimentation, but once mastered, the snake is one of the best methods for smoking on a Weber kettle or PK Grill.