I came across an incredible accessory for a Weber kettle, the Spider Grills pellet adapter, and had to try the thing out. The product is named the Spider-22 and is essentially a pellet hopper, firepot, grease tray and control unit that allows you to convert a standard Weber charcoal grill into a pellet grill and smoker.
The Spider 22 (which was originally named Pella in its 2019 Kickstarter) weighs about 30 pounds and has a relatively small footprint. The Spider has a 12 pound hopper which should let you get about 12 hours of burn time if you are running at 225F. I suspect that the burn time will be a lot shorter under cold/windy/rainy conditions as your kettle is not insulated and will lose heat fast to the elements.
The temperature inside the grill is maintained by a PID controller which is a nice touch. You typically only see PID controllers on high end grills like Rec Tec. The controller comes with a “Smoke” setting that runs at about 180-200F. The upper temperature on the control panel for the Spider is 500F. However, if you add some cast iron or a set of GrillGrate panels onto he regular grate you can easily get readings of 550F.
Here is a video I made that walks you through the Spider and shows it in action doing a reverse sear on a beautiful tri tip steak.
Before you buy a Spider you need to make sure that it will fit your kettle. The fire pot inserts into the grill via one of the One Touch air dampers. This means that the insert will not work with the older style kettles that have daisy wheel air dampers. Also, the adapter will not fit onto any kettle that has a table (Performer and Platinum models). Lastly, this product is only for 22 inch kettles and will not work with 18 or 26 inch models. This product will work with the 22″ Original kettle and the Master Touch.
A great feature about the Spider is that you do not need to make any modifications to your kettle. You do not have to drill any holes into he porcelain and the adapter is easily removed for when you want to switch back to charcoal grilling.
Here is a look at me smoking some baby back ribs with the Spider 22. I had the ribs in “Smoke” mode (which was about 180F) for two hours and then finished them off at 250F after another three hours on the grill.
The Spider costs just under $300 which brings up an interesting question. Since a Weber Original kettle costs about half as much as the Spider adapter doesn’t that make the Spider the primary product and the kettle is actually the accessory?
The world of grilling is turning more and more to pellet cooking. Weber made an attempt at entering the pellet grill market with the full sized Smokefire pellet grills but they had some design issues that folks didn’t like. If you want to have a great Weber pellet grill then simply buy a Spider and stick it onto your Weber kettle!
Where Are Spider Grills Made?
What I found more interesting than where these are made was who was making them. Although Spider Grills is a new company the folks behind the brand, Atlas Product Manufacturing Group, are the same ones that developed the Kamado Joe and Kudo Grills. These guys are some heavy hitters which makes me believe that the Spider brand is going to be around for a while.