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Coughlin

Getting the KK to 500 degrees

12 posts in this topic

I am new. Cooked 7 - 8 times on my new KK.

I use lump coal and have trouble getting the temp up to 500 degrees. Made pizza once but it took forever to get to 500 degrees.

Suggestions? Please,

Thanks,

Tim

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Re: Getting the KK to 500 degrees

It's easy with the right airflow. Pack the charcoal as loosely as possible, pull out both bottom drawers most of the way, open the hat wide. Light the lump with a propane weed burner, if you have one. You'll go shooting right past 500 into low earth orbit, with practice. The art becomes setting up a more modest fire, that nails 500 steady while you're inside cooking another part of the meal.

It will come easy with practice.

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Re: Getting the KK to 500 degrees

yeah, you can't go much past 400 with the front wheel alone.

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Re: Getting the KK to 500 degrees

In addition to what has already been suggested, try starting your charcoal in a charcoal starter. When I want to build a hot fire quickly, I partly fill the coal basket and then put the remaining charcoal (enough to completely fill the coal basket) into an old-fashioned charcoal starter, the kind that you can get at Wal-Mart for a few dollars. Start a fire in both the cooker and the charcoal chimney, so that both are going together (a MAPP style torch works best). Open up the top hat and pull the draft door about an inch away from touching the frame. In about fifteen minutes, depending on the ambient temp, the charcoal in the starter will be redhot. Dump this hot charcoal on top of the coals that are already burning in the cooker, add your grates and close the lid. You should have a 500 plus degree fire in about 20-25 minutes. It will not be heat soaked that quickly, but you will have 500 degree air inside the cooker. Hope this helps. Paswesley

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Re: Getting the KK to 500 degrees

Also be sure the ashes aren't restricting flow. Sometimes they pile up and block the flow of air.

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Re: Getting the KK to 500 degrees

try starting your charcoal in a charcoal starter.

Yep, did that tonight.

One can remove the handle (particularly if wood) from any of them, making it ok to leave the starter in the KK if you end up having 3 glasses of wine next door and forget. It's harder to remove the handle from "good" ones, so don't go too far up-market.

I then use channel-lock pliers to lift out the basket, when I remember.

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charcoal chimney mod

I forgot a crucial part of the charcoal chimney mod:

Remove the handle and the inner grate.

Not sure what the technical term is here, charcoal chimneys typically have an inner grate, to hold the charcoal above a starter such as crumbled newsprint. One then has to pick up the chimney and dump the lit coals out the top.

If you remove the handle and the inner grate, then you can pull up on the chimney with channel-lock pliers, and the lit charcoal spills out the bottom, into a nice loose fire with less jostling. This is the way to go.

To light the charcoal in the chimney, one can still use crumpled newsprint, or a torch such as a propane weed burner. I sometimes trickle on high-proof rubbing alcohol, letting it absorb but not so much it spills below. Have the top hat and lower vents already set, touch the charcoal with a propane torch, close it and get out of there. Depending on the type of alcohol one could briefly be producing carbon monoxide, which is also a risk with any fire. However, the alcohol burns completely; once one reaches 500 F there will be no trace left. In contrast, lighter fluid is nasty stuff that makes food taste bad and makes the neighbors gag and make trailer-park jokes. Lighting with alcohol may be more dangerous, but it doesn't leave a nasty taste.

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Re: Getting the KK to 500 degrees

As has already been stated, shake the ashes out of the charcoal basket. Pile up the new coals nice and loose. I just hit the top center with a mapp torch for 30 seconds to a minute. I'll have the door on the front open about an inch or two and the top open all the way. I don't bother with the rear damper. If I don't watch it, it will shoot over 800 once it gets going. If I want to keep it around 650, front door open about 1/4" with the flywheel open all the way and the top damper all the way.

I bet you have restricted airflow because of ashes.

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Re: Getting the KK to 500 degrees

Also be sure to use PLENTY of charcoal.

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Re: Getting the KK to 500 degrees

For your charcoal chimney, if you start it with paper, add a little vegetable oil to the paper. Credit: Alton Brown.

It prolongs the fire to get the coal started.

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Re: Getting the KK to 500 degrees

Or (the crowd sighs deeply) Bacon grease!

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