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Nanuk

Wait time before putting food in?

26 posts in this topic

Hi all, this will be my first Kamado (BB32), so how long do I have to wait once the coals are lighted before putting food in it?

 

Thanks in advance. 

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I don't yet have one but would assume it is the same as all BBQ

 

I always wait until the dirty smoke is gone before I even consider adding food.  White smoke = bad taste to meat

 

also depends on what you are cooking...

 

Low and slow you really want a stable temperature so that you do not spike.  Many heat soak a kamado before they cook at this temp.  This will allow for the grill to heat up to a stable rock solid temp, avoiding sudden spikes or drops once you add your food.

 

I always try and get my temp solid for at least 15 min, that way I know the temp is going to be pretty consistent throughout duration of the cook

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If I'm cooking lo/slo, I like to wait at least an hour, many call it heat soaking. Essentially it's the same as pre heating, you're getting the whole interior up to the same temperature, helping with radiant heat, stabilization, and so on. Hot and fast, pretty much not too long after you get to target temp.

Robert

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Pre-heating/Heat soaking your Grill..

It really depends on where you are/how cold your grill is when you start.. 

If you are somewhere warm, this will happen with much less heat/btu's

And it depends on what temp you are heat soaking to.. Lower temps require less fuel being lit and will take longer if your grill is cold.

My grill is about 80-90ºf   24-7-12  so I can get it there in 30-40 minutes easily..

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LIke others have said, depends on what you're cooking and at what temp. No hard and fast rules. 

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Aside from being better designed and built, the KK does handle differently from other ceramic cookers, as those of us who came from other cookers can attest. It acts like it is both better insulated (it is) and has greater thermal mass (perhaps also an artifact of the insulation). Landing a jet is different from landing an airplane, and sweating pipes with MAPP gas is different from sweating pipes with propane, even though each pair is logically the same. I found myself making adjustments when I switched to the KK.
 
I use both CoCo Char (KK Extruded Coconut Shell Charcoal, for low and slow or critical cooks) and local hardwood briquettes (no off-tasting fillers) for everything else. Were I rich I'd just use CoCo Char, along with the occasional bincho or lump for effect.
 
CoCo Char is so neutral and clean, one only worries about the heat soaking itself. CoCo Char is poor man's bincho. With any other charcoal, I find that fire handling dominates heat soaking in my thinking.
 
The Achilles heel of all charcoal cookers is fire handling. In our dreams we have multiple hardwood fires, and we move beautifully mature embers from our seed fire to the cook fire. The occasional green wood makes an appearance to show off our advanced skills, but no flavors from the initial combustion of wood are accidentally introduced. The fire is deliberate, we are distilling the wood as an armagnac distiller is choosing the best part of the mash. Using a cast iron Dutch oven smoke pot, it is practical to control our smoking woods. It is harder to control our fuel charcoal.
 
There are two kinds of charcoal fires: All coals burn together in an arc for a short cook, or the fire works its way through a day's supply for a low & slow. Many of us can identify a sooty taste from lesser charcoal as raw charcoal lights in the latter case, and that is why we exclusively use CoCo Char for these cooks. For any other charcoal, I want the fire to be everywhere, as one gets using a chimney in a Weber, before cooking. It helps to light everywhere with a weed burner torch. It helps to wait.
 
Beyond this, there are still other motivations to wait. Grilled chicken is a prime example: As a guest, having Weber grilled chicken is an exercise in enduring the off tastes of burning chicken fat. Still, with better equipment, we associate that taste with grilled chicken. When manufactures first tried to move away from cans for tomatoes, consumers missed the taste of the can. The ideal paella socarrat crust is golden, not tending to black, but countless fond memories of beach paella make Spaniards rather tolerant of socarrat that is "further cooked". Some people who try smoke pots miss the off tastes of combusting smoke wood; were it simply a matter of flavor strength, they'd use a bigger smoke pot or take more care to get the pot going.
 
When there is time, I like to cook chicken indirect on the tail of a too-hot fire, so the chicken cooks primarily from radiant heat from the KK walls, with no taste of burning fat. This is a choice, and the timing takes practice. A KK stays hot for a long time after the fire dies down; take advantage of this. We also like to use the tails of fires for other purposes, if we are staying up: A foil-covered Spanish cazuela is great for roasting potatoes and onions tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, and pimenton. This is the ideal potato component for a tortilla (Spanish omelet), even if the original recipe instead deep-fries the potato. Or a half dozen sliced red bell peppers, tossed in salt and olive oil, cooked down till the liquid is nearly gone. With a hotter fire, give a carbon steel pan such as a paella pan another round of seasoning: heat it, rub in a very thin coat of lard, and let it blacken and cool at no higher than 600 F.
 
With other ceramic cookers, a very long preheat can be critical for handling loads at the brink of capacity, such as 25-30 lbs of butt in a K5. With my friend's K5 I then heat the smoke pot in a gas grill, and add it while rebuilding the fire before adding the meat. This saves staying up for hours wondering if the cook will ever stabilize.

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Nanak - that you even ask this question tells me you are way ahead on the learning curve.

There is really, and I mean REALLY good advice above this post. I have a way of cooking on my BB that I developed by trial, error, and good advice found here. Each of us uses basically the same kind of technique for low-n-slow cooks, but each of has our twist. I heat soak for about an hours during the summer and longer in the winter. I, like Syzygies, love the radiant cooks. Rob, 5698K will heat soak his KK overnight because he likes it ready first thing in the morning.

Read and try the techniques above. They work. Then figure out which you like, twist it a little to suit your needs, your cooks, and how you like working your BB, and have fun!

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Thanks to all.

I as you know, having my first Kamado.

Great info on the site.

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Keep asking questions, we've all been in your position.

Robert

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Nanuk, when I got my first kamado style cooker, I found the biggest challenge was around stabilizing a fire at the desired temp. What you will find, is that in a kamado, fire gains inertia. If you are targeting 225 degrees for a cook, you have to start closing the vents or slowing down the inertia 50 or so degrees below your target. If you wait until you get to 225, you will blow through your target temp and get too hot.

Another aspect of this is the size of the fire. For low and slow, I light one area of the lump. For higher temp cooks, I light multiple spots. If you light too much charcoal, your fire will be too big to maintain lower temps.

Wait time is generally a matter of your personal preference. I pay more attention to this when going low and slow to ensure the grill has stabilized around my target temp. When cooking hot, I only heat soak the grill when I want radiant heat from the dome of the grill (e.g. pizza, chicken).

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Nanuk, when I got my first kamado style cooker, I found the biggest challenge was around stabilizing a fire at the desired temp. What you will find, is that in a kamado, fire gains inertia. If you are targeting 225 degrees for a cook, you have to start closing the vents or slowing down the inertia 50 or so degrees below your target. If you wait until you get to 225, you will blow through your target temp and get too hot.

Another aspect of this is the size of the fire. For low and slow, I light one area of the lump. For higher temp cooks, I light multiple spots. If you light too much charcoal, your fire will be too big to maintain lower temps.

Wait time is generally a matter of your personal preference. I pay more attention to this when going low and slow to ensure the grill has stabilized around my target temp. When cooking hot, I only heat soak the grill when I want radiant heat from the dome of the grill (e.g. pizza, chicken).

 

great advice here

 

It is funny, I think that I know what I am doing with Kamado cooking.  I have learned my grills and can set them exactly where I know that they need to be.  

 

Switching to a KK will be like learning how to cook all over again.  The good news is that I have two of the same grills so the learning curve shouldn't be too bad.

 

I have no doubt that in the near future I will be posting questions on how to set temps etc etc...

 

Always learning

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Thanks to all.

 

Its great to learn from other members experience.

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It's why this Forum exists. We all have to learn and what better way than from other owners? And it's a lot of fun sharing recipes and pictures of our cooks. 

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Heat sink over night why would we do this i get the heat sinking in theory but it seems i will have a lot to learn on cooking on a kk

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Heat sink over night why would we do this i get the heat sinking in theory but it seems i will have a lot to learn on cooking on a kk

I think heat sinking over night is generally a waste of charcoal but you will have a more stable cook (in the beginning) if you heat sink for an hour or two.

.

With that said some people will fire up the KK the night before and just let it ride until morning. When they wake up they can immediately put the meat on since the KK is already at temperature and ready to go.

.

With a full load of lump you won't have to worry about running out even after it ran all night.

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

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I generally heat soak for an hour once my temp gets dialed in.  For pizza I'll do about an hour and a half.  For cooks that need to go on the grate very early in the morning, I'll fire up the KK, set an alarm and go to sleep, get up and put the cook on the grate, and go back to bed.  That means the KK can heat soak for 5 or 6 hours.  No big deal.

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I'm going to another level here now being able to leave it to get fully soaked and still be able to do a low n slow.I am seriously going to have fun learning how to make Ora shine

Outback Kamado Bar and Grill♨

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Aussie, you can count on that.:)

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Aussie, you can count on that.:)

Not long now i think it's sitting in Singapore

Outback Kamado Bar and Grill♨

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