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Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
ChiKing

Round 1 - Of course there would be questions

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I spent last night doing the off gassing process. I started at 6, slowly brought it up to 300F by around 7 and by 8 had it to 550. Everything seemed ok and I let it run for another 2.5 hours. I think I got all the smell out but not 100% sure. However, I was never able to get the unit higher than 550-575 and near the end it started to dip back down. I was using the dome gauge so I assume it was a bit hotter at the grate, but given that a Pizza needs about 700F I was surprised.

Setup -

  • Lump charcoal, all medium to bigger hunks and the basket filled.
  • Bottom was fully open on the left and the right holes I se to the largest
  • Top - Opened 4 full rotations. 
  • In the morning, all the charcoal was gone just about.

Did I miss something? It seems most folks talk about opening 5-6 rotations, but mine will only go around 360 degrees 4 times before I hit the bottom pin.

 

I also noticed that the place to put a grate thermometer is actually only about a half inch from the grate. Will that interfere with the reading if it refracts of the metal?

 

Thanks

 

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What kind of Lump Charcoal?  One thing to be aware of is that not all Lump in created equal. There is some terrible stuff on the market that doesn't burn very hot or long.

Not sure which model you have, but you can also put out the bottom damper to gain even more air flow as well.

The hole in the side is typically for a cable to go in for a wired thermometer. I usually have one in a mount on my grate to get grate level temps. Something like a Thermapen Smoke or Smoke X.

 

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Did you fill it right up to the handles?

I've never cooked my pizza at 700F, not saying that others haven't but I do mine more in the 500-550 range. 

I would think 4 complete turns on the top cap would allow for lots of air flow with the bottom vent open all the way.

I do as jruddy does for the grate thermometer.

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4 turns is a LOT. Not sure where you read that 5-6 turns is common, but I'm usually running with no more than 3 turns and have zero issues going nuclear. More commonly 1 to 1-1/2 turns for medium temps. 2'ish will get me over 500 no problem.

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28 minutes ago, jruddy said:

What kind of Lump Charcoal?  One thing to be aware of is that not all Lump in created equal. There is some terrible stuff on the market that doesn't burn very hot or long.

Not sure which model you have, but you can also put out the bottom damper to gain even more air flow as well.

The hole in the side is typically for a cable to go in for a wired thermometer. I usually have one in a mount on my grate to get grate level temps. Something like a Thermapen Smoke or Smoke X.

 

Just wanted to follow up with a picture so you could see what I mean.  You can see the wire and the probe near the back in the middle.

 

This is 500 with a 1/4 basket, both bottom vents open (not pulled out), and top vent 2 or 3 turns.

I'm really wondering about the charcoal or if you a 100% full basket like someone else mentioned.   

I also cook my pizza at 550. I haven't made a napoleon style high temp pizza though.

temp.jpg

Edited by jruddy
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24 minutes ago, jruddy said:

What kind of Lump Charcoal?  One thing to be aware of is that not all Lump in created equal. There is some terrible stuff on the market that doesn't burn very hot or long.

Not sure which model you have, but you can also put out the bottom damper to gain even more air flow as well.

The hole in the side is typically for a cable to go in for a wired thermometer. I usually have one in a mount on my grate to get grate level temps. Something like a Thermapen Smoke or Smoke X.

 

I was using some of this- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SV3S38J/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Pulling out the dampener would add more in, but I thought the top defines the ultimate flow? I guess, if the top had more flow than the bottom, it would keep getting cooler and more flow from the bottom would even it out again? It just seems weird that at the dome it was only 550. I would think it should have kept going up to over 900.

 

For the holes for the thermometer near the grate - Do you all pull out the rubber stops when your done cooking or do you just leave them in? If your not using a meter in there, you would technically have a small hole that leaks air?

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5 minutes ago, jruddy said:

Just wanted to follow up with a picture so you could see what I mean.  You can see the wire and the probe near the back in the middle.

 

This is 500 with a 1/4 basket, both bottom vents open (not pulled out), and top vent 2 or 3 turns.

I'm really wondering about the charcoal or if you a 100% full basket like someone else mentioned.   

I also cook my pizza at 550. I haven't made a napoleon style high temp pizza though.

temp.jpg

That makes sense, I was not pulling the wire filly though, I had it sticking out the side.

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18 minutes ago, Pequod said:

4 turns is a LOT. Not sure where you read that 5-6 turns is common, but I'm usually running with no more than 3 turns and have zero issues going nuclear. More commonly 1 to 1-1/2 turns for medium temps. 2'ish will get me over 500 no problem.

That is what I thought which has me concerned. I just don't know what I am doing wrong.

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2 minutes ago, ChiKing said:

That is what I thought which has me concerned. I just don't know what I am doing wrong.

My advice: load a full basket, light it in 4 spots, close the lid, open the bottom vents fully and the top 2 full turns. Let it go until the temperature stabilizes (1-2 hours) and write it down. Open another 1/2 turn and do the same. Write down the temp after another hour. Then another 1/2 and do the same. If you haven’t hit 600 somewhere in there, replace your lump with some Fogo.

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34 minutes ago, Pequod said:

My advice: load a full basket, light it in 4 spots, close the lid, open the bottom vents fully and the top 2 full turns. Let it go until the temperature stabilizes (1-2 hours) and write it down. Open another 1/2 turn and do the same. Write down the temp after another hour. Then another 1/2 and do the same. If you haven’t hit 600 somewhere in there, replace your lump with some Fogo.

Thanks. Quick question. Other than making it go faster, is there a reason to light in 4 places and have it wide open right at the start? I did light it slowly last night just to see if I could get a feel for smoking temps on my way up

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54 minutes ago, ChiKing said:

That is what I thought which has me concerned. I just don't know what I am doing wrong.

This is all part of the learning process and while I don't spend a ton of time on the forums and have only had mine less than a year, I can tell you this is a common issue when you are learning.  I had a KamadoJoe for a couple years before I upgraded and did all my learning on it. Once you get used to it, you can dial it in how you want fairly quickly.

I'm not familiar with that charcoal, I would try some KamadoJoe Big Block or Fogo Charcoal.  Fogo is better, but the Big Block is pretty good in my book. You can also stock up a Costco when the KJ roadshow is in your area.

 

As far as your startup, I typically use 2 starter cubes, bottom damper full open, and lid open for 10 mins or so. Then leave bottom open, and top turned out 2-3 turns until I get close to my temp. Then dial down and let temp settle.

 

 

 

Edited by jruddy

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12 minutes ago, jruddy said:

This is all part of the learning process and while I don't spend a ton of time on the forums and have only had mine less than a year, I can tell you this is a common issue when you are learning.  I had a KamadoJoe for a couple years before I upgraded and did all my learning on it. Once you get used to it, you can dial it in how you want fairly quickly.

I'm not familiar with that charcoal, I would try some KamadoJoe Big Block or Fogo Charcoal.  Fogo is better, but the Big Block is pretty good in my book. You can also stock up a Costco when the KJ roadshow is in your area.

 

As far as your startup, I typically use 2 starter cubes, bottom damper full open, and lid open for 10 mins or so. Then leave bottom open, and top turned out 2-3 turns until I get close to my temp. Then dial down and let temp settle.

 

 

 

Thanks. I think general processes like that are helpful. I can try your way for hot temps. What do you do for 225 targets?

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Just now, ChiKing said:

Thanks. I think general processes like that are helpful. I can try your way for hot temps. What do you do for 225 targets?

Exact same start up process, except if I'm not in a hurry I will use one starter cube. In most cases I still use two so I can get it up to temp quicker.  You will find that when you shut back down the vents it will slow the temp rise quickly. You also have to remember that there will be some heat soak into the cooker, and then when you add food, it will drop again.

Get it up to 200-225, then dial vents back.  You should be able to get 225-250 with an inch or two on the bottom vent and 1/4 - 1/2 turn on top vent.  Remember this varies on size, I have a 32"  but should be close

 

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22 minutes ago, ChiKing said:

Thanks. Quick question. Other than making it go faster, is there a reason to light in 4 places and have it wide open right at the start? I did light it slowly last night just to see if I could get a feel for smoking temps on my way up

4 places and wide open is to get it to high temps quickly. High temps are achieved with a broad flame front. If you want low and slow, hit it in only one spot, open the vent 1 turn, then close it down to 1/4 turn when within 50 degrees of your target. In general, I open wider than my target to get there quickly, then close it down once I’m within 50 degrees of my target. It will coast to a soft landing from there.

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I suspect the top vent was to far open. I rarely go above 2 turns on the top vent. 

 

Think of this like trying to preheat an oven. If you leave the door cracked open it'll preheat but you're loosing so much air out the cracked door it'll take forever. Although that's a sort of extreme example the theory is still the same. 

Trap the heat in the Kamado. Better than trying to heat the backyard. 

 

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17 minutes ago, ckreef said:

I suspect the top vent was to far open. I rarely go above 2 turns on the top vent. 

 

Think of this like trying to preheat an oven. If you leave the door cracked open it'll preheat but you're loosing so much air out the cracked door it'll take forever. Although that's a sort of extreme example the theory is still the same. 

Trap the heat in the Kamado. Better than trying to heat the backyard. 

 

Never thought of it that way, but makes a ton of sense.  I’m definitely applying this.

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Never seen that charcoal before. I'd try a different brand to see if it makes a difference for you. There's plenty of good stuff out there - Fogo, Jealous Devil, KJ Big Box, Rockwood. Everyone has their favs. If you're ever in doubt, go check out the Naked Whiz's database. 

http://www.nakedwhiz.com/lumpindexpage.htm?bag

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Thanks for the info. I think I am being too cautious as I lit it up for some ribs and spent 2 hours to get it to temp. I am guessing from the comments I can go faster up front and let the heat soak happen in the back half of an hour.

 

I was just looking as saw that the probe I have on the grill grate is at 190 but the dome thermometer is at about 210. I assume my probe is more reliable, but is the dome potentially hotter than the grate?

 

There is lots of learning to do which means I just need to keep smoking something until I get it right. :) 

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10 hours ago, ChiKing said:I was just looking as saw that the probe I have on the grill grate is at 190 but the dome thermometer is at about 210. I assume my probe is more reliable, but is the dome potentially hotter than the grate?

Yes, especially when you aren’t fully heat soaked and/or aren’t using a heat deflector. Indirect, fully heat soaked should see temps that are pretty uniform throughout the main grate and dome.

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17 hours ago, ChiKing said:

I was just looking as saw that the probe I have on the grill grate is at 190 but the dome thermometer is at about 210. I assume my probe is more reliable, but is the dome potentially hotter than the grate?

A 20F delta is pretty common during heat up. Like Pequod said, once you're heat soaked, this will drop to only a few degrees. Remember the basics of thermodynamics - hot air rises. 

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