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    Kamado Joe

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  1. Not in my book. Sounds darn near perfect. Nicely done! If you'd like them softer, wrap in foil for an hour. I like to put a foil "glove" over the tips after a couple hours. And baste quickly, infrequently and very late in the process! Frank
  2. +1 to making your own, and beautifully done! Just to be clear, curing processes do vary, and interact with subsequent smoking in one very important way. - I don't use sodium nitrate, so it's mandatory that I pasteurize to 150 F. - If you do use sodium nitrate, you have the option to cold smoke as well. Have fun, Frank
  3. How does the decking respond to heat? Akorns run cooler than ceramic Kamados, but this is long term exposure if you do low-n-slow. A little air space may be all you need. Frank
  4. That's the general idea, but not with the soapstone. With the grate in place, I use the 1 on/1 off cycle... one minute on the cooking grate to sear, one minute off the grate to rest, flip, and repeat until it's done to your liking (depending on thickness), or you like the sear and can move to low heat to finish. I don't have such a process for the soapstone yet. We don't eat steak that often. And the only thing I'm certain is I need a smaller fire than when using the grate. More work needed. Have fun, Frank
  5. Smoking wood at the bottom has advantages. Using a "volcano" fire lay, the fire naturally burns down into the wood, so it all burns. Smoking wood burns faster than charcoal in my experience, so it leaves a cavity under the charcoal when it's gone. As the fire burns down, that cavity collapses, putting new fuel in contact with the embers. All good. However, the problem of fire maturity remains: when is it safe to put on food? Have fun, Frank
  6. Set up dual zones. I've taken the idea to a logical extreme. You can't see that the fire bowl divider is in place, so the entire fire is under the soapstone. The soapstone actually gets too hot with a full fuel fill. Next time, I'll try less fuel. Soapstone is still new, so I don't have a full process set. I've done this arrangement with a grate in place of soapstone, with much higher temps on the cool side, as one might expect. This process uses a "1-min. on/1-min. off" cook cycle, turning every cycle. When I like the sear, I leave them in back, shut the vents and wait for the internal temperature to hit my target. I have sous vide and have tried the reverse-sear process. Not sure why, but I find the texture of the meat changes for the worse compared with "flash" cooking. Texture and aroma just don't come across in pictures. Have fun, Frank
  7. You're now a "practicing" Kamado owner, in the same sense a physician practices. The more you apply skills, the better you get. "100% there" is a red herring. HAve fun, Frank
  8. Did you cook on it? Cook time can tell you the temp, too. At 700+ F, pizza cooks in 3-4 min. At 400 F, more like 12-15 min. That fire looks plenty big for a 400 F pizza fire, but not a 700 F pizza fire. I kill twice that much fuel in 2.5 hours or so holding 700 F. If you check your thermometer (a great idea), use boiling water, and be realistic. If it reads 210 F, it's accurate, even if water boils at 212 F. You're not measuring the exact spot that boils. If it's off, see if you can turn the probe relative to the dial to correct the reading. Have fun, Frank
  9. The learning continues...
  10. Sugar limits a dough's cooking temperature because it burns more easily than without. Great for 400 F dough, not so good at 750 F. John's taught us well. Frank
  11. Because the thick white smoke gives food the taste the OP had on his chicken. There are four phases to a fire. - starting - growing - mature - dying When the fire is "growing" it puts out lots of white, acrid smoke that tastes bad. When it "matures" the smoke turn clear-to-blue and makes food taste great. Add your smoking wood at this point, and the resulting white smoke makes food taste good. It can be very hard to tell the difference between the white smoke of a too-young fire and smoking wood. Waiting is foolproof. Have fun, Frank
  12. Certain foods dissolve aluminum. I've never seen it happen in my smokers over decades of briskets, turkeys and pork butts. That includes the foil-wrapped brisket sitting in the refrigerator at the moment. I just checked (munch, munch). Foods that do dissolve aluminium (UK spelling), need plastic wrap or parchment paper against the food. I'm curious what's in his rub; it's not the salt, per se. I mix my own rubs, using lots of salt, and have never seen foil dissolve when cooking beef, pork or poultry. Of course, YMMV, Frank
  13. After a few successful cooks, you get a formula that you tend to repeat. That everyone has a slightly different formula tells you there's a lot of wiggle room! I have a 24 hour formula for full briskets. Key parts are: - cook at-or-below 225 F rather than higher, and use a water pan. - wrap loosely in a foil "boat" at ~175 F internal, to catch fluids, but not steam. - kill the fire at 195 F. Leave it closed until the meat internal temperature peaks around 205 F, then falls below ~175 F. I get about a cup of unctuous juice per pound of raw meat, that the cooked meat is eager to reabsorb. The loose wrap lets a bark form on top, without drying. Enjoy figuring out your formula! Frank
  14. It's funny... you never see anyone regretting a Big Joe.
  15. Indeed she is! Smart, too. I tried unsuccessfully to buy a Classic... twice. Third time, I understood that I was ordering the wrong one. It's just two of us as well, but the ability to split the firebox with Divide and Conquer grates makes small cooks a lot easier than you might think. You'll use more fuel than an Akorn, but coming from a grill, you won't notice. Conversely, you can fit a pair of full briskets. There are so many ways to use a Kamado, we all need a place like this when starting out. The trick is how many stay involved! And post pics... Welcome, Frank
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