I got the chance to try out my new Kamado Big Joe this weekend. It's last year's model with the air lift hinge the new one is just way too expensive and looks a bit funny to my eyes.
So I thought I'd try something easy and did a Spatchcock chicken, no brine, but i patted dry the skin and left it uncovered in the fridge for a few hours. Normally i make my own rubs but was short of time so seasoned with Big Poppa's Desert Gold . I used a chunk of Apple wood. I think temps were about 350-375 and I cooked it direct, i did flip it to get a bit more crisp on the skin. Think it was on for about 1 1/4 hours and I threw in some jerk chicken legs for the last 40 minutes. It was probably the juiciest, most moist chicken I've ever cooked. And the Desert Gold was delicious, not overpowering and very savoury. I didn't even get a chance to dish it up before the kids had pretty much devoured it all! The jerk chicken was fantastic as well.
Having done plenty of smoking and grilling on my Weber kettles and a fair bit on a UDS I found the Kamado Joe pretty simple to adapt to. For the first cook I probably didn't load enough charcoal in and i think that made the temp less stable. On my second cook I pretty much filled the basket and started a small fire in the centre and let it go with the lid ajar for 10 minutes or so as it was really windy, then i added a chunk of chestnut and a chunk orange, fitted the diffusers and the x-rack and it got to my target temp of 325 really smoothly.
I then added a drip tray filled with sliced potatoes, garlic and lamb stock and a splash of white wine. I let it cook for 30 minutes then basted every 15 minutes with a glaze and a herb brush. It was an Adam Perry Lang recipe. It came out great although I do find some of Adam Perry Lang's recipes and indeed a lot of US recipes too sweet for my tastes. I think the honey in the glaze overpowered the lamb and I think next time I'll stick to my old favourites of anchovies, garlic and rosemary stuffed into little cuts in the lamb and olive oil and S+P. It had a great smoke ring though.
The Big Joe cooked everything beautifully though. I was amazed how stable the temps were once i'd got it settled in. It fluctuated between 323 and 327f with me needing to do absolutely nothing. Coming from a kettle I felt a little bit unneccessary! I was also very impressed with the dome thermometer, i'd placed my maverick at the grate and the dome temp was pretty much the same.
I agonised for months over which size to get but am very glad i went with the Big Joe. I like to cook lots of side dishes at the same time and the huge grill space will be so useful. I used to end up have two kettles running much of the time. I am so chuffed with the Big Joe and can't wait to get more experience with it. I'm going to do some grilling next and will get around to pulled pork and ribs soon.