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    Pit Boss

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  1. In case anyone else follows the path of this old thread, I thought I’d report back. The fuel-limited technique did not work out that well for me but I had pretty good success with a hybrid/airflow-limited technique. I lit 5 Kingsford Professional Briquettes covered with one large chunk of Pecan and 5 small chips of Applewood for smoke, all piled in the center of the firebowl. By having the input and output vents reduced to pin-width openings, I was able to smoke for 3 hours at temps around 135F. As long as smoke continued to be visible coming out of the outvent, I left it alone, and the 2 times I saw no smoke, I opened everything up for 2-3 minutes until I saw smoke again before closing is back down to bare-minimum openings. I was glancing at the smokestack about every 20-30 minutes and had no difficulty maintaining burning embers and smoke with that minimum level of oversight. Recipe called for increasing temps to 150F for the final 3 hours and I lit another 5 briquettes in a chimney for that. Opened everything up to reinforce the nearly-spent embers with those 5 new briquettes, another chunk of Pecan and 5 chips of Apple and went another 3 hours at 150F without issue. So I’m pretty confident I can maintain temps of ~135F with 5 briquettes for 3 hours using airflow control. Below 135F I believe the fire would have gone out, so trying to smoke at lower temps I’d try using only 4 or even 3 briquettes which out to stay lit at lower overall temps but might require recharging more often than every 3 hours. Still, I’m very impressed with how fuel-efficient these Kamado’s are and how easy they are to control through air vents alone. And resulting smoked duck was fantastic and the best duck/fowl I’ve ever cooked: In in case anyone is interested, here is the recipe I followed: https://honest-food.net/how-to-make-smoked-duck/ (Duck was finished to 165F in the oven covered with foil and then skin was crisped under the broiler without foil for 5 minutes).
  2. Trying to smoke my first duck on a Kamado and the recipe calls for ‘drying for 1 hour at 140F (without smoke) and then 5 hours with smoke with temps lowered as low as possible’ (followed by roasting in the oven at 375F). So I’m thinking of trying this ‘fuel-limited ring-of-overlapping-briquettes method’ and my question for anyone who has tried it is, should a heat deflector be used when the only source of direct heat is a few lit briquettes at the edge of the fire bowl? The recipe calls for hanging the duck vertically so that some smoke passes through the empty cavity, but I’m worried that all of the smoke will be diverted away from the cavity if I use a deflector. Any advice from anyone who has tried these fuel-limited low-temperature smoking techniques, especially with duck or other fowl, appreciated...
  3. Fantastic looking pies! So about abput 75 seconds on the hearth at 800-900F and another 15-20 seconds in the dome to finish cooking the top - great referance. I spend the whole day making beer and it went ao late that I was not able to get Formish's 24h pizza dough made. So will try his Saturday Morning Pizza Dough (@60% hydration) for the first time tomorrow. Will let you know how it turns out (though you have set a very high bar!).
  4. That doesn't make much sense. Reduction in airflow can impact smoke flavor and moisture, but no temperature when cooking low and slow. My bottom vent was only open 1/16". At 200F, very little energy/burning/airflow/heatflow is needed to mai tain temps ad the entire Kamado is practically at equilibrium (especialky when it is not opened for 6 hours straight). The 'issue' I had was that the vent sizing did not provide the level of control I needed to maintain temps that low. Even 1/2 the first row of 6 small holes on the intake vent was way yo much airflow once I got to 200F. I had to refuce to the leakage flow into the left end of the vent (which is about 10-holes equivalent) and then had to start slicing and dicing that down further to get the airflow where it needed to be. ~1/16" wide resulted in slow cooling, ~3/32" wide resulted in slow heating - manually manipulating mechsnical controls at that granularity is no way to control temperature. With the BBQ Guru fan in place, even without electronic control, there is a manual slider that allows airflow to be easily manually controlled at far finer granularity. Ant that is how I controlled the Fatboy for ribs - with the BBG Guru fan for manual intake vent control but without the Guru itself hooked up and controlling the fan (no probe). Once I have the fan adapter for my LG24 hoojed up, I may decide the Guru itself is not needed, merely the finer manual controls on intake vent settibgs provided by the fan. I can't say you're wrong because you have soooo much more experience with these Kamado cookers than me. But I can say it will surprise me. Based on my single experience trying to maintain temps of 200F for 6 hours with stock vent controls, I'll be very surprised to discover that I can maintain 200F for 3-6 hours at a time using stock vent controls without need to check and adjust nore often than that (more than 2 adjusments over 10-20 hours once at temp). Again, with different intake vent controls (or at higher temps), it could be a different story entirely...
  5. Yeah, don’t get me wrong - I cooked low and slow for years without ever thinking twice about adjusting vents. Didn’t know anything about automatic temperature control and never saw the need. It just went with the territory. Then just as I was getting into all-night brisket cooks and starting to feel the pain of staying up essentially all night to assure temperatures neither spiked nor dropped too low, I got the Fatboy and they are the ones that recommended a BBQ Guru. Once you experience temperature control, it’s hard to go back. As I said, I eventually stopped using the BBQ guru when smoking ribs on the Fatboy because temps could be easily maintained through manual vent adjustments whenever I was rotating ribs anyway, so it was easier to skip setting up the guru. From my one and only low and slow experience on the Kamado, I had to monitor and adjust on a higher-frequency schedule than the hourly schedule I typically use when smoking ribs. I already have a BBQ guru and will need it for brisket, so using it to take on task of maintain temps for ribs is a no-brainer. I’m still learning the vent controls on the LG24, but my sense is that it is always heating slowly or cooling slowly and I’m not sure it’s easy to have confidence that rate of slow heating or slow cooling can be controlled well-enough to be certain it won’t change temps by more than +/-10-25F over the course of an hour...
  6. Well, I put a great deal more effort into scrubbing off the pizza stone with a green scrubbee and got much more of the black.chat off. Here is what the stone looks like now: There are still a couple of small dark spots that persist despite my best efforts and there is that large long darker area between 1 o’clock and 2 o’clock, but those are distinct enough that if they are causing excessive charring to occur, I should be able to recogniize the pattern. For reference, here is what the stone looked like after the first time I cleaned it (with much less elbow grease) following our first pizza cook: (By chance, I believe the two pics may be of the stone in approximately the same position). Between having cleaned the pizza stone better, using Semolina to ‘lubricate’ the wooden peel rather than ‘00’ flour, and your idea of cooling the pizza stone below dome temperature, I’m hoping this weekend’s pizza cook delivers the breakthrough I’ve been hoping for! Won’t be until Monday, but I’ll report back on how things went...
  7. Now that I understand your technique in more detail (using tongs) I like that better. With ice cubes I'd have two concerns: -local cooling rather than uniform cooling (probably need at least 3 spots) -the ice flying off of the stone and into the firebowl If/when I do decide to try a varient using ice cubes, using tongs like you do and wiping the cube over the stone until it has melted away makes more sense. But for now, I'm going to give your below technique a try. If you've got a link on Amazon or wherever to those gloves, I could be interested in a pair. I've got a pair of silicone gloves that do a good job protecting from direct contact with high temps, but not for long. I have some long BBQ tongs close to 2 feet long, so I should pretty much be able to keep my hands out of the dome area when doing this. So you are using the 'sign' of the steam stopping as a reference that you have dropped the next section of stone to ~500F, right? How many 'sections' do you typically divide your stone into when cooling? Termperatures will equalize as the stone is warming, so I'm guessing it's not necessary to be too careful about cooling each section equally. As long as you don't skip an entire section... Another brilliant technique - thanks for that. I use a large aluminum peel and can 'feel' when I've already got char. Lifting the pizza a bit and 'dropping' it back on the stone may be just the ticket to sense how much more time is needed. With your slotted spatula, are you only lifting and dropping in one spot (the front) or several!? Yes, I monitor 'doneness' of toppings through the top vent as well. I can even see the formation of leoparding on the rim of the crust. My challange has been that if I cook until the top is done, the bottom is often overcharred. Your 'cooling the stone' idea may be just the breakthrough I've needed! Thanks again for all these pointers.
  8. If that's meant for me (and my placesetter+heat deflector stack), I don't see the extra thermal mass as wasting energy and think it shoukd actually help with temperature stability and recovery. Yes, it takes more energy to bring the additional mass up to temp, but once there, you will maintain temps better and recover temps more quckly with the added mass (energy consumption will be roughly equivalent). But that was not my primary reason for stacking placesetter below the heat deflector - the primary reason was to get 5/8" higher into the dome...
  9. Wow, that is a very interesting idea. So you quickly cool the pizza stone down from ~dome temp to 500-550F then monitor as it heats back up and put the pizza on once it hits 600F - that is absolutely brilliant! I think we may try that technique this weekend. I'm probably going to aim for higher temps than you target, but the same technique ought to work. I bought a fancy pizza stone that withstands being heated to 700F and then being tossed into a bowl of water: http://www.californiapizzastones.com/pizza/files/pizza-stones-That-Do-Not-Thermal-Shock.php So having the surface wiped with water at temps of 750 or 800F should be no problem. I assume you do gloves when you do this and even then, you probably neec to move pretty fast, right? I've charred pizzas in 30 seconds, so I suspect i's not going to be comfortable having a hand in there for long. What about other alternative like throwing an ice cube or two on the pizza stone? What do ypu mean by 'release the crust off of the stone'? You mean you break the seal between crust and stone (without rotating) partway through? And then you close it back up for another 20-30 seconds - do you peak at the underside of the crust whn releasing with your spatula? My fire is evenly distributed and the temperature of my pizza stone is uniform. The excessive char ftom my first pizza cook may have been caused by uneven temps, but since then, I'm suspecting it may be getting caused by the black spots burned into the stone surface - they may conduct heat more efficiently than the white uncharred areas. Going to sand off the dark spots or flip the stone to see if that reduces the charring...
  10. I bought the Lavalock XTR58 felt gasket rated for 1000F and put it on my new Kamado before firing it up for the first time: https://bbqgaskets.com/lavalockr-xtr58-1000f-self-stick-bbq-gasket-lifetime-replacement-warranty-5-8-x-1-8-x-15-ft.html That was 4 weeks, 4 pizza cooks and one low and slow rib smoke ago. The Kamado went 900F once, 800F twice, 700F once (all for about 2 hours plus another 2 hours ramping up) and the low and slow was under 250F for 6 hours. The gasket is already shot and will be getting stripped off after our Labor Day cook. Here is what it looked like after the first pizza cook at 900F: The inner edges are slightly browned but the outer edge retains the original grey color. And here is what it looks like now: It's coming unglued near the inside edge, holes and gaps have developed, the inside edge has become white while the outside edge has become brown, and the white fibers are coming loose (rubbed against it and my skin reacted like it does from contact with fiberglass - not fun). So for the benefit of anyone else consideribg using these gaskets and hoping they will last at temperatures of ~800F, you will be disappointed. I'm now mulling my alternatives including cooking without any gasket, but I think I'll put that subject in a seperate dedicated thread. The subject of this thread is a review of the Lavalock XTR58 1000F felt gaskets. They may work very well at lower temperatutes but do not deliver anything close to the 1000F protection advertised. Temps as low as 800F will quickly degrade these gaskets.
  11. Got it, so your not really a BBQ Guru user yet, at least for cooking, How have you been controlling low and slow on Kamado smokes? Are there many BBQ Guru owners here on the Forum? I got a BBQ Guru with my Fatboy and it was fantastic but that pro-grade smoker was do temperatute stable that I only ended up using it for overnight brisket. For ribs and smoked turkey on thanksgiving, minot adjustments of the vents hourly maintained temps within +/--10F. From my one rib smoke on my ceramic Kamado (LG24), these cookers are not as temperature stable and need babysitting at least every 15 minutes if not more. Hence the interest to get the adaptor so I can use the Guru fan with the Kamado.
  12. Wow, that's alot of pizzas! With this weekends cook, I'll be approaching 1/10th of that... So the dome temp gets up higher than the stone because it is metal rather than ceramic and quickly heats right up to smoke temperature? I can never get my ceramic dome higher than my stone (unless I cut the heat and let temps start to drift down - the stone drops faster than the dome). How do you decide how long to cook? Rotate after 60 seconds and decide how much more based on how it looks? $350 with accessories is a pretty good deal (only $0.70 per pizza ;).
  13. Thanks. On the subject of BBQ Guru (or whatever your favorite PID + vent-control fan is), where do you place your probe? Through the thermometer hole near the top of the dome or closer to the cooking surface?
  14. Thanks. So the entire height is obviously just short enough to slip past the upper guide once the bottom is positioned into the lower guide, right? And can I assume the little folded piece at the top pushes up into the top guide relatively easily to lock the entire plate into place? And you are obviously happy with how effectively is shuts down airflow with the port plug installed, right? Looks like I need to get me one of these adapters for my Kamado next Tuesday (they are already closed for the long weekend)...
  15. Has anyone used one of these ceramic adaptors for the BBQ Guru? I can't quite figure out how they are supposed to work so any description and/or pics would be greatly appreciated... Is the upper piece supposed to be pushed up into the upper rail after to entire thing is positioned into the lower rail? Does this 'solution' work well?
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