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fafrd

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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?
  16. I think I found a configuration to easily smoke 3-4 racks of ribs on the A/R without needing to modify it. The key concept is to use two layers cooking-grates each with their own drip pans (it’s never occurred to me to use more than 1 drip pan before). So lowest A/R position holds 18” grid over a first drip pan supported by the placesetter (in legs-up position) followed by highest A/R position holding a second drip pan under the 20” top grid: Lower rack is now at felt-line with nothing blocking access, plenty of room to get in and out for rotation, and racks at lower level are completely shielded from ‘bone-goop’ dropping from the top level (as well as the option to increase moisture by adding some water). For completeness, this set-up is using the CGS Spider to hold a 14” and a 15” heat deflector in ‘oblong’ configuration (so smoke only exits the firebowl from the sides) which provides an airspace to the placesetter in legs-up position (so little risk of the lower drip pan getting too much direct heat). I’ll be using this set-up next time I’m smoking 3 racks of ribs...
  17. Wow, this has been such a valuable exchange. It caused me to ‘think outside the box’ and I believe I’ve come up with the winning configuration. Going to a full dual drip-pan + grilling rack set up still requires three levels on the A/R but fit the rig much better: It turns out that the PB24/LG24 will hold a standard baking sheet (which I use as a drip pan in my Fatboy). This means the lowest A/R position can be used to hold the 18” grate above a first drip pan on the heat deflector, and the highest A/R position can be used to hold a second drip pan under the 20” top rack. East-peazy to remove racks from the lower position for rotation, no need to cut/modify the A/R, and you have the freedom to cook 3 racks in 2+1 or 1+2 configuration depending on whether you want more or less smoke (top 20” grid should get much more smoke than lower 18” grid). This will be the setup I use next time I smoke 3 racks of ribs (and again, thanks to this exchange - the idea of using 2 drip pans had never occurred to me before you reinforced my concern about bone goop and got me thinking about alternative ways to avoid it in multi-layer cooking). p.s. just for completeness, this set-up uses the CGS Spider to hold a 14” heat deflector and a 15” heat deflector in oblong orientation (so smoke only exits from the sides) followed by the place-setter in legs-up position (providing an air gap from the heat deflectors) which supports the lower drip pan and the A/R.
  18. Absolutely aware of this (and it's the reason I tried vertical cooking in my first attempt rather than 2 on one layer and a third on a second layer. Certainly want to avoid bone ends being over rib centers for exactly that reason. I've done 2 levels of aligned ribs before and my sense is, if the bone ends are lined up above other bone ends, it's much less of an issue. That's why if I try 2+1 I will treat it like a 2+2 with a 'ghost' (missing) rack. And I suppose the other 'solution' would be to put a long narrow aluminum foil 'drip tray' in the middle position: -2 racks side-by-side in the top position getting maximum smoke and minimum vapor/moisture -DIY drip trey / rib protector in the middle position under the seam between the racks above to catch that nasty goop coming out of the bone ends -3rd rack on the bottom position shielded from goop by the DIY drip trey getting maximum vapor and minimum smoke. Or you could put 2 racks in the bottom position if you have a full drip trey under the 3rd rack on top... Kamados seem well-suited to smoking 2 racks of ribs without compromise, but unfortunately smoking 3 racks involves making a trade-off somewhere...
  19. Try using your IR thermometer next time you are baking pizza. They are amazing, fast, and probably provide a more accurate reference than the oven therm. Checking several spots on dome and stone (or deck) is also a good idea to get a sense of uniformity (wish I'd known that for my first pizza cook). Thanks. And how do you decide when it is time to pull the pizza? Just based on time knowing the bake is at a known temp or checking and adjusting time halfway through? From my experience, air/oven therm temp is higher than dome or stone, so once you check with your IR therm, you may see that you are actually cooking slightly below 800F (750-775F?). That's my experience as well, with one exception (which may have been my best pizza yet). I was drifting down ftom 900F to 800F and put the pizza on when the stone hit 800F (monitoring through the top vent with IR thermometer). I did not check dome temp, but suspect the larger hear mass of the dome meant it was drifting down more slowly than the pizza stone, so it was probably closer to 850F than 800F. In any case, looking through the top vent, I could see as leoparding started to form on the top crust and pulled the pizza when it got right to where I wanted it. Bottom was charred but not excessively (about right). But any time I'm heating (bottom vent open at all), my bottom crust is overcharred if I pull when the top is done, as you say. It's possible in a Kamado, but only for so long. With one person holding the lid partway open, another person can hold the aluminum peel up in dome and the top will continue to cook while the bottom essentially stops cooking. It's slow and the problem is after ~a minute of 800-900F exhaust exiting from the open dome, even if your hands are protected to handle the heat, the handle on the dome heats up to the point that you need to start worrying about melting. I haven't given up on the technique but am planning to try broiling in the oven when tops need more cook time, since that seems like it would be much easier (though may not be hot enough to cause leoparding). Thanks for the compliment, and believe me, I'm thinking about it. I'm sometimes gulty of a short attention span, so want to be more confident Nepolitan-style pizza is a fascination with legs before I make that investment. In the meantime, my very-experienced pizza-cooking neighbors (every Friday night for 20+ years!) have been thinking about breaking out of their oven and 500F pizza by getting a WFO for a while now, and they were impressed enough with the pizza we cooked together on my Kamado that I think this may finally catalyze their initiative. So my plan is to help them get a WFO by next Spring and if I see were going to be in this pizza-making phase for the long-haul and I learn on their oven how much better the experience of cooking Nepolitan style is on a WFO, it will just be a matter of time before I want my own :).
  20. Yeah, I've cleaned off my heat deflector and my pizza stone after low-and-slow by going through a 800-900F pizza cook, but this black char is sonething different. It's not from cheese or tomato sauce but from spots where the crust charred (so perhaps flour). And my concern is that these black char spots may be self-perpetuating (new char more likely to occur on those black spots). Flipping it over direct flame is a great idea - these stones are rated to 2000F so they should have no problem withstanding the direct heat. And if that doesn't work, I may try sanding lightly to see if I can get a fresh start...
  21. There is no corresponding partial ring at the back - only in the front. Also, I considered what you are proposing using the two support rods in the lowest position, but that doesn't leave enough space for a rack of ribs if there is another grate in the middle position and if you put the middle rack in the upper position, then there is plenty of room for ribs on the lowest grid but then not enough between the middle grid and the 20" grid on top of the A/R to fit ribs without raising the top grid by an inch or so (which then causes headroom problems with the dome). Moving tmain grate from under the A/R to the lowest position sacrifices 1-3/16" of vertical space and there is unfortunately not enough slack in the entire design to make up for that (at least not in a PB24/LG24). Also, a 13" x 17" won't reach the 1/4" lower ring - you need a 20" length (diameter) to sit outside the lower ring and be supported directly without use of the adjustable bars (like the 20" top grate). The opening is 15-1/2" wide, so unfortunately, the 16" x 20" oblong grate won't fit either. You need to cut one more bar off of either end of the 16" x 20" (or just cut one bar and accept that it won't be perfectly centered) to get it to fit the large A/R. But you still need to cut out the center of the lower partial ring to be able to easily slide a rack of ribs off of that grate. As I said, I spoke to Tom at CSG today and he essentially agreed that that was the only way to hold 3 layers of ribs (unless you want to perform unnatural acts by removing the entire A/R or lifting up the middle grate when it comes time to rotate.
  22. It doesn't clean off from being heated to 900F, but face down over coals is an interesting idea (much hotter). I also read where some advise to lightly sand the surface which is another thing I may try eventually...
  23. That's a d*mn fine-looking pie. How long does your cook typically take at 800F?
  24. Yeah, we had friends over for pizza night and she brought two liaves of unbaked bread to cook on the cooling Kamado after we were done cooking pizza. She used parchment paper so I understand the concept. But what temps are you cooking your pizzas at? The bread was cooked at 450F and the patchement paper did fine, but I'd be cincerned about it charring or bursting into flame at 800-900F... Also, do you mean that you rotate the pizza on the parchment paper and then slip the parchment out from under the pizza?
  25. Yeah, the A/R is a pretty fantastic piece of kit. The only bugaboo I have with the Large A/R is the one I described. If that lower partial ring were not present in the lower front of the A/R, you could position a 20" x 15" Oval Grid on top of the lower ring (with a notch cut out of the back to fit around the rear support post), another 20" x 15" grid in the middle position (with or without a notch in the back), and a 20" round grid on top. That would allow you to smoke 6 racks of babybacks with ease (and as many as 9 racks if you want to trim to -5-16" long as Tom suggests).
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