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Everything posted by fafrd

  1. Oh, so those are the dimensions of the carrier. So the stone must be quite a bit smaller - perhaps as small as 10” x 13”? No problem to fit in an AR then - the AR has a 15-3/4” opening up not an 18” diameter. The stone will be suspended over the coalbed, so no need to worry about spacing to another surface. Seems as though the grilkgrwtes griddle is made of aluminum. Why do you prefer that for searing over your lavastone? Mainly cleaning and storage or does it do a better job on the actual sear (faster? more efficien? better caramelization?)
  2. Thanks John - I’m going to forget about pizza stone and get either soapstone or lavastone. Do you have any opinion on differences or pros and cons between those two stones?
  3. Here’s a guy that sears steak on a cordierite pizza stone: https://altonbrown.com/thermal-shock-porterhouse-steak-recipe/ I have a 16” cordierite heat deflector, so if that’s a viable material to start getting into stone-searing, maybe I’ll start with that and gain some experience with the technique before buying something new. Anyone tried searing on cordierite (pizza stone)? Anyone know any reasons why cordierite is a bad idea for searing meats (taste, cleaning, sanitation, etc...)?
  4. Here is a guy who sears steak on a cordierite pizza stone: https://altonbrown.com/thermal-shock-porterhouse-steak-recipe/
  5. I’m getting convinced I should pick up a stone for searing Sous-vide cooked meats, but as I read about lavastone versus soapstone, it occurs to me that I already have a 16” cordierite heat deflector. Can a cordierite stone be used for searing? In terms of carmelization, formation of crust, clean-up and sanitation, is cordierite inferior to lavastone and/or soapstone for some reason, or is it an option to start trying Stone-based searing?
  6. I’m hoping to fit the stone on the 18” grate so that I can play around with different heights. The opening between the front brackets is 15-3/4”, so the 11” short side of the stone should al least fit in that way. Is 11”x16” the dimension of the stone or the carrier? If that’s the stone, what is the dimension of the carrier (handles)? Is there any issue with using the stone outside of its carrier?
  7. Thanks for the recommendation. Found your Alpha Ovens LavaStone at BBQ guys for $89. 11” x 16” is an appealing size so I’m leaning that direction (but need to make sure it will fit on my Kamado or more precisely the Adjustable Rig I just purchased for my Kamado...
  8. I found one site claiming lavastone is much stronger and harder to crack/break than soapstone. Also found this 14” round lavastone sold by Vision Grills: https://www.amazon.com/Vision-Grills-Dual-Purpose-Deflector-Experience/dp/B01E12SBYO/ref=pd_aw_sbs_79_1/146-3179647-6769837?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01E12SBYO&pd_rd_r=c70226d5-f2d7-40aa-88ae-5d0e34d9ba7a&pd_rd_w=kuwxm&pd_rd_wg=F2hnl&pf_rd_p=3861f3e6-3054-41ac-9570-6a1994716f7e&pf_rd_r=PS7WFX4XMMZ13B8A8FV4&psc=1&refRID=PS7WFX4XMMZ13B8A8FV4 A round stone is not a rectangular griddle but can still be used on the stove more easily than a half-moon stone. And for $59, this Lavastone option seems to be less expensive than any of the soapstone options I’m finding... Interested if anyone has had a chance to compare searing steak on a lavastone compared to a soapstone.
  9. Great, thanks! Is lavastone supposed to work as well for searing as soapstone? Are there any pros and cons of lavastone versus soapstone?
  10. One last picture for the sake of completeness - this is the amount of briquettes remaining after this cook: Probably over half of what I started with (80% of a chimney). First, I’m pretty happy with how effectively my Kamado shuts down once the vents are shut. My seals seem to be working well. Second, I am floored by how energy-efficient these Kamados are. I would have used all of these briquettes on a Weber and would not have completed 1/2 this amount of cooking. And lastly, I’m pretty happy with this technique I’ve (apparently) devised of raising and centering the coal bed. Several commenters were concerned about heat stress on the fire bowl, but if anything, this puts less heat stress on the fire bowl than having the coals on the bottom. The hot coals are centered in the center of the Kamado volume where they put maximum heat while much lower radiant heat reaches the ceramic. Knowing a soapstone at 500F is the ideal searing set-up, I can now use the CGS to position the soapstone griddle at various heights until I find the level that best delivers 500F over that raised coalbed. For high-temp pizzas and 24h brisket, the firebowl needs to be filled with lump, for 6 hour smoked ribs, the basket needs to be partially filled with lump, but for searing and grilling, I think I can get away with raising the coal bed and using briquettes (ash is not a problem over such a short cook). P.S. And for those who may have been wondering, here’s a final picture of the amount of ash generated by the Kingsford Professional Competition Briquettes used for this cook:
  11. OK, thanks. I found your video on searing on soapstone ribeye: Next Sous-vide tomahawk steak I make will be seared this way. I’ve asked in the accessories forum about recommendations for soapstone griddles, in case there are any products or suppliers you’d recommend. I think I want to get a rectangular soapstone griddle rather than a half-moon since it’ll be easier to use on the stove and we’re cooking our meats with Sous-vide rather than indirect grilling these days... And thanks again for the advice - you’r taking my grilling expertise up to the next level!
  12. I'm thinking about picking up a soapstone griddle and am interested in any recommended products/suppliers. I'm leaning towards a rectangular griddle rather than a half-moon design. Seems to be surprisingly few suppliers, so any pointers appreciated...
  13. Well, we like carmelization more than scorch as well, so I'm ready to try this technique. Can we use our plain 'ol cast iron skillets or do I need something special like soapstone or a higher-carbon skillet? Does ghee have a higher smoke point than other high-temp oils? What temps are you aiming to get the skillet/soapstone to when searing with ghee? Can this technique be done on the stove or does it need higher temps? And if better done outside, is there any particular advantage to doing it over charcoal versus a propane burner? I've been searing on the webber since the beginning of time (but at lower temps than this first attempt on a Kamado) but am interested to try something new - thanks for your help.
  14. If money was no object, perhaps. But so far, for less than 1/2 the cost of the S-n-S for Kamado, Grills & rigs from CGS, and heat deflectors, pizza stones, and ceramic spacers from California Pizza Stones, I don’t see anything the S-n-S can do that I can’t do with this budget rig...
  15. OK, here’s the report. The Cliff Notes version is that I’m amazed at how much more heat-efficient these Kamados are compared to a Weber and am slapping my palm against my forehead to understand why I didn’t buy one of these a decade ago. The other quick takeaway is that I’m very happy with the ‘raised charcoal bed approach’ to grilling on a Kamado. First, the set-up. My CGS Spider is not here yet, but we were cooking a rack of lamb Sous Vide and I needed something to sear them on. I realized that supporting the Weber charcoal grate from below will work as well as supporting above with the Spider, so I threw something together: I lit lit a mostly-full smokestack full of briquettes in the chimney using my new electric lighter for the first time; After 15-minutes, I had flames licking up against the gasket of the top dome reaching 300F so I decided it was time to pour out the coals: The coal bed was delivering over 1000F!: Time to throw on the rack of lamb which is when the fireworks started: I flipped about every 15 seconds, as as the fat began to render, the flames began to shoot up: When the dust had cleared after about ~2min per side and 20-30 seconds for each end, here is what we ended up with: Doesn’t look terribly appetizing from the outside, but when we cut into it, it was about the best rack of lamb we’ve ever had: After the rack of lamb was pulled, the coals were still going strong (over 1000F) so I threw in the placesetter and began roasting some asparagus: : After ~10 minutes with the lid closed at temps of ~250F, we pulled the placesetter and grilled the asparagus to a mild char. Still plenty of life left in the coals, so we charred the potatoes we had already baked: We pulled off the grilled potatoes and the coals still had plenty of life left, so my wife grilled some pablano peppers we’re planning to eat tomorrow: And even after all all of that, the coals were still going strong. I shut down the vents and we’ll see how much remains tomorrow morning. The meal was fantastic but I am floored by the energy efficiency of these ceramic Kamados. All of this cooking was on one chimney’s-worth if briquettes that was ~80% full - no way I could have cooked even half this long on a Webber. My initial takeaway is that the Kamado can do everything a Webber can do and much more, and the raised firebed technique seems to work well for grilling with a smaller-volume coalbed at higher heat. Three lessons for next time: -Will not light the chimney in the Kamado but will light in the Weber from now on. No need to stress the gasket with flames shooting out of the chimney. -Will probably try only filling the chimney ~50% next time. This was a little bit too much charcoal. -Believe it or not, we loved the char but would have preferred an even rarer center. I don’t think the sear time can be reduced, so we’re going to try a technique I read about of chilling the Sous-vided rack in an ice bath for 15-30 minutes prior to searing. All in all, this first experience grilling on a Kamado (and with a raised coalbed) was a life-changing event for this lifelong smoker, grilled and seared...
  16. We've been searing in a cast iron skillet on the stove at max, but the smoje is a problem and we 'feel' like we like seared over flame better. No idea what the temps that skillet was (though now I could measure with my new IR thermometer) but we'd usually start searing at the oil smoke point. Is soapstone the same as a pizza stone? If not, does it result in a very different sear than a cast iron skillet? i can heat up a skillet on the stove, over a bed of coals, or on my propane burner used for brewing beer, but if your always starting to sear when the oil starts smoking, hard to see why the result would be any different using different heat sources. Have you ever tried this 'Afterburner Method' searing on a smokestack full of burning briquettes?
  17. Oh, so you heat before straghtening - good idea. Looks like I'll be avoiding the hasstle of customizing a spider but good to know how to rebend stainless if ever needed... I can cut, drill, heat, bend and silver solder stainless, but welding is outside my current capability (needed primarily for customizing beer brewing equupment). Yeah, my webber charcoal grate is 17" OD as well. Tom and I discussed taking 1/8" off of the bend point, which means reducing the nominal spider ID from 17-1/4" to 17" even If he goes overboard or the 3/32" tolerance works against me, I'll need notch or bend the outer ring of the webber grate to squeeze it in, as you suggest. Yeah, I'm thinking the only situation where I'll want the deflector down low will be for ribs (and only when smoking two grill's-worth at that). After speaking with Tom, I went ahead and got an 18" drip pan. So the plan is: -2 layers of ribs on 20" top grate and 18" grate in middle pisition, 16" heat deflector on spider either protected with foil as a low-volume drip catcher or 18" drip pan in lowesr AR position if it doesn't interfere too much with airflow -Full-packer brisket on 20" grill with 16" head deflector on lowest AR position (or on one of the LG24 grates under the AR) supporting 18" drip pan (which is where any real volume to catch drippings is needed) on spacers, as you suggest. -Turkey can be smoked like ribs but with the bird sitting on it's throne on the 18" cooking grate at lowest position. My days of huge cooks are pretty much behind me and I've still got my Backwoods Smoker Fatboy if the need ever arises. I smoked 16 pork butts (as well as a piglit-on-a-spit) for my brother's wedding a decade ago but huge cooks are no longer a priority. In fact, we've become so spoiled with the brisket and ribs we smoke on the Fatboy, that the immediate objective is to see how the Kamado measures up (if they are too dry, unevenly-cooked, too tough or don't have the right amount of bark and smoke flavor, I'll hear about it and the Kamado will be limited to puzza and grill-duty). Everyone states that but I'm not understanding why it's a certainty if I heat up and cool down slowly enough. Cooling down is pretty much guaranteed, so I've been heating up to 900F slower than 'as fast as possible' purposely to reduce thermal stress on the firebowl. My first pizza run I took 2 hours to go from cold to 900F, didn't open the input vents to full until pizza stone was at 800F, and never had more than a 300F delta between the inside of the dome and the thermometer/air. My second pizza cook I took the approach a bit too far - over 4 hours to heat up to 750F and by then the lump was spent. but inside of the dome was within 200F of thermometer/air after 3 hours when I finally opened the outvent to full and the invent to 75% (4 out of 5 with a minimum of 1) and in that last hour when pizza stone increased from 450F to 750F before stalling there, thermometer/air increased by 275F (to 750F) while pizza stone and dome were within 50F the whole way... At least in theory, if the firebowl is heated up slowly enough, there is no reason it should crack. You could be right, but I'm going to give it a try tonight. I found a way to prop tje webber's firegrate up on some bricks to get it within 4" of the firebowl-supported cooking grate. Going to fire up a chimney's worth of briquettes, pour them into the center of the grate, place rhe cooking grate on top and let it heat up, and then sear the sous-vide rack of lamb we're cooking, This is pretty much the way I've been searing on the webber, and as soon as I know I can do everything onthe Kamado as well or better than I can on the webber, the webber will be going to charity. I may very well have been searing at lower than ideal temps and so another configuration such as the one your suggesting may eventually take things to the next level. But for tonight, the objective is to see whether the Kamado can sear as well as the webber...
  18. I appreciate everyone’s comments. The idea of using a Weber Smokey Joe to sear is a good one, but I’m only exploring searing on the Kamado to get rid of the Webber I have, so getting another smaller one to dedicate to searing will be tucked away as a fall-back solution. On the subject of reducing grilling area and coalbed volume, there is also the idea of searing on a chimney which I may need to explore at some point: https://amazingribs.com/more-technique-and-science/more-cooking-science/extreme-steak-wild-and-crazy-ways-get-killer-sear I may may need to try that at some point but for now will try the idea of raising the coal bed using the 16” Webber firegrate supported by the spider. In terms of heat stress and temps, first, I’m already cooking pizza at 900F, so searing steak at 650-700F will be taking it relatively easy for my Kamado. Even raised up, the raised coalbed will out less stress in my uograded 1000F gasket than cooking 900F pizza does. Second, I’ve got all the Weber accessories to keep the coal bed centered and I’m already searing meats on the Webber with the coalbed 6” below the cooking grate with no issue as far as safety or extreme stress to equipment. So what the Spider will do is essentially allow me to bring everything I’m used to over and replace the Webber metal ‘shell’ with the Kamado Ceramic shell. I spoke to Tom at CGS and he is skeptical the idea will work better than lowering the cooking surface with a 16” cooking grate on the spider, but he agreed it’s worth a try (he’s apparently never heard of anyone trying this before) and we agreed falling back on a 16” cooking grate is always available as a backup solution. So I’m going to give this idea a try when my new Spider arrives and will report back. (P.S. And appreciate all the advice in how best to cook steak, but I’ve cooked more than my share over the past 3+ decades and have my preferred process pretty dialed-in at this point. We like our steaks rarer than most and no more outside-in cooking for us. We cook all meats to the internal temp we prefer sous-vide and then only grill to sear for 1-2 minutes per side at the very end. The lower the temp of the sear, the longer it takes to get the desired crust/browning, and the higher the likelihood of bringing internal temps higher than desired (especially for thin cuts). Now that I’ve experienced cooking Neopolitan pizza in 30 seconds (at 900F), I’m suspecting the Kamado can also allow me to sear more quickly at higher temps). P.P.S. Amazing Ribs has coined the term ‘Afterburner Method’ for searing in a coalstarter chimney and here is a refinement: By skewering the meat and suspending it over the coals, you avoid burning from the cooking grate. Will definitely need to give this technique a try - apparently reaching 800F searing temps at the top of the chimney is a breeze, and with plain ‘ol briquettes at that!
  19. UPDATE: Tom at CGS finally called me back and as we discussed my sub-standard LG24 firebowl. My firebowl has an ID of 18” even at the rim rather than 18-1/4” which is the size the LG24/PB24 Spider is designed for - mine is apparently the first bowl of this slightly smaller size they’ve heard of, so I double-checked my measurements. Tom said they could make me a customized Spider with legs which are 1/8” shorter than standard and vertical bends positioned 1/8” closer to the center ring than standard, so problem solved and my order has been placed!
  20. Interesting reading that old thread on the history of CGS for PB24. Also makes me feel like I'm living through GroundHog Day - gapot a response from Tom And making me feel like it's Groundhog Day - just heard back from Tom who confirmed CGS has no spider that will fit my 18" ID fire bowl (17-3/4" ID 1-1/2" below the rim where the legs bend in). So I am interested in your advice on modifying either the PB24/LG24 spider or the vision XL Spider to fit my LG24. Cutting the stainless rod is no issue, it's primarily how to unbend the legs before rebending. Did you straighten a leg before rebending it? If so, how? One thought I had was to just bend all 3 legs clockwise aroubd the circle a bit - this will reduce the ID. The LG24/PB24 spider drops down 1-3/4" (below the notches) while the XL Vision Spider drops 2-1/4" (probably because the XL Vision firebowl has no notches) so I'm also interested in your opinions as to which drop would be better for my application. The only uses I am interested in a spider for are primarily one and possibly a second: High-temp searing - I'll probably try using the webber fire grate on the spider to raise the charcoal bed and if that fails, get a 16" cooking grate and do it your way - for both of these scenarios, the deeper drop-down seems better. Positioning Heat Deflector below the AR - I'm still struggling to see a scenario where I'll need to do this, but the spider makes it possible (and higher is probably better for this scenario). If I can fit ribs on the 20" top grid and the 18" grid positioned in the middle, it look like I'll be able to position my 5/8" thick x 16" diameter heat deflector and an 16" drip pan in the lowest position, but if that doesn't work or blocks too much smoke flow, I'll need to move the heat deflector into the firebowl. Higher is better only because it means more space for fuel, but since this will only be for ribs, fuel capacity shouldn't be a concern. So I'm thinking deeper woukd be better and perhaps I should try to rebend an XLV Spider like you did rather than a PB24/LG24 Spider... Thoughts?
  21. I’m a new Kamado owner who primarily got it for low and slow, but now I’m wondering whether it can do a better job with hot and fast Sous-vide searing than the Weber I usually use. The 17” Webber charcoal grate is 6” below the cooking grate, while my Kamado’s charcoal grate is 9” below the top rim of the firebowl. That’s going to mean having the hot coals positioned further from the cooking grate or using a boatload of charcoal to get the surface of the burning coals as close to the cooking grates as I’m used to on my Webber. So I was looking into the CGS Spider to get the cooking groats down closer to the coal bed. The spider drops down 1-1/2” into the bowl and rests on the 5/8” notches in the fire bowl, so a 16” cooking grate sitting in the spider would be 2” closer to the coal bed or 7” above the coal grate. Still more distance than the Webber and if anything, I’d like to get closer to the coal bed. Plus there is the cost of a new 16” cooking grate and the inconvenience of having to manipulate the meat down in the fire bowl. Then it occurred to me that instead of using the spider to drop the cooking surface closer to the coal bed, I could use it to hold my existing 17” Webber coal grate and raise the coal bed up closer to the firebowl rim. I could either position my existing 20” cooking grate on the rim of the firebowl, which would be 2” from the coal bed, or since I’m also getting an Adjustable Rig with an 18” cooking grate, the cooking surface can be positioned at about felt height, 2” above the fire bowl rim and about 4” above coal bed. And if that’s still too close, that 18” grate can be moved up another 2” to give me the same 6” above coal grate I’m used to from my Webber. So does anyone else do this? Raise the coal bed height for searing? If not, is there a reason it’s a stupid idea? How do most Kamado owners configure for ~600F searing?
  22. I was interested in the spider to raise the coal bed using a Weber coal grate positioned on the spider and then searing on an 18” grate at the lowest position in the AR - is this what you mean or are you putting a 16” Weber cooking grate on the spider to get it down closer to the coal bed on the Kamado’s cooking grate? Yeah, I was thinking of that same configuration for ribs or pork butt. For full-Packer 24h brisket, the deflector can be positioned at the lowest or second-to-lowest position on the AR and the brisket can be smoked on the 20” grill positioned on top of the AR. This allows the firebowl to be completely filled with lump...
  23. Call in - waiting to hear back. I don't think I really need the spider for smoking. It will allow me to position my 16" heat deflector even lower (as you point out) but that may cut into fuel volume too much, especially for 24h brisket.... With the 20" grill on the AR and the 18" grill inside it, 4 racks of ribs should fit easily (meanig flat) and that's about the most I make at one time these days... A full packer, 3-4 racks of ribs, the occasional pork butt, and a turkey on his throne once a year, that's about all I need as far as smoke repetoire. Getting into sous-vide this last year, high-temp searing is actually becoming a much higher priority. Wasting a huge amount of lump for a 5-minute sear seems wasteful, so searing will remain on the webber until I can find a more efficient way to do the same thing (hopefully at higher fuel efficiency) on the Kamado. The CGS products support so many options, it's a bit overwhelming...
  24. My only interest in the spider is for high-heat searing. I use a Webber for searng now, but the grill is much closer to the coal grate on a Webber than a grill on top of the fire bowl will be to the coal grate on an LG/PB24. Of course you could just use a boatload more lump, but I'm thinking with the spider, I can use the Weber coal grate and position the it 2" below the top of the fire bowl and then the AR lets me position the cooking grate as close as I'd like.., The Woo ring would allow you to achieve the same thing but it's pricier than the Spider. How do you configure for high-temp searing?
  25. I'm about to order a Adjustable Rig and Spider for my new 2019 24" Louisiana Grills Kamado from Costco, but insteuctions for the spider say to measure ID of the fire bowl and dall if more than 1/8" off of 18-1/4". My ID measures 18" even and if I measure 1-1/2" below the notches, the ID is 17-3/4", exactly equal to the OD of the legs on the spider. Has anyone had trouble fitting CGS Spider into their LG24/PB24? So other owners of 2019 LG25s also get 18" OD on their fire-bowls? Any 2018 or earlier PP24/LG24 owners, are your firebowls really bigger by 1/4" (18-1/4" ID)? I was all set to pull the trigger today, but this masurement has thrown me for a loop (especially since CGS says these nominal dimensions may be off by as mch as 3/32" from actuals - a spider OD of 17-27/32 is definitely NOT going to squeeze into my firebowl). Any words of wisdom appreciated (I have emails and voicemails into CGS and am waitng to hear back from them).
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