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fafrd

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  1. Yeah, I've been putting 2-3 softball+ -sized chunks of fresh lump right on the fire grate ay the lowest level of the firebowl, the putting layers of smaller and smaller lump up from there, with the smallest pieces on top. I'm pretty happy with the ventilation I'm getting and how well the lump is burnibg and getting consumed. The mai issue with this last coom is that the old lump cotinued to consume volume past the point I thought it would have turned to ash and as a result, I was not able to load the volume of fresh lump I planned for. When I finally opened the vents to get temps up to 900F, temps started to stall near the 750F and when I peeked in, it was clear all pf the fresh lump was largely consumed and I was not goi g to heat up any higher without adding additional fuel (which I am reluctant to do at 750F). So I think the main lesson for me is: save old lump for burgers and direct grilling (especially if new fuel can be added). And stick to 100% fresh (high-quality) lump for 800-900F pizza cooks...
  2. I orignally picked up a Kamado for low and slow which has now opened me up to the world of cooking pizza in a Kamado. I'm pretty sold on the Adjustable Rig and plan to pick one up to be used both for pizza cooking (with pizza stone high in the dome) and for low and slow. For basic grilling of hamburgers and such as well as high-temp searing of sous-vided meats, I've got a basic weber and it's served me well, but as I look over the other products CGS offers, I'm starting to think about whether the Kamado can be configured for similar grilling and whether it could perform better than the Weber. Getting rid of the old Weber would make the wife happy and it seems as though the Kamado should easily be able to meet and exceed the temps of the Weber and probably consuming less fuel at that. So I'm interested in what set-ups people use for searing, and especially whether the CGS Spider with a smaller grill is a good searing solution. In the Kamao, the top of the firebowl is much higher off the coal grate than the space between the charcoal grate and the grill in a Weber, so a great deal more charcoal would be needed to get the coal bed up as close to a cooking grate positioned on top of the fire bowl. The CGS Spider allows a 16" cooking grate to be positioned 2" below the top of the firebowl, so less lump is needed for the same degree of direct heat. Is this a good solution? Are there other good ways to configure a Kamado for high-temp searing without consuming a huge amount of lump? One idea I had was to put the larger Weber charcoal grate into the firebowl. This will get the coal bed up high enough to sear on a grill supported by the firebowl, but my firebowl is not perfectly round so the larger coal grate is not as stable as I'd like. Any comments on how effective the CGS Spider (or Woo Ring) are to configure a Kamado for high-temp searing, as well as any other set-ups/configurations that work well for that purpose appreciated.
  3. Searched for 'extruded charcoal' on Amazon and here is what I found: https://www.amazon.com/Pok-Thaan-Thai-Style-Charcoal/dp/B00R8HILG8/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2XUITMS3BRCZI&keywords=extruded+charcoal&qid=1565634254&s=gateway&sprefix=extruded+char%2Caps%2C198&sr=8-1 $15 for 5 lbs, so pretty pricey (but not outrageous). P.S. I've decided to drop the idea of converting my Kamado to propane - too many stories of the flame going out, propane building up in the Kamado, and 'boom' when it gets opened. I'm comfortable with propane from my beer brewing, but that burner is out in the open and not enclosed. So I'm going to stick to charcoal for now and if/when there is a next step, it will probably be a more serious pizza oven...
  4. Foud this old post from an old thread on this exact subject: https://www.kamadoguru.com/topic/12131-hacking-the-kamado-fuel-source/?tab=comments#comment-134939 So I think I'm going to forget about this idea of converting a Kamado to propane...
  5. Yeah, that's another difference in our set-ups - you remove the top vent completely while I leave the daisy-wheel in place and have both intake and output vents less than fully open until I start to stall (typically around around 400-450F). There are so many members here warning about damaging the ceramic from running it too hot, but Cordierite melts at 1435C (2615F!), so I don't think there is any way short of performing unnatural acts (as you state) that you are going to heat the ceramic up to temps that will damage it. Stress from heating up or cooling down too quickly cpukd be another thing, and it's one of the reasons I've attempted to keep the heat difference between the pizza stone, the inside if the dome, and the air/thermometer within some limit (been using 300F). The gaskets are going to suffer from 900F temps but the ceramic itself should be OK as long as it is not heating up too quickly... Oh, OK, now I see - you were talking about 'short of target' where I thought you meant 'short of where I was getting to with the stock dual-grate'. I bought a 2"x2"x14" ceramic spacer and have a tile saw, so once I have my AR, I'll be able to cut whatever size spacers I need to get heat deflector height to where I want it. As I explained earlier, what I'm struggling with is which is more important - having the extra heat-mass and thickness of using the placesetter under the heat deflector (which means using the 18" grate on the highest position and losing the ability to add lump during the cook) or supporting the heat deflector directly on the 20" grate (wit spacers, if needed) which means lump can easily be added but my heat mass and deflector thickness has been reduced from what I know I'm happy with. I'm still confised as to why you need to support your AR on a grate resting on the bowl - I thought they had hooks to rest directly on the bowl (no grill needed)? I've got a 15" stone, which I'm very happy with for cooking on, and a 16" heat deflector, which seems to be doing a great job insulating the pizza stone from direct heat. Are you cooking something very large that makes you want to have a pizza stone that big?
  6. Interesting. Was the lump filled up above the top of the bowl ; I suppose not because you had a grate to support the AR, right? That seems to be at least one noteworthy difference between how our pretty-similar rigs have behaved. But it’s still slightly apples-to-oranges until I try out my new set-up with a full load of fresh lump at 900F...
  7. Interesting, thanks. How much did that super-fancy formed coconut fiber charcoal cost? (I actually grilled beef on a Habachu in a restaurant in Taiwan using that fuel once. Never saw it since and now I know what it is thanks to your thread (and your wife)). It was amazing stuff - lasted forever and maintained uniform heat. But I suspect it costs a pretty penny...
  8. Yeah, it’s always nice to dream but I can think of plenty of $6000 rabbit holes I’d be interested to go down before going down this one... These Kamados are pretty fantastic at low temps but relatively thin for high temps. At 900F, a 24” OD Kamado is losing roughly 28kW or 95,000 BTUs per hour to heat loss through the ceramic. 95,000 BTUs per hour translates to 7-8 lbs I’d lump consumed per hour at 900F which comes pretty close to my (very limited) experience cooking pizza in a Kamado. That Komodo Kamado burner makes reference to ‘Turkey Fryers’ so is almost certainly far less than 100,000 BTU/hour: https://www.webstaurantstore.com/backyard-pro-weekend-series-30-qt-turkey-fryer-kit-with-aluminum-stock-pot-and-accessories/554BP12KIT.html (55,000 is typical for a turkey fryer) 100,000 BTU/hour burners are available and not much pricier: https://www.amazon.com/GasOne-Portable-Pressure-Regulator-Adjustable/dp/B074GXFLX5 My spare burner is almost certainly 55,000 BTUs per hour or less, so I’ll probably screw around with that and prove the theory before investing in anything more piwerful...
  9. It’s a pleasure to be in an exchange with an expert. For grilling on the Webber, I’ve got experience with Cowboy (crap) and Lazarri Mesquite (nice lump but burns hot and generates a lot of sparks). I generally stick to Kingsford Professional Briquettes for both low and slow and grilling (though I’m worried briquettes may not get through an overnight 24h brisker smoke on the Kamado - may need the density of lump for that). For high-temp Pizza (a new thing for me), I bought a 35-lb bag of Fogo Super Premium (tan bag). Definitely the highest-quality lump I’ve ever used, The largest pieces have been 6-8” diameter and I’ve been cherry-picking mostly baseball-sized chunks. There are a lot of small pieces building up on the bag and I’ll need to figure out what to do with them ;perhaps a 1-2” layer on top of the next pizza cook). I’ve also got a 20-lb box if KJ BB I have not tapped into yet, and from what you’ve written, that may prove to be even better than the Fogo Super Premium (certainly packaged better). I’ll look forward to hearing your ongoing ratings of other lump brands - is there a thread somewhere dedicated to that subject?
  10. Interesting. The fact that your highest temps in the outside of the Kamado were near the felt line and not at the top of the dome is no-doubt because of where you have your heat-deflector positioned. Hot air comes off the lump and hits the heat deflector, then is deflected to hit the ceramic walls near the feltline. That air is cooled as it rises up to hit the pizza stone, heating up the ceramic walls a bit and cooling down a bit the whole way up. Then your pizza stone gets heated up to 900F before the air is diverted a second time to hit the side walls of the dome before rising to hit the top of the dome. So the coolest air is heating your dome and the outside of your dome is 250-300F cooler than your pizza stone. I’ve got my heat deflector raised way up to just under my pizza stone, so the coolest part of my Kamado is near the felt line because no hot air is directed directly onto that area (outside the forebowl is even cooler but not relevant to the discussion). The air hits the deflector and then hits the side of the dome. If I ever measure the temps right where the dome starts to curve, I’ll probably see that they are higher that at the top. That cooled-down air then flows across the inside of the dome, across the top of the pizza, and through the 1-1/2” gap between the pizza stone and the heat deflector. Your pizza stone is effectively heated by direct heat where mine is heated by a combination of indirect heat from the heat deflector, it direct heat from the dome, and hit air passing around both sides of the pizza stone. In my first run (with pizza stone low), pizza stone was at 900F in the center, ~1000F at the edge (because pizza stone extended 1/2” beyond stock heat deflector / place setter) air/thermometer was at 800F and inside of dome was around 600F. Result was overcharred crust and undercooked toppings. The second run yesterday (with pizza stone raised up to your level and a larger heat deflector properly shielding it) only hit up to ~750F for the reasons mentioned, but pizza stone and air temps were pretty much perfectly matched and inside of dome was within 150F of pizza stone rather than 300F. Bottoms and tops cooked perfectly and together (but not enough charring because temps were not high enough). If you try raising the position of your heat deflector you might be happy with the results. Sounds like you are already pretty happy with how things are cooking, but as a minimum, if you start measuring temps at pizza stone center and edge, you’ll probably find the same ~5% temperature differential I found during my ‘trial run’ last Thursday, and you’ll probably start saving fuel. All the energy your putting into keeping your felt line ~200 degrees higher than it needs to be is not doing your cook any good and is consuming a lot of BTUs.. My feltline was at ~50% of my pizza stone temp (~350F for pizza stone at ~700F) where yours is over 70%. This exchange has been interesting. Fair enough - looking forward to seeing it once you’re ready...
  11. I used a full bowl of Fogo Premium for my first cook which heated to 900F and held for an hour while we cooked 7 pizzas before shutting down, after which ~1/4 of the lump was still in the bowl the next morning. I made the mistake of trying to burn up the used lump to get the Kamado warmed up yesterday. My logic was that it would be largely burned-down as the pizza stone hit 300F at which point I could still remove the pizza stone for a couple minutes to load up with a fresh load of lump. Moving the heat-deflector & pizza stone went as smoothly as I could have hoped for, but the old lump was still intact and consuming a large % of the bowl. So I was only able to add a portion of the fresh lump I’d planned on and once I got up to 750F, it started to Peter out. So lesson about lump quality already understood,lesson about using only fresh lump when cooking high-temp pizza now learned, and there may be another lesson I am trying to understand: My first cook with a full bowl of Fogo Premium burned hot enough to get from a cold start to 900F in two hours (and again, I held at 900F for an hour and had ~1/4 of the lump left after shutting down). Yesterday, I took 4 hours to go from a cold start to 750F before the lump started to fade. I did this partly to put less heat stress on the ceramic but also thinking I’d extend the lifetime of the fuel because it was burning less quickly. But perhaps the longer ramp-up time means more total fuel was consumed even though it was burning less quickly... The slower ramp-up resulted in a ~250F difference between pizza stone temps and. Inside dome temps but that was only at 750F, while ramping up twice as fast resulted in a ~300F delta between pizza stone temps and inside dome temps, but that was at 900F. I also changed pizza stone / heat deflector configuration between those two cooks (moved pizza stone far higher into the dome) soU probably need to repeat my first 2-hour ‘fast’ ramp up with the new configuration. It’s not like a 300F heat differential is going to have a dramatically different impact on ceramic lifetime than a 250F heat differential anyway... Here is the ‘new’ pizza stone / heat deflector configuration used yesterday: And here is pizza stone / heat deflector configuration I used for that first ‘fast ramp’ cook: (primary difference was extending 4” deeper into the dome by using the dual-grill that came with the cooker).
  12. Wow, you cranked it up their quickly! I spent 4 hours getting to ~750F before the coals started to fade yesterday compared to 2 hours to get to 900F the week before (where it held for an hour before I shut it down and had ~1/4 of the lump remaining the next morning). I thought heating up more slowly would be better for the Kamado (less heat stress) and would conserve fuel, but I suppose the increased time may actually translate to more total fuel consumed getting to 900F... I may try another 2-hour heat-up next weekend with fresh lump. Did you ‘heat-soak’ (maintain temps) for any amount of time before starting to cook? The one thing I’m sure of is that the temperature differential I had between pizza stone and inside of dome was far less heating slowly than when I heated as quickly as you did here... Outside the dome I had 600 when the pizza stone hit 900 and I started to cook (and stopped taking any more measurements). I had assumed that if I paused for 15-20 minutes before starting to cook, the dome would have heated up further, but if your outside dome never got past 656 while your pizza stone was maintained at 940 for an hour, perhaps that assumption is flawed. You’ve convinced me to redo my first 2-hour ramp-up 900F cook with my new heat-deflector higher-into-the-dome configuration. p.s. I’m not that into naan, but my kids are - looks pretty good, where did you find the recipe?
  13. Yes, learned that lesson the hard way yesterday. I have some KJ BB but have not yet cracked into it. I was very impressed with the density and chunk size of Fogo Premium - have you tried that? My first run last weekend maintained 900F for a full hour before I shut it down and had ~1/4 of the lump still remaining the next morning... Have you ever tried mesquite for high-temps?
  14. Short how? I was told it sits 6” above the rim of the firebowl (versus the 4-1/8” I get from the stock LG24 dual-grate). So I was expecting the 20” grate on the AR to sit almost 2” higher than the stock top grate I used yesterday, meaning I’d have to ditch the place-setter: The alternative could be to use the 18” grill on the highest setting (which should be about the same height as the stock dual-grill). This would allow me to keep using the place setter but will pretty much prevent being able to add lump during the cook). I’m figuring that either way I’ll need to use spacers between whichever grill I use and the first ceramic layer (either place setter with the 18” grill of 16” heat deflector with 20” grill), so it’s more the trade-off of having the additional ceramic heat-mass close to the pizza stone but no ability to add lump versus having the ability to add lump partway through the cook but with less ceramic heat-mass (no place setter). If you can tell me the height of you AR 20” grill above the felt line and what year you bought your AR, I can check with CGS whether any changes have been made to the PB24/LG24 version since then...
  15. I hear you and have exactly the same concerns. This is why I’ve started measuring and logging the ceramic temps during my high-temp pizza cooks. During yesterday’s cook, the lip below the felt on the outside of the basket never exceeded 350F even when the outside of the dome was at 400F and the inside of the dome was at 750F. I spoke to Louisiana Grills and they told me the brand of silicon they use to seal the invent door to the ceramic basket - it is the NSF silicon rated to 650F. So with a few more cooks and measurements, I’m guessing I’ll get comfortable that the ceramic near the outside of the felt never exceeds 650F (and even if it does, the 1000F silicon is outside the cooking area). I’m still on the fence about aluminum versus alternatives like firebox gasket: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00KN1GNRK/ref=sspa_mw_detail_0?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I had an aluminum foil gasket on top of the lower felt for my first 900F pizza cook and even the portion extending into the Kamado survived 100% intact despite having the heat deflector divert the hot air coming off of the lump right onto it: If the foil was just sitting in the middle of the lip between two rings of stainless wire, it’ll probably get nowhere close to it’s melting/evaporation point and be fine. On the other hand, many use firebox gasket on their Kamados despite the lack of official food-safe certification and if it’s just compressed between to hoops if stainless steel, it’s not in the cooking area anyway... None has of this will happen before the existing ‘1000F’ felt gasket gives out, but I’m going to keep collecting data in the hopes I can find some better gasket solution to put up with ~1000F pizza cooks...
  16. Yeah, gas is easier because it looks like you can just mount onto the intake vent. My very-experienced-Pizza-cooking neighbor has been inspired by our success to finally break out of their kitchen with a pellet-fired Ooni 3: https://www.amazon.com/Ooni-Portable-Pellet-Pizza-Stainless/dp/B06VW7YLDL/ref=asc_df_B06VW7YLDL/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=198068685752&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17876411495371202866&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9032075&hvtargid=aud-801381245258:pla-348391023502&psc=1 For $260, that may be the more sensible way to fire with pellets. I might be going that way myself if I didn’t already have a spare propane burner (and love building my own stuff so much ;). I sliced up a larger 2”x2”x14” ceramic spacer into smaller pieces using a tile saw - working ceramic is doable but it cracks so easily, I say your chances of drilling through it successfully without causing a crack are pretty low - how large of a hole are you trying to drill? Having owned a few offset smokers myself, why don’t you just run the smokestack of any cheap barrel smoker (including a pellet-fired one) into the Kamado’s input vent? That’s just metal work and gasket - much, much easier than trying to work ceramic...
  17. Wise advice and I’m sure a dedicated pizza oven would be the best long-term solution if this Neopolitan-cooking craze proves to be long-lasting. In my case, I love learning, experimenting, and building stuff and I don’t yet understand whether the family’s new-found interest in pizza-cooking will prove to be as long-lasting as my lifelong obsession with low-and-slow or not... I appreciate the warning about cracking a Kamado, but the only explanation I can find for that is heating too quickly (cooling is pretty slow by nature). In yeaterday’s Pizza cook, I took 4 hours to raise temps from ~100F to ~700F and never had more than a 200F delta between the temperature of the thermometer/air/pizza-stone and the inside of the dome. Whether that was worth the effort is another question (and if I ever do decide to buy a dedicated pizza oven, that will probably be the primary driver), but I’m pretty sure one can avoid cracking the Cordielite ceramic by heating it up slowly enough... I’m very open to understanding nuances of the reality than I’m missing, but aside from the commercial gaskets not really being up to the challange and needing to take enough time to bring the ceramic up to 800-900F temps, I’m not understanding why I can’t experiment with my Kamado quite a few times to learn more about cooking high-temp Neopolitan pizza without cracking/damaging it... One way in which I certainly understand these Kamados are not as well-suited to cooking pizza as a dedicated oven is the amount of energy they lose at temp. With an 8” thick dome, your dedicated oven will lose only ~12% the Watts (or BTUs per second) at 900F that one of these Kamados do (assuming equal surface area). So in a dedicated pizza oven, I’d guess there are no real concerns with fuel management (especially since you can add more firewood at any time). That’s my main gripe with the Kamado so far - reaching 800-900F for long enough to cook 4-6 pizzas is right on the edge of what’s possible on a single load of lump (which is why interested to explore whether my spare burner and a tank of propane may provide more margin). So again, thanks for the sage advice, but at this stage (total of two cooks in) I’d rather crack my $500 Kamado from screwing around and pushing it beyond its limits than commit the $1000+ needed to get a real pizza oven...
  18. Has anyone converted a charcoal-fired Kamado to propane? Here is an example converter kit: https://komodokamado.com/products/gas-burner-assembly Anyone have experience with this product? Opinions on this propane converter or any competing products appreciated. I have a spare propane burner and this looks pretty simple to DIY so I’m also interested in any pics after installation or how the burner in a propane Kamado is positioned relative to the firebowl (firegrate on or firegrate off?) as well as relative to the ceramic bottom of the Kamado (sitting directly on bottom, sitting on spacers/insulators of some kind, hung from firebowl, suspended from intake vent like the pic above?). Is converting a lump-fired Kamado to propane as simple as it looks?
  19. I’ve only got 2 Kamado cooks under my belt, but I’m already thinking of converting my Kamado to gas for pizza cooks and wondering whether any other owners have already been down this road? For low and slow, I’d want to stick to lump, but high-temp pizza cooks would be so much easier to control with gas and I’ve read that in the 30-90 seconds it takes to cook pizza at 800-900F, there is no noticeable taste impact from the smoke of the lump versus gas. So has anyone already tried throwing a gas burner under the fire bowl and heating up the Kamado with that? I’ve got a spare gas burner and am thinking about throwing it into my Kamado and giving it a try. I’m thinking about setting it up like this: -remove fire-grate (so burner is just heating air in fire bowl) -rig up some structure out of stainless to hang the burner from the bowl or ceramic spacers to position it above the bottom ceramic of the Kamado -heat slowly maintaining a constant temperature ramp on the pizza stone (so increase propane burn-rate slightly whenever pizza stone equilibrates and stops increasing at any specific burn level) I’m interested in advice from anyone who has already done this, inputs and pics from anyone who has purchased a gas-fired Kamado, and any insight common-sense from anyone who has opinions on reasons this may be a bad idea and alternative ways to approach it if not.
  20. Yeah, I saw those (and may even have some for my beer-making rig) but the insulation is ‘fiberglass’ as opposed to the ‘ceramic’ insulation used in the more expensive K-Type probes. Their inexpensive enough that I may just experiment with one of the one I have. Especially if the metal sensor is just barely peaking into the dome, the insulation should be at much lower temperatures (the outside of my dome never got past 400F while the pizza stone hit 750 and the dome thermometer hit 700 yesterday). What I’m debating doing is geeking out getting a budget data logger. As a minimum, that would allow me to track dome air temperature through the heat-up and cook but with additional probes, I could probably measure and track dome ceiling temperature, dome outside temperature, and possibly even pizza stone temperature (that last one would require good probe insulation and some monkeying around to assure it does not interfere with the pizza manipulation). Even with pizza stone temps that never exceeded 750F, my supposedly 1000F-rated gasket is continuing to degrade: When this gasket fails, I may try to rig up a gasket using stainless wire glued onto the rim using the same high-temp silicon LG uses to seal the intake vent to the ceramic. Two rings of 3/32 stainless wire with 1/8” of compressed aluminum foil (or fiberglass) rope in between them should seal up nicely for low and slow and should easily withstand 900F pizza cooks (and the sacrificial aluminum foil rope will be much easier and cheaper to replace when needed compared to these stupid glue-on felt gaskets...).
  21. There was just enough of a difference to make this Biga Dough worth trying again. It was about twice the effort but resulted is the comments ‘cleaner’ and ‘absolutely no smell of yeast’ when compared to Forkish’s 24-hour dough. What I and the other pizza maker me noticed most was the additional ‘poofiness’/airiness/bubbles in the dough which resulted in more charred bubbles near the edge of the crust: Biga dough above, and below is the 24-hour dough: All the pizzas were delicious and instantly devoured, but there was just enough ‘there there’ to make this Biga dough worth exploring further...
  22. Funny that we ended up at the exact same height with different rigs: Caprured at felt line but ruler out of focus (but a beautifully-focused shot of the basket rim This was angled so the zero reference is screwed up but shows the top of the pizza stone is 6-1/8” above felt line, identical to yours. Friday, I measured a ~5% heat gradient on the stone being placed directly on the heat deflector without spacers (center ~5% hotter than edge) so I added the 1-1/2” spacers and yesterday (Saturday) the center and edge of the pizza stone were uniform. My gearing directly on the firebowl limited the amount of lump I could fill and also prevents adding any additional lump during the cook, like your set-up. The Adjustable Rig designed for PB24/LG24 has tabs to allow it to rest directly on the notches in the firebowl, so no need to block access with a lower grill. I’m now convinced by this setup and going to get an Adjustable Rig. Yesterday's pizza cook went great but temps only reached 750F before slowly declining (6th pizza was a bit over 600F). I was unable to load as much lump into the bowl with a grill on top rather than the placesetter and I also made the mistake of trying to use some lump leftover from the cook the week before. Leftover lump is not as dense as fresh lump but it also does not burn down as quick as I expected - when I went in at pizza-stone @ 300F to load up with fresh lump, the old lump was still there and occupying much more volume than I anticipated. The ability through the top vent to watch the toppings cook and even the formation of charring/leoparding on the top crust was fantastic: So tops came out great, uniform cook of toppings with bottom came out great, everyone thought the pizza was great and devoured it, but the 4 of us that struggled with 900F pizza the weekend before missed the bottom char and though that pizza was noticeably better (despite the bottom being overcharred and the tops underdone). So next weekend, with my new CGS Adjustable Rig similar to yours and a full firebowl overflowing with fresh Fogo, we’ll go after the ‘holy-grail’ of uniformly-cooked 900F Neopolitan Pizza! (p.s. and thanks for the info and efforts you’be put into your responses, m-fine - you’ve definitely put me on the fast-track to getting this stuff figured out and purchasing the right accessories only 2-weeks from a cold start)
  23. Much happier with cooking far into the dome and the pizza came out very good. Here are an example pic: One of the huge huge wins of cooking with a few inches of the vent is that you can watch the toppings cook and literally watch the leoparding on the edge of the crust form. This pizza was actually cooked at a bit lower temp but has better charting on the crust because I’d figured out how to watch the crust to decide when the pizza was ‘done’ The 1-1/2” spacers between heat deflector and pizza stone worked like a charm. No heat gradient at all on pizza stone - edges identical temp to center. Compared to the trial run I did at lower temps yesterday where there was a ~5% gradient in the pizza stone with center being hotter than edges with no spacers. So I’m afraid Tom at CGS was incorrect and heat uniformity of the pizza stone is better using 1-1/2” spacers even when the pizza stone is raised far into the dome. No undercooked tops, no overcharred bottoms, uniform/equal cook of top and bottom, ability to visually cook until desired leoparding develops on top crust - this would have been an A+ cook except for one thing: Temps peaked at 750F and slowly dropped from there. The first pizza you see above was cooked at over 700F and the second pizza (with better leoparding on the crust) was cooked at just over 600F. The bottom crusts had no charring and while our guests all thought the pizza was excellent and it all got devoured, the 4 of us that cooked the over-charred pizza at 900F the weekend before all thought that was better pizza and missed that charred bottom crust flavor. I’m pretty sure the primary reason this cook peaked at 750F and then started to decline while last weekends cook hit 900F and held there for over an hour was that I was unable to load as much fresh lump into the cooker. With the metal grating resting right on the bowl yesterday versus the plate setter whose legs lifted the barrier a few inches above the top of the bowl last weekend, there was less volume available. In addition, I thought I’d be smart and start the burn using the 1/4 bowl of leftover lump from last weekends cook with idea that it would burn down as the Kamado started heating up and I would be able to fill the bowl with fresh lump when the pizza stone reached 300F. Moving the pizza stone out of the way at 300F to fill worked like a charm but the old lump was still occupying slot of volume, so I was only able to put about 1/2 the volume of fresh lump as I used last weekend. Now that I know the ‘cook high in the dome with 1-1/2” spacers’ method works well but that the LG24’s stock grating is I’ll-suited to that configuration, I’m going to go ahead and get an Adjustable Rig from CGS. Next weekend, I’ll fill the bowl with 100% fresh lump and go after the holy-grail of achieving a uniform Neopolitan cook in the 800-900F range with the bottom-crust charring we’ve come to prefer (pic from last weekend’s cook):
  24. Thanks for the explanation. I independently came to the conclusion that I want to keep the 1-1/2" spacer between 15" pizza stone and 16" heat deflector resting on the LG24 Place Setter. Yesterday I did a little trial-run at lower temps and there was a greater heat differential between the pizza stone and the inside of the dime than I would like. Whether due to hot air coming off the lump or IR as you suspect, it is clear to me now that the heat deflector is the hottest part of ceramic within the upper half pf the Kamado and unless you want the pizza stone significantly hotter than the dome, insulating the pizza stone from the direct heat of the heat deflector with spacers is important. Between the radiant heat emitting from the top surface of the heat deflector and the lower level of radient heat emitting from the inside surface of the dome, I'm hoping spacers which get the pizza stone closer to midway in that heat-deflector-to-dome space will allow the pizza stone to settle at nearer the mid-point between those two temperature extremes (of deflector and dome). What do you reckon is the gap you have between your pizza stone and the inside cieling of your dome? With 1-1/2" spacers my pizza stone will be 2-7/8" below the center of the dome, 2-3/8" below the outside of the dome over the pizza crust, and 1-7/8" below the tip of the thermometer. Here’s a picture of the final configuration I’m going with for this evening’s second attempt at Neopolitan pizza:
  25. Actually, thermocouples wrapped in ceramic fiber that can easily take 1000F+ are not that expensive: https://www.amazon.com/K-Type-Thermocouple-PK-1000-Temperature-Insulation/dp/B0083SZC6S ($40 for 2): ”This is our new 2017 version with improved ceramic fiber insulation and a chromel metal wire at the tip, which prevents the unraveling of the ceramic fiber insulation at very high tempreatures in the kiln.” Temperature Range: -58 to 1832°F / -50 to 1000°C (Set of 2) Length 36 inch, 94 cm, K-type probe (chromel / alumel) with high temperature ceramic mineral fiber insulation And as far as repurposing the thermometer hole in the dome, thanks for the great idea. I rolled up some aluminum foil and wrapped it around a thermometer stem and it plugged up the hole pretty well. I’m going to test it out tomorrow...
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