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Ben Maas

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  • Gender
  • Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Interests
    The big one is Music- Trained as a musician and work as a sound engineer.
  • Grill
    Kamado Joe

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  1. Forgive me. I don’t know the abbreviations- what is a KAB? As I mentioned above, I’m running a Big Joe 2. And other than the iKamand, it’s completely stock. No basket- just the standard fire box with the big heavy iron piece with holes in it between the ash box and the fire. The deflectors are in the lowest position and the grill grate is on the top. Did another cook tonight and it really seems that my issue is lump size. The Fogo black bag was quite small and tends to burn quickly and not very controlled. (The fires also tend to be hotter which is a problem for low and slow cooks) The Kamado Joe lump (which is generally quite large) seems to have a much more controlled fire. I'm still learning here- trying to learn all the Finer points of working in what is a new way of cooking for me. As I mentioned earlier, I like it, but it is a learning curve. -Ben
  2. Sorry if I wasn't clear- sometimes when I'm writing on my iDevices, it doesn't come out the way I wanted. the question is not one of the top half of the grill being uneven. The meat is cooking ok, but rather the charcoal is almost burning out at times because the center is used up and the sides aren't. My Pork cook a couple days ago did go better- I used more charcoal and I used a different brand (which had larger pieces. I went from the black package Fogo which was mostly golf ball sized pieces to the Kamado Joe which had big pieces). the smaller pieces burned up quickly and that may have been part of the problem. The first couple cooks I did had me lighting the charcoal in multiple places which burned well, but also caused the grill to overhear at times for low and slow cooks. I then went to a single point of ignition which really helped with the interior cooking temperature, but at the expense of not everything lighting and me having to move the coals around to keep the fire from essentially going out. Obviously with the iKamand, the grate will have the most air coming towards it so that makes sense. The question is rather about how to configure the charcoal, and perhaps the lighting of that charcoal so that more of it burns properly. thanks for the help, everyone. Still learning to use this beast- every cook teaches me something new. And I'm loving every moment of it. --Ben
  3. So I’m now a couple months in on a Big Joe 2. I’m absolutely loving it, but after decades of work with gas, it has in some respects been humbling. The ability to do low and slow has been amazing and I love the taste of meat cooked over wood. ive now done a couple longer cooks- Pork Butts. The one I did today was a huge success (the one a couple weeks back, not so much). At the recommendation of this forum, I purchased an iKamand and it has made cooking so much easier and more dependable. One of the things I’ve run into, however, is limits as to how the charcoal burns. I end up with a big burnt section in the middle that’s plenty hot, and the fire doesn’t spread to the edges. In extreme cases, I need to move the heat shield out of the way to move the charcoal back into the center to keep the grill hot. Today, I tried a new charcoal and the pieces were a lot larger and seemed to work better. But there was still that center heavy burn. Does anyone have suggestions as to how to get more even burns - especially on longer (low and slow) cooks. and just because, here is the butt I did today. The bark was fantastic and the meat was juicy and tender. Did 9 hours at about 250 degrees with an injection marinade and a homemade rub. Used chunks of applewood and a bit of hickory. Served with homemade tortillas and New Mexico Green chili.
  4. That's the thing... I adjusted the vents very early (at 150 degrees, I had it almost all the way closed). Yet it still ended up going up to 300. I can absolutely accept that I messed up by not removing the meat early enough. The thought had gone through my mind to do exactly that, but I made the mistake of starting to tinker with things rather than doing what should have been obvious. I'll chalk that up to needing experience on the grill and the need to trust my instincts. I do a lot of my cooking by look and feel- I should have done the same here. What I'm trying to figure out is what the variables are in being able to control temperature as it seems like I have no idea how that works. I closed the vents as you'd expect to work, but yet the temperature still ended up going way higher than expected. I didn't want to close either vent all the way, as it seems like it would starve the fire. John- I've watched (and enjoyed) a bunch of your videos. I'll look into getting a temperature control device. --Ben
  5. Finally satisfied my lust for a Kamado Grill by turning my stimulus check into a Big Joe II. Done two cooks so far and I can't wait to do more and get to learning how to use it best. My Tri Tip for the first cook was epic and my ribs for my second were pretty good- need to get better at temperature control. I've been a baker since I was a kid- I'm very much looking forward to doing Pizzas in this bad boy as well as perhaps some other breads, etc... Anyways, I'm looking forward to learning a lot in this forum. --Ben
  6. I looked for some answers to my questions and couldn't find them, if there is an FAQ or something that would be better, please don't hesitate to point me that direction... I just got a Big Joe II a couple weeks back and have done a couple smokes on it, but they haven't quite turned out as expected. The first was a tri tip, done up in a reverse sear. Smoked at a low temp (275, but I was hoping for a bit less- perhaps 250 tops) for probably 30-40 minutes using the heat deflectors. Pulled the meat off, wrapped in foil and then brought the grill up to a pretty hot temp (after removing one of the deflectors) and did a sear for a couple minutes on each side. Ended up with a medium to medium rare steak and it was probably one of the best tasting pieces of meat I've ever cooked. Encouraged by the first success, I tried baby back ribs next. These ended up tasting fine, although, they did overcook which made them dry out a bit. The plan was what I've always done on my gas grill- smoke for 4-1/2 hours or so at 225-250. Once per hour, sprayed them with some apple juice/cider vinegar. I added some oak chunks (what I had available) to the Fogo Charcoal that I used. The problem I think is that the temperature was roughly 300 for the whole time, which meant it also finished early. The vent on the bottom was only open about 3/4" and the top vent was open less than the first mark on the Kontrol Top. I also closed it down when the thermometer read just under 150 degrees. In all the instructions I've read, videos I've watched, etc... these settings should work, but they didn't quite do what I expected. How do I keep the temperature down? Is this a fuel issue, a fuel quantity issue (did I have too much charcoal?) or something else that I did wrong? I ultimately want to do some very long term low and slow smokes - Brisket, Pork Butt, etc... but I also don't want to risk messing up an expensive piece of meat until I really know what I'm doing. Thanks for any tips you can provide. I'm really looking forward to learning to cook with this awesome grill.
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