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BigDBBQ

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  1. If you have the BJ3 just use the coal divider to concentrate coals. You can buy it for the BJ2. Or push them in a pile to one side (or even in the middle). What are you cooking? Like John’s awesome pics above you can vary grate or cooking surface height, add or remove deflectors, etc. The biggest hurdle I find to doing mid-week cooks is the time to get the coals going. Even if I use a fire starter or torch, it still takes time to get the fire right. Both my wife and I work, and kids have after school activities so it’s a time thing. If I do a mid-week cook right now I usually do something on the gas grill where I’m OK without smoke or charcoal flavor, like grilled chicken or pork tenderloin. Let us know what you come up with! I’m interested to hear it.
  2. Sounds great. I've designed and lived with a few in my own backyard. First read this good article here: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/yards/21017981/read-this-before-you-put-in-an-outdoor-kitchen Check the Designer's Cheat Sheet for understanding counter space needed in various areas. The section after that goes through each of the layouts. The rest of the article is an interesting read. Are you doing a flat countertop or one with a bar ledge behind it? You really need to understand the clearance you need at the height you put your kamado at. Those vary and I never found good info, so it's best to measure based on having one in your back yard. The bar height is tricky because you will need all of your clearance plus an inch or two plus the countertop overhand (like in your kitchen the ledge overhangs a bit, it doesn't sit flush next to the bar height backstop). I suggest measuring out your space and designing it to the inch. It's very easy to use Excel to do this - set the height and width of each cell to something square, then each square is 1 inch by 1 inch. I did this designing my current outdoor kitchen. The first picture had a usable counter area with a bar height ledge behind it. Your second picture has what appears to be a large bar height counter. Just know that you will not use that for prep or anything, only eating. It really looks too large for that, so I would not suggest picture number 2 as-is. For picture 3, I'm not a fan of building things around a standalone grill. I much prefer the look of a built-in. Bonus points if your built-in can be hooked directly to natural gas or propane (make sure you get the right grill model, some are not able to use regulator valves so the interior gas lines are different) so you always have fuel.
  3. Awesome and congrats! Mine has been a joy learning how to use and expand my cooking horizons/abilities - I hope yours does the same for you! I haven't used a stick burner yet. I have one from the junk that I will use this summer for sure.
  4. So first con is really just an opinion. Both my Meater+ probes are within a couple degrees of instant read thermo, but your experience may differ. If it's way off just return it. I clean mine with my fingers and a bit of hand soap in my bar sink. If you do it while it's still warm, not hot, it cleans in about 20 seconds. If the black builds up on it, I use my fingernails to clean it. Might take a minute that way. It's no different than cleaning wired probes - except the Meater+ is dishwasher safe! Not sure about the WiFi comment. All meater probes use bluetooth. The more expensive ones use an extended range version of bluetooth (the 165ft range). WiFi is provided through a mobile device that has the app (like your phone) OR the Meater block (the block technically has a repeater for your home WiFi). I setup my Meater+ WiFi using an old iPad with the Meater app installed. I leave it in the basement inside. The Meater base units go halfway between the KJBJ3 outside and the iPad, which is still inside. Using the cloud link, I can check on my cooks from anywhere from my phone (e.g., 20 miles away at the grocery store). None of this is true anymore. I get great range through the KJBJ3 and walkout basement walls (Hardieplank siding and brick). See my setup above for how to make it work anywhere you have access to the Internet. Ambient temp is good but can be affected like anything by being close to a cold piece of meat or a hot griddle. That's no different than if you put your grate probe in certain areas. The ambient probe is not going to read the same as your dome temp because they are different distances from the fire. The new version is dishwasher safe. Also for cleaning, it needs to not have a huge thick layer of black crud on the bottom to charge. I have no problems cleaning with my fingernails, or you could use the rough side of a sponge. The battery leak is just speculation. I've had mine for a while and have no issues with battery life. Regularly do long cooks like brisket (this one ran for 20 hours), butt, and ribs. My personal experience: *After* I setup the cloud link I have only good things to say about the Meater+. I think that could have been better explained how it all worked. I use them (I have 2) multiple times each weekend and they have been a much better experience than using the wired probes I have. Just wanted you to have some comments on a recent version in case you reconsider.
  5. Yeah I was leaning to having a gas grill. I had a side burner installed at my old house and only used it a few times, so I like your idea of the gas grill doing that and other things. I’ve got a cast iron pan but haven’t used it on yet. Good ideas all around. Thanks!
  6. I have a KJ BJ3. Bought it about 3 months ago and use it every weekend multiple times. Have the soapstone and DoJoe for it. I also have a Weber Performer Premium and an old Kitchen Aid gas grill (5 main burners, rotisserie, and side sear). The Kitchen Aid is on the deck above the walk out area - so good in good weather only. I ran a propane line to it while building the house. We are finishing the area under a screened in porch above the walk out basement. Nice area, 14x20. I want to put in an outdoor kitchen area because I had one at my previous house. I used the outdoor grill at my old house that was essentially the same as my kitchen aid grill now every weekend multiple times. But that was before I had a KJ. Question: Should I even do a gas grill downstairs? I don’t want to drop $2K on something like a Napoleon built-in but then never use it. What do you all do? Do you use your gasser anymore?
  7. I ran into this same problem and figured it out. If the ceramic bowl is not exactly level, when using the 3 tier rack on top of the SLO Roller it can bump or scrape. I took the rack and SLO Roller out and wiggled the ceramic bowl pieces into a better position. Works fine after you do that.
  8. Or start replacing your probes with a wireless solution.
  9. The MEATER probe has readings for inside the meat and ambient grill temp. It’s Bluetooth and/or WiFi depending on how you set it up. NO wires so you can use it anywhere on anything even a rotisserie. I love mine.
  10. The soapstone is awesome and my favorite searing surface. However it’s not the best option for veggies or small seafood. A laser cut surface, a grill basket, or copper surface work better for veggies. If you get a top you can fling them around for more even cooking.
  11. What height are the accessories for the Kamado Joe Classic III, or what height is the tallest accessory? Asking because I'm building an outdoor kitchen with brick to match the house and granite countertops. For the kamado section (dropped down from normal counter height), I am going to get the countertop to the same height as the base of the cart (see attached image). This leaves me a little over 15 inches from ground to countertop. I could put in a built-in kitchen drawer - but it's only 8 inches high. If the Sloroller or 3-tier rack is taller than that, then I might not add a drawer that can only hold a few racks and the ceramic diffuser plate. There will be space under the regular grill to store taller items (30 inch wide, 23 inch high double door set). I may have this open up to the full interior space and put a plastic shelf or something in there, or I may do the fully enclosed pantry/cupboard option. The outdoor kitchen area will be covered - it's underneath a deck that will have underdecking installed as part of the work. The coverage does not extend too far, but the doors/drawers are all facing inward so they won't get any direct rain.
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