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  1. Just FYI, it seems there have been a number of recent incidents but between multiple days of power outages and other issues, I haven't been following them closely at all. My post is based on my overall impression of these issues over the past couple of years, not any particular recent posts. I think some good points have been brought up already, but please remember that words like censorship can be very loaded with implications you may not intend, they also may not be applicable. I will admit that the word came to mind when I saw the policy, but that may not have been the intention and it may not be actual net effect in practice. At least I hope not.
  2. Hello Gurus - Is it possible to have an intelligent discussion of the new customer service policy without disrespecting John's right to decide what he thinks is best for his site? Hopefully it is because I am going to attempt to do just that. I can understand why some sort of change is needed. It isn't good when someone from a company feels the need to post on a site to defend their product and/or customer service. I believe most companies would prefer not to get involved in that sort of thing and would only do so if things were really getting out of hand. I also think a bunch of he said / she said posts would make for a rather boring site at a minimum and could give it a real black eye. With that said, it concerns me a bit that the new policy might make people reluctant to post genuine concerns - things like "is this a warranty issue" or "should this be covered by a warranty". I also think there is some value in having some information available on the types of problems one is likely to encounter with a given kamado and how the company typically handles them. Unfortunately, at the moment no good suggestions come to my mind as to how to maintain that information without running afoul of the obvious problems. The old chestnut is certainly true - you can't please all of the people all of the time. I think a corollary may be that if you try to please everyone all of the time your company may go broke. I once had a neighbor who had a pair of LL Bean moccasins for 20+ years. He eventually he wore them into the ground and when he called Bean on their 100% satisfaction guarantee they replaced them for him. I think that was crazy - both for him to ask and for them to comply. I don't know how he could honestly claim that he wasn't satisfied with 20 years of wear, but he did. Kudos to Bean for making good on their promise but unfortunately I suspect that sort of thing is why Bean's merchandise is relatively pricier than it was 20 years ago. I personally don't want to have to pay a premium for merchandise so that a small fraction of people can make ludicrous warranty claims. I fully recognize there are people out there who would not agree with me on this issue at all though. They have the right to that opinion, but I think they are probably a minority and it would be unfortunate if a similarly small minority were allowed to stifle discussions here on KG. Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater here because a few people have what most of us would consider unrealistic expectations. Fortunately or unfortunately, most of the warranty issues I have seen posted here on KG have struck me as legitimate issues. The problems mostly seem to arise when people get unrealistic expectations as to the lengths that a company should go to resolve their issue. In some cases it has seemed like it took an inordinately long time for parts to arrive and I think companies should be called out if they routinely aren't keeping enough parts on hand to meet their customer service needs. It is understandable that someone might be disappointed when they have made their decision, lugged home a kamado (or paid to have it shipped), unpacked it and found some defect. Still, even if that defect prevents them from using it, I think it is unreasonable to expect a completely new unit to be express shipped to them the next day - or anything remotely like that. If you want that level of service, buy kamado that is sold through a dealer that will bring it to your home and set it up for you. That is likely going to cost a premium, but you probably won't be disappointed. I think it is impossible to have any real discussion of a product or company without ever venturing into territory that could be considered customer service complaints. It is also difficult to have any discussion of customer service without getting into what is and isn't a reasonable expectation and, as we have seem, people are not always going to see eye to eye on that issue. I think we can all agree that brand bashing is bad and discouraging it is a good idea. Moderators have to make a judgement call when a discussion has crossed that line and I would hope that similar discretion will be employed when it comes to discussions of customer service issues. I think it would be unfortunate if people stop posting anything that might venture into that territory. Unreasonable people may post them anyway, so I think the bigger risk is the loss of potentially good discussions. I have started this topic in the hopes that others might have better suggestions as to how we can walk this fine line. I am sure John and the other moderators have given these issues a lot of thought, but I hopefully it won't hurt to try to have a civil, thoughtful, and open discussion about it.
  3. I realize this is a lot of speculation and it is going to be a minority opinion, but assuming the extra "ceramic base" is the firebox and the existing firebox has a minor crack, I would not be overly concerned about the lack of warranty. The firebox is the only thing one is likely to get replaced under warranty and IMO (again, I realize a minority opinion) a small, non-structural crack is nothing to be concerned about. I would definitely make sure that I could remove it in one piece before I sealed the deal though and of course I would be very careful transporting it. I saw essentially the same thing listed on craigslist for $500 a couple of months ago - extra firebox, extended rack, and diffuser. I went to see it and offered $400, but the seller passed. It was sold by the next day. Hard to say how much he got, but I told him to call me if he changed his mind so I doubt he took any less than that. In an absolute sense I agree the absence of the divide and conquer and the warranty makes $400 an OK deal at best, but that is more than half off (unless a roadshow comes your way) and used KJs don't come up for for sale very often so they are likely to command a bit of a premium.
  4. I was wondering the same, but he didn't list one so I guess buying. FWIW, If it was close to me I would definitely go for it.
  5. Good catch. I will be interested to see what people who are familiar with other kamado books thinks about it. At the moment the reviews on Amazon are not terribly useful.
  6. Looks great! The meat selfie was pretty funny too. I am wondering, does your Costco just have packers out with the flats? Mine hasn't had any packers in a long time.
  7. Overshooting isn't terrible, but the longer you let it overshoot and the higher it overshoots, the longer it is going to take to bring the temperature down. Some kamado owners report that they can bring the temperature down relatively quickly by "burping" their kamado, but I have never really had much luck with that. When I first got my kamado I tried to follow a recipe that called for adding more smoking wood every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours - that was a terrible idea. The recipe wasn't designed for a kamado. It really wasn't necessary either since kamados burn fuel slowly and you can get 2 hours of smoke by just spreading around the wood chunks. As for mopping, while it can be done and may be appropriate at times, I think that is generally more typically done with other types of smokers (e.g. offsets). I will sometimes spritz a butt with water periodically though - I just do it quickly. If I were going to mop (which likely can't be done as quickly) I wouldn't do it often, I would have everything set and ready to go next to the kamado and I would probably close the lower vent before I opened the lid. I would probably also wait a couple of minutes to re-open the vent after I closed the lid. Every cooker varies - even within a specific model. For a variety of reasons, different cookers will react differently to opening the lid. Even the same cooker might react differently depending on things like what temperature you are cooking at and the current state of the fire. Ultimately you just have to learn what you can and can't do with your cooker.
  8. Be careful using the probe much above 400 degree as it is easy to ruin a probe as you approach 500+ degrees - especially for a direct cook.
  9. That would be interesting, but you would probably need infrared and an image analysis to really tell what is going on, but it would be interesting. With that said, consider this - folks using WSMs have been mulling a similar issue for a long time. Check out the 2 pages here: http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/fireup1.html Basically they compare the standard method (lighting all of the coals) vs the Minion method in which they only light some of the coals. Note that they get much longer burn times and it is much easier to maintain 225 range temperatures with the Minion method. Still, even with the Minion method they are lighting 20-40 briquettes and dumping them on top of a pile of unlit charcoal. A WSM isn't insulated, but I would still think that having so many coals fully burning would be a problem if it wasn't for the fact that restricting the air is going to prevent whatever coals are lit from burning as hot as they would if they had more oxygen. With that said I suspect a WSM is going to let in a certain amount of air no matter what and thus you can't keep the temps down and extend the cook any longer using the standard method. I agree that in the end it is all about the oxygen and the very rigid and predictable laws of thermodynamics. All things being equal, if you are going to maintain 225 with twice the area of lump lit, the lump that is burning still has to produce the same total amount of heat as in the other case. I presume that means it has to burn at half of the temperature and to accomplish that you have to restrict the available oxygen. As CC said, you can have a very small area of coal burning very hot (searing temps). You can also have a larger area of coal smoldering at lower temperatures and it could yield the same overall temperature in your kamado . I only light in one or two places now for low and slow, but before I got the leaks in my cooker sealed up that would give me a false sense of confidence. The fire would start small and be fine for 2-3 hours, but as the fire spread the air leaks would become more of a factor. Then 6 hours into the cook I would discover that the temperatures had gotten out of hand. That is obviously not a normal situation, but I do think it illustrates how beginners can run into problems when they start a fire in one small spot, set their vents to what they think is correct, watch it for a while and think they are OK, then get frustrated later in the cook when the fire has spread and they discover that those same vent settings are not restrictive enough to hold down the temperature. Obviously the extent of this effect varies from cooker to cooker.
  10. I must admit it has never occurred to me to try to control the fire with only the top vent. I would think that would be better than the opposite though since an open top vent might amplify the effect of any small air leaks below.
  11. I have a somewhat academic question about the issue of lighting in 1 spot vs 3. To be clear, I understand and agree that it may be easier to achieve and maintain 225 if you only light the coals in one spot. Also, if you light in 3 places and wait too long to shut down the air, it can take a very long time for a big heat soaked kamado to cool down to 225 and the fire to get choked out to the point where it will steadily burn at 225. With that said, ultimately isn't the temperature a function of air control? Even if you light one spot, at some point in an overnight cook isn't the fire going to spread to a much larger area/number of coals than what would have been lit initially if you had started it in 3 places? That is, if you light in the center, the ring of lit coals is going to expand out into a circle that will continue to increase in diameter throughout the cook. At some point many more coals are going to be lit than would have initially been burning if you had lit it in 3 places. Of course this assumes you have an air tight kamado that can shut down the air intake to the point that it will keep the fire very low. With respect to the OP, TexasRob's second post in the thread (#3) read to me like the bottom vent was almost completely shut down but the top vent was completely open. On my cooker that would be a problem. To maintain 225 I have to keep the top vent almost completely closed as well as the bottom vent. Of course I also agree that there isn't anything magical about 225 vs 240 or 250, but at times you might want to cook as low as is safe so that the general timing of your cook works out as conveniently as possible (e.g. to start at 11pm instead of 1am for dinner the next day).
  12. I bought some and put in on a butt this weekend and was pleasantly surprised how good it was. I would highly recommend it. Bark was amazing!!!! I am surprised to hear that - I grabbed it at Costco yesterday (<$6 IIRC) and used it on ahi tuna. It was good, but it seemed more on the "herby" side than most butt rubs. I wondered how well the herbs would hold up over a long pork butt smoke so it is good to hear it worked for you. I will definitely give it a try on my next butt cook, but perhaps in combination with a spicier/hotter rub. I bet it is great on chicken too. Definitely a good value though.
  13. Thanks - I grabbed them for $1 each. I am sure I will get something useful out of them (which is more than I can say for some of the free ones).
  14. Nicely done. Keep an eye out for some place to pick up pre-made dough (e.g. Trader Joes or Whole Foods). Some of my favorite meals have been various BBQ leftovers thrown into or onto dough I bought or had left over. Sometimes I cook pizza, but I find calzone and stromboli are a little easier, faster, and more forgiving. One of my favorites is just left over pepper stout beef and cheddar cheese - so good and so easy. I've got a Blackstone oven now so it is even faster. I can throw something together in the very short time it takes to heat up so 15-20 minutes from start to finish is all it takes. Of course if you have to set a table, do sides, and such there is plenty of time for that while your kamado is heating up.
  15. Country style ribs aren't actually ribs per se (more like chops or sliced shoulder - depending on the source), but I could definitely see doing them in a crockpot. I know they work well in the oven with a rich sweet and sour type sauce to keep them moist. It is easy to dry them out if you cook them like regular ribs.
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