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About agentgt

  • Birthday 10/30/1980

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  • Location:
    Waltham, MA
  • Interests
    cigars, sailing, scotch, bourbon, low budget horror movies, and grilling

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  1. I agree as I said here. The KJ lump is the best lump although I find it sometimes overwhelms poultry. Its a little pricey in my area. If you live in Metro West of MA you can get it from Harvey's in Needham sometimes. That being said my recent goto for poultry is Nature's Own Sugar Maple / Hardwood Basques (red bag / green bag). Again if you live in the Metro West area of MA you can get it from True Value in Waltham. Sugar Maple is popular here in the North East particularly in Maine. There are couple of really good restaurants (names I can't recall) in Maine that swear by it.
  2. Yes one of the times I have considered 2 zone is meats like pork tenderloin where I don't have the time to do a reverse sear and attempt to just sear it to internal temperature (I have cooked pork tenderloin direct). The problem is I don't plan it out in advance and end up either just letting the meat sit tented longer or just go ahead and use gloves and put the full deflector on to finish the cook (assuming my direct heat didn't reach the internal temp and I'm borderline scorching the loin). I usually try do a reverse sear on pork tenderloin if I can because the results for me are much better. If you try to do a reverse sear with a half moon on the Akorn the grill seems to get too hot (ie its hard to keep 225) and the pork tenderloin will not have enough time to absorb much smoke. Probably on a ceramic this is less of a problem?
  3. When I first started out with my Akorn I thought I would really need and miss 2 zone cooking which is almost required on a Weber Kettle. I was even lusting for a primo or big joe because those grills allow you to do 2 zone and I even bought a half moon ceramic thinking surely I would use it all the time... But I never seem to need 2 zone and when I try it the results are not that good compared to just using the heat deflector at first and then searing aka reverse sear. I thought surely 2 zone would be nice for cooking vegetables. Searing on one side and then softening on the other but I found just using the warming grate or the natural cool parts of the grill (ie coals that are not as hot or stacked up as high) far easier and with better results. Another thing I found is that its ironically very hard to control the temperature with 2 zone at least on the Akorn. The direct side quickly gets too hot which then increases the overall temperature of the grill and you loose grill real-estate. I see some people put on an iron skillet on the cool side of a 2 zone but my iron skillets are too big for my Akorn (Lodge really needs to make more skillets with out long handles ie baking dishes) and besides the iron skillet may not get the direct heat but it will eventually heat up very hot like the rest of the Kamado and hold on to that temperature. One rational I see for 2 zone on big grills especially oval shaped is for smaller cooks but wouldn't it be more ideal to just cook in a smaller place in the center of the grill since you will have equal airflow (ie just use a smaller coal basket or something)? So I'm curious how useful people find 2 zone cooking on their Kamados? Do they it do frequently or is it rare?
  4. I love the weber compact rapid fire chimney. It really is awesome for Akorn Kamado grills. Now if the thing was $50 it wouldn't be that good but on amazon its a paltry $10. This is not the normal weber chimney btw.. its a much smaller version. I use it now all the time to do a "mini minion" method. I make a sort of volcano by sticking a ~ 3" cylinder or so (bottles like 1/2 liter or any canisters of all sorts work great) in the middle when you load the charcoal. Then I load the compact chimney with 2/3 of a load (to hit 225 degrees) and pour the coals into middle of the grlll sans cylinder (ie right in the hole you made). After I load the coals into the grill I close the Akorn down to 1 on both the the top and the bottom with deflector to hit 225. I would imagine this would work great on BGE and Kamado Joe as well. I like this better than using starters and even isoprop alcohol because those fumes burn outside of the grill. You simply place your starter under the chimney except in this case I recommend 1/2 to 1/4 of your starter for the compact chimney. I also like the chimney to make an "amped" pocket or side for searing. I load the chimney and get it going and pour it all on one side for a searing side. Because the chimney is small its easy to get started quick and it doesn't overwhelm the akorn (its real easy to super spike the akorn). Anyway for ~$10 on amazon its a worthwhile purchase.
  5. A thing I do that some may disagree with is throw the patties in the freezer like 5 or 10 minutes before you throw them on the grill. I do this with steaks also. Obviously you don't let it sit that long in the freezer or else the meat will form crystals. When I do this the meat absorbs more smoke and has more even color (pink edge to edge for example). Also for patties the quick freeze seems to make them more resilient to falling apart.
  6. I ended up wussing out and not spatchcocking. Next year I'm definitely going to spatchcock or cannon or go complete surgery mode (cut up the bird). My turkey was good but a couple of things I did wrong or would change that might help others that stumble here: Use weber large drip pan and less water in drip pan Instead of using my typical weber large drip pans I used a larger/taller roasting pan from the grocery store. I did this because I decided to follow Meat Heads gravy recipe which called for a ridiculous amount of liquid (3 quarts and more). I only used 2 quarts of water in my drip pan and even then risked overflowing by the end of my cook as the turkey drippings were rapidly filling what little space I had in the drip pan. Worse the tall pan was blocking airflow and by the end of the cook the turkey was practically sitting on a overflowing sewage like drain grate. Thus the bottom of my turkey was a moist mess. I think the Kamado provides so much on moistness that you really don't need much moisture like you probably do with a weber kettle. For spices either go smokey bbq or cook it in the oven Again I followed Meat Heads advice (amazingribs.com) on using a traditional herb rub instead of a BBQ like rub. Here is the thing. I just don't think most herb rubs go well with smokey wood flavor. I also didn't like the color. Instead of a dark amber you have green and yellow patches on your turkey. If I were to do it again I would probably either use a bbq rub or try to use a charcoal that has little smoke.
  7. Apparently some think the turkey cannon is not a good idea: http://amazingribs.com/recipes/chicken_turkey_duck/ultimate_smoked_turkey.html See the image on the right hand side. However I have never used it and to be honest MH is not always right. As much as I like spatchcocking I still think vertical roasting is superior particular if you can get one of those that allow ample airflow. I have used coat hangers wrapped in foil in the past for chickens but this bird is too big for that.
  8. I have a 16 lbs turkey that I'm planning on cooking on my Akorn. Based on how I have cooked chicken I looked into doing vertical cooking (ie beer can style) but it appears the turkey is too tall. It appears the Akorn has got about 11.5" clearance before your seriously blocking airflow. So I was thinking spatchcocking but I am concerned that once I cut the bird it will not fit in the 18.5" grate of the Akorn. It is sort of hard to tell if it will fit but I did do a worse case scenario of wrapping a string around the bird to see its circumference which is unfortunately like 25". Although all turkeys are different in shape I'm curious how big of a bird in pounds people have spatchcocked on the Akorn? As a side note I'm planning on dry brining + injecting.
  9. Apologies on the wording (ie illogical). I did not mean to offend anyone nor do I think anyone is illogical (ie stupid) for buying a ceramic grill especially from such manufactures as Primo or Kamado Joe. I mean the Big Joe and Primo are absolutely gorgeous... way better looking than the Akorn and that could easily be justification for some people. I have to wonder though why more manufactures don't explore steel. IMHO if I had serious money I would just skip to the Pro Joe: It seems The ProJoe is basically an Akorn on steroids. If only Kamado Joe would make a grill 1" on the ceramic interior or some other composite materials, use more ceramic fiber insulation and use coated steel instead of polished stainless steel I would probably be more likely to buy it then say the big joe and I bet it would be cheaper and less prone to breakage. I love the KJ company and I love their parts (Akorn's aka Char-griller's future seems dubious). EDIT: It appears the ProJoe has exposed ceramic in the interior. My mistake. I was confused with some other hi-end kamado. Let me explain my (mis)use of the word logic: My criteria for grilling is I need a cost effective charcoal grill that is semi portable that can maintain a relatively steady temperature (ie Kamado). My constant problem is I don't have enough grilling space that I can control at a different temperature. ie I'm smoking something at 225 but I also need to cook something else at 325. I can buy two grills at $800 or I can buy one really nice grill at $1200 and sort of get two temperatures At some point you need more grilling area that can be controlled independently. Is it really worth buying a oval or massive enough grill that supports a split box which is still not *really* two different temperatures (ie direct and indirect is still not the same as having two indirects at different temperature). Or maybe its better just to own a two lighter cheaper grills that pretty much operate the same way that I don't need a crane to open the lid with. Its like HiFi audio. I don't have the ears to tell the difference between a $25k system and $1k system. And as CeramicChef pointed out I probably don't have the culinary skill/experience or taste buds to tell the difference between true ceramic and insulated steel. Please don't take it as an insult but rather my lack of experience or skill.
  10. Using that same logic a Weber One Touch 18½ is $80.00, You could buy 5 Webers for the price of one $400.00 Akorn. I just bought a Pelican cooler for $400.00. I could have bought 8 Igloos of the same size for the same $400.00. You can buy a brand new Kia Rio for $11,000.00, or you can buy a ............................................ If that's a "problem" with ceramics compared to the Akorn, I'll take a ceramic any day of the week and gladly live with the "problem". Yes but the Weber is an entirely different grill. Its like comparing a Sedan to an SUV (Weber Kettle vs Kamado). Its just not a fair comparison. A better comparison is Kio Sorrento vs a BMW X5 (which is not even twice as expensive). Speaking of which you would be hard pressed to find that many SUVs that are 4 times more than a Bottom of the Market SUV (assuming you don't completely strip the BOM and completly pimp out the luxury SUV which you could do the grills also). As for "problem".. you seriously can't move ceramic grills with out work and risk of breaking. Every time I'm done with my Akorn I just roll it back into the garage thus eliminating this fear of rusting. I seem to see lots of top dampers on the Kamado Joe, Primo and Big Green Egg with major rust on them.. I swore I even noticed some on jseltzers Kamado Joe. Besides rust is easy to fix compared to ceramic cracking and falling apart. I'm sure this debate has taken place before and there is no doubt in my mind that both the primo and kamado joe non-ceramic parts are very superior to the akorn. But lets not kid ourselves.. buying ceramic over insulated steel is largely based on passion, beauty, tradition and not logic, cost and function. That being said I still want one (ceramic)
  11. It amazes me Fudgegf had to pay $200 for shipping. This is my problem with ceramic grills compared to the Akorn. The Akorn is $400.. apparently only twice the price of shipping of a replacement primo part. You can buy 3-4 Akorn grills for the cost of one oval XL. That is 1200 vs 400 sq inches of direct heat for the Akorn vs Primo. Don't get me wrong .. I would love to own a "real" ceramic Kamado but when I see stories like this I don't know how I'm going to talk the wifey into letting me buy one in good faith when I can just buy more Akorns. The Akorn is also super portable (compared to almost all the other ceramic grills).
  12. @rwalters congrats! Just came back from Kauai myself 4 days ago. That looks like the south side of Kauai maybe either Poipu or Lihue. My guess is Lihue. I highly recommend you visit Ke'e beach which is on the northshore which is also the start of the Napali coast line hike (which I don't recommend unless you like pain and the possibility of dying). To keep it apropo to the forum I highly recommend cooking on Kauai. There is some pretty decent coconut shell charcoal that you can buy on Kauai. Some of the hotels provide gas and even charcoal grills so don't be afraid to buy food and cook it. Your best bet is to initially buy bulk food stuff from the Costco that is in Lihue and smaller things like liquor from grocery stores like the Foodland on the northshore near Hanalei. Also If you like jam you have to get your hands on some Poha Jam. That stuff kicks ### and is not really available in the lower 48.
  13. I have always been told the secret to a great sear is extreme heat but I'm starting to think that there is a point where it is too hot. My issue is when I lower my grates as close to the charcoal as possible I do get a great sear but I also get a large amount of charring. The inverse of course happens when the grate is further away.. less sear and less charring. I have tried flipping with much greater frequency (like every 30 seconds) which has helped (this is for steaks or reverse sear roasts). I know I could get less charring by using a cast iron skillet but I loose that kiss of fire taste. I'm curious how others get a great sear minus the char? Maybe GrillGrates? An example scenario: I did a Tri Tip last night and reverse seared it once it reached ~108 degrees, jacked up the heat on my Akorn and finished on the weber grate (not the CI grate). I'm thinking next time I'll retry on the CI grate because of the charring.
  14. I have to imagine though that was caused by people dropping the stones. I am curious how many people have cracked stones because of heat. I have had 4 pizza stones of various quality and size that I have used an enormous amount of times with rather high heat and have never cracked one because of heat.
  15. A lot of people seemed to be concerned with cracking pizza stones. Perhaps cheap pizza stones crack. I have a feeling my Akorn dampers and ash holder will have more problems and a higher failure rate then my pizza stone at incredibly high heat. There are also fireboxes made out of ceramics so... Besides the bigger issue is getting the stone on the grill at high temperature. You need to snuff the fire a little first (ie close dampers) and burp the grill and have some serious gloves on to do it. I agree with John that the pizza pan probably works fine for a low and slow setup since your mainly just trying to block direct heat. Here is the thing that I have against the pizza pan for the Flay technique. The pan will not lower the temperature of the grill as fast as the stone. Of course you could certainly just wait for the temperature to drop but I'm impatient. Now I'm not entirely sure why stone lowers the heat quicker as I'm not an expert in thermodynamics. One theory I have is the pan quickly heats up and while it blocks the direct heat its still radiating heat. The other thing that I have noticed with stone over pan is that the stone actually holds on to moisture which means it does have an effect on humidity. Thus in some cases putting a stone in is similar to actually putting some water into your grill which does change the temperature. I have actually used this many times to control the temperature of my grill. If I over shoot my temperature I just add another pizza stone on top of my smoking stone. Also an easy way to lower the temperature of your grill in a low and slow is to pour fresh water into your drip pan. Adding another pizza pan again will not lower the temperature as fast as adding more "moist" mass. I may not know thermodynamics that well but I do know evaporation of water lowers temperature.
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