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  1. I've noticed the burn pattern too, and IIRC it persists even with the stock grate in place. At least for low and slow, I've never been happy using the stock grate when cooking at 400+, it just seems to take forever to get hot and doesn't seem to get as hot, so I can't say for certain if it makes a difference at higher temps.
  2. mbellot

    Whats your favorite charcoal to use?

    Whatever I can get cheap. Lately it's been Western 30lb bags from Walmart for $10/bag. Pops and sparks a lot when lighting with a torch, but burns hot and long. Also have a couple bags of Cowboy, KJ red bag (not big block) and probably a couple bags of Royal Oak.
  3. I do bacon in the 160-175 range, makes for a nice long smoke since I usually target 150 IT. I haven't noticed bitter taste, but typically let the bacon rest for a week in the fridge before slicing and eating. Everything else is 225 or higher. I don't think I would smoke anything for a long period of time at such a low temperature unless it has previously been cured. Too much time between 40-140 can make nasty things grow in your food.
  4. mbellot

    Western Brand Lump Charcoal

    I like everything about it except lighting. Sparks and pops real bad, almost caught me in the eye once. But the burn time is phenomenal. I made three pizzas last night and brats tonight, still plenty of lump left. A load of Royal Oak would have been completely gone after the pizza cook.
  5. mbellot

    Vegetarian Chicago Deep Dish

    Other option(s) you could try to help with moisture. It looks like you used crushed tomatoes for your sauce, yes? Try draining some of the water out by putting it in a fine mesh strainer for a couple minutes. You could also try less tomato (not a full blanket, but streaks or blobs) to let some of the veggie water cook off. I generally agree about thin >>> deep dish, but every once an a while it's nice to sit down to a big old Italian casserole.
  6. mbellot

    Auberins PID Controller Question

    Ditto again, especially if you have the standard thermocouple. I don't think its rated for direct heat above 450 or 500. You would need to wrap the braid in foil, and even then I don't know if it would tolerate 600F for an extended period of time. As the others have said, crank open your vents. Keep an eye on things once you cross 400-450, it can get away from you real fast.
  7. mbellot

    Vegetarian Chicago Deep Dish

    Looks delicious! If you are open to suggestions... Good idea bagging the veggies, but sweating them down a bit (especially when there are that many) would have helped with the moisture. CI pan probably slowed down the bake time, a cake pan works in a pinch if you don't have a deep dish pan. A 14" deep dish should take 25-35 minutes at 450F. Finally, Chicago deep dish shouldn't be bready, it appears your dough had way too much gluten development. I mix flour, salt and oil (a fair amount) together to get a "sandy" mixture, then add the water/yeast and mix just enough to pull it together (think biscuits). Butter instead of oil in the pan makes pushing the dough out and up the sides much easier (it looks like you rolled it out). I tried to find a picture of one of mine but came up empty, seems I only take pics of my thin crust pies...
  8. mbellot

    Western Brand Lump Charcoal

    Pretty disappointed at my local Walmart. Ordered three bags online Sunday for pickup. Yesterday evening I received an "order delayed" email, and tonight at 10:30pm still no pickup notification.
  9. mbellot

    The Day Early, Dollar Short Brisket

    Wild guess, it's breakfast (or part of it at least).
  10. Not exactly. You can improve the air flow and reduce ash clogging by replacing the cast iron firebox piece with a small charcoal grate (like Weber or Charbroil). You won't get the convenience of easier cleaning, but for ~ 1/5th the price its a minor inconvenience. I have the KAB for my Big Joe. It's nice, but I'm right there with you on the cost to benefit equation.
  11. mbellot

    New Kamado Joe Wire mesh gasket

    Seems unlikely since the description says I doubt KJ would be OK with that if it were an OEM product.
  12. mbellot

    Delivery person throws package

    My brother worked for a delivery service that was contracted by A*****n. The working conditions were horrible, productivity expectations unrealistic and reasons for denying your weekly "bonus" prolific, and in several cases directly violated state labor laws. He has (fortunately) moved on, and it has made me seriously re-think doing business with them.
  13. mbellot

    New fast start process.

    Hungry kids.
  14. Every bit of info I can get helps, even if it ends up teaching me what not to do... You bake hotter and shorter than I have been (350 for 25-30 minutes). I've tried frying briefly to build the crust (plus maybe a water barrier with the residual oil, doesn't seem to work though). Not sure I have a Tortillaria near me (suburbs of Chicago), but it's something to look into. So far I've been limited to grocery store tortillas. Thank you!
  15. Looks awesome! Can I ask a question about your method... Every time I have made enchiladas the taste is good, but the tortillas literally fall apart. What kind of tortillas do you use? Do you do anything to them prior to stuffing (light fry in oil, ???) Do you bake or broil them once they are assembled? Thanks!