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  1. I happily bought my Akorn Kamado this weekend and set myself for my first two cooks. I learned a lot but it was much harder than expected. Temp control was really hard. My location: South America Altitude: 8760 feet above sea level. Temp: 69F Coal used: 3.3-5.5 lbs per cook The main issues I had were: - Starting the fire was hard. The coal would shut off and start releasing smoke, but without much flame. The fire starters would also shut down easily. I had to use several firestarters. I discovered my best luck with paper towel/oil. - Fire would take around 2.5 hours to reach searing temps (550F), with a lot of effort. - I could not go above 600F. My initial coal was all consumed and my patience had ran out after 2 hours. I had both vents open. - Heat output wasn't even. Since I struggled so much, I ended up with edges being lit up and other parts not so much. Video on starting issues: After adding paper towels with oil: On my first cook, I had to add new coals and ended with irregular spots at the end, but it wasn't too bad: Can anybody come up with tips for my next cook? 1. When starting the fire, should I leave the lid open? Can it be closed before the coal is completely white? 2. If I am going hot and at ~ 600F, will closing the top vent increase the temp even further? 3. How can I avoid/reduce the time that the grey smoke is coming out? 4. If there is less oxygen at this altitude, should I think of using super big lumps and sieving the coal to remove dust and small pieces that can block airflow? 5. Am I forced to use some additional air circulator/fan in the bottom intake? 6. Should I consider a basket like the Kick ### Basket? 7. To start the fire, should I look into more artificial solutions like using a Bernzomatic propane torch and/or a chimney starter?
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