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Jumping in at the Deep End


Halexh
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Hi there. I have never owned a bbq in my life (I am 29), but I have grown up on my dad smoking bbq on his Traeger for a while, and with two boys (4 year old and 7 month old) I decided a BBQ would be a nice addition. My co worker mentioned Big Green Eggs, and I had never heard of them. He started telling me about how great they are, etc, so I started the research and a few weeks later I came home with a Kamado Joe Classic size. I could have gotten a BGE large locally for 800$ with the stand and fold out tables on the side, but the costco roadshow in atlanta resulted in a cheaper KJ with more accessories. In the ~3 weeks I have had it so far, I have cooked a 8 lb pork shoulder, 2 pizzas, and a chicken, in that order. They all turned out really well, to my surprise (due to my lack of any grilling experience). I am sure the Maverick ET-732 that I also ordered has saved me from messing up. I am going to try some reverse sear steaks tonight, and cant wait to see how that goes. It is pretty surprising how enjoyable it is to cook on a bbq, especially such a nice one. When you grow up as a child you see the adults enjoy it and wonder whats so great about it, but then you get older and experience it yourself.


 


Everything with the KJ has been going great. The only slight issue I have experienced is getting the charcoal going. I usually need at least 3-4 fire starter cubes to get some charcoal lit, and even that takes a while. I think it might be due to the fact that everytime I start a cook, I will just move the charcoal around to get the ash down into the ash tray, but that also has the unintentional side effect of breaking the charcoal into smaller pieces. Do most of you completely clean out your fire bowl after 3-4 cooks, every cook, or never? I feel like getting one of those kick ash buckets will really make it easier, but at this point I need to slow down on the accessory purchasing.


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Hi-yes KJ's are awesome-I paid £800 for mine in the UK-the equivalent BGE would have been over £1200-I always clean my KJ right out then light 1-2 natural firelighters with new lumpwood then add used charcoal (if needed) once underway-it seems to get going a fair bit quicker this way.

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Welcome Halex!

 

I struggled to get my lump lit for a few weeks - it was so frustrating that I couldn't burn something that was designed to burn! Eventually, it started working for me and I really have no idea what I did differently. Probably the biggest change was that I stopped worrying about it.

 

For most cooks, I just stir up the burnt lump (or shake the kick ash basket), and dump new stuff right out of the bag on top. Make a little hole for each starter (1 - 5 depending on target temperature), drop the starter in and light a corner, then loosely pile up some lump around and over each little flame.

 

I do highly recommend the Kick Ash Basket - if nothing else, it really simplifies the cleanup. You'll be fine without it, plenty of people are, but once you get it, you'll wish you had it sooner. ;)

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What kind of "Charcoal" are you using? If you are using formed brickettes, I would recommend trying lump charcoal. An easy one to find is Royal Oak, but there are many. It does not break up as much as a formed brickette does. You should only need to light a small area especially when doing low and slow smoking. For the faster, hotter cooks you mention, 3 or 4 spots is not uncommon.

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What kind of "Charcoal" are you using? If you are using formed brickettes, I would recommend trying lump charcoal. An easy one to find is Royal Oak, but there are many. It does not break up as much as a formed brickette does. You should only need to light a small area especially when doing low and slow smoking. For the faster, hotter cooks you mention, 3 or 4 spots is not uncommon.

 I am using the KJ brand lump charcoal. Sometimes I have to close the lid while the firestarters are still burning (to prevent the wind from blowing them out), some times I have to add a few more after the first few have burned up. It seems like a mixed bag each time, and I am coming to the conclusion that there is just a bunch of small pieces or ash building up that is blocking the airways.

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I am one of the few that uses an electric starter on mine and have been pleased so far, it does take about 15 minutes to get a fire started, but I usually start that and then do a little prep while the fire gets going. I have been looking at a KickAsh basket though as I find what you are thinking that sometimes the little holes get plugged and airflow restrictions occur.

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Congrats!!! KJ is a smart move :)

I never empty my old lump...just stir and add more.

Agree with those that recommend a MAPP torch. One of the most used/beneficial purchases I have purchased. Also, don't close the lid for a minimum of 10 mins, sometimes up to 12-13 mins. At that point you should have a really nice fire going and be able to close your lid with all vents open and come up to temp fairly quickly.

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Myself I clean ash out ever time before next use. Low and slow I light one spot, for getting to temp quickly for roasting or searing I light 4 spots 12, 3, 6 and 8 o clock. On my vision classic B I use KickAsh basket and on my Joe Junior I have high-que fire grate.

I see you are a Barcelona fan? Profile pic,

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