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Lumpy_Coal

To chimney or not?

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I come from a few years of weberitis and usually used a charcoal chimney. When I got my kamado joe I moved my main weber along with my charcoal chimney to my parents trailer to use there. I sent my chimney too because I seem to remember a discussion somewhere that said you not only do not need a chimney for kamados but SHOULD NOT use it for kamados. I can't find that discussion and can't really remember why it stated that. I think it had something to do with bring it up in temp too fast when really cold out. However I see a lot of people using propane torches to light their kamados and I've got to think that'd induce a more intense heat faster. I've been using sawdust starter cubes but I've got to tell you when I'm grilling and want the higher heat I miss the charcoal chimney for speed. Am I risking damage to my joe if I use one? Is my memory lie in to me about the speed and ease of use? Please chime in.

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A chimney starter can work in a kamado when doing high heat sears/cooks.  The problem is you end up with to much lump lit for anything but high heat. Lighting lump in 3 or 4 spots works fine for high heat. 

For anything 450* or less you really want to manage how much lump gets lit. One of the biggest issues for new kamado users is lighting too much lump. A chimney is definitely to much lump for low-n-slow.

A torch only lights one small spot at a time. It does it really fast but still only one sport at a time. It's like the equivalent of one starter cube but does it in a fraction of the time. 

 

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Some frown on the use of a chimney -- that is true.

Some of us use one -- for me it is easy to start the coals in the chimney over a propane burner.  Just a few pieces for a low & slow & never over 1/2 chimney for a hot & fast.  I almost always have lump left over, which I stir around, leaving a hole in the middle for whatever I dump from the chimney, then fill up to the level I want with fresh lump.  Works for me & as easy as starter cubes or alcohol balls. If it wasn't for having a propane burner, I'd use another method as any kamado with vents wide open is effectively a chimney. 

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Thanks for the input. Maybe I'll give alcohol balls a try or maybe the torch. How soaked are the balls? Are they dripping? I like the idea of a cleaner burn then starter cubes.

As for the chimney, I was thinking only half or 1/4 full would do the trick.

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Take a Mason jar fill with cotton balls (regular size is fine) then fill with 91% alcohol. The clear stuff not the green stuff. Use tongs and pull one or two out as needed. This used  to be my method until I got a torch. 

Chimney can work if you use it as @bcrgrill explains it. Most people add way to much to the chimney which causes problems. 

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3 hours ago, Edsland said:

Mapp tourch for me, higher heats I lite a few spots for lower cooks I only lite one. 

Agreed, but save some $$$ and just use propane, the garbage they call MAP/Pro now is only slightly (~10%) higher BTU output but still cost 2x-3x more.

Real MAPP gas was about 25% higher heat output, which was very useful when sweating heavy brass fittings. I still have a couple cylinders in reserve that are strictly for plumbing work.

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