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Raised Kick Ash Basket


afingerhut
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I agree with Cschaff and would use caution moving the fire up higher than it was designed for. There may be additional stresses on the ceramics in areas not intended to see that kind of heat.  Or it could be just fine, too....  I am just one of those overly cautious types on most things.  


My whole purpose in this was to be able to light less lump but still get an intense radiant heat near the meat. The KAB and coals are still contained within the fire ring, and I don't see any reason to use this method with a giant mountain of charcoal that would create excessive heat above the fire ring.

When I was cooking the steak the thermometer never got much past 400, so I can't see it being an issue of excessive dome temp. Especially given that many folks have pinned their thermometers without incident.

Don't do anything with your cooker that makes you uncomfortable, but I am pleased with the technique and will continue to use it mindfully.


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2 hours ago, afingerhut said:

 


My whole purpose in this was to be able to light less lump but still get an intense radiant heat near the meat. The KAB and coals are still contained within the fire ring, and I don't see any reason to use this method with a giant mountain of charcoal that would create excessive heat above the fire ring.

When I was cooking the steak the thermometer never got much past 400, so I can't see it being an issue of excessive dome temp. Especially given that many folks have pinned their thermometers without incident.

Don't do anything with your cooker that makes you uncomfortable, but I am pleased with the technique and will continue to use it mindfully.


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I sure would not do it that way thats why you have a firebox and that for sure would void warrenty if anything cracks or might happen 

 

But your results look good 

 

I would get a grate that is small enough like the one posted to go in near the fire box jmo 

 

Its your grill do what u want with it 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Stile 88 said:

I sure would not do it that way thats why you have a firebox and that for sure would void warrenty if anything cracks or might happen 

 

I get that many folks are concerned about voiding warranties. Especially if they have ever owned a BGE who will void your warranty for using a KAB or any non-BGE component inside your egg. In this case, I don't see how this could void the warranty, as I could just as easily pour an entire bag of lump in there and have the top of my coals at the same level. This would result in much more heat and potential damage than having a 3" deep layer of coals that comes up no higher than the top of the fire ring and is separated from the sides of the fire ring and cooker by at least a couple of inches. Yes, it is an off label use, but it is not beyond the intended use of the cooker itself.

 

1 hour ago, Stile 88 said:

I would get a grate that is small enough like the one posted to go in near the fire box

 

I have tried this before with my LBGE, a CGS spider and a 13 inch grate. For a number of reasons, I prefer the approach I outlined above.

 

1. I don't have to reach my arm into a raging hot kamado to flip, temp or remove the meat. With my test set up I was able to check my steak temp with an ungloved hand quite comfortably.

2. I have better access and visibility to the meat. I can easily get my tongs under to lift an edge and see how things are coming a long, rather than flip the steak or lift it out of the cooker. It is also easier to pick up the meat at grate level than trying to grab it from the top like I'm playing a claw game.

3. I give up very little cooking space. The KAB doesn't reach to the edges of the fire ring, but it still gives me a lot of space to work with. When I used the spider, I only had a 13" grate that would fit

4. I use less lump. Filling the firebox to just below the D&C would be 8" or so (guessing because I'm not at home with the cooker) deep of charcoal. Lighting that up to searing temps and then cooling it back down will result in a lot of lump being consumed. In my test cook I started with about 1/3rd of a load in the basket and when I was done, I still had about 1/4th. It also shut down and cooled off very quickly.

 

1 hour ago, Stile 88 said:

Its your grill do what u want with it 

 

Couldn't agree more. I wouldn't suggest anyone do anything with their grill that makes them uncomfortable. I am not an engineer or physicist or any kind of expert on what could or could not happen from this technique. From my observations, I am happy with the results and comfortable enough to keep experimenting with it. If I notice undesirable effects I will stop using this approach. 

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I gave this another go last night. This time I put my (broken) soapstone on top of the grate in the low D&C position and the other grate in the high D&C position for a two-zone(ish) cook of some butterflied chicken breasts. The soapstone got up to about 600 degrees and put a great sear on the chicken, and then I let them get to finish temp on the raised direct side of the grate. Once again, everything got up to temp quickly, the dome temp never got over 400, and then I was able to shut it down with just a small amount of lump actually consumed.

 

Originally, I justified my Joe Jr. purchase as a way to save lump (among other reasons) because we do more grilling than smoking, and at high heat I was burning a lot of lump to cook one or two steaks or burgers, etc.. With this approach I can't imagine I am using much more lump than the Jr., but I maintain all of the cooking area and get to use my BJ soapstone, even when I'm just cooking for me and the wife. I'm still very pleased to have my Jr., but this little 'hack' has made my BJ a whole lot more useful for everyday cooks. I'm debating giving this a go for pizza cooks (deflector on main grate in the high position and pizza stone on the expander up in the dome. I should be able to get good dome temps without burning through several pounds of lump.

 

I know this technique makes a few of you uneasy, and that is fine. I have yet to see anything about it that gives me pause and would certainly encourage folks to give it a try if they are curious. Obviously, do so with some common sense and at your own risk (i.e. don't stack your charcoal until it is clear of the felt line).

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2 minutes ago, afingerhut said:

I gave this another go last night. This time I put my (broken) soapstone on top of the grate in the low D&C position and the other grate in the high D&C position for a two-zone(ish) cook of some butterflied chicken breasts. The soapstone got up to about 600 degrees and put a great sear on the chicken, and then I let them get to finish temp on the raised direct side of the grate. Once again, everything got up to temp quickly, the dome temp never got over 400, and then I was able to shut it down with just a small amount of lump actually consumed.

 

Originally, I justified my Joe Jr. purchase as a way to save lump (among other reasons) because we do more grilling than smoking, and at high heat I was burning a lot of lump to cook one or two steaks or burgers, etc.. With this approach I can't imagine I am using much more lump than the Jr., but I maintain all of the cooking area and get to use my BJ soapstone, even when I'm just cooking for me and the wife. I'm still very pleased to have my Jr., but this little 'hack' has made my BJ a whole lot more useful for everyday cooks. I'm debating giving this a go for pizza cooks (deflector on main grate in the high position and pizza stone on the expander up in the dome. I should be able to get good dome temps without burning through several pounds of lump.

 

I know this technique makes a few of you uneasy, and that is fine. I have yet to see anything about it that gives me pause and would certainly encourage folks to give it a try if they are curious. Obviously, do so with some common sense and at your own risk (i.e. don't stack your charcoal until it is clear of the felt line).

For me because i  have a kk i can put my grate 4 inches from the fire because thats how it was designed and i use very little lump as u describe you are doing 

I had bge for many years i suppose i might try your method if i still had them 

You are getting great results and because you raised the fire air flow is superb its superb anyway with the kick ash basket 

 

Now i never cooked on soapstone but with what u described seems like a great method to cook lets see some more pics

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1 minute ago, Stile 88 said:

For me because i  have a kk i can put my grate 4 inches from the fire because thats how it was designed and i use very little lump as u describe you are doing 

 

Several folks have suggested the same... put a grate lower in the kamado to bring the food closer to the fuel. I have tried this approach and definitely gotten good results. However, by bringing the fuel to the food, I can get a 1-2 inch gap from the top of the coal bed, and still cook without having to dive head first into my grill to manage my food.

 

I almost dropped my Thermopop in a screaming hot egg once as I was trying to temp a steak cooking on a spider just below the fire ring. I had to wear my welding gloves to reach down in the egg like that and didn't have a great grip. That was about the time I lost interest in the spider searing technique.

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I'd call it a 'mostly successful' cook. I was a little conservative on my lump usage so my temp was a little lower than I'd like. It was also a different dough than I've been using so I had to check on it more than I'd like, also causing my temp to run a bit low.

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In the end the results were great but it cooked longer than expected.

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I don't understand why raising the charcoal would be bad for a kamado that people push upwards of 8-900 degrees. You can have grate closer without having as high of a total kamado temp. Seems to be safer to me. Personally I don't take mine that high anyways.

 

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30 minutes ago, Lumpy_Coal said:

I don't understand why raising the charcoal would be bad for a kamado that people push upwards of 8-900 degrees. You can have grate closer without having as high of a total kamado temp. Seems to be safer to me. Personally I don't take mine that high anyways.

 

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I would think temperature variation is far more likely to cause cracks than absolute temperatures.  The ceramic firebowl is there to absorb/reflect/even out the most intense heat from the fire and protect the outer shell. Firebowl cracking seems to be fairly common across brands. My concern with getting the fire too high by raised basket or over filling would be heating the rims of the top and bottom shell hotter and faster than the top of the dome or the bottom leading to uneven expansion 

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I would think temperature variation is far more likely to cause cracks than absolute temperatures.  The ceramic firebowl is there to absorb/reflect/even out the most intense heat from the fire and protect the outer shell. Firebowl cracking seems to be fairly common across brands. My concern with getting the fire too high by raised basket or over filling would be heating the rims of the top and bottom shell hotter and faster than the top of the dome or the bottom leading to uneven expansion 



Overfilling would be a bigger concern to me because that would mean you have a huge bed of coals producing an extreme amount of heat.

With the amount of charcoal that fits in the elevated basket, or for that matter, the amount it takes to achieve the desired effect, I can't see it putting excessive heat on any parts of the grill.

I've wrapped the needle on my BGE and it was a very different and more intense heat by far than what I am creating with a raised basket.


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