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Low-n-slow Temperature Drop


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So you brought your kamado up to a low-n-slow temp nice and slowly. It's been locked into your target temperature for the last 30 minutes. Everything is good to go. You then put an 8-10 lb chunk of 40* meat on the grate. 

 

Oh crap the temp just dropped 20*, 30*, maybe more. What the heck,  my kamado was running stable. 30 minutes later it's still 20* too low. Is my fire dyeing out?

 

Don't touch the vents!!! The vents were already set for your target temp. They are still set for your target temperature. Consider this - that large chunk of 40* meat is like a huge heat sink. It's putting off 40*'s and sucking heat out of your kamado. And this is where most new kamado owners go astray. They think something is going wrong. They start fiddling with vents. Don't touch the vents!! If your vents were set and the temperature was stable, eventually the temperature will recover. This could easily take an hour or more. Be patient let it happen. I will say it again,  this could take an hour or more, be patient. 

 

Once you start chasing temperatures you'll get into an endless loop. Sit back and enjoy the Zen of the cook. If you were trying for 225* and everything settled at, say, 240* who cares you won't notice the difference. 

 

Anyway this was a post for the new owners of Kamado's. If you've already figured this out and I wasted your time - sorry - should have put this disclaimer in the beginning of the post - LOL. 

 

 

 

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Great tip that caused me lots of issues in the beginning. Even with an electronic controller, that cold meat cools the temp.  I have an overnight cook of a 10lb Brisket Flat going right now.  The meat was 52 deg when put on the KJ.  Even with the FlameBoss, it took the KJ 30 minutes to get back to 220.  Now, that probably was a little long because I really wasn't heat soaked as the KJ had only been at temp for about 15 minutes before the meat went on.

 

This would be a great tip to have in a FAQ for those that are new to low and slow cooking.

 

"Tip #7 - Your dome thermometer temp will drop 10s of degrees when you put the meat on.  Don't worry, close the lid, have a drink and check your temp again in an hour."

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Hopefully it will help a few people anyways. 

 

This post came about from last night's cook. I started the KK up really slow at 7:00 pm. At 9:00 pm it was cruising and stable at 220*. 9:30 pm I put on a 10 lb picnic shoulder. Temperature dropped down to 180*. It was really tempting to touch the vents but I didn't. (I knew better). Took about 1h 20m to come back up to 220*.

 

It really is hard to not touch the vents, it's just natural to want to fix it even though it's not really broken. I'm sure people new to low-n-slow on a kamado struggle with this. They tweak their vents get to many coals going now have issues getting it back down to their desired temperature when it climbs above what they had. And the saga of chasing temperatures begins. We've all been there in the beginning of our kamado adventure. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, ckreef said:

 

 

This post came about from last night's cook. I started the KK up really slow at 7:00 pm. At 9:00 pm it was cruising and stable at 220*. 9:30 pm I put on a 10 lb picnic shoulder. Temperature dropped down to 180*. It was really tempting to touch the vents but I didn't. (I knew better). Took about 1h 20m to come back up to 220*.

 

It really is hard to not touch the vents, it's just natural to want to fix it even though it's not really broken.

 

 

There it is. A real actual cook where it took 1 hour and 20 minutes to get back to temp. It would be nice to have a set of guidelines for those new to Kamado cooking. This exact  example or one like it from an actual cook should be locked at the top.

 

Then of course let and adjustment go 10 or 15 minutes when coming to temp----"do not chase your temp"

On the Akorn I still blame the very slow response time of the done thermometer for many problems with that one.

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This really needed to be posted Charles. Great post! I know for a fact that I chased temps when I first started because of the temp drop from adding cold meat. It took me a while to figure it out. Maybe your post will solve a lot of peoples problems in this area.  

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Excellent advice and I think it deserves a sticky at the top of the board! I had a bad habit of this when I first got my Akorn and I kept wondering why something that is supposed to hold temps really well isn't. Well, it wasn't the problem, I was. It's not noticeable when doing higher temp cooks for burgers and such because the kamado recovers within a couple of minutes.

 

As a side note, if you start your fire and close the lid without the diffuser or grill grate in place while waiting on it to come up to temp a bit, don't be alarmed when the temp drops substantially when you add your diffuser and grill grate. As long as you gave it 10 minutes or so to catch before for placing the diffuser over it your fire you should be fine. I've had that cause me to overshoot my target temp as well by panicking and running the vents wide open thinking I needed more oxygen to relight the fire.

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Thanks everyone. I think it would be really hard to come up with a guideline due to the large number of variables. 

 

Brand of kamado. 

Size of kamado. 

Type of lump. 

All new lump or mixture of old and new.

Temperature your stable at. 

Size of meat going on. 

Temperature of meat going on. 

... 

... 

Well you get the point. Regardless of those variables there is one thing in common - the temperature will go down and it will come back up if you're patient. 

 

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I think there are a couple of key tips here for low and slow

 

1) Make sure your kamado is heat soaked.  Most people seem to think about an hour at the desired cooking temp means you are heat soaked.  Took me many cooks before I figured this out.

 

2) Once you change what is in the Kamado (grates, deflector, water pan, meat, etc) the temp will drop.

 

3) As long as you see you temp's rising after step 2, don't touch anything.

 

4) Every time you open the lid, check your top vent setting when you close.  Until you have done several cooks, your top vent will have a tendency to close (at least on a KJ).  This bit me many a time when I was a new KJ owner.

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I've been cooking 3-4 butts or more at a time for the food trailer and this held very true. I'll get it cruising at 250°, put that 30-40 pounds of meat in and watch it plummet to 210° or so and then stay there the whole way through. The cook I did Thursday was no exception, the only issue I had was that I didn't fill the bowl completely with lump and ran out right as the cook finished. Not really an issue but I was at work and sweating it a bit as my wife was keeping an eye on the temps for me and relaying me updates every hour or so via text. A lot of people struggle to get that 210-230°F range but it just sits there for 12 hours or more. The pork is fantastic and we sell out regularly. 

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Great reminder- thanks. I was chasing during my brisket cook Friday. The near 18lbs of cold brisket took my Big Joe from 210° to 150°. Sure I knew somewhere in the far corner of my mind to leave everything alone. But the looming deadline- of when this needed to be off the smoker and into the cooler to rest- was just too strong to resist. The temps then held steady throughout the cook, except for a bump in temps during a nap which I attribute more the the high winds pushing air through the vent.

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So I know I've been guilty of changing the settings to some extent. So I'm really trying hard not to adjust anything today.

I got my L'Joe up to 400 and settled...put on my spatchcocked chicken which dropped it to 300 where it's stayed for the last 20 minutes. Lots of smoke coming out...should I at least check it so I don't burn it?!

Sent from my SM-G900W8 using Tapatalk

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