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Second Cook - Direct - Very Very Smokey


MountainThatWalks
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Using a Vision S and a thermoworks smoke.

 

First off this is only second cook. My first one was a spatchcock chicken and that took a lot longer than I thought it would, but was delicious. I was able to ramp up the temp very slowly, but it fluctuated a lot more than I'd like. Perhaps I used too little coal. I did it indirect with just a pizza stone below since my lava stone was delayed.

 

Second cook I decided on chicken breasts with olive oil and seasons and mini slider burgers. I got the temp to about 350 - direct - then placed everything on there. The temperature seems to be very hard for me to control. I've made sure to follow the instructions and close the top vent to maintain temp, etc. But I got a LOT of smoke leaking from the top. I had to burp it a few time and billowing clouds would come out and the temp would still rise past 400. I live in a townhouse and cannot realistically cook with this much smoke without disturbing the neighbors. Finally I semi-freaked out, pulled the meats and finished them on my Breville Smart Griddle. I closed everything and let the fire die down but there was much smoke.

 

I can't really see this as being the chicken's fault...it's boneless skinless breast with some olive oil. Yes the oil causes flares but this was way too much. I was cooking on the lower rack, then moved to the upper rack and that didn't seem to help much. Seems like many issues going on here and I can't figure out the fix.

 

The only thing I can think of, being that have close neighbors at this point in my life, is to stick to only indirect cooking on it. Perhaps have a permanent or semi-permanent pan down below to catch drippings as well. I'd like to get more into the slow and low bulk cooking style anyway, big fan of leftovers and would much prefer a brisket on day three than a grilled chicken breast.

 

My lava stone kit just arrived today and I'll be setting it up tonight, perhaps as described above.


Any input or suggestions? I need to be mindful of neighbors as well. I made a short video of the smoke leaking through the top because to me it seems more than should be. It's not leaking from the felt seam, that is nice a tight, but rather leaking between the two pieces when fully closed.

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Hi there!

First thing you want to do for grilling is get your fire started well enough for your temperature to rise above 200.   Once you see that the temp is rising, get it ready for grilling.  You might want to crank open only one of your bottom vents to about half way open and possibly don't open your top vent past "1".  Play around with it to get it stabilized.

 

I wouldn't use that stone except for when you are smoking meat.  For grilling you want direct heat.  For smoking you want the indirect heat.

 

For grilling purposes, you'll want to find that balance of air flow adjusting your top and bottom vents.  Once you figure it out, you'll notice that the smoke will stream out of the top at a good pace and will be less likely to be trapped in the dome and have to be burped out.

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Your smoke problem might be that you closed the lid a tad soon maybe. I use the electric starter for my fast hi heat cooks. Try starting the grill with the lid open and only one of the vents open to a bit less than half way. Once the fire is going good. Close the lid and open the top wheel to  the  one spot. Let the grill go for a few min. Might have to close the bottom vent a bit or open both{ depending on which vision you got}  just a little.  Start small with the vents, let sit for a bit, and open them little by little. After awhile you will get to the point were you have a good idea on where vents need to be for certain temps.  This might help you out. As far as the neighbors make them some tasty food and they wont have a thing to say about the smoke. Glock says pretty much the same on temp control.  

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So perhaps what I did was close the lid to soon and that caused it to sort of smolder? That could very well be, because I've been a little hesitant to have "flames". Townhouses are new to me, I'm not a fan of very close neighbors without any air gap. I do use the electric starter. So I should wait until I see a few licking flames and the coal is glowing all around, then close the lid? Mine seems to reach 200 at the grate very quickly while just smoldering. I'll give it another go.

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Keep working at it you will get the hang of it. Just try a different way and see if you get better results. As for neighbors you pry are not the only one that grills. I use and I think a lot of folks here rely on the dome temp gauge. Don't forget that the grill has to soak up all that heat before it can be a constant temp. So yes some nice glowing coals, lid down, and vents tamped down, let sit for a bit. The lid will soak up some heat and level off and you slowly start opening up vents to get the temp up to 300 or more. 

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I typically fill the bowl, throw a few chunks of wood in. I get my heat started somewhat in the center. The higher my desired temp, the more hot spots near the middle I will start. I keep everything open for a few minutes, which will depend on weather conditions. On a still day, I'll let the charcoal go for 10-15 minutes before closing the lid, and slowing down the air flow. On a windy day, I'll let it go for about 5 to 10 minutes before closing the lid. Lit charcoal, dry brush, high winds = bad idea.

 

Then its just a matter of letting everything come up to temp, and reducing the airflow. On low and slow, I'll cut the air flow down 75-50 degrees from target. Once it hits target, let it go for another 15-20 minutes to make sure its not still climbing.

 

Don't worry about 25 degree shifts. That's futile to chase. Also remember opening it to put stuff in, take stuff out, sauce things, it gives the firebox a large amount of air.

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So on another thread (which has no responses [sad face]) I inquired about using a stock PartyQ kit which includes the regular BGE adapter with the Vision Pro S. Long and short of it is, I used hi temp aluminum tape to attach it and fill in the gaps around it, just outside the electric starter door. I actually removed the door, taped it under, then screwed the door back in. This is a very usable setup for anyone that's wondering. The tape seems strong enough to hold for 10/20/30 cooks as long as you're gentle about removing the PartyQ. I do intend on getting the correct adapter, this was just something I wanted for the weekend and Amazon had it.

 

I got my fire started, placed in the PartyQ (received it two hours before), turned it on and.....the batteries they sent with it were dead. Screen turned on, then said low battery immediately. GREAT! The one time I don't have AA at my house! I proceeded to leave in the PartyQ to plug the hole (I know it comes with a silicon kill but I was already late on getting started and didn't want to run inside and tear open the box again). I used my Smoke to bring it up to about the right temp and then closed some vents and guess what? It held temp to within +/- 25 degrees. I only had to adjust it three minor times during my three hours of cooking various things.

 

A very different experience from the first time. So it's either blind luck, or that door lets in much more air then it should around the edges. I will give it a few more experimental tries, but if it ends up being the door, I honestly may just silicon in the adapter and forego using that door at all. Perhaps a weed torch?

 

One last thing I noted is how the bottom vents are attached with a long bolt and a spring along it to keep the vent cap pressed against the holes when closed. Those could certainly use a little bit of tightening.

 

 

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Get on you tube and watch John's videos (kamado Joe channel and man cave meals channel). He really gives good directions on starting fires, how to set vents, etc.. It will help a lot

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  • 1 month later...

Just to bring this back to life, I cooked again and it was better but took a long long time for the temp to get up. I even had all vents open. It must something like I'm using too small chunks and air can't flow through (it's Royal Oak)? Or I'm using too little coal?

 

I've seen so many different recommendations to fill the bowl. Just below the holes, to the holes, fill the whole basket, etc etc.

 

When I cook, it's generally two whole spatchcock chickens. I have yet to do brisket but intend to once I'm stable at temps. I really feel like something is going on with my vision and leaks so I'll look at this this weekend too....just so hot out!

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