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Learned a big lesson last night


Smokey1
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I have had my big joe for about a year now.  Last night I decided to do a cleaning for the first time.  From what I understand, it is high heat (600+), put the accessories on, and burn for 30 - 60 mins, then shut down the vents and let it cool.  Then the next day I was going to use a nylon brush to wipe out the ash and bits.

 

Now, let me back up a sec so this makes more sense.  This is my first kamado cooker.  I have have heard about burping the cooker, but I have never done it before.  Most of my cooking has been low and slow, and the highest I have ever had the cooker is 400-500.  I have never burped, and never had a problem ever.  I am not a I-don't-need-rules or too-cool-for-school kind of guy.  It is not that I didn't think it was ever necessary.  I had just been cooking for a whole year, and never done it, so it just wasn't on my mind when I stepped up to the Joe last night.  I am sure those of you who know can see where this is going already...

 

Back to last night:  So I checked on it and saw that it was in the 700 - 750 range.  I thought it might be getting a little high, and I thought "well, this is the highest I have ever had it. I wonder what it looks like inside."  I open the lid (again, not even thinking about the need to burp at these temps and full firebox), and boom.  Took my mind about a sec to process what was happening when the fire ballooned up and out, all the way above my hand on the handle as the lid was up.  Burned the hair off the inside of my arms and got a slight burn on one arm.  I went inside to put some aloe on it, and something felt wrong on my face.  I looked in the mirror and the front of the hair on my head had burned and my eyebrows were singed.  I don't really have enough hair to have bangs, and don't recommend losing more hair this way.  

 

So, big lesson learned.  It is not that I didn't know it was possible, but I was complacent.

 

For the second part of my story:  I got the fire under control and continued to burn it for about an hour between 500 and 600.  In the end, it didn't burn or loosen or ash as much as I thought it would.  

Here is how I had it configured, with the ss grates on lower and the accessory rack with the heat deflectors on top (dirtiest side down).

The second pic is this morning after it had cooled.  I turned one side over, and not as much burned off as I thought it would.

 

So I am looking for some advice.  Should I have:

 

- Left the lid closed and just kept it at 700+ and let it burn?

- Configured the parts for the cleaning burn differently?  ie- putting the heat deflector lower

- Done nothing, what I got is what I should expect from a cleaning burn

- Something completely different?

 

Inside the dome and body did not seem to ash over like I thought it would.

 

And finally, one pic of the steak I made last night before the tragedy that will from now on be called the "Kamado Haircut" at my house.

 

 

 

 

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Always, always, always burp that sucker.  Yes, when you are low and slow, you probably don't have to.  However, if you make it a habit, you will not forget when you get to higher temps.  Trust me, I have given myself 3 kamado haircuts and on one of them I even gave myself a leg wax as flames shot out the bottom vent.  The last one was no joke.  Lesson learned.

 

As far as cleaning goes, that stuff looks good enough.  Get back to cooking.

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2 hours ago, Squarehelmet said:

Always, always, always burp that sucker.  Yes, when you are low and slow, you probably don't have to.  However, if you make it a habit, you will not forget when you get to higher temps.  Trust me, I have given myself 3 kamado haircuts and on one of them I even gave myself a leg wax as flames shot out the bottom vent.  The last one was no joke.  Lesson learned.

 

As far as cleaning goes, that stuff looks good enough.  Get back to cooking.

Thanks.  Yes. building that habit is important.  Will be doing it every time now.  

 

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Glad your injury wasn't worse.
As for your cleaning, put the accessory rack in the low position and put the deflectors there. The side near the flame will get very clean. The other side less so. Your grates will stay some blackened


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I did the same thing except I was at 450 degrees. Fore arm hair, eye brows and a little off the top. Burnt hair smells awful. I am committed to get in the habit now. It's not the first time for me getting singed, but it was the worst. Even my eye felt a bit irritated. 

 

Be safe and happy 4th!

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Glad you weren't badly hurt. As others have said make it habit then no need to worry. 

 

Something else I have had happen is when shutting down from high temps (think it was in 700f region) I stupidly shut the vents down fully straight away. About 30 seconds later there was a bang and I saw the lid of the big joe 'jump' open about an inch or so and fireball. Luckily I wasn't near it but I learnt a thing about shutting down that day! Bottom vent first then bring temp down with top vent is my protocol now.

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Having had the grill for only 3 days....I know I am going to forget one day to burp.  Its good though that you need to "unlatch" the lid (on the new versions) as it makes you think a little more.....it would be great if I could attach a little sign to the top as a reminder (and for my wife).  But everything gets so hot not sure where to put one.   And what would it say? "Burp the Big One"?  

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