Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • John Setzler

      Site TOS/Guidelines Updated 9/7/2017   05/02/2017

      The rules here are simple.  You must behave like an adult.  You may not use profanity.  If 'behaving like and adult' needs specific details in your eyes, then this forum is not for you.  Failure to behave like an adult may result in your loss of access to the site.     YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION: Personal information provided to the Kamado Guru website is NOT shared with any third party for any reason. EVER.    THE REST OF THE STUFF:

      Please remember that we are not responsible for any messages posted. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message.

      The messages express the views of the author of the message, not necessarily the views of this bulletin board. Any user who feels that a posted message is objectionable is encouraged to contact us immediately by email. We have the ability to remove objectionable messages and we will make every effort to do so, within a reasonable time frame, if we determine that removal is necessary.

      You agree, through your use of this service, that you will not use this bulletin board to post any material which is knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise violative of any law.

      You agree not to post any copyrighted material unless the copyright is owned by you or by this bulletin board.

      Our websites use cookies to distinguish you from other users of our website. This helps us to provide you with a personalised experience when you browse this site. For detailed information on the cookies we use and the purposes for which we use them see our cookie policy (link at the footer of each page).   Thanks!
Felipe

8700+' altitude Kamado - newbie issues

Recommended Posts

I happily bought my Akorn Kamado this weekend and set myself for my first two cooks. I learned a lot but it was much harder than expected. Temp control was really hard. 

 

My location: 
South America
Altitude: 8760 feet above sea level. 
Temp: 69F

 

Coal used: 3.3-5.5 lbs per cook

 

The main issues I had were: 

- Starting the fire was hard. The coal would shut off and start releasing smoke, but without much flame. The fire starters would also shut down easily. I had to use several firestarters. I discovered my best luck with paper towel/oil. 
- Fire would take around 2.5 hours to reach searing temps (550F), with a lot of effort. 
- I could not go above 600F. My initial coal was all consumed and my patience had ran out after 2 hours. I had both vents open. 
- Heat output wasn't even. Since I struggled so much, I ended up with edges being lit up and other parts not so much. 

 

Video on starting issues: 

 

 

After adding paper towels with oil: 

 

 

 

On my first cook, I had to add new coals and ended with irregular spots at the end, but it wasn't too bad: 

 

 

Can anybody come up with tips for my next cook?

 

1. When starting the fire, should I leave the lid open? Can it be closed before the coal is completely white? 

2. If I am going hot and at ~ 600F, will closing the top vent increase the temp even further? 
3. How can I avoid/reduce the time that the grey smoke is coming out?
4. If there is less oxygen at this altitude, should I think of using super big lumps and sieving the coal to remove dust and small pieces that can block airflow?
5. Am I forced to use some additional air circulator/fan in the bottom intake?
6. Should I consider a basket like the Kick ### Basket? 
7. To start the fire, should I look into more artificial solutions like using a Bernzomatic propane torch and/or a chimney starter?
 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) leave the lid open and bottom vent wide open until you have sufficient coals lit. The ash over, completely white is what you do with briquettes and has nothing to do when using lump.

 

2) yes but not all the way closed. If you leave the top vent wide open your loosing a lot of heat and burning through more lump than needed. Close the top vent a bit to trap some heat in the Akorn.

 

3) it just needs to get fully going before the gray smoke stops. By closing the top vent a bit (see #2) should speed this up.

 

4) I wouldn't worry about this in an Akorn they generally don't have air flow issues.

 

5) probably not once you get your lighting procedure down.

 

6) definitely not.  The Akorn has a lump grate so the kickashbasket won't give you more air flow than you already have. 

 

7) couldn't hurt. Propane/MAPP torches work really well. A chimney can help but only when grilling. If used for low-n-slow you'll end up lighting more lump than you need. 

 

One major thing to note - you definitely didn't have enough lump to start with. Always start with a full bowl of lump all the way up to the bottom of the 3 diffuser tabs. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, ckreef said:

 

One major thing to note - you definitely didn't have enough lump to start with. Always start with a full bowl of lump all the way up to the bottom of the 3 diffuser tabs. 

 

 

Definitely this.  I made this error in my first couple of cooks.  Now I load it right up to just below the tabs, and top up as needed for each new cook.  Make sure you stir up the lump though to make sure there is no ash or small bits blocking airflow as this can be an issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much guys, what a relief. I will fill it to the deflector tabs! 

 

For setting the coal: is there a special way to organize or set it up so it lights evenly more easily? 

 

The Akorn manual showed a pyramid style, but I don't trust it as much. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think most of us don't put much thought into organizing our lump.  Just dump it in, fill it up and go for it.  Of course, I think there are a few that may do otherwise, but the key is to just find what works for you.  Remember, it's your grill and your cook.  Just like you're doubting the manual now, you might at times doubt the advice given here.  Always feel free to go with your gut (unless it's a safety issue of course, lol).  On a lot of things there really is no right or wrong.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did that volcano thing once and the cook was fantastic.  Nowadays I find shaking the bag of lump into the firebox works out pretty well and the cook is fantastic!  Don't overthink it.

 

I will say, the charcoal can make a huge difference too.  I have a box of Chargriller branded stuff sitting in the cupboard under my gasser as it was, to put it bluntly, rubbish.  I may smash it up a bit with a hammer and see how that helps. I use Gidgee (aussie wood) from a local supplier now and it is fantastic, and burns clean really quickly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Felipe said:

Thanks so much guys, what a relief. I will fill it to the deflector tabs! 

 

For setting the coal: is there a special way to organize or set it up so it lights evenly more easily? 

 

The Akorn manual showed a pyramid style, but I don't trust it as much. 

 

This is the method I use. 

 

https://www.kamadoguru.com/topic/36214-tube-lighting-method/

 

Although those pictures were not in an Akorn it's the same method I use in my Akorn except fill it up to the tabs. 

 

I suspect at that high of an altitude your vent settings will need to be a bit more open than what we use down at sea level. But that's just my suspicion. 

 

Basically ignore the manual it's junk. 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Felipe said:

 

For setting the coal: is there a special way to organize or set it up so it lights evenly more easily? 

 

Don't worry to much about getting all the lump going. What your after is heat, on most cooks anyways. Once your sure you got some red glow in the lump, get the lid shut so the Akorn can start building up that heat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me, the Kamado is not the best tool to use to sear meat, it's more of a low (or medium) and slow cooker for longer cooks, say 6/8/10 hours or more.

For searing get a smaller cooker with the coals right under the meat, like a Hibachi or the smallest Webber (my go to cooker for burgers and steaks).

Kamado's take too much time to come up to temp and require too much lump for a cook that (after coming to temp) takes under 8 minutes to complete, lots of wasted heat for short cooks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, AntinOz said:

I use Gidgee (aussie wood) from a local supplier now and it is fantastic, and burns clean really quickly.

 

You start with wood? or is it just better quality charcoal made with Gidgee. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, Felipe said:

 

You start with wood? or is it just better quality charcoal made with Gidgee. 

 

sorry for the confusion, it is charcoal manufactured from an australian native wood: Gidgee.  I am sure there are comparable products available to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now




  • Similar Content

    • By Mironccr345
      An Aldi opened up a couple months ago near my house. I’ve always wanted to try their spare ribs, finally picked up a rack and gave it a try. I didn’t trim anything, just pulled the membrane off. I even kept the little meat flap on. Seasoned it with some rub I found behind the cabinet, which was not a typical rub I would use, but glad I did. Topped it off with some Killer Hogs for a little color, then let it marinate for 30min to an hour. I used a mixture of mesquite and pecan chunks. Through-out the cook, I spritzed it with diluted apples cider vinegar. My wife made a BBQ sauce that she used on bacon chicken wraps. Man was it good. I think it consisted of banana ketchup, sweet baby rays, sriracha (very little) and brown sugar. Was surprised how fresh the ribs were compared to the Kroger brand I normally get. Definitely getting those ribs again.

       
       
       
       
       
       
       




    • By AussiePhil
      Hi All,
       
      Just thought i'd introduce myself as a new member.  I'll be buying my first Kamado tonight and putting it together this weekend.  I'm not a big spender and I'll be getting the Char-Griller Akron Kamado.
       
      Never cooked on charcoal before and to be honest, I'm surprised to took me this long to make the switch as i do love to cook.  I never really used my old BBQ that much as apart from extra cooking space, and cooking outdoors, i never really saw any benefit for using that over my stove/oven indoors a few metres away.
       
      Now that I've discovered the concept of cooking on coals, i see the potential for actually offering an alternative taste and and cooking options especially using a Kamado.
       
      Anyway, we don't have a dedicated Kamado forum here in Australia so i wanted to join up to this and have already used the site countless times in my research to buying the Akorn.
       
      So thanks for the info so far, and look forward to this new BBQ'ing journey 
       
      Cheers,
      Phil
       
       
    • By SmokinSteveBBQ
      You never know what Ole SmokinSteve is going to come up with next so be sure to Subscribe and leave comments. Thanks for watching...... Smoke On .... it’s all Good!
    • By Red River Smoke
      Had the Akorn a week now and have done some pork chops, steak, chicken and veggies and wanted to do pizza Saturday night.  It was a busy day around the house and really didn't start getting the grill ready until 7:30, started putting sauce together and browning up some burger/italian sausage mix.  I had some dough hanging out in the fridge that I had made earlier from the Art of Pizza Making cookbook, but everything was just taking time and I had to make a quick run to the store so I didn't actually get cooking until 9 or so.  I used the Akorn Smokin' stone on top of my main grill and then had picked up a 13 inch Cordierite stone that fits into the warming rack perfectly.  Ran the dome temp to about 600 and my infrared thermometer was confirming stone temp of 550.  First pizza looked beautiful, I was half starved and all I could think about was carving it up, but some cheese had apparently stuck to the front of it, because when I went to scoop it up with the peel, it jumped, twisted and hit the driveway. As you can see from the first picture, not much of the toppings survived.  I'm not too proud to say I did nibble on the remains while I was making the second.  The upshot was I've never made a better crust and I've been using that recipe for a while now, even with the Bakerstone Box on the gasser I can't really get temps this high and the charcoal just adds another layer of yum!  Super pleased with my"trial" akorn and am sure it'll just be a matter of time before I upgrade to ceramic.



    • By Red River Smoke
      Hey all, I've been "stalking" kamadoguru for a couple of months now and my intention was to buy a Pit Boss or something similar next summer when the prices drop.  In the meantime I've been keeping an eye on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for whatever might pop up, and I bought this Akorn last night for $85 with about a summers worth of use on it.  (That guy had upgraded to a BGE)  I'm pretty happy that it came with the Smokin' Stone and the previous owner had done a little sealing around the bottom vent so it should be all ready to go for me!  I'm planning for this to be my BBQ (Pulled pork and ribs) smoker, do "big meats" like turkey and pork loin, and fire it up for burgers and brats occasionally.  Time will tell if it replaces the Weber gasser as my day to day grill.  Anyway I've found this site to be a tremendous resource already and look forward to learning and contributing even more in the future!



×