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Ted W

New Kamado Joe Owner with a few questions...

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Hey all,

 

Just bought my first ever charcoal grill at the age of 33 and lucky for me it was a Kamado Joe.  So not only am I getting used to charcoal cooking I am also getting used to kamado style cooking.  Overall, Setlzer's videos have been great along with many other youTube videos I've been watching.  I haven't even owned my grill for a week and I've cooked on it every night.  That being said I have a few questions I hope you all can help me out with. 

 

- I bought the kick ash basket right from the get go...will that affect the airflow enough that I'll need to close my top and bottom vents even further than if I just used the KJ grate?  I feel like I have my air vents closed quite a bit.  For instance, on a pork shoulder at 225 I had my bottom open only about 1/4 inch and the top nearly closed just to maintain at 225.  This sound right? It worked but I was surprised by how much I had to keep it closed.

- Should I use the temp from the grate or the dome? I put my digital probe on the grate and it was off from the dome.  Should it be off from the dome? Should I take my dome thermometer off and calibrate? I guess I am confused where I should be reading the temp from when smoking, grill, roasting, searing, etc.

- Any advice from how high to fill with charcoal.  For my pork shoulder I filled it up, lit it and everything was good to go.  I then put my wood chunks on for smoke and couldn't fit the rack back on.  I know rookie mistake but is there a general guideline for how high to have it?

- Although I was able to keep a digital temperature between 225-250 for 10 hours I did find I had it going up and down up and down between those two markers.  I could dial it in precisely.  Is a 25 degree variant not a big deal? If it is a big deal any advice for how to fine tune to get a consistent temp without it going up and down?  Remember how little travel room my air vents had from my question above.  I mean I was moving things like 1/8 inch and it would move up/down over the course of a hour or two.

 

If you all could help me with these I think I am going to be much better much faster!  Thanks much!

 

-Ted

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1 hour ago, Ted W said:

- I bought the kick ash basket right from the get go...will that affect the airflow enough that I'll need to close my top and bottom vents even further than if I just used the KJ grate?  I feel like I have my air vents closed quite a bit.  For instance, on a pork shoulder at 225 I had my bottom open only about 1/4 inch and the top nearly closed just to maintain at 225.  This sound right? It worked but I was surprised by how much I had to keep it closed.

 

Yes, the airlfow is somewhat better with the KAB. But don't drive yourself crazy trying to chase temperature. If it settles in at 250, that works just as well as 225.

 

1 hour ago, Ted W said:

- Should I use the temp from the grate or the dome? I put my digital probe on the grate and it was off from the dome.  Should it be off from the dome? Should I take my dome thermometer off and calibrate? I guess I am confused where I should be reading the temp from when smoking, grill, roasting, searing, etc.

 

Dome and grate rarely agree. I just use the dome temp (see my comment above). You can certainly calibrate the dome gauge but I'd bet a steak dinner that it's accurate. 

 

 

1 hour ago, Ted W said:

- Although I was able to keep a digital temperature between 225-250 for 10 hours I did find I had it going up and down up and down between those two markers.  I could dial it in precisely.  Is a 25 degree variant not a big deal? If it is a big deal any advice for how to fine tune to get a consistent temp without it going up and down?  Remember how little travel room my air vents had from my question above.  I mean I was moving things like 1/8 inch and it would move up/down over the course of a hour or two.

 

See above. A 25 degree swing is fine. And if you make a change - WAIT. The new airflow takes time to adjust the fire. be patient. Have a beer. Talk to your neighbor.  Practice your putting. 

 

1 hour ago, Ted W said:

- Any advice from how high to fill with charcoal.  For my pork shoulder I filled it up, lit it and everything was good to go.  I then put my wood chunks on for smoke and couldn't fit the rack back on.  I know rookie mistake but is there a general guideline for how high to have it?

 

I often fill to at above the holes in the firebowl, and sometimes go up to the bottom ring of the Divide and Conquer rack. Depends on how aggressively I shook the bag.  :)  Don't worry, it'll burn down.  

1 hour ago, Ted W said:
 

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One other thing I will add is that the Kamado Joe is super stable for low and slow once it settles in.  For that reason, it is best to stabilize your desired cooking temp before adding your meat.  Then once you have added it, leave the vents alone and let the cooker restabilize itself.  Normally you will be back at your stable temp within about 10 minutes.  

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59 minutes ago, benniesdad said:

One other thing I will add is that the Kamado Joe is super stable for low and slow once it settles in.  For that reason, it is best to stabilize your desired cooking temp before adding your meat.  Then once you have added it, leave the vents alone and let the cooker restabilize itself.  Normally you will be back at your stable temp within about 10 minutes.  

 

With this being said, when should you add your wood for smoking? After the temp stabilizes or when you load in the charcoal and light? 

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31 minutes ago, Waw Agle said:

 

With this being said, when should you add your wood for smoking? After the temp stabilizes or when you load in the charcoal and light? 

 

I load my wood for smoking when I add the charcoal. I put chunks throughout the charcoal sot hat they don't all burn at once.

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I start my fire with just the charcoal in place.  Once I have the fire going I add smoke wood right before I put the deflectors in place etc.  That way as it comes up to temp it lights the smoke wood.  That normally gives it enough time to burn clean (blue smoke) by the time it is up to and holding my desired stable temp.  

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Let's see...

 

@benniesdad adds the wood late, allowing the fire to mature.

 

@Golf Griller mixes the wood in with the charcoal.

 

I put mine in first and pile charcoal on top, then do a volcano light so it burns down, into the wood. Only done one smoking cook on a new Big Joe, spare ribs, but they took 6 hours and had one heck of a smoke ring even though there was no billowing smoke. Gotta love this thing!

 

I think that's all the possibilities... so the real answer might be that it really doesn't matter. 

 

HAve fun,

Frank

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I have a quick question for all of you good folks. I have bought the cast iron griddle, cast iron wok, and the pizza stone for my new classic II and I have just enough left in my budget to go for one of two options: 

 

1.) The new Kamado Joe Ash basket, and maybe another accessory like the half-moon CI grate. 

OR

2.) The Joetisserie

 

Which one would you all recommend? 

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1 hour ago, Waw Agle said:

Which one would you all recommend? 

 

My suggestion: Quit buying stuff and use the grill for a while.  Then buy accessories to address any pain points.

 

That said, if you have a chance to buy a Costco Roadshow Joetisserie, I'd suggest going with that due to the price savings ($185 vs $250 MSRP).  

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Waw Agle said:

I have a quick question for all of you good folks. I have bought the cast iron griddle, cast iron wok, and the pizza stone for my new classic II and I have just enough left in my budget to go for one of two options: 

 

1.) The new Kamado Joe Ash basket, and maybe another accessory like the half-moon CI grate. 

OR

2.) The Joetisserie

 

Which one would you all recommend? 

 

expand the budget and buy them both! :)

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I'm looking at the Big Joe grill expander, not for the capacity, but to get food higher in the lid, where the heat is. The soapstone griddle is also interesting... I have cast iron, so it's a curiosity, not a need.

 

As to your questions, I have CI grates in the Akorn and I don't see an advantage over the stock stainless grate. I also have no problem raking the ashes, so the basket is a nice-to-have at best. The Joetisserie would be interesting, but it's neither cheap enough nor useful enough for curiosity. I'd suggest a good knife sharpener if the money's burning a hole in your pocket.

 

Have fun,

Frank

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When it comes to accessories, these are really dependent upon what you cook and how you cook.  For example, I would have no use for a wok and my Joetisserie barely gets used.  A friend of mine, on the other hand, uses a different type of grill and has literally gone through three or four rotisserie motors. I swear the guy spins everything other than steaks and pizzas. I do a lot of LNS cooks on my Classic and the best money I spent was on a PartyQ temp controller and the WiFi gateway for my Smoke thermometer.  I think your best option is to cook with what you have for now and figure out what you like to do and what your family likes to eat and go from there. JMHO

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