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Doug123

Received my first lesson on run away temperatures

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I lit this up a few days ago just as the first burn in, didn't use that much wood and I was using a wood I got at Sam's Club called "Best of the West" I think? I read some reviews where people were saying that wood left a bad taste to the food or something so I figured it would be good for just burning. I didn't use that much wood, point is I had the dampers wide open the whole time and I was having a hard time getting the temp up to 400. I was playing around with it for hours adding wood etc.

 

So today I am ready for my first cook and I opened the Royal Oak. Heard nothing but good things about that. The pieces were a lot smaller and I used more of it from what I have been reading on here.

 

Anyway, I made a pile then buried 3 rubbing alcohol soaked cotton balls in the middle. Lit them and had the vents wide open. I waited a little until I saw the cotton ball flames die down then I set a timer for 15 minutes. Like I said after what I was doing the other day I thought 15 minutes was nothing. I was hoping I wasn't going to have to wait like an hour for it to be up to temp, etc.

 

I was sitting on the porch, timer went off, told my wife hold on cause it probably isn't ready, walked down into the yard to check the temp, and it was at 600!

 

I was shocked to say the least. I lifted the lid then closed both the top and bottom vents half way. I figured that would be enough to get the temp to start to drop. I went in the house and got the burgers and the hot dogs. Wasn't gone that long, when I got back to the grill it was 650!

 

Lifted the lid then closed both the top and bottom vent almost all the way. Threw the food on, it was super hot, got the temp down to 500 or so. Then after lifting the lid and messing with the food awhile it seemed like the temp was down to 300. I wasn't sure if maybe I was snuffing it out so I opened the bottom vent halfway. That ended up working pretty well, stayed between 3 and 400 for the rest of the time I was using it.

 

Anyway the burgers and hot dogs turned out great and I learned a valuable lesson. If I leave the grill at all after lighting up probably won't be more than a few minutes.

 

I might use some of those bigger pieces of "Best of the West" to make a circle then pour the "Royal Oak" in the middle next time. 

 

Anyway I think today got me hooked. I'm ready to start making all kind of stuff now. Thanks for all the advice on here so far, much appreciated.

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A few random observations:

*You got a harmless but valuable lesson about kamado cooking. Don't leave it alone with the vents wide open. These things are incredibly efficient and can go from zero to towering inferno with a quickness.

*Don't try to control your temperature by adjusting the amount of fuel. Fill up the firebox, especially for long cooks. Temperature is entirely determined by your lighting method and vent control.

*You aren't snuffing the fire when you open the lid, actually the opposite is happening. Your thermo reads lower because you are letting heat escape and your thermo on the dome is (somewhat) reading ambient temp when the lid is open. But in reality you're feeding a ton of oxygen into the fire. I know food has to be turned or adjusted but keep the lid open time down to a bare minimum.

*You now know that three cotton balls in the coal pile produces big heat in a hurry. And that's fine for fast cooks. But you're going to have to dial that way back when you try for a low slow cook.

You're getting there. Keep working and experimenting. Even when you make mistakes you can get tasty results.

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All good points, thanks. I meant I thought maybe I was snuffing out the fire when I closed both vents almost all the way. Then I opened the bottom halfway. Sorry if I didn't make that clear the first time. 

 

Yes I was looking to start the fire quickly, now I know with Royal Oak I don't have to worry about that anymore. The Best of the West brand had large pieces that took a lot longer to get started. I'll have to try mixing them next time and see what happens. I will definitely be ready next time though, ha ha.

 

I am definitely learning and that is what counts, thanks...

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Akorns can jump in temps very quickly because of how insanely well-insulated they are. If you're using "fresh" lump, i.e. not reusing lump, it lights up and catches very quickly; used lump catches much more slowly and I'll often spread wood chips to spread the fire in used lump if I'm doing a hot cook like burgers or wok. If I'm leaving it unattended to do some food prep or whatever, I close the lid and shut the bottom damper to 3 or so (halfway) so it doesn't go crazy too quickly. On an Akorn halfway open usually means you are feeding the fire and want it to accelerate or you're doing a very high heat method like wok cooking. Akorns can keep cooking with very small vent openings; you're not actually snuffing anything unless both vents are fully closed (assuming you have no leaks).

 

For reference you may want to try some controlled burns with no food just to get a handle on fire management. I'd also recommend you get a digital thermometer with a grate probe clip, maybe a wireless one if you have to be away from the grill. Set the grate probe alarm so you know when you're close to the point where you have to shut down vents.

 

Have fun!

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9 hours ago, Doug123 said:

All good points, thanks. I meant I thought maybe I was snuffing out the fire when I closed both vents almost all the way. Then I opened the bottom halfway. Sorry if I didn't make that clear the first time. 

 

Yes I was looking to start the fire quickly, now I know with Royal Oak I don't have to worry about that anymore. The Best of the West brand had large pieces that took a lot longer to get started. I'll have to try mixing them next time and see what happens. I will definitely be ready next time though, ha ha.

 

I am definitely learning and that is what counts, thanks...

 

It takes a lonnnnnngggggg time to snuff out the Acorn fire with the vents fully shut.  Unless I'm starting it up, I rarely open the vents past 3.  Usually with 1.5 on the top and bottom you can maintain 400F all day long.

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21 hours ago, paintflinger said:

 

It takes a lonnnnnngggggg time to snuff out the Acorn fire with the vents fully shut.  Unless I'm starting it up, I rarely open the vents past 3.  Usually with 1.5 on the top and bottom you can maintain 400F all day long.

Interesting. My fire will snuff out in about 30 minutes to an hour.

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2 hours ago, AugustusRooster said:

Interesting. My fire will snuff out in about 30 minutes to an hour.

Same here, typically within half an hour I can open the dome and the coals are completely out and will not reignite. If I know it's going to rain within an hour or so of me finishing a cook I typically wait 30 minutes or so and check the coals, if they're out I leave the lid open for a few minutes to let it cool down quickly so that I can throw the cover on before the rain starts. 

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On ‎7‎/‎6‎/‎2018 at 12:43 PM, AugustusRooster said:

Interesting. My fire will snuff out in about 30 minutes to an hour.

 

On ‎7‎/‎6‎/‎2018 at 2:46 PM, JDEaston said:

Same here, typically within half an hour I can open the dome and the coals are completely out and will not reignite. If I know it's going to rain within an hour or so of me finishing a cook I typically wait 30 minutes or so and check the coals, if they're out I leave the lid open for a few minutes to let it cool down quickly so that I can throw the cover on before the rain starts. 

 

My comment is relative to the OP.  An hour is a long time to snuff out the fire, if you're worried about snuffing it out after shutting them for a couple of minutes.  I would estimate that it takes about 45 minutes for mine to snuff out, so right in the middle of your ranges.

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