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I’m about to buy my first Kamado (Big Joe) - Couple of questions


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I’m about to purchase my first Kamado Grill, I long to make my own slow cooked briskets and ribs. I’m new to the game and I need to learn everything, the only thing I know right now is how to eat!

 

1. What are the must have accessories? This is what I’m thinking about but save me from making any mistakes as I always tend to buy too many accessories for new items and please recommend brand/model, or just tell me to not do it.

 

- Kick Ash basket (will be included with purchase)

- Grill cover 

- Pizza Stone

- Pizza Peel

- Grill expander

- Gloves

- Charcoal

- Wood

- Thermapen (Already own)

- Remote thermometer 

- Rubs and sauces 

- Lighting device

 

2. What are the most basic of recipes and meats I should be doing for family and friends to really wow them and convince my wife I didn’t throw away all the money I spent, and are there links to show me how to cook them step by step on a Kamado Big Joe (2017+)? Can you link them please.

 

3. Québec can have extremely cold winters, do I have to have any worry about damaging my Kamado by leaving it outside and cooking in extremely cold temperatures, or starting a cook when it’s covered in snow.

 

4. Do you guys all use the ceramic cooking grates that one with it or do you immediately swap out for stainless steel?

 

5. I’m starting from zero here, do you still use something like Weber Chimney starter to get your charcoal hot? Is the technique different on a Kamado, I’m hoping that the recipe videos would walk me through this.

 

6. I have a large family and already own a Weber Summit, do you still find occasions to use your gas grill over your Kamado? If so, when?

 

7. Will the outside of the Kamado be dangerous to touch?

 

Thanks and sorry for all the newb questions.

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1. Looks good, but don’t go crazy, you can always add later. 

2. Never over estimate simplicity. Salt and pepper are always good starts, particularly for beef. Pork typically adds brown sugar, garlic, and often chili powders to the mix. 

3. You’re good, but keep it covered when not in use. 

4. I like stainless, but there’s no need to be in a hurry. 

5. You said low and slow. A chimney starter will start way too much coal for a lo/slo..you’ll learn to always start with a full load of coal, and I use Rutland cubes, put a single cube in the middle of your coals, close the lid, and allow your temp to come up slowly. Learning temp control is very important for beginners. 

6. I don’t use a gasser, I can taste the gas. 

7. The outside will get hot, so be aware of it. 

 

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I just waded in too a while ago, this is what I did. You seem to want to know a lot, and I feel like typing alot. SO STRAP IN BUDDY

 

1) I got the joetisserie at costco bc of the sale price, and the fact that my wife doesnt eat pork, so we'll be making a bunch of chicken anyway, and depending on how lucky i am in the woods, there tends to be venison roasts in the freezer. I also have a pair of cheap welding gloves to pick up grates, stones, lit charcoal, etc, and protect my hands when i have them rumbling around in the grill during high heat cooks, i don't like the smell of burnt hair. Can't reccomend a good big grill spatula and a couple pairs of LONG spring loaded tongs too. A cover came with my grill, so that answers #3, get a cover. get charcoal, and some smoking wood too, but go with something like cherry and oak for your first few smokes (oak for beef, cherry for everything else). I use starter cubes and a lighter to fire up, but i'll probably get a MAPP torch one of these years. I already had all the pizza accessories, but i'll be using them on the joe soon, just make sure you don't get one thats too big! I wouldnt go nuts on other accessories until you've settled in and gotten comfortable with it. Just my 2 cents. Also get a good grill brush, but you probably have that for your summit.

2) The first WOW i did was bone in, skin on, chicken thighs. Thighs are easy, and forgiving (AND CHEAP). I seasoned with salt and pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika on both sides, and then "cupped" them. Which means I kinda pulled the skin tight around the top and pulled it to the non-skin side. I set my KJ up for indirect (both stones) and put the top grate in the high position, and used ONE piece of cherry, which i put on the coals when they reached abut 350-400F. I put the chicken on when the white billowy smoke stopped, and cooked them for about an hour, until the internal temp (checked with your thermapen) reached about 170-175F. They. Were. Great. So great in fact that I make them everytime i use the grill, because hey, its dirt easy and the things already running. You'll find other recipes on here, especially in the kamado cooking section. Setzler has many videos you should watch.

3) You shouldn't have a problem cooking in the snow, if you have your grill covered when not in use, should be fine. Lots of people here are in Alaska, and other places in the great white north, and it doesnt seem to be an issue.

4) I'm unsure of your question here. The KJ comes with stainless cooking grates, not ceramic. You do not cook on the half moon deflector stones. You can get cast iron grates, which i'll probably maybe get in the future, but only if i have money burning a hole in my wallet.

5) No need for a chimney, as stated above.

6) I use my gas grill when I want to make something quick, or make a LOT of something. It's just my wife and I, and I don't see the need to go through the firing up of ol' red KJ to make a couple hot dogs or hamburgers on a Tuesday when I'm tired from a long day at work. Or if we make a bunch of grilled chicken for salads/sandwiches/lunches for the week, I can cook 6 pounds of chicken breasts and thighs on my gas grill, which I don't think I can do on my KJ, I know I can't do it in 30 minutes from grill on to chicken off, thats for sure.

7) It'll get hot. It'll get really hot when you're cooking pizzas. The latch will get hot, the top tower will get hot regardless of what youre cooking. Don't let little ones go up and hug it, don't let big ones hug it either. It'll stay warm for a while too, even after the fire is out.

 

Wow, that was a lot. Sorry! But welcome! and good luck!

 

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The Kick Ash Basket is the only accessory I think you really need from that list to get started.  You don't actually NEED it but it's my favorite accessory and I recommend it.  I never use my grill expanders.  I have them but they never see much action.  I use my pizza stone a lot because i make a lot of pizzas.  Don't buy all that stuff right away.  Buy it as you discover the NEED for it.

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I'm new also the only accesory I have is a pizza stone,amazing 4 minute pizza wow. I light grill with 3 cotton balls soaked in rubbing alcohol wait 5 min then place deflector stones if using and grill grates. To break in I did a rack of ribs played a bit wih vents to to get the temp right ended up 1/4 open on top vent 3/8 open on bottom vent. After ribs done I played with vents to get different temps and kept notes. Latch will get hot at high temps but this will remind you to burp it. First grill I ever had that You can turn off the charcoal.  I watched all of Johns  videos great help.You will LOVE this grill.

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Wow guys, awesome detailed posts, more than I was expecting, thanks for putting in the effort for replies, it was a fun read, some stuff I don’t understand yet (burping, deflector stones, etc) but hoping that comes with the help of videos, I’ll find John’s, thanks for those tips.

 

Are the videos detailed enough to get me from lighting the charcoal to putting it on a plate? 

 

Can’t believe I’m getting a Big Joe! I literally have to drive 5 hours to get it on special as I’m getting a demo.

 

I hear everyone on the accessories, I’ll limit it to

 

- Cover

- Gloves

- Charcoal and wood

- Pizza stone and maybe Peel

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Mark_from_Quebec said:

I hear everyone on the accessories, I’ll limit it to

 

- Cover

- Gloves

- Charcoal and wood

- Pizza stone and maybe Peel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Burping” is slightly opening the grill and pausing for a moment or three before you fully open the lid. At high temps, the coals will be oxygen starved, and when you open the grill ::WHOOSH:: Fire comes zooming out, and goodbye arm hair and possibly your eyebrows. Ever seen the movie backdraft? It’s exactly that. So, I ALWAYS burp to get in the habit, even when I’m opening a cold grill. You should too. You’ll probably forget once, but never after it happens. 

 

The deflector stones block the food from direct heat. This is essential for low and slow cooking, and high heat baking. You can also just use one for 2-zone cooking, like only using two burners on your summit with the others off. 

 

Also, when you find a good deal on lump charcoal, get lots. Fuel is not an accessory, it’s a requirement ;) I use the KJ lump they sell at the roadshows and haven’t had issues, others swear by other stuff. 

 

If you get a stone, get a peel too. They’re cheap, and you’ll use it. Plus you can use it and the stone in the oven too. 

 

I would also get some of the heavy duty aluminun foil, good for overall grilling/cooking. 

 

Happy cooking!

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Just curious but does the Big Joe have any issues working in high winds?

 

My backyard seems to be a pocket for high winds and It was really disappointing when my top of the line Weber Summit couldn’t operate because it kept going out, I never could find a solution and Weber support said that was just the design, let me know if you have any ideas for that.

 

Anyhow, will this have any impact on the Big Joe?

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If the wind is blowing right into the lower and upper vent openings, it could. I usually orient my joe so the wind isnt blowing directly in there and adding Oxygen. Ive also strategically sat/placed a chair so it/I block/break up the wind, but it doesnt seem to mess things up that much.

 

I would think that air blowing right into the lower is more detrimental than the upper, due to the opening size, and where the vents are in relation to the fire. It wouldn't hurt a pizza cook or any other high temp application, but for low and slow over long periods it could. But again, unless its HOWLING right into the vents, i dont think you'll have issues.

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I know I need to take it easy on accessories, but no one mentioned a Grill Torch and i can’t believe how cool they look, any reasons not to buy one over another lighting method?

 

Any specific brand better than others? The jjGeorge one looks nice and I see recommendations to use Map has over propane.

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