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teeblah

Hello from Minnesota!

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I got in on this Sam's Club Vision B Series blowout for my first kamado.

 

Dove right in with some chicken wings and I couldn't get the temp up over 250F. I think I didn't use enough lump charcoal, didn't let it full ash over in the chimney, and put the food on too early.

 

Second time tried a porketta roast and went too far the other way and couldn't get it below 300F. Both meals were salvageable and it was fun being able to impart some hardwood smoke into the flavor as well. 

 

Picked up a remote thermometer and stone deflector to start upping my game. This weekend I'm going to try a full slab of brisket overnight and a chicken wing party for Sunday football. I'm sure everything will go perfect, right? 

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Welcome to the forum!  And congratulations on your new kamado!

 

I think you'll find your groove after a few cooks.  Most of us usually start with a full firebowl and most of us don't use chimney starters.  But, there is no one right or wrong way.  I think you may have good results if you start with a full firebox and use a couple of starters to light your lump for a grilling cook (probably just one starter in the center for smoking).  Dome up for 10 minutes or so.  Then you can shut your dome, set your vents and let your grill come up to temp.  While you're new, you'll be feeling out your vent settings, so you'll want to shoot for the low side and bring it up if needed.  It's easier to do that than cool it back down.  Might be a good idea to spend a weekend getting to know those vent settings....

 

And don't get hung up chasing temps.... small swings aren't going to make or break your cook.  And always make sure your lump is burning clean before you put your food on.  You don['t want to cook on yucky smoke.  Sometimes this happens fast and sometimes it takes longer... if the lump isn't ready, wait it out.  

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11 hours ago, KismetKamado said:

 I think you may have good results if you start with a full firebox and use a couple of starters to light your lump for a grilling cook (probably just one starter in the center for smoking)

Thanks for the tip. I think this gets to the problem. What would you say a "full firebox" is exactly? Covering the bottom of the grill completely with 1-2" of lump? I think my chimney provides slightly less then that but I like that it lights up well/completely. I've had trouble judging the ready-ness of briquettes that are just piled up. I'll search around for a "charcoal lighting for dummies" or something. Thanks!

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Welcome and usually when people say a full firebox, they mean right up to the heat deflector tabs.  Also, most won't use a chimney to start their lump unless they are doing a high heat sear on steaks or something.  For doing a brisket or something low and slow I will make sure all the ash is out of my grill, put a "full load of lump" in the firebox, use one cottonball soaked in alcohol to light it in the middle, then after about 10 minutes when I just have a glow from the coals I'll put the heat deflector in and close the lid with the vents fully open, after another 5-10 minutes I'll start closing vents down to anticipate, but not go past my desired temp. Some cook with briquettes on here, but most use lump charcoal and that's usually what the kamado manufactures recommend, it produces less ash and I think it has a cleaner taste than say blue bag Kingsford.  Hope that helps.

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@teeblah Here is what I consider a full firebox of lump in my Vision Classic B (several years old - no tray).

 

 DF9DFF0B-8390-4396-8A7E-370C9EC5E313.thumb.jpeg.4aeb1df80ad6d51b6179a06568875d53.jpeg

 

And a couple of the Big Joe:

 

 6F356C35-28F1-4DB0-B973-B6836B1BA021.thumb.jpeg.5b956479d30754e725223107df9571be.jpeg

 

This might be a better visual as you can see the coloration difference with where the lump level usually sits. I pretty much fillit up to the holes - slightly over - and use a kick ash basket instead of the lower charcoal grate. 

 31597667-A547-46DC-BEA2-47EEB3FF3983.thumb.jpeg.1b08eb148b79757788915b02a5da8bc9.jpeg

 

 

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@KismetKamado  shows how I fill my KJ Classic.  I empty out the ashes after every cook, and top off my grill with fresh charcoal. I use half of a fire starter on top in the middle for low and slow cooks and one cut in half placed in two places partway down in the charcoal for normal cooks.

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Two more cooks under my belt and half a dozen more lessons learned. Brisket started out alright but lost temp overnight. Overcorrected in the morning before settling in. Topped out at 192F during a 16 hour cook. My photos are getting an error message but you guys have seen brisket before right? :-D

 

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