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Chasdev

Lump pile placement and ingition location?

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Anyone experimented with lump pile shape and/or placement and igniting different places in same?

Post cook examinations on my PB24 show that when starting with a volcano shape pile of lump, ignited in the center (at bottom grate level), the burn pattern largely moves toward the front air inlet area, and that means lots of the lump never lights and any wood chunks/chips I place across from the inlet don't burn.

I'm thinking I should either bias the lump pile to the "rear" of the chamber or at least start the fire on the opposite side from the air inlet.

I should add that I'm running a PartyQ puffer so that may contribute to the burn pattern.

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First off skip making a lump pile. Fill the firebox full and flat across the top. Light it to take advantage of the burn pattern. 

 

In my KK's they like to burn right to left. For long low-n-slow burns I fill the firebox up flat and light the extreme right side of the firebox. All the way next to the firebox wall. That gives me the longest burn time. 30 hours. 

 

In your case I would fill it flat and light it in the very front, in the middle just in front of the air inlet. The fire should move outward from there and you have the most available lump in all directions as possible. 

 

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Use the hardest lump you can find for that long of a burn and I would shoot for 200*-225* and 18 hours if this is your first attempt at a really long burn. KJ or Rockwood would be good choices. RO not so good. 

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 I have FOGO and KJ XL BigBlock in stock, I've had good results with the FOGO many times, the KJ is new to me.

Hope it's as good or better than FOGO, I picked up three LARGE bags recently.

Now all I have to do is master the arrangement/placement of large chunks to small/er bits.

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9 hours ago, Chasdev said:

 I have FOGO and KJ XL BigBlock in stock, I've had good results with the FOGO many times, the KJ is new to me.

Hope it's as good or better than FOGO, I picked up three LARGE bags recently.

Now all I have to do is master the arrangement/placement of large chunks to small/er bits.

 

If it's really big pieces break them up a bit. You really want MD and LG sized pieces for extra long burns (my opinion anyway). XL pieces can have issues with the glowing coals jumping from one piece to another. 

 

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They don't think they resist "lighting," so much as they resist burning; it takes longer to burn them to ash and they remain lumps until then. 

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4 hours ago, fbov said:

They don't think they resist "lighting," so much as they resist burning; it takes longer to burn them to ash and they remain lumps until then. 

This can be used to your advantage if you use the large lumps over the grate in the bottom of the kamado I have found it helps airflow 

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I use a chimney starter and simply dump it in.  If I'm going for a slow cook, as I usually do, I don't wait until the starter has become a volcano.  Some of the charcoal isn't burning yet, but if the core is alight the fire will spread.  Set the top vent barely open, the bottom to about one inch, lock the lid, and wait for the temps to rise to about 300ºF.  In my experience they'll stay there all day, and there will be charcoal left over.  It's reliable, unattended cooking.

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I'm aiming for 200/225 so a hot start won't work for me.

I don't have any issues with when to place the meat (just below cook temp) or maintaining even temps, I let my PartyQ and TipTopTemp do all the work.

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On 10/5/2018 at 5:40 PM, ckreef said:

First off skip making a lump pile. Fill the firebox full and flat across the top. Light it to take advantage of the burn pattern. 

 

In my KK's they like to burn right to left. For long low-n-slow burns I fill the firebox up flat and light the extreme right side of the firebox. All the way next to the firebox wall. That gives me the longest burn time. 30 hours. 

 

In your case I would fill it flat and light it in the very front, in the middle just in front of the air inlet. The fire should move outward from there and you have the most available lump in all directions as possible. 

 

Good advice from ckreef. I think the volcano, ring of fire, the other lump configurations are hold overs from offset smoker techniques and are not really applicable or necessary in the kamado cooking environment. I also use to hand place lump putting the bigger pieces toward the bottom, however, I really can't see any marked difference in the burn ability to hold temp from doing that. After years of cooking on a kamado I do exactly what ck says. Further, regardless of weather I am targeting a low and slow temp or a high heat temp of between 500 and 650 deg, I always start with just one fire starter in the from center of my lump, stacked to just about 2 inches below where my deflector will sit on the spider. Here is a pic at the start of my fish cook in the last challenge.

DSC_3451.thumb.jpg.1c3fd48eb2dde3a47f1d4ed75e9ef9af.jpg

Right before I put in the deflector, grate and closed the lid, I moved that almost square flat piece of lump, to the right of the flame and  with the silver black sheen, over the flame with an air space below it. The top flat surface of my lump is way above my air holes and completely covers the top of my kick ash basket. You can see the handles of the KAB to the right and left just below the spider. I just simply fill the fire box with random size lump, the one thing I do take care to do however, is try to keep the pile lump dust free so I have good air flow through the pile. I usually dump a pile of lump into a plastic tub and randomly pick out pieces trying to leave the dust behind. 

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6 hours ago, keeperovdeflame said:

... I always start with just one fire starter in the from center of my lump, stacked to just about 2 inches below where my deflector will sit on the spider. ...

+1

I think this works because you need a mature fire to cook food that tastes good. You always need the fire to reach full intensity, regardless of your target temperature. Starting small serves all needs, because fire in a deep pile of charcoal will spread as fast as available airflow allows. 

 

I also see a lot of advantages in using a basket. Access to airflow never hurts. 

 

Have fun,

Frank

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Do you remove or retain the original firebox grate when using the KAB?

I've tried with and without and I think I like it better with the grate installed.

That may be due to the PartyQ pushing air more evenly across the coal bed (due to the even distribution of holes across the grate) compared to the full flow potential of the KAB by itself.

Your start up picture is pretty much what I have been doing other than a little more of a volcano shape..but with a hollow center to allow for the starter itself.

Again, I'm shooting for a more even burn pattern, rather than the fire burning toward the firebox air inlet area and ignoring the far side lumps.

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