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casbar777

KJ Classic II heat

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I have had my KJ for just over 2.5 months now, I've had no issues with heat. Used the same restaurant grade charcoal from Bookers (wholesaler in the UK). Had a new bag, loaded as normal and lit for a pizza cook. I had trouble getting to 550f, temp wouldn't climb. I then tried to roast a duck the other night but couldn't get temp to get above 300F, so abandoned the cook. Today I stripped the firebox down and completely cleaned out all ash etc. Packed the firebox with new charcoal and put some of the unburnt stuff on the top and lit. Had to re-light a couple of times, temp wouldn't build. Then I managed to get some heat, using a chimney to light come charcoal and dump on top of the firebox. Managed to stabilise temp at 370F manually, couldn't control with the pit bull fan, not enough air I guess. Eventually Duck was cooked and after I took the Duck off, the firebox was red, so charcoal was lit. After all that, I am assuming the charcoal is the issue so I thought I would try some KJ lump for my next cook, there is nothing else I can think could be the issue. Are my assumptions correct, or is there something else I need to check :) 

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8 hours ago, casbar777 said:

... Packed the firebox with new charcoal and put some of the unburnt stuff on the top and lit. Had to re-light a couple of times, temp wouldn't build.

Try it the other way around?

 

If the new stuff is wet, it should still burn hot if dried first. I pile the residual coal in the center after removing ash, and put new stuff around it, so there's a well. I use propane to light the old stuff at the bottom and then cover the well with the new charcoal. I can see the old stuff light quickly under the new, and have no issues getting high temps (600F+) storing everything in a garage.

 

Have fun,

Frank

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Thanks for your inputs. It is not an airflow issue, because I stripped everything down, including taking the firebox sides out and re-assembled everything. When the box was red at the end of the cook, temp was up around 650F, so it was well alight. It must be something to do with the new bag of charcoal. Previously the Joe has been easy to light and maintain heat. The only other question I have, is, does outside temp impact how quickly the internal temp rises? Like I said, its not that cold yet in the UK, yesterday was around 50F.

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Ok, so think it was operator error :). I lit it again this morning, new charcoal around the edge, old in the middle, lit it, left the bottom vent fully open and the lid open for around 8 mins, then closed lid and left both vents fully open. Temp climbed and within half an hour it was at 700F.

 

Think my problem was I wasn't giving the charcoal enough time to catch properly, putting heat deflectors and closing down too soon. I have also found that the pit bull is not man enough to raise the temp, if the charcoal hasn't caught properly. Thanks for all the inputs, hopefully all should be good now. Brisket is my next mission over the weekend.

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6 hours ago, casbar777 said:

Ok, so think it was operator error :). I lit it again this morning, new charcoal around the edge, old in the middle, lit it, left the bottom vent fully open and the lid open for around 8 mins, then closed lid and left both vents fully open. Temp climbed and within half an hour it was at 700F.

 

Think my problem was I wasn't giving the charcoal enough time to catch properly, putting heat deflectors and closing down too soon. I have also found that the pit bull is not man enough to raise the temp, if the charcoal hasn't caught properly. Thanks for all the inputs, hopefully all should be good now. Brisket is my next mission over the weekend.

 

Yes, you have to give it time for the fire to establish however, you mentioned earlier that you couldn't get the temps to rise even with a fan. It still sounds like damp lump which was then dried out during the cook in which you couldn't get the temps to rise. Once fired out it lit better. Just my opinion. Anyway, glad you're up and running now.

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Another item to consider when cooking with the heat deflectors, if cooking at a temp above 250 put the deflectors on the x-rack because in the lower positions they block a considerable about of airflow and the grill is very slow to respond to vent adjustments.  Just an idea that has worked wonders for me.

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So last night I put my first Brisket on to cook. I was struggling controlling the heat again. Had to keep opening the top vent fully to get the heat up to 230F. Woke up at 1:30am checked the temp, it was 188F. Got up, opened vents again, noticed my pit viper fan was running at 100% but temp not rising.

 

Then I went to check the fan again - what an idiot, for the last two cooks I have been running the pit viper with the damper fully closed, I opened the damper and guess what, full air flow. Temp rose immediately then after an hour, it settled to 225F, my set temp and has been at that temp all night, with the top vent on the KJ nearly closed.

 

Feel a right fool now, definitely operator error, but at least I now know why I couldn't control the temp with my BBQguru and pit viper :)

 

 

 

 

 

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When I was fairly new to kamado kooking I got a temp controller. I haven’t used that thing in years and have no clue where it is. Now, I’m not recommending you lose the controller all together, but get used to controlling the temp the old fashioned way. 

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