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Jose Andres Zapata

New Saffire Platinum 19"

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A little background first.

 

In planning our bbq area, the goal was to create a more casual cooking environment and not necessarily create another "kitchen". Once that was decicded, I debated between going with a "Santa Maria" / Argentinian type grill or a Kamado. My wife's request was that it was kept clean... that was a minus for an open grill. We also know that we get a steady breeze 24/7, that also was another minus for an open grill. So we decided on the Kamado and could not be happier. In one month since installing it we have made different types of cooks, from low and slow ribs to high / fast pizza. All great!

 

Deciding on a grill.

 

Right off the bat I decided against the BGE... sorry but not a fan of the color, I know shallow but aesthetics play a part of the experience. I like the KJ of which the feature I like the most is the hinge. I kept researching and found the Saffire, Platinum version. The features I like the most and possibly over the the KJ are the all stainless steel parts on the exterior, with lifetime warranty. The handle, the ring straps, hinge springs and top cap are all stainless steel. Also a major deciding point was the Crucible Firebox. It is made of Firebrick instead of ceramic and according to their literature is rated 1000° higher. It is also modular, so you can replace the piece that cracks and not the entire firebox. Similar to the KJ but with a higher temp rating. And the blue color with with the stainless steel looks great too!

 

The Saffire.

 

Having made the decision, I was lucky that it was right around Black Friday. So I bought it at a 20% discount, no taxes and free shipping. Could not pass on that opportunity. The grill arrived about 1.5 later...which I thought was fairly quick for ground shipping from Ill.  It was shipped very well packed on top of a small wood palate. The box itself was heavy duty honeycombed corrugated cardboard.

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Assembly was quite easy. The dome and hinge came attached. I only had to attach the handle ( tool provided), the cap which is a slip on, and unpack the grills and heat deflector. Slip the Firebox and charcoal basket into place. Speaking of the basket, it was another deciding factor. It made more sense to me vs. the KJ plate. It seems to me the plate has a potential to hold more ash, and I have noticed that KJ is now selling a basket.

 

First Firing.

 

Here is a photo with all the pieces and place and first firing. You can see the firebrick of the fire box is a lighter color than the body ceramics. I would say that it is probably lighter than ceramic as well.

I used Cowboy charcoal that I picked up at Walmart. I used the Tumbleweeds starters from Royal Oak, which I love. Inexpensive and do get the fire going.

 

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There is a frame that sits on top of the fire box. It holds the heat deflectors in place, at the lowest level. The grills, you can place at two different heights, at the top of the fire box or higher at the top of the lower body.

 

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The First Cook.

 

I decided to go with with a pair of Tri-Tips. I fired the grill up and let it come up for temperature. Being a newbie, I made the mistake of letting it heat up too much (600*-700*... I had trouble bringing the temperature down. But went with it.

 

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The final result....They look great. A bit overcooked for my taste but ok for my wife. They were still juicy, even reheating them on the stove... they were juicy.

 

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Off and running with the Kamado bug!

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Your Saffire looks great in blue! 

 

I have enjoyed my older Jasper Red model, set in their Teak table for many years. That new Crucible Firebox looks amazing! It has refractory fire bricks held in place by a metal frame, with a really nice lift out charcoal basket, and a lift out ash pan underneath. I just ordered one for my older Saffire as an upgrade, and am looking forward to installing and using it.

 

 

Saffire and Teak.JPG

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11 hours ago, Ski-Freak said:

Your Saffire looks great in blue! 

 

I have enjoyed my older Jasper Red model, set in their Teak table for many years. That new Crucible Firebox looks amazing! It has refractory fire bricks held in place by a metal frame, with a really nice lift out charcoal basket, and a lift out ash pan underneath. I just ordered one for my older Saffire as an upgrade, and am looking forward to installing and using it.

 

 

Saffire and Teak.JPG

 

 

 

 

Great setup Ski-Freak! You will love the new firebox. I specially like the charcoal basket and ash pan... so easy to clean out.

 

I noticed that my gasket is narrower now... I thought it was a factory thing, but revisiting the photos above I noticed the gasket is the full width of the ceramic thickness.  How long did yours last? I wonder if my hot firings has accelerated the demise of the gasket.

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Jose,

Thanks for your report on the new firebox!

 

As to how long my gasket has lasted, I have been using my same Saffire for almost 6 years and am only now getting ready to replace its dome edge gasket(s) - probably right after I complete the installation of the new Crucible Firebox. The bottom gasket has the most wear and is getting thin, which is probably from occasional drippage and dragging across it. I do burn off the grill at high heat while watching it when I'm done cooking so mine has certainly seen plenty of 600-700F temps, but not for very long. It still snuffs out fine still and I don't see wisps of smoke while snuffing coming from the gasket area - which I think would be the easiest indicator that the gasket was not sealing. However, I exclusively grill and smoke in my Saffire, and have only tried cooking pizza in it a couple of times around 5 years ago. I do cook on it several times each week, all year long.

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That pizza does look really good - Congrats!

 

I don't have a source for good pizza dough, and the couple of times I tried it was the iffy dough that turned me off.

 

I like the way you keep from burning the bottom of your pizzas.

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The first dough I really liked on the Kamado was a recipe from the New York Times.... from Roberta's pizzeria in Brooklyn. A quick search will find it for you. It can be used the same day with a few hours for rise or even better the next day.

 

Also I received Marc Vetri's Mastering Pizza book and now love his recipes for dough. He has many different combinations of dough for WFO, Gas Ovens, different temps and even a section for pizza on Kamados. My now favorite is the Neapolitan at 60% ( I adjust up a couple percentages) hydration. You need to prepare the dough at least a couple of days before for this one. One day for the poolish starter. One day for a full mix and rise of combined dough. At least 5/6 hours for balling up and final rise.

 

The refrigeration has been key I think for foolproof leopard spotting. I get it everytime if I refrigerate the fully mixed though for at least 24 hours and have the Kamado at 650 to 700 deg.

 

Good luck!

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I heard you have to have NYC water to make that great NYC dough - and that was the hidden secret to why every kind of bread you buy in NYC is the best bread you have ever eaten. Two decades ago we lived in NY Metro and honestly the only things we missed when we moved up to New England was one FM radio station and the bread. The FM radio station broadcasts on Internet Radio too so we can listen to it now, but even trying to seek out the best bread up here it's all substandard compared to the bread in NYC, and I mean ALL bread.

 

This area is a lot less congested, nature is purer, and life in general is just better for us though - so bread was the only thing we gave up. I tried buying pre-made pizza dough up here and it was marginal at best.

 

You have done a really nice job of making a science out of making your own great pizza dough from scratch, which is what it takes and what I haven't done. OTOH, there are several good restaurants in our area where we can get our fill of good wood fired pizza made by them, so all is not lost.

 

Good Luck to you Jose, and you're doing an awesome job cooking with your Saffire!

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