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tomjonesrocks

Struggling to reach higher temperatures on a Kamado Joe

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Lately I've been struggling to reach higher temperatures on my Kamado. I keep trying different fire-making techniques with the same issues encountered each time. 

 

Last night I used a chimney and a lot of fresh lump charcoal and by all appearances (pic below) got a very nice looking fire. And yet - per the thermometer could not reach past 300 degrees (too low for the pizzas I wanted to cook) despite with the top vents and bottom vents being wide open.

 

Is this more likely to be a cleaning issue or is there a very specific way you need to build your fire for higher temperatures?

 

Any suggestions appreciated -

kamadoFire.png

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Just a thought but how accurate is your thermometer? By the looks of your picture

I'd guess that you should be higher than 300 deg. You might want to double check it.

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31 minutes ago, K_sqrd said:

Just a thought but how accurate is your thermometer? By the looks of your picture

I'd guess that you should be higher than 300 deg. You might want to double check it.

I Agree with this point.

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More likely its the not cleaning and ash plugging up the holes like what was said above ..when i had my bge i had same issue until i got the kick ash basket ..when i got my kk i never have these issues period .

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Did you cook on it? Cook time can tell you the temp, too. At 700+ F, pizza cooks in 3-4 min. At 400 F, more like 12-15 min. 

 

That fire looks plenty big for a 400 F pizza fire, but not a 700 F pizza fire. I kill twice that much fuel in 2.5 hours or so holding 700 F.  

 

If you check your thermometer (a great idea), use boiling water, and be realistic. If it reads 210 F, it's accurate, even if water boils at 212 F. You're not measuring the exact spot that boils. If it's off, see if you can turn the probe relative to the dial to correct the reading. 

 

Have fun,

Frank

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Wow - thanks for all the great responses!

 

I was just using my built-in thermometer in the Kamado. Perhaps there is an issue with it and/or maybe I should be using probes anyways.

 

I did cook the pizzas anyway - I elevate them with a little contraption I made so it's higher in the dome - they took about 15 minutes - really couldn't complain but was hoping for / tend to get a crispier crust when I'm aiming for more like 450.

 

Will have to get the shop vac out and really clean it out and see if my problems are solved then...

 

Will watch that quick fire video as well!

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You probably won't believe this statement but here goes anyway. 

 

I totally agree you have an air flow problem but the problem is too much air flow out the top vent. If you leave the top vent wide open all your heat is going out. With a fire that big if you would have closed the top vent to 1/2 open you could have watched the thermometer rise because you would have been trapping the heat inside instead of letting it heat your backyard. 

 

The best analogy is your kitchen oven. You want it to get to 400* so you turn the dial to 400*. Now imagine how long that's going to take if you leave the oven door cracked open so all the heat escapes into the kitchen. 

 

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I can't tell anything from that pic, other than I have had fires that I imagine looked similar from time to time and could not climb above 325°-350° or so either. All the usual suspects have been mentioned- airflow, ash buildup, etc. Those typically aren't the culprit on this end. Granted the OP, said his lump was fresh. Still, for the sake of others, I would throw in– old, 'damp' lump.

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16 hours ago, ckreef said:

You probably won't believe this statement but here goes anyway. 

 

I totally agree you have an air flow problem but the problem is too much air flow out the top vent. If you leave the top vent wide open all your heat is going out. With a fire that big if you would have closed the top vent to 1/2 open you could have watched the thermometer rise because you would have been trapping the heat inside instead of letting it heat your backyard. 

 

The best analogy is your kitchen oven. You want it to get to 400* so you turn the dial to 400*. Now imagine how long that's going to take if you leave the oven door cracked open so all the heat escapes into the kitchen. 

 

 

I agree with you 100 percent but from his pic if he had his vents wide open the flames would be dancing so high and his temps would for sure rise .. just seeing the embers like that and wide open both vents suggest a restriction in airflow before firebox if he closed vents like you suggest i bet the fire would almost go out(i tried that with my egg when i was having issues like this  and it snuffed out in 7 min or so )

 

but you are right you want to trap the heat

 

i had this very thing happen in my bge once i unplugged all the holes in firebox ect with ash it worked as intended and once  i got kick ash basket problem was solved

 

 

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Has it been like this since you acquired the kamado?  If it used to get appropriately hot when you had the vents open, then something has changed.  

  • It doesn't appear to be the thermometer because your pizza didn't burn up
  • There aren't too many other possibilities
    • Air flow is blocked
    • Poor charcoal

I didn't list low temperature caused by too much air flow because I haven't experienced it.  I have left the vents wide open in start-up mode for too long and had a wicked hot fire—exactly the opposite result.

 

Good luck.  Please let us know how you corrected it.

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18 hours ago, tomjonesrocks said:

I did cook the pizzas anyway - I elevate them with a little contraption I made so it's higher in the dome - they took about 15 minutes - really couldn't complain but was hoping for / tend to get a crispier crust when I'm aiming for more like 450.

 

 

15 minute cook definitely points to low temp not faulty thermometer. Fire looks good with the lid open. Oxygen is fed from the open lid. Closing the lid chokes down the air flow and the fire. 

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