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How to light a fire and get HOT QUICKLY in a Ceramic Kamado


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1 hour ago, Heuer said:

How about you repeat the test with a temp controller running wild? Would make an interesting video!

 

I don't feel the need to do that just to prove that natural aspiration is faster.  If you have your own temp controller you can test it yourself to see.  My iKamand has a much more powerful fan that any other temp controller on the market and running it wide open is slower than natural airflow in this case.  Your fan will LIMIT your airflow through the grill when doing this.  The grill, especially wtih a big joe, will create much more than 20-25cfm airflow in this situation.  If you have a fan blocking the lower vent and running at 5 to 12cfm it will slow you down.  It works but its just slower.

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1 hour ago, Heuer said:

OK I can see your logic. I use the (superb) Flame Boss and that has a maximum flow of 5.7cfm which won't get close to natural flow once the fire gets started.

 

I just made this video one day after i had seen a lot of complaints about not being able to get a particular grill to temp in any reasonable amount of time.  Those complaints are normally from inexperience of just never having been shown how to do it.  This process would go even faster if I used 4 or 5 starter cubes instead of just 3.  The process is all about how much charcoal you get lit.  The more you light the faster it will create a wicked airflow through the grill.  

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  • 4 months later...

I have used John's technique several times after watching his video and it works every time. Great for quick hot cooks like seared tuna, burgers or pizza.   If you are doing this to get to 250 quickly for a low and slow, you MUST stay by your Kamado and close your vents at least 25 degrees early.  Walk away for 5 minutes to get a beer and you might come back to a grill passing thru 400 deg......

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  • 2 months later...

I watched this video a week ago, and honestly thought, "So you light the lighter cube, let it catch, then close the top and leave the vents open for 15 or 20 minutes? It can't be that easy, everyone seems to complain about getting up to temp!"

 

Well, I got my KJ yesterday, and wanted to cook steaks for my first cook.  Followed the instructions I remembered from the video, and it got up to about 600 degrees in about 15 minutes.

 

So glad I saw this video.  It was much simpler than a lot of other solutions I'd seen, but worked great.  Thanks!

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  • 1 month later...

does anyone use a chimney? I load a chimney full of whatever and 1 piece of newspaper. I light it outside the Kamado (no ash floating around inside) and when it gets going put it inside with all vents open. I then insert an electric hairdryer on low into my air vent. 15 minutes and flames are leaping out the chimney and all is good.

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3 hours ago, Flatpick said:

does anyone use a chimney? I load a chimney full of whatever and 1 piece of newspaper. I light it outside the Kamado (no ash floating around inside) and when it gets going put it inside with all vents open. I then insert an electric hairdryer on low into my air vent. 15 minutes and flames are leaping out the chimney and all is good.

 

Seems like a good bit of extra effort for no added benefit...

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1 hour ago, John Setzler said:

 

Seems like a good bit of extra effort for no added benefit...

 I guess my thinking is 1. one piece of newspaper is the only starter I need  2. lights the previous leftovers easily 3. chimney magnifies the 'suck' factor creating more draft. 4. I have this chimney from old times and it has mementos!

 

Steve

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6 hours ago, John Setzler said:

 

Seems like a good bit of extra effort for no added benefit...

 

+1 here. I typically only light in two places and get there just as quickly because of having added the KAB in one BJ and having the KJ Basket in the other. I gave my chimney away ages ago. When I first got my Kamado, my wife and son were always hesistant after work or Church, when I offered to fire up the grill sans the basket. Now, they know I can get it going 'about' as fast as it takes the oven to warm up to 500°.

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9 hours ago, Flatpick said:

does anyone use a chimney? I load a chimney full of whatever and 1 piece of newspaper. I light it outside the Kamado (no ash floating around inside) and when it gets going put it inside with all vents open. I then insert an electric hairdryer on low into my air vent. 15 minutes and flames are leaping out the chimney and all is good.

I tried a chimney recently for high heat cooks but found it didn't heat anything up any faster than one or two 91% alcohol cotton balls and created more ash/sparks depending on what tinder I use. Also seems to waste more fuel on the way to getting up to temp. The only thing I might try with it is searing steaks a la Guga Foods.

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  • 1 month later...

John, I want to thank you! I was very discouraged with my new purchase because I couldnt get it hot enough to bake pizzas... well, I did exactly what you outlined in your video, as well as used your recipe in your Kamado Book of Knowledge, and it was a huge success!

A couple of key factors that made a big difference was.... use NEW coal, use lots of it, and use several fire starters. Previously I was building my fires with what I thought was a significant amount, enough that I couldn’t put the lower grate in the cooker, and using only one starter (cut in half). I used the KJ Big Block this time, and mounded it plenty high... I was either going to make pizzas, or melt my cooker down! As soon as I got a good fire started, I closed the lid and the temp climbed rapidly to 400 (which is all I was able to get out of it before), but an hour in, the temp was 675 with a stone temp of 730! 
I used your idea of creating a spacer between the deflector and the pizza stone, but modified it slightly. 
 

thanks again for your help, and your wealth of knowledge!

 

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I don't see what all the commotion about how to light a grill fast. I've been using charcoal for upteen years big up grade was using the chimney but when i got my classic haven't used it. No need to If i'm doing steaks 3 starters or cotton balls wait about the time it takes to prepare the meat and sides and by that time  the grill is going fine.Smoking and grilling should be a relaxing event. Learn the grill and your charcoal and it will save a lot of aggravation. Light your fire and pop a cold one 

Follow John's video and it will quickly be lit if you want faster maybe you might want to trade in for a gasser

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