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


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Hey everyone! 

 

So I would be the one who couldn't get my Monolith Classic to 700 to have it cleaned (bought used) first time today. I filled the coal basket to the top, right until it was touching the heat deflector. The temperature was climbing pretty fast till it got to 520 and hit the stall :) I couldn't understand what was wrong, both vents were open fully, I didn't open the dome once in the first 45 minutes, but when the temperature stopped moving up I opened the lid, got the grates off and lifted one half of the heat deflector, I saw that all the coals were red and hot. I added more coal under each half of the deflector full and closed the lid.

 

 

 

The temperature had started climbing, so I began closing the vents - I closed the lid of the top vent but left all the petals fully  open and the bottom vent to about half. The temperature froze soon and even after I opened both vents fully again, stayed at 550. Opening the dome and adding even more coal didn't help either. I saw through the top vent flames coming from the coal behind the hear deflector, but the temperature stayed at 550 for the next 1.5-2 hours. 

 

Really confused about what went wrong. Not very good theories: coal is not burning hot enough, it is in large pieces so there are a lot of gap in between so the coal basket is not very full... 

 

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By the way, I bought, not sure what is the right word in English, word by word translation from Russian is building dryer, it blows the hot air at 900 degrees F, and got my grill to 500 degrees in no time. Just not to 700F :)  And it costs about $17, the looftlighter costs here up to $100

 

Строительный фен Bort BHG-2005N-K Case 2000 Вт

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On 11/7/2020 at 4:59 PM, Andrey said:

By the way, I bought, not sure what is the right word in English, word by word translation from Russian is building dryer, it blows the hot air at 900 degrees F, and got my grill to 500 degrees in no time. Just not to 700F :)  And it costs about $17, the looftlighter costs here up to $100

 

Строительный фен Bort BHG-2005N-K Case 2000 Вт

 

We call it a "heat gun" and they are great. I have also used them to speed up the process of getting very hot. I also roast coffee beans with mine. 

 

-Andrew

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  • 2 months later...

I noticed that you said you left the ash shovel in place when lighting (and I guess using) the KJ.  I always take it out in my Classic II  'cause I am often cooking pizza at high temp, and I found it was difficult to get up to 800 or 850 with the ash shovel in place.  Is this bad practice or does it not really matter?  BTW I realise that many people cook pizza at lower temp but I get amazing results using a low hydration dough and high temp (Naples style, recipes from Ken Forkish but water in dough reduced to 56% as a bakers %).

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2 hours ago, Mac said:

I noticed that you said you left the ash shovel in place when lighting (and I guess using) the KJ.  I always take it out in my Classic II  'cause I am often cooking pizza at high temp, and I found it was difficult to get up to 800 or 850 with the ash shovel in place.  Is this bad practice or does it not really matter?  BTW I realise that many people cook pizza at lower temp but I get amazing results using a low hydration dough and high temp (Naples style, recipes from Ken Forkish but water in dough reduced to 56% as a bakers %).

 

on the few instances where I have taken my grill that hot, i haven't had any issue doing it with the ash drawer in place.  

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  • 4 months later...

I watched this video again because I’ve been struggling to get my grill hot. 30 minutes out, it could still be under 300 degrees, sometimes, and I’ve been trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong (it does get hot eventually, just takes much too long). I noticed a couple of things:

 

1) I haven’t been manually placing chunks of charcoal above the fire cubes

 

2) I’ve been using the basket, which John isn’t using here. Is there anything different I should be doing when using the basket? Should I just ditch the basket? 

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I use a Looftlighter, and always leave the charcoal basket and ash drawer in place. I have no issues getting my grills to any temperature.

 

If you want hotter temperatures, just light more spots. Leave the vent cap off and the bottom vent wide open until you get near your target temp (don't overshoot your temp) and then close up the vents to the approximate setting for your target temp and wait.

 

High Temp: light 3-4 spots

Medium Temp: Light 2 spots

Low Temp: Light 1 spot

 

I usually spend around an 45 min - 1 hr getting my grill up to temperature before any food goes on.

 

Sometimes I put lump over the lit spots, sometimes I don't. I don't think it makes much difference.

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@jtempleYes, that’s what I’ve been doing, typically lighting 3 spots, unless I’m only using half the basket. Bottom open. Cap completely off. Takes forever. Been thinking of asking for a looftlighter for Father’s Day. Trying to decide if that’s going to help me get a fire going more consistently.

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  • 2 months later...
4 hours ago, PHEAD said:

get a grill gun. its on my list of unnecessary stuff i need for my KJ lol

 

https://grillblazer.com/

 

I bought one of these to play with.  It may shorten this process by 3 to 5 minutes but I also have to stand by the grill for that long where I don't when I just use the fire starters and walk away

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 3/17/2019 at 1:56 PM, Smokingdadbbq said:

I have always used looft lighters and this seemed very slow to get hot vs what I am used to using the lighter. 

 

I use usually one or maybe two of the fire starters (I actually really like Royal Oak's Tumbleweeds) and if I am in a hurry - which is a rarity, I will stoke the fire up fast and hot with my LooftLighter. I don't use my LL in a fire-lighting capacity any longer - I have the older version and my arthritis in my hands prevents me from holding that damn button down for multiple minutes straight. I have a grill table with a 20 lb. LP tank under one side with a side burner. I just purchased a LP tank splitter valve and using other components I had on hand, made a torch on a 5' hose that I can now light and rest the head in the base of the coals for a minute or two. Might be dropping the Looft on Craigslist soon, the way this is working. I'll see if I can post a pic of the set-up later on today. 

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  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, Buddy110 said:

What the heck am I doing wrong?

Hard to say for sure, but a guess is maybe to do with the quality / quantity / size of the charcoal?  If the chunks are too large, it takes a while for more coals to light. Too small, and the air flow is restricted, and it also takes longer.  Same on quantity - too little just don't get enough heat from adjacent, too much isn't as much of an issue (unless there is an air flow issue).

 

But maybe I'm missing something?

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Not sure, but I have tried a couple different lump charcoals with the same result. The only way I have been able to get to temp fast (for searing) is by lighting the coal in the pit and adding a chimney full of hot coals. Still takes much longer

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