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davegravy

Can't break 550F for neapolitan pizza

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18 minutes ago, davegravy said:

 

I read somewhere that to get good high heat cooks you should leave the lid open for a good while for maximum airflow, so that's what I did. You think I should go lid closed, vents full open more or less right away?

Not for 45 min i guess i missed that you should never leave your lid open for that long 15 20 min tops then shut the lid

 

The mystery is solved on this one and john is absolutly right leaveing it open for that long burned up the coal and that also explains the outside of your grill wish i didnt mis read that earlier 

 

Thanks @KismetKamado

For pointing that out 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, fbov said:

How did the fuel look? Was it starting to go out with only a few pieces still burning? I have a Big Joe Classic with an ash basket. I have only had one case of "can't pass 500 F." It was using premium, big-block charcoal. For high heat, you need surface area. I regularly do 750 F pizza cooks. Here's what I do. 

 

My ideal charcoal pieces are hamburger/chicken wing size, but for these hot fires, I also dump in a bunch of little stuff, but not powder, filling in the gaps with loose stuff. I dig down in the center and light from the bottom, close the lid and open the vents wide for about 30 minutes before adding deflectors and stone. I then close the top vent as needed to stabilize temperature, collecting hot air in the dome. Takes another 30 minutes to get the stone heat soaked, an hour total to a stable 750 F. Lasts about 60-90 minutes before the fire dies. 

 

I also find that mesquite charcoal runs hotter than oak, but either works for 750 F. KJ Big Block, not so much unless you break it down (still have a bag...).

 

HAve fun,

Frank

Thanks that sounds like something to try. How do you light from the bottom? I have an electric starter I could pile charcoal on top of.

 

To answer your question, no there's lots of fuel still left - I loaded the firebox pretty high. It didn't seem like it was going out just that the temp was leveled off for more than 10 minutes. Dunno if it is everywhere but lump is expensive here and I could see the dollars roaring out my exhaust so I shrugged and threw my pizza on. 

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11 minutes ago, Stile 88 said:

Not for 45 min i guess i missed that you should never leave your lid open for that long 15 20 min tops then shut the lid

 

The mystery is solved on this one and john is absolutly right leaveing it open for that long burned up the coal and that also explains the outside of your grill wish i didnt mis read that earlier 

 

Thanks @KismetKamado

For pointing that out 

 

 

Ok I'll shut the lid earlier next time for sure - there still looked like loads of fuel when I closed it though. Sorry for my ignorance but how does leaving it open so long explain smoke leaking out when I shut it and the smoke blackening the outside of the grill? 

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3 hours ago, davegravy said:

... To answer your question, no there's lots of fuel still left ...

Then you didn't get it lit. 750 F requires the entire fire bowl be filled with fully burning charcoal. 

 

At 750 F, I can only cook about 3 pies, in no particular rush, before the fire consumes all the wood. To do 6, I build a second fire, with a second full bowl of coal, and turn it to ash as well. 

 

You'll figure this out... we all learn by using these things. 

Frank

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10 hours ago, davegravy said:

 

I read somewhere that to get good high heat cooks you should leave the lid open for a good while for maximum airflow, so that's what I did. You think I should go lid closed, vents full open more or less right away?

 

This is bad information.  You get stronger airflow by creating a draft when you have the lid closed and the vents open fully.

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First of all, I do NOT recommend taking a ceramic kamado to 800-900f.  It can be done but I just don't recommend it.  If you are going to attempt this, make sure you have tightened your bands on the dome lid.  Extreme heat causes the bands to get really loose.

 

To do it:

 

Fill your firebox completely with as much lump as you can stuff in it not to exceed the top of the fire ring.  LARGER pieces of lump are not really your friend in this situation contrary to popular belief.   It creates a lot of dead space in the firebox.  You get more airflow and a faster startup but you have less fuel in the firebox so take that idea as you will...

 

Light the coals in 3 places.  Close the dome lid.  Open the vents fully and let the grill temp come up to 500-550f.  This should take less than 20 minutes.  

 

Open the lid, install your d/c rack with your pizza stones in whatever configuration you like (assuming the use of KJ or other high quality pizza stones).  

 

Close the lid and let the stones preheat.  Leave the vents fully open.  On the KJ, fully open means the center piece either removed or slid off to the side completely.  The slider on the Kontrol Tower will not give you enough airflow to get that hot on its own.  

 

At this stage, you just have to wait.  It may take 30 or 45 minutes to get that hot.  

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33 minutes ago, John Setzler said:

First of all, I do NOT recommend taking a ceramic kamado to 800-900f.  It can be done but I just don't recommend it.  If you are going to attempt this, make sure you have tightened your bands on the dome lid.  Extreme heat causes the bands to get really loose.

 

To do it:

 

Fill your firebox completely with as much lump as you can stuff in it not to exceed the top of the fire ring.  LARGER pieces of lump are not really your friend in this situation contrary to popular belief.   It creates a lot of dead space in the firebox.  You get more airflow and a faster startup but you have less fuel in the firebox so take that idea as you will...

 

Light the coals in 3 places.  Close the dome lid.  Open the vents fully and let the grill temp come up to 500-550f.  This should take less than 20 minutes.  

 

Open the lid, install your d/c rack with your pizza stones in whatever configuration you like (assuming the use of KJ or other high quality pizza stones).  

 

Close the lid and let the stones preheat.  Leave the vents fully open.  On the KJ, fully open means the center piece either removed or slid off to the side completely.  The slider on the Kontrol Tower will not give you enough airflow to get that hot on its own.  

 

At this stage, you just have to wait.  It may take 30 or 45 minutes to get that hot.  

Thanks John, this is great info. 

 

I knew high heat had risks for cracking the firebox but didn't know it impacted other stuff. To be honest I'd assumed it was ok given your pizza video, might be worth adding a note to it?

 

I haven't really looked closely yet at how the bands work - If I choose to use my BJ for high heat and my bands go loose, is there a limit to how much I can tighten them before they're just permanently loose? Are they replaceable at a reasonable cost? Are we talking like only 10 cooks before they're headed for the dustbin or more like 100? Just trying to get an idea of the scale of the risk.

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13 minutes ago, davegravy said:

Thanks John, this is great info. 

 

I knew high heat had risks for cracking the firebox but didn't know it impacted other stuff. To be honest I'd assumed it was ok given your pizza video, might be worth adding a note to it?

 

I haven't really looked closely yet at how the bands work - If I choose to use my BJ for high heat and my bands go loose, is there a limit to how much I can tighten them before they're just permanently loose? Are they replaceable at a reasonable cost? Are we talking like only 10 cooks before they're headed for the dustbin or more like 100? Just trying to get an idea of the scale of the risk.

Just remember as far as high heat is concerned if it gets to 800 to 900 degrees in dome , where the fire is its going to be 1500 and higher

when i use to have my bge i used to check the bands ect when i did a total clean for the grill or once a month or 2 or 3 which ever works best for you. i would assume that just like the bge the kjs parts are easy to get via your dealer or kj themselves.

 

 

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16 minutes ago, davegravy said:

Thanks John, this is great info. 

 

I knew high heat had risks for cracking the firebox but didn't know it impacted other stuff. To be honest I'd assumed it was ok given your pizza video, might be worth adding a note to it?

 

I haven't really looked closely yet at how the bands work - If I choose to use my BJ for high heat and my bands go loose, is there a limit to how much I can tighten them before they're just permanently loose? Are they replaceable at a reasonable cost? Are we talking like only 10 cooks before they're headed for the dustbin or more like 100? Just trying to get an idea of the scale of the risk.

 

You should tighten the bands on your grill twice a year.  They aren't going to ever hit a point where they need to be replaced because of that.  I think you are overthinking this.  If you are inexperienced with making pizza, neapolitan pizza is the WRONG starting point.  If you are experienced with making pizza, try making neapolitan style pizza without going to 900f to do it.  Make a 70% hydration dough instead of a 60% and do it at 500-550f.  

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1 hour ago, John Setzler said:

 

You should tighten the bands on your grill twice a year.  They aren't going to ever hit a point where they need to be replaced because of that.  I think you are overthinking this.  If you are inexperienced with making pizza, neapolitan pizza is the WRONG starting point.  If you are experienced with making pizza, try making neapolitan style pizza without going to 900f to do it.  Make a 70% hydration dough instead of a 60% and do it at 500-550f.  

Thanks John, this was my first pizza. I'm an inexperienced pizza maker AND inexperienced griller! I have a chronic tendency to try and sprint before I can crawl, and it's a real problem :P 

 

That said the pizza came out pretty well despite the low temp. Not as much leoparding as desired but tasted pretty good for a first try.

 

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So I ran a test today and followed some of the advice from here:

 

1) used smaller pieces

2) lit the lump starting at the bottom, then layered on more lump, lit, more lump, then lit one last time in a few places around the top. 

3) kept the deflectors and pizza stone off until I hit 500F, then set them up on the grates per John S. 

 

I hit 800F and the temp was still going up darn quick when I snuffed it out. Time between starting to light and hitting 800F was about 1.25hrs. I'm pretty happy with that! 

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Just a quick point of a smaller deflector or stone was used would you hit the temps quicker/easier? I’m thinking I have a 10inch deflector / stone setup in my jr if I put this in my classic it should easily hit those temps?

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