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Did my first low and slow on a couple of butts a while ago hit the stall around 160 as expected, I tried waiting it out but unfortunately it never came out of the stall and my big joe lost temperature even after i did all the adjustments i could to the vents. Took them off and finished them in the oven and it still turned out great. Next day opening the joe i found most of the charcoal was still good to go on the outside edges almost the lumps right above the inlet was burned. learning a few things i didn't put big chunks at the bottom and i chose not to increase the temperature to get out of the stall. I am pretty sure the inlet got blocked up with ash and cut off air flow after a while. Would you guys recommend quickly taking out the tray on the bottom to clean out the ashes in every now and then? 

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A Big Joe should easily run 18 hours +. My guess is you didn't start with enough lump. Also during a stall your temperature (both IT and dome/grate) is going to drop a few degrees. That's normal as the stall is when the meat is expelling all its extra liquid. Eventually (with enough lump) it would have came out of the stall. 

 

You should never have to take the tray out mid cook to clean out ash. 

 

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13 hours ago, Chasdev said:

It sounds like you used charcoal briquettes rather than hardwood lump, high quality lump leaves almost no ash and can't clog the inlet vents.

 

I used lump on it I think maybe I didn't use enough in the beginning Ill do it again in a few days for round two and just wait it out longer then I did the first time I think.

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13 hours ago, ckreef said:

A Big Joe should easily run 18 hours +. My guess is you didn't start with enough lump. Also during a stall your temperature (both IT and dome/grate) is going to drop a few degrees. That's normal as the stall is when the meat is expelling all its extra liquid. Eventually (with enough lump) it would have came out of the stall. 

 

You should never have to take the tray out mid cook to clean out ash. 

 

Ya I think for the next round I will load it up even more and just have more patience in the stall then before, I was also thinking of increasing the temp to come out of the stall Ive been seeing on here peoples preference is a 275 running temp versus like a 225 which is what I did, I think I might give that a whirl as well.  

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47 minutes ago, thebossman1911 said:

I used lump on it I think maybe I didn't use enough in the beginning Ill do it again in a few days for round two and just wait it out longer then I did the first time I think.

Fill the firebox full with lump and start a small fire in the middle. That should allow you to hold the temp and for the lump to last.

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13 minutes ago, SeaBrisket said:

I think it was either because you didn't stack the lump with bigger pieces on the bottom and/or you were maybe fiddling with the vents too much and managed to choke your fire.

The idea of stacking charcoal with the big pieces on the bottom and medium/smalls on top is a solid idea. Prob starts one percent quicker, keeps it spreading, and minimizes choking. However, it’s unnessicary and time consuming. I get it. If you have lots of extra time and energy ...go for it. But not a MUST by any means. Just dump it in and go.  No probs. Just fill er up.  This isn’t that difficult. Dump it in, light it. Throw on dead animal. Eat. Enjoy.

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22 hours ago, prowe said:

The idea of stacking charcoal with the big pieces on the bottom and medium/smalls on top is a solid idea. Prob starts one percent quicker, keeps it spreading, and minimizes choking. However, it’s unnessicary and time consuming. I get it. If you have lots of extra time and energy ...go for it. But not a MUST by any means. Just dump it in and go.  No probs. Just fill er up.  This isn’t that difficult. Dump it in, light it. Throw on dead animal. Eat. Enjoy.

 

Experience tells me otherwise and it's little effort. I have an old pot I scoop my used charcoal into with garden gloved hands, I throw some new lump into the bottom, and pile the old on top. Takes a minute and when I haven't bothered with it I've had temperatures hang well below my target.

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10 minutes ago, prowe said:

The idea of stacking charcoal with the big pieces on the bottom and medium/smalls on top is a solid idea. Prob starts one percent quicker, keeps it spreading, and minimizes choking. However, it’s unnessicary and time consuming. I get it. If you have lots of extra time and energy ...go for it. But not a MUST by any means. Just dump it in and go.  No probs. Just fill er up.  This isn’t that difficult. Dump it in, light it. Throw on dead animal. Eat. Enjoy.

 

I agree.  Just dump it in.  Don't adjust your lump to what temp you are cooking,  Filler er up  and light.  I light the center for low and slow and I light 2 or 3 spots for high heat.   Shut it down when done and fill it up next time when I cook.  I also use the kick ash which helps with air flow.

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3 hours ago, prowe said:

Load it up bro! If ya don’t use it all it will be waiting for ya. If ya don’t use enough, fire don’t spread. Load er up!

ya I think that's the plan next time I filled it up pretty good last time but there was still a little room.

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2 hours ago, just4fn said:

 

I agree.  Just dump it in.  Don't adjust your lump to what temp you are cooking,  Filler er up  and light.  I light the center for low and slow and I light 2 or 3 spots for high heat.   Shut it down when done and fill it up next time when I cook.  I also use the kick ash which helps with air flow.

 

3 hours ago, Golf Griller said:

Fill the firebox full with lump and start a small fire in the middle. That should allow you to hold the temp and for the lump to last.

Ill probably fill the box up with big pieces on the bottom and fill it up as much as I can and increase the running temp to see how that works out hopefully the extra lump and higher temp keep it out of the stall.

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I disagree with lighting in the middle for low-n-slow. All kamados tend to have a burn pattern. Some burn from the back to the front. My three main kamados burn from right to left. If I light in the middle and they burn to the left side sometimes they have a problem with burning back around to all the unburnt lump on the right side. 

 

Knowing those kamados like burning from the right to left I always start low-n-slow fires on the far right side of those kamados. I also have an Akorn Jr and it liked burning from back to front so I always lit that Kamado in the very back for low-n-slow. 

 

This mainly applies to low-n-slow when you want the longest burn time possible. Quick high heat cooks I light in the middle since the length of time needed isn't critical. Over time you should be able to figure out the burn pattern for your kamado. Use that burn pattern to your advantage. 

 

 

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Regarding stacking: when I started with my Akorn I had constant problems trying to maintain low temps without the fire going out. These problems went away when I started building the pile with large pieces/wood chunks on the grate, smaller stuff on top of that, to maintain an air channel.

 

If you're using lump you shouldn't ever have to clear ashes mid-cook, plus it's possibly a fire hazard if the ash catcher has live embers hidden inside.

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