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Advice on hitting 900F with a PB24/LG24


fafrd
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New owner of a $499 Costco LG24 looking for any do's and dont's advice on hitting 900F in this Kamado.

 

Before even firing up my new toy for the first time, I removed the stock felt gaskets and replaced with the new Lavalock XTR78 1000F gasket: https://bbqgaskets.com/lavalockr-xtr78-for-big-green-egg-1000f-lifetime-replacement-warranty.html

 

I know how to structure a fire and have bags of both Kamado XL Lump and Fogo Premium Lump, so I think I should be good to go as far as quality fuel and structuring for goid airflow.

 

I've seen some comments regarding the small size of the PB/LG daisy-wheel top vent compared to the KJ vents that swing completely open, so I've made a jury-rigged 16" smokestack that should provide a +50% draft to increase peak venting to close to KJ fully-open levels.

 

And as far as safety, I understand about burping, have a fire extinguisher and hose at the ready, and have the grill positioned on a fire-proof grill mat, so I believe I'm prepared.

 

I'm a very experienced low and slow smoker that originally jumped on this LG24 because my 10-year old Backwoods Smoker Fatboy is on it's last legs (rusting out), but now that I've understood these Kamados are as usable for 'Extrememy High and Very Fast' as they are for Low and Slow, I'm itching to try making a 900F Neopolitan Pizza!

 

Any pointers, advice, or cautions from others owning similar budget Kamados who have successgully gotten them up to 900F appreciated...

 

[EDIT: P.S. Just to keep the subject of this thread appropriate to the subject of this Forum and limited to getting PB24/LG24s up to 900F, would prefer to avoid any comments or advice on cooking pizza on this thread.  I'll eventually post an update on whatever temperature I succeeded to achieve on my first attempt this weekend but will linit it to a picture of the thermometer and perhaps my smokestack if it works well.  Any updates regarding my first attempt at Neopolitan pizza (including any pics) will be posted in the Pizza Forum.  Thanks.]

 

 

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I would think you want to avoid shocking the ceramic so my advice would be to start a normal size fire and let the cooker come up to at least 300/400 with the lid closed and then dump a large amount of lump on the already very hot fire and leave the lid open for a few minutes to let it get stupid hot before closing the lid again.

I suspect 900 is a bit of a reach and may be harmful to the long term life of the cooker if you don't creep up on it.

 

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4 minutes ago, Chasdev said:

I would think you want to avoid shocking the ceramic so my advice would be to start a normal size fire and let the cooker come up to at least 300/400 with the lid closed and then dump a large amount of lump on the already very hot fire and leave the lid open for a few minutes to let it get stupid hot before closing the lid again.

I suspect 900 is a bit of a reach and may be harmful to the long term life of the cooker if you don't creep up on it.

 

 

4 minutes ago, Chasdev said:

I would think you want to avoid shocking the ceramic so my advice would be to start a normal size fire and let the cooker come up to at least 300/400 with the lid closed and then dump a large amount of lump on the already very hot fire and leave the lid open for a few minutes to let it get stupid hot before closing the lid again.

I suspect 900 is a bit of a reach and may be harmful to the long term life of the cooker if you don't creep up on it.

 

Yeah, thanks - forgot to mention that I'd understood heating up and cooling down relatively slowly were both recommended and that I was planning to do so.

 

From my experience with my FatBoy, I'm pretty comfortable controlling temperatures through the vents, so I was hoping to avoid needing to open things up and removing my heat deflector to add more lump after getting to 300/400.

 

My plan is to:

 

1/ light a small amount of larger-sized lump with my electric lighter (larger pieces) then

 

2/ remove the lighter, fill the firebox up with lump (smaller pieces towards the top) and position heat deflector (legs down), 2" spacers, and 5/8" 15" pizza stone

 

3/ close it up with top and bottom vents wide open and monitor how fast it's heating up.  If two fast I'll close of the vents a bit and if too slow I'll add the smokestack on top.

 

My overall plan was to get from 75F to ~350F over 10-15 minutes and then shoot up to 900F as quickly as I can from there sitting at 900F (or whatever max I reach) for a 20-30 minute heat soak before burping to put in the first pizza).

 

Any advice on recommended speeds / times to get from ambient to 300-400F and then from ~350F to 900F greatly appreciated (especially from any other PB24/LG24 owners who have done this before).

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I just dump in a lit chimney then fill the fire bowl all the way up. Shut the lid and leave the vents wide open.  I have gotten mine well above 900, with my only concern being the gaskets, flashbacks, and not burning myself. 

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30 minutes ago, m-fine said:

I just dump in a lit chimney then fill the fire bowl all the way up. Shut the lid and leave the vents wide open.  I have gotten mine well above 900, with my only concern being the gaskets, flashbacks, and not burning myself. 

 

30 minutes ago, m-fine said:

I just dump in a lit chimney then fill the fire bowl all the way up. Shut the lid and leave the vents wide open.  I have gotten mine well above 900, with my only concern being the gaskets, flashbacks, and not burning myself. 

 

Cool, so you've reached 900F with the stock daisywheel/top-vent - that's good to know.  Can I ask what type/brand of lump you used?

 

If you're still using the stock gasket, I've read about owners melting it at 900F temps - the LavaLock XTR78 just came on the market, is rated to 1000F, and comes with a 1-time no-questions-asked replacement warranty (I have no affiliation with LavaLock or any other barbeque/grill/smoker-related companies).

 

And flashbacks means what?  What can happen if you forget to 'burb' before opening at high temps?

 

Thanks for the response and it's encouraging to know you've reached 900F on a PB24/LG24 with the stock daisywheel vent (no smokestack needed).  Can I ask how long you typically take to go from a cold start to 900F?  Does your heating protocol involve any midpoints or do you literally just dump in a chimney's-worth of lit lump, pile on top of it until the fire bowl is filled with fresh lump, and then just close the lid with both top and bottom vents open wide and let 'er rip?

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I like pizza as much as anybody but consuming that much lump and stressing out my cooker gaskets for a few minutes of high heat for a pizza does not make sense, in addition, getting the cooker that hot is a real risk to your safety if done wrong.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Chasdev said:

I like pizza as much as anybody but consuming that much lump and stressing out my cooker gaskets for a few minutes of high heat for a pizza does not make sense, in addition, getting the cooker that hot is a real risk to your safety if done wrong.

 

 

 

Yeah, there is that.  Using the Kamado for anything less than a small pizza party with anything less than 3 (and ideally at least 6) pizzas isn't too sensible.  If we end up deciding Kamado pizza is way better than 550F Electric Oven pizza, I may need to look into rigging a propane burner into the bottom of the fire basket to make smaller cooks on the Kamado more practical, but that will be for a future time (and a future thread).

 

On the gaskets, hopefully I've got that covered by upgrading to a 1000F gasket before plunging into this adventure.

 

Until I've got some experience with the cooker, it's hard to assess safety issues.  Past smokers/grills I have owned were all pretty tame and the possibility of runaway heat was remote. You'd have to effectively leave a pot on the stove and go out for groceries to have any risk of inadverdantly starting a fire.

 

The daisywheel top vents on the PB24/LG24 seem pretty small (about 11.5 square inches by my estimates) which should limit peak temps to lower levels than on Kamados like the KJ that can swing open to a larger opening of ~18 square inches or so.

 

In fact, it was concerns regarding inability of the PB24/LG24 to reach 900F with stock top vent that motivated me to rig up my little smokestack - sounds like thst may not be needed, but the only way to understand what temps the grill want to head to with a full firebox is to give it a try...

 

Appreciate the advice and the caution.

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I'm not sure that I've ever had mine up to 900* F. I know I've had it around 750* F according to the dome temp anyways. I don't remember ever pegging the 800* stock therm. I cook my pizzas around 600* with the stock dome temp and I don't fuss with really dialing it in. A few minutes and a mid cook 180* rotation of the pizza provides a decent final result. I try not to use my digital therm for anything over the probes rated temps of 500* so, the dome temp is used. IIRC my dome temp runs 50* lower than the grate temp in most cases.

 

It's like anything troubleshoot on your own and find out what works for you. Thinking that there is some magical formula to reach 900* or even thinking 900* is some special temp to be able to cook pizzas is probably a journey I wouldn't waste too much time on. $.02

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On 7/30/2019 at 4:58 PM, fafrd said:

.......     I've understood these Kamados are as usable for 'Extrememy High and Very Fast' ...

 

900f definately can be done but I’d argue the statement “as usable”

 

is this your first kamado experience?

 

To each their own but if you are looking to cook around that temp with any type of regularity, then a cooker designed for that purpose would be a great investment.

 

good luck, be safe! 

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4 hours ago, freddyjbbq said:
Quote

is this your first kamado experience?

 

Yes, first Kamado.  2 Webber's, 2 offset smokers, and a pro/competition FatBoy made by Backwoods Smokers: https://shop.backwoods-smoker.com/products/g2-fatboy

 

 This will be the first time I'm trying to use an outside grill/smoker to reach baking temps beyond what can be achieved with our oven.

 

 

4 hours ago, freddyjbbq said:

To each their own but if you are looking to cook around that temp with any type of regularity, then a cooker designed for that purpose would be a great investment.

 

good luck, be safe! 

 

I was at California Pizza Stones today picking up a pizza stone and ceramic spacers: http://www.californiapizzastones.com/pizza/stones/round-pizza-and-baking-stones.php

 

Their primary business is ceramics, kilns, etc... and I asked the guy how they got started selling pizza stones etc... as a side business.  He told me a few years back they decided to try cooking a pizza on one of their kiln stones in a kiln and it came out fantastic, so they started cutting the stones to different shapes and selling them as pizza stones.

 

We've got friends who are into making ceramics and this outfit had some home kilns on sale for under $1000, so I took home a catelog.  All of their kilns are rated for 2300F, so yeah, if you want to regularly get to temperatures over 1000-degrees, there is better equipment for that.

 

I think my LG24 should have what it takes to withstand this early learning phase (and if not, there's aways my 90-day warranty ftom Costco ;), and after that, I should have a much better baseline as to whether 900F pizza offers enough of an improvement over 700F Pizza to justify the additional risk and cost (in terms of additional fuel consumption)... 

 

Thanks for the warning and advice and will share what I learn.

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11 hours ago, Chasdev said:

If those gaskets are rated to 1000 you will be using them up pretty fast at 900.

Well, their are enough stories of the stock PB/LG gaskets literally melting at 900F that I didn't want to try without upgrading to a KJ-class gasket (wiremesh fiberglass).

 

The Lavalock XTR78 has just come on the market, is apparently the first felt gasket rated to 1000F (similar to the KJ wiremesh fiberglass gasket): https://bbqgaskets.com/lavalockr-xtr78-for-big-green-egg-1000f-lifetime-replacement-warranty.html

 

So it d*mn well better not melt on me at 900F like the stock gasket might have and if it does get 'used up pretty fast at 900', it comes with a 1-time lifetime warranty and so I'll know to stick to lower peak temps for the replacement...

 

 

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8 hours ago, EZ smoke said:

I'm not sure that I've ever had mine up to 900* F. I know I've had it around 750* F according to the dome temp anyways. I don't remember ever pegging the 800* stock therm. I cook my pizzas around 600* with the stock dome temp and I don't fuss with really dialing it in. A few minutes and a mid cook 180* rotation of the pizza provides a decent final result. I try not to use my digital therm for anything over the probes rated temps of 500* so, the dome temp is used. IIRC my dome temp runs 50* lower than the grate temp in most cases.

 

It's like anything troubleshoot on your own and find out what works for you. Thinking that there is some magical formula to reach 900* or even thinking 900* is some special temp to be able to cook pizzas is probably a journey I wouldn't waste too much time on. $.02

 

Was that with both top and bottom vents wide open?  Interested to know what kind of lump you were using.

 

I know there is no 'magical formula' and that excellent pizza can be cooked at 550F, 600F or 700F, but my very experienced pizza-making neighbors are excited about trying to make pizza beyond the 550F their oven can deliver for the first time, and certification for Neopolitain-style pizza requires cooking at 900F (among other things).

 

So we're going to try 900F, 700F, and 550F and settle on what we think is the best bang-for-the-lump result!

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The dough you use has to be tailored to the temperature you are cooking at. This is a very deep topic, so I will just leave it at that. 

 

As for getting over 900, I did it with the stock gaskets and with replacement gaskets. The stock ones lasted a few hot cooks, they did not instantly melt, but mine may have been different than what other people got.  The replacements have lasted several years and I have no worries there. 

 

I have used used several brands of lump. I don’t think that is a big factor.  The important part is having a deep pile that is fully lit. A Kick Ash basket of more open bottom grate helps. 

 

The stock top vent is fine, but for Neapolitan pizza, I simply remove it.  I set up the pizza stone at the very top, maybe 2” from the dome so the toppings and bottom cook evenly and fast. They go from not done to done to overcooked fast so being able to see in from the top vent opening is very helpful. 

 

Is it worth it?  Occasionally I guess so, but we prefer a more NY style pizza cooked at 650. This is a slightly different (less water, no oil or sugar) dough than you would use at sub 500 temps in a home oven, but not Neapolitan dough.  They take a bit longer to cook but still fast, and I use the same setup with the stone raised way up to the top of the dome. 

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BTW, my temps were measured with a K type thermocouple rated to 1800.  Bimetallic dome thermometers are not anywhere close to accurate at these temps. I also use an IR gun to measure when the stone is preheated.  You need the right gun to measure up to 1000+ So buy carefully. 

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