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Advice on hitting 900F with a PB24/LG24


fafrd
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I will just chime in here that my pizza stone takes about an hour to heat soak fully to 550* from start-up, as measured by IR gun.  It lags behind dome temp until I stabilize at 550 then I give it another 20-30 minutes to catch up.  I would imagine to ramp up to 900* you may start running out of fuel before fully heat soaked and ready to cook?  Otherwise you will have to fill the firebox so full that A) it overheats the firebowl and cracks it or does some other damage and/or b) it is dangerous.  I would go with dangerous and exercise extra caution.  I have had flames coming up out the vent on a fully vent open pre-heat, I suspect it was due to getting a little carried away filling the bowl on a breezy day.  My stock gaskets are starting to show signs of wear, I do a pizza cook a week at 550-600 for the past 3 months I've had the kamado.  I will be looking into nomex replacement soon.  BTW if you really want to get it rocking turn the kamado vent into the wind when you have a nice steady breeze you should be there in no time.  

 

Can you do it?  Likely?  Is it worth it?  Maybe?  Are they better tools to do that job specifically?  Yes.

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I dont think you need to bring any kamado to 900f dome temp imagine what the temp in the belly will be.. but hey its your kamado if you want to operate at those temps that is up to you but very dangerous and can got out of control good luck

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

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

Yes, DON'T!

 

On 7/30/2019 at 5:28 PM, fafrd said:

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).

This is the recipe for disaster. You act as if 900F were some sort of stop - it's not. If you "shoot up to 900F as quickly as I can" you'll most likely top out at 1000-1200F, and could end up with a pile of pottery shards. These things are neither kilns nor wood-fire ovens, the latter designed to operate at 900-1000F. 

 

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

I know how to structure a fire and have bags of both Kamado XL Lump and Fogo Premium Lump,

Using these fuels, you're safe. I also use KJ''s XL Lump, but not for pizza. I can't get the temps with this fuel, out of the bag, as I'm loath to break it up small enough. Great for long cooks, but I've had problem getting above 500F without crushing the lumps. Far easier to use a hot-burning mesquite-based fuel (Frontier) which may or may not be available in your area. 

 

So... stop aiming for a thermometer reading and start aiming to make good pizza. I take about an hour to hit a peak in the 800-900F range before settling for the 30 min. heat soak in the 750-800 range, then cooking at 700-750 for 3-5 min. Yeah, it's 90 minutes prep for a 4 minute cook, but I get wine glass crust every time with lots of freckles on top. 

 

Play around and you will too. I just hope the neighbors understand a learning curve. 

 

Have fun,

Frank

Edited by fbov
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On August 1, 2019 at 4:18 AM, m-fine said:
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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. 

 

Yeah, I've got 60% dough rising now, so hopefully whether the cook ends up being at 900F or 700F, it will cook quickly enough...

 

On August 1, 2019 at 4:18 AM, m-fine said:
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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. 

 

 

I've seen those but don't own one.  If I end up being dissapointed with wherever temps get to, that's a helpful suggestion, thanks.

 

On August 1, 2019 at 4:18 AM, m-fine said:
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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. 

 

I thought about removing the top vent to have more of a Kamado Joe-style opening for high temps, but I like the daisy wheel and the control that provdes.  So what I've done is to rig up a removable smokestack that should at least double the draw.  If it works as I hope tomorrow evening, I will post pics.

 

Right now, I've got my 5/8" pizza stone on 1-1/2" spacers on the heat deflector in the uppermost position, which end sup being about 1" abpve the lip or ~6" below the inside top of the dome.

 

I could go up another 4" as you have by using the grills but I was advised that 'more than 1-1/2" above the heat deflector is like having no deflector, so I'll probably just go with this more conventional configuration this go round and save messing around with raising the stone higher into the dome for a future experiment.

 

On August 1, 2019 at 4:18 AM, m-fine said:

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. 

 

Good to know - thanks.  Are you putting your heat deflector on your grills or if not, how are you getting it raised that high?

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On August 1, 2019 at 4:21 AM, m-fine said:

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. 

 

I bought an IR gun rated to 1076F, so hopefully I'll be OK.  I think my plan for heat-up will be to use the vents to limit the air temps to no more than ~200F above pizza stone temp.  No real way to measure air temps except the stock bimetal, but during my curing burn, I cross-checked settled dome temps of 250F and the bimetal measured pretty much the same.  I'll just have to use the bimetal is indicative, trust the IR as reflecting reality, and may eventually need to rig up my thermocouple as well...

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On August 1, 2019 at 5:37 AM, KamadoChris said:
Quote

I will just chime in here that my pizza stone takes about an hour to heat soak fully to 550* from start-up, as measured by IR gun.  It lags behind dome temp until I stabilize at 550 then I give it another 20-30 minutes to catch up. I imagine to ramp up to 900* you may start running out of fuel before fully heat soaked and ready to cook? 

 

I'm worried about that as well - will just have to try and learn what this Kamado can do.  If fuel runs out before getting much above 600F, we've got 3 balls of 70% 'backup dough' at the ready and can hopefully cook some pizza on the way back down...


 

Quote

 

Otherwise you will have to fill the firebox so full that A) it overheats the firebowl and cracks it or does some other damage and/or b) it is dangerous.  I would go with dangerous and exercise extra caution.  I have had flames coming up out the vent on a fully vent open pre-heat, I suspect it was due to getting a little carried away filling the bowl on a breezy day.  My stock gaskets are starting to show signs of wear, I do a pizza cook a week at 550-600 for the past 3 months I've had the kamado.  I will be looking into nomex replacement soon.  BTW if you really want to get it rocking turn the kamado vent into the wind when you have a nice steady breeze you should be there in no time.  


 

Absolutely plan to exercise extra caution.  I'm going to use the stock vents to try to maintain a maximum gap of 200-300F between the air and the stone temp.

I've built a 2' smokestack that should give me about double the flow through the stock vents and if that's not enough, I've can rig up my barbeque guru fan to further increase flow (and under control) in a future attempt.

 

 

On August 1, 2019 at 5:37 AM, KamadoChris said:

Can you do it?  Likely?  Is it worth it?  Maybe?  Are they better tools to do that job specifically?  Yes.

 

I'm just going to do whatever is easiest on this budget Kamado.  Whether 900F Neopolitan pizza is sufficiently superior to 700F Neopolitan to justify the axtra trouble (and fuel cost) is unknowable until you try and compare...

 

Thanks for the inputs.

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On August 1, 2019 at 9:40 AM, fbov said:

Yes, DON'T!

 

Quote

This is the recipe for disaster. You act as if 900F were some sort of stop - it's not. If you "shoot up to 900F as quickly as I can" you'll most likely top out at 1000-1200F, and could end up with a pile of pottery shards. These things are neither kilns nor wood-fire ovens, the latter designed to operate at 900-1000F. 

 

Yeah, thinking it over last night, I've decided it makes more sense to limit air temps to no more than a maximum of 200F or 300F above pizza stone temp.  I may burn through all of my fuel without getting anyway, but the risk of runaway temps will be low.

 

On August 1, 2019 at 9:40 AM, fbov said:
Quote

Using these fuels, you're safe. I also use KJ''s XL Lump, but not for pizza. I can't get the temps with this fuel, out of the bag, as I'm loath to break it up small enough. Great for long cooks, but I've had problem getting above 500F without crushing the lumps. Far easier to use a hot-burning mesquite-based fuel (Frontier) which may or may not be available in your area. 

 

Well, it that's the case we may just end up making 500F pizza tomorrow.  I'm planning to use large lumps of KJ and Fogo and if it burns too slow to get up to the temps I'm hoping for, so be it.  I've rigged up a smokestack that should give me ~2X airflow through the stock vents, so that should help, but if I need mesquite that will need to wait for a future attempt.  I read that mesquite should be avoided when aking pizza due to the sparks it generates.  Not a problem in your experience?

 

On August 1, 2019 at 9:40 AM, fbov said:

So... stop aiming for a thermometer reading and start aiming to make good pizza. I take about an hour to hit a peak in the 800-900F range before settling for the 30 min. heat soak in the 750-800 range, then cooking at 700-750 for 3-5 min. Yeah, it's 90 minutes prep for a 4 minute cook, but I get wine glass crust every time with lots of freckles on top. 

 

Play around and you will too. I just hope the neighbors understand a learning curve. 

 

Have fun,

Frank

 

Definitely going to have fun :).

 

I think I've got enough awareness and experience to know when my fuel starts losing steam.  Whateve natural 'peak' we hit (under 900F max) will be the temp we start cooking at.  And then we've got several different hydrations of dough ready so we'll be able to cook all the way down if the lump is spent and we're drifting.

 

It'll be fun, we'll learn alot.  And yeah, the neighbors have the same attitude about this adventure (they are the ones who have prepared all of the 'backup' doughs).

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On August 1, 2019 at 1:31 PM, Chasdev said:

You may need one these too..

 

 

DSC01804.JPG.fe78c86d9708b8db0bb5d4f85eb5a05a.JPG

I'm sticking with the stock thermometer for now and I'm not sure whether it continues to read past 800F without markings or not, but if it ends up maxing out at 800F and we successfully get above that, I'll probably need to get a better thermometer for next time.  Any recommendations?

 

I figure the IR thermometer will allow me to accurately monitor pizza stone as often as need and dome interior occassionally, plus the metal smokestack I rigged up may give a reading that corresponds to air temp , so I should have a good enough idea of what's going on, at least for this first attenpt.

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3 hours ago, Ben S said:

I can tell you I started down this road with my first KJ.  I had to learn the hardware that only pizza should be cooked that hot, and even then I find the kamado works better at 7-800 F MAX.  many people like 5-600. 

 

Yeah, this is only for Neopolitan-style pizza.

 

And we'll hopefully be cooking one or two at 800-900F, another 1 or 2 at 700-800F, and one or two at 550F (including one in the plain 'ol oven).

 

I don't even know if this little $500 Kamado will be able to get that high but it's gonna be fun to fire her up for the first time tomorrow and she what she's capable of...

 

 

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I see a problem cooking the second/third pie.

If you get to 8/900 and open it to place the pie, the next time you open it it will go nuts and then again the next time.

A blacksmith forge can reach 3500 if fed enough O2, so opening and shutting after reaching 900 may get interesting.

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6 hours ago, Chasdev said:

I see a problem cooking the second/third pie.

If you get to 8/900 and open it to place the pie, the next time you open it it will go nuts and then again the next time.

A blacksmith forge can reach 3500 if fed enough O2, so opening and shutting after reaching 900 may get interesting.

 

Appreciate the warning.  It hard to be prepared either for running out of fuel without ever getting that high or reaching 900F with so much fuel left that flareups over 1000F from O2 getting in when the hood is cracked so pizza can be loaded.

 

Hope as I get to 700F I'll know which situation I'm approaching...

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6 hours ago, Chasdev said:

I see a problem cooking the second/third pie.

There might be a problem cooking the fourth pie...

 

I normally do 3 pies from 500g of flour. I once did 1000g, enough for 6 pies. I had to do them in two batches, rebuilding the fire in between because it could no longer hit 800F after the third pie. I give ~10 min. between pies to equilibrate, so with a 60 min. heat-up, 30 min. heat soak and 45 min of cooking is all I get form a bowl full of coal. 

6 hours ago, Chasdev said:

... the next time you open it it will go nuts...

If this were an Akorn, perhaps. I have no issues with fire run-away when opening and closing. It always falls and has to re-heat for a bit. 

 

I've also done wok cooking, which keeps the dome open. Bottom vent was still effective in a KJ. Can't speak to a PB.

 

16 hours ago, fafrd said:

... I read that mesquite should be avoided when making pizza due to the sparks it generates.  Not a problem in your experience?

Yes, it sparks when it's lighting. I would avoid it in a true WFO, where you add raw wood. All the sparking ends long before the temperature gets very high. When you're cooking, the entire fire bowl should be bright red. 

 

17 hours ago, fafrd said:

A Kick Ash basket (or) more open bottom grate helps. 

+1

I have an ash basket that I will use for tonight's pizza. I've had it about a year, and only recently discovered that I'm better off without it for low-n-slow cooks, where you want the fire to stay small and move. The basket lets a lot more air get at the fuel, so the fire grows faster and ends up hotter. Kind of the same effect as XL Big Block but in reverse!

 

HAve fun,

Frank

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2 hours ago, fbov said:
Quote

 

There might be a problem cooking the fourth pie...

 

I normally do 3 pies from 500g of flour. I once did 1000g, enough for 6 pies. I had to do them in two batches, rebuilding the fire in between because it could no longer hit 800F after the third pie. I give ~10 min. between pies to equilibrate, so with a 60 min. heat-up, 30 min. heat soak and 45 min of cooking is all I get form a bowl full of coal. 

 

 

Very helpful  thanks.  This will be my model for what to shoot for.  If we only get one or two pizzas cooked at a full 900F before things begin to cool down, no biggie (and we'll consider it a big success).  I  fact, we are hoping to cook a few pizzas as various lower temperatures as remps drift down.  Any guestimate o  ho long ot would take to drift down from 900F to 700F once the fire is killed and vents are closed?

 

2 hours ago, fbov said:
Quote

If this were an Akorn, perhaps. I have no issues with fire run-away when opening and closing. It always falls and has to re-heat for a bit. 

 

Comforting to know - thanks.  Do you have a PB/LG or KJ?  What is it about the Acorn deaign that makes you think it's more prone to oxygen-induced flareups?

 

2 hours ago, fbov said:
Quote

 

I've also done wok cooking, which keeps the dome open. Bottom vent was still effective in a KJ. Can't speak to a PB.

 

Yes, it sparks when it's lighting. I would avoid it in a true WFO, where you add raw wood. All the sparking ends long before the temperature gets very high. When you're cooking, the entire fire bowl should be bright red. 

 

Great to know - thanks.  Lots of good (and relatively cheap) Mesquite near me, so I'll be trying that once the Fogo and KJ Big Block are consumed...

 

2 hours ago, fbov said:

+1

I have an ash basket that I will use for tonight's pizza. I've had it about a year, and only recently discovered that I'm better off without it for low-n-slow cooks, where you want the fire to stay small and move. The basket lets a lot more air get at the fuel, so the fire grows faster and ends up hotter. Kind of the same effect as XL Big Block but in reverse!

 

HAve fun,

Frank

 

That Kick Ash basket looks nice but is pretty pricey.  If I'm unable to get to the temps I'm aiming for as is, a Kick Ash may be my next upgrade...

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