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Advice on hitting 900F with a PB24/LG24


fafrd
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The AR is a great tool for the PB/LG, but it will be 1.5-2” short sitting on the fire bowl.  You can use spacers between a grate on top of the AR to list the stone, or lift the AR. The reason I want to lift the AR is to get more room for adding charcoal, but it is splitting hairs at that point. 

 

Heating mine up to try some naan. Getting there...

 

4163B4D3-8BE4-49F1-9411-1C1553088741.jpeg

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I used Kamado Joe big block charcoal for this cook and I am SUPER impressed with the heat content. It is a denser heavy charcoal and that really helped it last. These two pictures were taken at 6:13 and 7:13 with no reloading at all.  BTW, yes, for super high heat you want to start with all new charcoal.  

 

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1 hour ago, Chasdev said:

Me? I would be a bit paranoid about what out gasses from the aluminum foil and silicone sealer at that temp.

I sealed the firebox door on my offset stick burner and when it got roaring hot the automotive "high temp" silicone sealer stunk to high heaven and of course fell apart.

 

I hear you and have exactly the same concerns.

 

This is why I’ve started measuring and logging the ceramic temps during my high-temp pizza cooks.  During yesterday’s cook, the lip below the felt on the outside of the basket never exceeded 350F even when the outside of the dome was at 400F and the inside of the dome was at 750F.

 

I spoke to Louisiana Grills and they told me the brand of silicon they use to seal the invent door to the ceramic basket - it is the NSF silicon rated to 650F.

 

So with a few more cooks and measurements, I’m guessing I’ll get comfortable that the ceramic near the outside of the felt never exceeds 650F (and even if it does, the 1000F silicon is outside the cooking area).

 

I’m still on the fence about aluminum versus alternatives like firebox gasket: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00KN1GNRK/ref=sspa_mw_detail_0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

I had an aluminum foil gasket on top of the lower felt for my first 900F pizza cook and even the portion extending into the Kamado survived 100% intact despite having the heat deflector divert the hot air coming off of the lump right onto it:

 

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If the foil was just sitting in the middle of the lip between two rings of stainless wire, it’ll probably get nowhere close to it’s melting/evaporation point and be fine.

 

On the other hand, many use firebox gasket on their Kamados despite the lack of official food-safe certification and if it’s just compressed between to hoops if stainless steel, it’s not in the cooking area anyway...

 

None has of this will happen before the existing ‘1000F’ felt gasket gives out, but I’m going to keep collecting data in the hopes I can find some better gasket solution to put up with ~1000F pizza cooks...

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After over an hour with the pizza stone at 940 ish and more than two hours since lighting, there is nowhere on the outside ceramic registering higher than 656 and the lower bowl anywhere near the intake is all under 500.  I have the vents shut down now, figure it should cool down enough to get the cover on by morning!

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1 hour ago, m-fine said:

The AR is a great tool for the PB/LG, but it will be 1.5-2” short sitting on the fire bowl.  You can use spacers between a grate on top of the AR to list the stone, or lift the AR. The reason I want to lift the AR is to get more room for adding charcoal, but it is splitting hairs at that point. 

 

Heating mine up to try some naan. Getting there...

 

4163B4D3-8BE4-49F1-9411-1C1553088741.jpeg

 

Short how?  I was told it sits 6” above the rim of the firebowl (versus the 4-1/8” I get from the stock LG24 dual-grate).

 

So I was expecting the 20” grate on the AR to sit almost 2” higher than the stock top grate I used yesterday, meaning I’d have to ditch the place-setter:

 

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The alternative could be to use the 18” grill on the highest setting (which should be about the same height as the stock dual-grill).  This would allow me to keep using the place setter but will pretty much prevent being able to add lump during the cook).

 

I’m figuring that either way I’ll need to use spacers between whichever grill I use and the first ceramic layer (either place setter with the 18” grill of 16” heat deflector with 20” grill), so it’s more the trade-off of having the additional ceramic heat-mass close to the pizza stone but no ability to add lump versus having the ability to add lump partway through the cook but with less ceramic heat-mass (no place setter).

 

If you can tell me the height of you AR 20” grill above the felt line and what year you bought your AR, I can check with CGS whether any changes have been made to the PB24/LG24 version since then...

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18 minutes ago, m-fine said:

I used Kamado Joe big block charcoal for this cook and I am SUPER impressed with the heat content. It is a denser heavy charcoal and that really helped it last. These two pictures were taken at 6:13 and 7:13 with no reloading at all.  BTW, yes, for super high heat you want to start with all new charcoal.  

 

7DA66ADD-768D-4529-BC9A-D5902EAC4E1C.thumb.jpeg.bb357435d6ede55538ea1e79728c106d.jpeg

81F1A540-D436-4CAD-954F-1DF9FA126C02.thumb.jpeg.e1ae7725d3011b00678d637b5c577116.jpeg

 

Yes, learned that lesson the hard way yesterday.

 

I have some KJ BB but have not yet cracked into it.  I was very impressed with the density and chunk size of Fogo Premium - have you tried that?

 

My first run last weekend maintained 900F for a full hour before I shut it down and had ~1/4 of the lump still remaining the next morning...

 

Have you ever tried mesquite for high-temps?

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7 minutes ago, m-fine said:

After over an hour with the pizza stone at 940 ish and more than two hours since lighting, there is nowhere on the outside ceramic registering higher than 656 and the lower bowl anywhere near the intake is all under 500.  I have the vents shut down now, figure it should cool down enough to get the cover on by morning!

 

Wow, you cranked it up their quickly!  I spent 4 hours getting to ~750F before the coals started to fade yesterday compared to 2 hours to get to 900F the week before (where it held for an hour before I shut it down and had ~1/4 of the lump remaining the next morning).

 

I thought heating up more slowly would be better for the Kamado (less heat stress) and would conserve fuel, but I suppose the increased time may actually translate to more total fuel consumed getting to 900F...

 

I may try another 2-hour heat-up next weekend with fresh lump.  Did you ‘heat-soak’ (maintain temps) for any amount of time before starting to cook?  The one thing I’m sure of is that the temperature differential I had between pizza stone and inside of dome was far less heating slowly than when I heated as quickly as you did here...

 

Outside the dome I had 600 when the pizza stone hit 900 and I started to cook (and stopped taking any more measurements).  I had assumed that if I paused for 15-20 minutes before starting to cook, the dome would have heated up further, but if your outside dome never got past 656 while your pizza stone was maintained at 940 for an hour, perhaps that assumption is flawed.

 

You’ve convinced me to redo my first 2-hour ramp-up 900F cook with my new heat-deflector higher-into-the-dome configuration.

 

p.s. I’m not that into naan, but my kids are - looks pretty good, where did you find the recipe?

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I have not tried FOGO or mesquite in the Kamado, but using a denser charcoal definitely had an impact on how long it held at 900+.   It takes a while to heat soak the ceramic and the pizza stone so I think I had my fire burning for 2 hours to have the stone at 900+ for the hour cooking window.  Using cheaper charcoal like royal oak, I have had a usable window closed to 30 minutes before temps started to drop off.  An hour is long enough to make a LOT of pizzas when they are cooking that fast!  Also, to the naysayers and fear mongers earlier in the thread, I had the bottom vent full open and the top vent removed. It did not run away and hit kiln or steel forge temps!  The air intake is the limiting factor, and you would need a blower/bellows to get anywhere close to the temperature the grill was at when Auplex had it in their kiln. 

 

The AR is very new, so no design changes. I was not accounting for your ceramic spacers. With those you should be at a perfect height.  FYI, A19” stone is the MAX you can fit that high and it needs to be biased slightly to the rear for the lid to open and close. 18” would be better,/easier, and 16” is no problem at all. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, fafrd said:

 

Wow, you cranked it up their quickly!  I spent 4 hours getting to ~750F before the coals started to fade yesterday compared to 2 hours to get to 900F the week before (where it held for an hour before I shut it down and had ~1/4 of the lump remaining the next morning).

 

I thought heating up more slowly would be better for the Kamado (less heat stress) and would conserve fuel, but I suppose the increased time may actually translate to more total fuel consumed getting to 900F...

 

I may try another 2-hour heat-up next weekend with fresh lump.  Did you ‘heat-soak’ (maintain temps) for any amount of time before starting to cook?  The one thing I’m sure of is that the temperature differential I had between pizza stone and inside of dome was far less heating slowly than when I heated as quickly as you did here...

 

Outside the dome I had 600 when the pizza stone hit 900 and I started to cook (and stopped taking any more measurements).  I had assumed that if I paused for 15-20 minutes before starting to cook, the dome would have heated up further, but if your outside dome never got past 656 while your pizza stone was maintained at 940 for an hour, perhaps that assumption is flawed.

 

You’ve convinced me to redo my first 2-hour ramp-up 900F cook with my new heat-deflector higher-into-the-dome configuration.

 

p.s. I’m not that into naan, but my kids are - looks pretty good, where did you find the recipe?

 

Yes, I lit some coals on the bottom, filled it up and let her rip. Bottom full open, top vent removed, lid closed.  The air temp was up there fairly quickly, but I waited until the stone stabilized over 900 for about 15-20 minutes.

 

I did not measure the inside of the dome, and only measured the outside after the cook because of the prior posts here. The 656 was near the felt line, the outside of the dome was more like 550-600 range.  The inside had to have been hotter, but I don’t really know.  I figure it is the hot air flowing across the top of the pie that cooks the toppings and not really heat radiating off the dome ceramic.  My theory is the getting up high forces the hot air to flow right over the pizza to get to the vent, and that is why it works better.  I know others believe the dome reflects or radiates the heat back down, and while I don’t agree, I have to give them credit for the idea of cooking high in the dome in the first place.  Anyway, I am more concerned about the pizza stone getting up to temp and heat soaked so that temp per the IR gun was the only thing I worried about tonight. 

 

I wont share the naan recipe because it is not quite right yet!  When I get it dialed in I will share my recipe and technique. 

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20 minutes ago, m-fine said:

 

Yes, I lit some coals on the bottom, filled it up and let her rip. Bottom full open, top vent removed, lid closed.  The air temp was up there fairly quickly, but I waited until the stone stabilized over 900 for about 15-20 minutes.

 

I did not measure the inside of the dome, and only measured the outside after the cook because of the prior posts here. The 656 was near the felt line, the outside of the dome was more like 550-600 range.  The inside had to have been hotter, but I don’t really know.  I figure it is the hot air flowing across the top of the pie that cooks the toppings and not really heat radiating off the dome ceramic.  My theory is the getting up high forces the hot air to flow right over the pizza to get to the vent, and that is why it works better.  I know others believe the dome reflects or radiates the heat back down, and while I don’t agree, I have to give them credit for the idea of cooking high in the dome in the first place.  Anyway, I am more concerned about the pizza stone getting up to temp and heat soaked so that temp per the IR gun was the only thing I worried about tonight.

 

Interesting.  The fact that your highest temps in the outside of the Kamado were near the felt line and not at the top of the dome is no-doubt because of where you have your heat-deflector positioned.  Hot air comes off the lump and hits the heat deflector, then is deflected to hit the ceramic walls near the feltline.  That air is cooled as it rises up to hit the pizza stone, heating up the ceramic walls a bit and cooling down a bit the whole way up.

 

Then your pizza stone gets heated up to 900F before the air is diverted a second time to hit the side walls of the dome before rising to hit the top of the dome.

 

So the coolest air is heating your dome and the outside of your dome is 250-300F cooler than your pizza stone.

 

I’ve got my heat deflector raised way up to just under my pizza stone, so the coolest part of my Kamado is near the felt line because no hot air is directed directly onto that area (outside the forebowl is even cooler but not relevant to the discussion).

 

The air hits the deflector and then hits the side of the dome.  If I ever measure the temps right where the dome starts to curve, I’ll probably see that they are higher that at the top.  That cooled-down air then flows across the inside of the dome, across the top of the pizza, and through the 1-1/2” gap between the pizza stone and the heat deflector.  Your pizza stone is effectively heated by direct heat where mine is heated by a combination of indirect heat from the heat deflector, it direct heat from the dome, and hit air passing around both sides of the pizza stone.

 

In my first run (with pizza stone low), pizza stone was at 900F in the center, ~1000F at the edge (because pizza stone extended 1/2” beyond stock heat deflector / place setter) air/thermometer was at 800F and inside of dome was around 600F.  Result was overcharred crust and undercooked toppings.

 

The second run yesterday (with pizza stone raised up to your level and a larger heat deflector properly shielding it) only hit up to ~750F for the reasons mentioned, but pizza stone and air temps were pretty much perfectly matched and inside of dome was within 150F of pizza stone rather than 300F.

 

Bottoms and tops cooked perfectly and together (but not enough charring because temps were not high enough).

 

If you try raising the position of your heat deflector you might be happy with the results.  Sounds like you are already pretty happy with how things are cooking, but as a minimum, if you start measuring temps at pizza stone center and edge, you’ll probably find the same ~5% temperature differential I found during my ‘trial run’ last Thursday, and you’ll probably start saving fuel.  All the energy your putting into keeping your felt line ~200 degrees higher than it needs to be is not doing your cook any good and is consuming a lot of BTUs..

 

My feltline was at ~50% of my pizza stone temp (~350F for pizza stone at ~700F) where yours is over 70%.

 

This exchange has been interesting.

 

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I wont share the naan recipe because it is not quite right yet!  When I get it dialed in I will share my recipe and technique. 

 

 

Fair enough - looking forward to seeing it once you’re ready...

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1 hour ago, m-fine said:

I did not have a heat deflector at all for that cook. Only the stone I cooked on.  I think it is hottest there because it is above the firebowl but still close to the coals. 

 

Interesting. Was the lump filled up above the top of the bowl ; I suppose not because you had a grate to support the AR, right?

 

That seems to be at least one noteworthy difference between how our pretty-similar rigs have behaved.

 

But it’s still slightly apples-to-oranges until I try out my new set-up with a full load of fresh lump at 900F...

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3 hours ago, m-fine said:
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I have not tried FOGO or mesquite in the Kamado, but using a denser charcoal definitely had an impact on how long it held at 900+.   It takes a while to heat soak the ceramic and the pizza stone so I think I had my fire burning for 2 hours to have the stone at 900+ for the hour cooking window.  Using cheaper charcoal like royal oak, I have had a usable window closed to 30 minutes before temps started to drop off.  An hour is long enough to make a LOT of pizzas when they are cooking that fast!  Also, to the naysayers and fear mongers earlier in the thread, I had the bottom vent full open and the top vent removed. It did not run away and hit kiln or steel forge temps!  The air intake is the limiting factor, and you would need a blower/bellows to get anywhere close to the temperature the grill was at when Auplex had it in their kiln. 

 

Yeah, that's another difference in our set-ups - you remove the top vent completely while I leave the daisy-wheel in place and have both intake and output vents less than fully open until I start to stall (typically around around 400-450F).

 

There are so many members here warning about damaging the ceramic from running it too hot, but Cordierite melts at 1435C (2615F!), so I don't think there is any way short of performing unnatural acts (as you state) that you are going to heat the ceramic up to temps that will damage it.

 

Stress from heating up or cooling down too quickly cpukd be another thing, and it's one of the reasons I've attempted to keep the heat difference between the pizza stone, the inside if the dome, and the air/thermometer within some limit (been using 300F).  The gaskets are going to suffer from 900F temps but the ceramic itself should be OK as long as it is not heating up too quickly...

 

3 hours ago, m-fine said:

The AR is very new, so no design changes. I was not accounting for your ceramic spacers. With those you should be at a perfect height.  FYI, A19” stone is the MAX you can fit that high and it needs to be biased slightly to the rear for the lid to open and close. 18” would be better,/easier, and 16” is no problem at all. 

 

 

 

Oh, OK, now I see - you were talking about 'short of target' where I thought you meant 'short of where I was getting to with the stock dual-grate'.

 

I bought a 2"x2"x14" ceramic spacer and have a tile saw, so once I have my AR, I'll be able to cut whatever size spacers I need to get heat deflector height to where I want it.

 

As I explained earlier, what I'm struggling with is which is more important - having the extra heat-mass and thickness of using the placesetter under the heat deflector (which means using the 18" grate on the highest position and losing the ability to add lump during the cook) or supporting the heat deflector directly on the 20" grate (wit spacers, if needed) which means lump can easily be added but my heat mass and deflector thickness has been reduced from what I know I'm happy with.

 

I'm still confised as to why you need to support your AR on a grate resting on the bowl - I thought they had hooks to rest directly on the bowl (no grill needed)?

 

I've got a 15" stone, which I'm very happy with for cooking on, and a 16" heat deflector, which seems to be doing a great job insulating the pizza stone from direct heat.

 

Are you cooking something very large that makes you want to have a pizza stone that big?

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