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Do I need to clean my kamado? Or is charcoal smoker better choice for me?


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My wife just began complaining about the flavor of the sides! She doesn't want them smoky, all of the sudden. I thought it was that I was choking down the lower damper to a greater extent than I had been. Maybe it's the lump itself? She never said anything about it for two years! 

I have noticed a more pronounced smokiness. 

Dangit! Just when you think you got it liked something random changes. Now I have to start blanking with designer lump! 

Thanks for this Forum! 

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22 hours ago, nikon5400 said:

Do I just need a break from smoked food for months, so that I can start enjoying kamado as much as I have for the 1st year owning it?

Perhaps, but not for the reason you think. 

 

My money's on a change in your process. The most common is impatience. Wait a half hour longer before putting on the food next time. The earlier you put on food, the smokier it will be (all the way to inedible if you hit the dreaded white smoke). I recently did a sequential cook, 2 hrs of bacon followed by turkey breast. The bacon got all the smoke flavor; the turkey skin was still white when the breast meat was done. Very gentle smoke ring, but then, you don't need smoke to get the ring. 

 

A Kamado is just an oven. But it's an oven that can infuse food with flavor, if you want... and sometimes even if you don't. Enjoy the anniversary, then try one of the many other things folks have suggest... and be patient!

 

Have fun,

Frank

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6 hours ago, Chasdev said:

If you like kingsford try the comp version, it burns hotter and lasts a little longer than the regular flavor.

 

 

 

DSC00063.thumb.JPG.d22b198ed541e0c9414abcdcd4a21cc3.JPG

This is not the comp version which I suspect is closer to real lump charcoal with less filler.

http://www.nakedwhiz.com/productreviews/kvsk/oldkingsfordnew.htm

 

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I clean my joe about every couple of months or so. I do s depending on how many low and slows i do.Grill some burgers or thighs to warm up the ceramic then while enjoy the meal i open the vents and let it go up to about 600 or 700 for about 1/2 hour then close the vents. Next morning i use a nylon brush (never a metal brush)and lightly brush the dome. Most of the Schmutz  you have will turn to ash and can be wiped away. Or you can make a couple of 700 degree pizzas on it. I think the soot on the bird was from the coals, was the grill pumping out white smoke? if it was this is where the soot came from.John Setzler has a great video on cleaning the kamado

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8 hours ago, len440 said:

I clean my joe about every couple of months or so. I do s depending on how many low and slows i do.Grill some burgers or thighs to warm up the ceramic then while enjoy the meal i open the vents and let it go up to about 600 or 700 for about 1/2 hour then close the vents. Next morning i use a nylon brush (never a metal brush)and lightly brush the dome. Most of the Schmutz  you have will turn to ash and can be wiped away. Or you can make a couple of 700 degree pizzas on it. I think the soot on the bird was from the coals, was the grill pumping out white smoke? if it was this is where the soot came from.John Setzler has a great video on cleaning the kamado

A couple people mentioned white smoke. interesting

 

I opened all vents and let the remaining Royal Oak burn. I didn't get 700, but got 650 and a couple hours later had around 500.

I noticed the smoke coming out from the vents was white. 

What does it tell me? What color should it be?

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9 hours ago, fbov said:

Perhaps, but not for the reason you think. 

 

My money's on a change in your process. The most common is impatience. Wait a half hour longer before putting on the food next time. The earlier you put on food, the smokier it will be (all the way to inedible if you hit the dreaded white smoke). I recently did a sequential cook, 2 hrs of bacon followed by turkey breast. The bacon got all the smoke flavor; the turkey skin was still white when the breast meat was done. Very gentle smoke ring, but then, you don't need smoke to get the ring. 

 

A Kamado is just an oven. But it's an oven that can infuse food with flavor, if you want... and sometimes even if you don't. Enjoy the anniversary, then try one of the many other things folks have suggest... and be patient!

 

Have fun,

Frank

I usually wait for about 15 minutes with lid open. Then I close the lid, wait until temperature is above 200, then change all vents to 1 (top and 2 bottom ones) and put the meat in. This way I always have 225-250 and rarely need to adjust the temperature. 

 

And again, when do I see white smoke and why is it bad? 

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I sent videos to the manufacturer. Below is their reply

 

The lid walls are normal. They turn black from all the fat and creosote build-up, which adds flavor to the food. If you want to clean the top dome and top vent, please see below:

You may find that if you bring the grill up to searing temperatures of 600 to 700 degrees the creosote (fat and smoke buildup) will start to melt or even begin dripping off of the inside of the top vent. This should remove about 60% of the creosote buildup. The next day or when the grill is completely cooled down, remove the screw from underneath the top vent to separate the two halves. Use a wire brush and degreaser to clean any excess creosote. Then with a hot towel and degreaser, clean in the crevasses of the top vent and polish the cast iron clean. Lastly, put the screw back in, to connect the two halves, make sure the felt gives it a tight snug fit, and then you are good to begin grilling again with a close to perfect, clean top vent.

Additionally, for the top inner ceramic (or lid walls) you can rub gently wash it with warm soapy water with a little lemon juice to cut the grease) and apply some Pam or olive oil when clean. You might even try grapeseed oil for the high smoke point

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White smoke contains lots of chemicals which can give food a bad taste. Here is a link with some info about smoke...

 

https://amazingribs.com/more-technique-and-science/grill-and-smoker-setup-and-firing/what-you-need-know-about-wood-smoke-and

 

I usually give my K's a good 45 minutes to an hour to come up to temp so that any white smoke burns off. The exception

is if the food is in a vessel - cast iron skillet or other container and covered with foil so that the smoke does not reach the food as it cooks. I'll remove the foil after the smoke clears. Seems to work pretty well.

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The lid walls are normal. They turn black from all the fat and creosote build-up, which adds flavor to the food "I might buy the first part but i don't know about the fat dripping and the  creosote adding any GOOD flavor to the food.. I think the manufacture is trying to say the build up is normal for the grill after a lot of low temp smoking. My gas smoker looks worse inside. Do you do any 350 to 400 degree grilling? This might help to keep the schmutz from building up.

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I reread the post here and want to add my $.02 here about the charcoal.Iv'e been using royal oak lump for many many years and had no problem til the last 3 bags i bought had only 1/2 dollar sized lumps so i switched to rockwood lump. The difference is size of lumps less white smoke on start up and a milder smoke flavor. I think the less white smoke and flavor is due to the charcoal being cooked more ane the lumps have less volatives left in them. they make a bright clinking sound when dumped in the grill. A grill, charcoal, what could be more simpler 

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  • 1 month later...

So, I tried Kingston Ford and fobo. My poultry comes out cleaner than you see on the video in my 1st post, but still not as clean as from weber where I used the same fuel. 

 

I use meat thermometer, so I pull meat out at the same temperature

The only thing which may  be different is internal grill temperature, since I use 2 charcoal baskets in weber (left and right edge) and the temperature is over the baskets is about 25 higher than over the meat. With vision I use lava stone and the temperature *I assume* is about the same everywhere, but not sure, plus my thermometer is stuck at 125 when cold, but is about 210-215 over boiling water... I don't know if it's accurate at 250-300... I assume it is but have no easy way to measure it (need to get weber thermometer attachment for the grate). the other difference between grills is the location of the exhaust - vision is at he center, weber is not.

 

but in the end - same turkey from the weber taste batter. It's not dark brown, it's just perfect, moist and juicy (I do use water pan in both grills) 

I only wish weber was just as easy to use as kamado

(I have charcoal in my right basket go out almost every single cook, have no idea what's causing that, will need to rotate grill 180 and try again. If both were going out, I'd assume I'm doing something wrong, but with one side only? I move lid around, so location of the exhaust and wind has nothing to do with it. lightning up and adding charcoal is not fun, using  weber in colder temperature will probably be too much hassle for me :))

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I use an Akorn, Jr. (which is metal, not ceramic), but I have one little personal idiosyncrasy:  "next morning, the grill gets scrubbed down completely with soap and water."  (Except for the cast-iron grate, on which I use no soap so it can "season" like a skillet does.)  Then I let it dry thoroughly.  The ash-pan is stored upside-down beneath the grill if it's left outside, propped up on a small rock or stick.  I want it to look as clean as the day I first bought it, and it still does.

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It's almost embarrassing to post this, but this thread made me take a good long look at my kamado and realize it was well past its time for a good cleaning. The dome of the Goldens' was caked with creosote so I took a flexible putty knife to it and here's only some of what I scraped off. The first pic is with the lid open and the crud sitting at the bottom, waiting to be brushed out -

 

IMG_20191007_171248603_zps7mf4zmtw.jpg

 

_IMG_000000_000000_zpsompefxi7.jpg

 

Yeah, I'd say it needed a cleaning. I brushed it afterwards with a brass bristle brush, did the same to the inner body which wasn't near as bad. No pics of the dome beforehand, it was tough getting a decent picture with all that blackness.

 

I gave it a high temp burn and it's ready for grilling. I'm not normally this derelict with my grills, will keep after it more often. My thanks to the OP for waking me up to a much needed chore. 

 

-Dom

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