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Family_cook

Charcoal basket confusion

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I added a charcoal basket to my large BGE.  I am surprised by the result.  Regarding two configurations, one with the bottom plate installed and one without, I expected there to be more air and faster lighting with just the basket.  What I actually find is that it is more difficult to set the vents and maintain temps.  I have had to keep my bottom vent more open than when not using the bottom plate.  If I close the bottom vent even a little, temp drops quickly.  I do find that once things get going raising the temp is very fast with just the basket but I have since put the bottom plate back in.  The result is that my vents are more closed with the bottom plate than without.  This is a huge surprise.  I suspect that it has something to do with the Bernoulli effect reducing the air speed through the huge opening when you remove the bottom plate.  With the plate in the air has to accelerate through the holes.  I like the basket and will continue to use it because it makes cleanup so much easier, but the bottom plate will stay in for most cooks.  Has anyone else experienced the same?

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1 hour ago, Family_cook said:

I added a charcoal basket to my large BGE.  I am surprised by the result.  Regarding two configurations, one with the bottom plate installed and one without, I expected there to be more air and faster lighting with just the basket.  What I actually find is that it is more difficult to set the vents and maintain temps.  I have had to keep my bottom vent more open than when not using the bottom plate.  If I close the bottom vent even a little, temp drops quickly.  I do find that once things get going raising the temp is very fast with just the basket but I have since put the bottom plate back in.  The result is that my vents are more closed with the bottom plate than without.  This is a huge surprise.  I suspect that it has something to do with the Bernoulli effect reducing the air speed through the huge opening when you remove the bottom plate.  With the plate in the air has to accelerate through the holes.  I like the basket and will continue to use it because it makes cleanup so much easier, but the bottom plate will stay in for most cooks.  Has anyone else experienced the same?

Help us understand your question a bit better please.  

 

Bolded above - Is that really what you meant to say?   

Are you using both the basket and the bottom plate together or independently?  I think you are using them independently but not sure.

You haven't said much about your top vent.  As you know, combustion air coming in is a function of both bottom and top vent positions.   

 

Meanwhile I will respond to what I believe you are asking.  What I have observed in my Egg and another brand:

 

1. The perforated plate is an inhibitor to flow as compared to the basket.  

2. The basket can go faster and hotter as compared to the stock perforated plate.

3. Vent adjustments are a bit different for the perforated plate vs. basket but not that much. 

4. You control start up and the run temperature with both vents. 

5. Once steady state is achieved, I rarely adjust the bottom vent but tune the top. 

 

Full disclosure, I use Guru and FireBoard control systems more than half the time for low and slow cooks.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Alphonse said:

Help us understand your question a bit better please.  

 

Bolded above - Is that really what you meant to say?   

Are you using both the basket and the bottom plate together or independently?  I think you are using them independently but not sure. " Regarding two configurations, one with the bottom plate installed and one without, I expected there to be more air and faster lighting with just the basket."  

 

You haven't said much about your top vent.  As you know, combustion air coming in is a function of both bottom and top vent positions.   As with the bottom vent when using the basket only the top vent is more open than with the basket and bottom plate installed.

 

Meanwhile I will respond to what I believe you are asking.  What I have observed in my Egg and another brand:

 

1. The perforated plate is an inhibitor to flow as compared to the basket.   "  While the bottom plate is obviously an inhibitor to air flow, it does act to accelerate the air that does get through via Bernoulli Principle.  This might actually improve the combustion.  If you think about it like a carburetor throttle body, we bore out the throttle body  to increase the diameter and slow down the air flow.  Even though the throttle body is made larger, the air actually slows down going through it.  This is done to improve the mixture.

2. The basket can go faster and hotter as compared to the stock perforated plate.  Probably true.

3. Vent adjustments are a bit different for the perforated plate vs. basket but not that much. My experience is that the vents are very different with and without the bottom plate.  I just did a rack of beef ribs, and I used the bottom plate with the basket.  My vents were more closed and it was easier to maintain temp than the previous cook where I used the basket alone.

4. You control start up and the run temperature with both vents. 

5. Once steady state is achieved, I rarely adjust the bottom vent but tune the top. 

 

Full disclosure, I use Guru and FireBoard control systems more than half the time for low and slow cooks.   I use the Tip Top Temp for top vent control.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So many reads but few comments.  After two bologna cooks, a peach pie, beef ribs and filet remnants cook I have come to my own conclusion. Removing the bottom grate is a dramatic change to the intended thermal air design of a Kamado.  Often, when we spend money to make a change, we want to believe that change was for the better.  This is a recurring theme in many endeavors.  I have seen it in audiophile upgrades or engine mods.  I am convinced that removing the bottom grate diminishes the thermal efficiency of a Kamado. This conclusion does not devalue the charcoal basket.  It still provides dramatic benefits for cleanup and charcoal recovery.  But I am convinced and plan to further test that using a charcoal basket without the bottom grate burns more charcoal per BTU and reduces temperature control.  I might conclude that basket only is capable of generating higher temps for steaks or pizzas, but I am not convinced yet.

 

Again, I am not suggesting the charcoal basket or Kick Ash Basket is not a product that adds value to the Kamado.  I am suggesting that the bottom plate also adds tremendous value to the system and should not be discarded.

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Seems to get a particular temperature it would be the same vent settings, because it's a certain amount of oxygen to be burnt. The Tip Top Temp is a wild card. 

Without the bottom plate to accelerate the air, providing additional oxygen, the bottom vent most be farther open to provide the additional oxygen. 

Wildly weird and interesting. 

Guess I just outed myself as a geek. Newsflash! 

 

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When I bought my KAB, I removed the castiron plate and did not have any problems with temperature control. I like the ease of cleaning the ash out and don't worry about the small bits of charcoal that drop through with the ash.

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The plate installed or not doesn't change the thermal efficiency of a kamado regardless of brand. It does change the airflow. The plate will be a more restrictive airflow. As the holes in the plate start to clog (from ash on a long cook) more air can bypass the firebox entirely by going up between the firebox and base. 

 

I personally think you would be better off leaving the plate out and refiguring your vent settings. 

 

 

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14 hours ago, ckreef said:

The plate installed or not doesn't change the thermal efficiency of a kamado regardless of brand. It does change the airflow. The plate will be a more restrictive airflow.

I personally think you would be better off leaving the plate out and refiguring your vent settings. 

 

 

I'm going to have to test your assumption for which I have doubts.  I plan to weigh out even amounts and measure time to temp and time on temp.  I will take pictures of the vent settings for both.  I think for times sake I will shoot for 350 so it doesn't take an entire day to burn off the charcoal.

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On 8/16/2019 at 12:25 PM, Family_cook said:

I have had to keep my bottom vent more open than when not using the bottom plate.  If I close the bottom vent even a little, temp drops quickly.  ...  The result is that my vents are more closed with the bottom plate than without.  This is a huge surprise.  I suspect that it has something to do with the Bernoulli effect reducing the air speed through the huge opening when you remove the bottom plate.  With the plate in the air has to accelerate through the holes.

 

1.  I suspect that the bold font sentence should read, "I have had to keep my bottom vent more open than when not using the bottom plate.

2.  It doesn't seem logical but I can't dispute Family_cook's observed results.

3.  The test results may validate the observations.

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DISCLAIMER:

I am not claiming any kamado is necessarily better or worse than the other. These cookers are different and a possible factor may have been determined in this thread. 

I have an Akorn which has been credited with heating slightly faster and possibly being slightly more efficient than ceramic kamados. Part of the relative heating speed has usually been attributed to its steel construction.

How does the Akorn having an unrestricted charcoal grate, versus the somewhat restrictive charcoal plate of most ceramic kamados, influence these factors?

Maybe the speed of heating due to the grate simply reduces the time the lump is lit, thereby reducing charcoal consumption. 

I have long thought that the differences couldn't be explained as solely due to the steel construction. 

Again I am not trying to determine that either is better or worse than the other, they're simply different. I enjoy understanding the difference. 

The ceramic kamado was developed over such a great (grate) span of time that I doubt it can be improved, only tweaked and controlled more easily with modern techniques. Such as using the basket instead of the charcoal grate for different characteristics. 

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On 8/18/2019 at 2:51 PM, lnarngr said:

How does the Akorn having an unrestricted charcoal grate, versus the somewhat restrictive charcoal plate of most ceramic kamados, influence these factors?

My ceramic Kamado is a fireplace-inside-a-shell. Air enters the shell, and the fire bowl pulls from the shell. In an Akorn, fresh air is all aimed at the fire; there's very little mixing before it hits the fire. 

 

The second big difference is a fire bowl that almost comes to grate level. Open the lid and it pulls fresh air into the fire because the bottom of it forms a Venturi with lower vent, to pull even more air in. Nothing's perfect. 

 

HAve fun,

Frank

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