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Looking for opinions....

Vision B, lava stone with hanger

Reading posts here and looking at pictures of your rigs, I have a question.

On line at different stores and amazon, I see a lot of spiders that will pretty much just replace the cross bars that hang the lava rock. There are also many variations that will raise the main grate to the felt line. Not considering all the options that raise the grate higher in the dome and slide in and out for various configurations of stones, half stones and additional grates for more levels of cooking and additional volume, how much does raising the main  grate from the OEM position to the felt like make?

Pros? Cons? Improved temp and heat distribution? I realize it may be easier to access, Is that about it?

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To be honest, I don't think there is much actual difference in cooking an inch or so below the felt and right at the felt or a little above it. If you are using a griddle you have more access for a spatula when you cook at or just above the felt and the lip of your kamado kettle. Also most spiders can be flipped over and used to raise a grate or stones. I have two spiders and when used in combination, one  with legs up lowering a stone into the fire ring, and the other standing up with legs down  as a brace for the main grate, used together,  they give me plenty of room for an air space and drip pan below my main grate. 

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You definitely will not regret raising the grate to or slightly above the felt. Using a spatula is so much easier than when below the felt line. A little above will allow you to place a platter on top of the felt when transferring food on or off without dripping on the gasket. 

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When I bought the extension rack for the Big Joe that sits on the top grate  at felt line I thought that I would not use it much. It turns out that I use it frequently for the extra 5 to 6 inches you get. I like to cook chicken direct with no diffusers.  The extra height allows cooking at as much as 400 with no problems. Cooking this way has its down side because the fat goes into the fire and coats the inside much more than indirect and catching the fat in a drip pan. So the down side is it needs frequent burn offs. Admittedly I probably am a rare example.

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