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Chainsaw Al

New owner - Fist Experience / Observations

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So I bought my Big Joe III on Friday and like any Southern male couldn't wait to get it started.  

 

Saturday I smoked a Butt.  Was planning on a low and slow cook at 250-275 for 9 hours or so.  Thought I had the temp pretty stabilized around 270 enough to run out with the wife.  Should have known better, because an hour later when we returned it was at 360.  Long story short, I got the temp down slowly but these grill retain so much heat I learned the hard way that overshooting is a bad thing and until I get a feel for the grill I need to babysit it a little more.  Good news is the Butt finished in about 5.5 hours and still had a great smoke ring, flavor, and moisture content was good.  Not dry at all which I worried about as I cooked it directly on the rack with the Sloroller... no water pan, just a drip pan.  Family loved it and I would have put it up against the local award winning BBQ place any day of the week.  So not all bad...

 

Sunday, I got the DoJoe accessory out and did pizzas with the family.  Filled the basket as instructed on John's videos.  Used the basic dough recipe that came with the DoJoe.  All in all it went well and pizzas came out perfect.  Having 3 little girls making their own pizza with flour made a huge mess in the kitchen but well worth the memories.  Grill got up to 600 in no-time... in fact I kept having to reduce the bottom damper because it tried to get up north of 650 a couple of times near 700.  The only feedback I would have about the DoJoe is I don't think it is ideal for single pizza as I couldn't stop the cook after we were done to save lump.  I got a pair of thick pair of leather grill gloves and was going to remove the DoJoe about an hour after we were done (after shutting the bottom completely) and it was still so hot, I could feel it through the gloves.  The problem is even with a set of welder's gloves, it was so hot I couldn't have a good place to set it without ruining something.  So, unless someone else has a suggestion, it seems the DoJoe is good for when you are making multiple pizzas and committed to burning through the entire basket because that sucker gets hot.

 

Overall though, love the grill.  I am looking to build a custom table for it (maybe even build it with the plan on having a 2 grills eventually).  Tonight I am going after a Tri-tip...and some vegetables with the family.

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I can’t speak to the DoJo but as for cooking a butt at 350 it’s something I do all the time. Don’t worry about chasing temps too much. 

 

One thought on the DoJo (ok, I lied) and similar to the Joetisserie, you may not need as much charcoal as you would think. These are relatively short, hot fires so a full bowl isn't needed. If you watch some of Eric Gephart’s videos you’ll see that he doesn’t always fill up for hot, direct cooks. 

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This happens to me a lot when im in a hurry

If you rush getting your grill up to temp you may find it'll stay stable for a while but the temp will creep up after a few hours.

I think its got somthing to do with thermal soak within the grill as the ceramics will absorb some of the thermal energy from the fire slowly but then once the cermaics come up to temp and stop absorbing that heat, its got no where to go and you're fire is too big for the temps you want.

This is all beer can engineering though, so i could be way off

 

As for the DoeJoe, the insert essentially becomes another vent that you cant restrict or control which allows air into the grill, because of this you'll need to adjust your top and bottom vents accordingly.

As for only doing one pizza, its not really designed to fill that gap. The main reason the DoeJoe came into being (aside from marketing) is so you maintain stable dome temp during multiple pizzas becasue you dont have to open and close the lid over and over again like you would if you were churning pizzas out.

As there is no way to shut the grill down with the DoeJoe in place, any lump thats in your basket is gonna have to be consumed at the end of the cook before it can be shut down (this is one of the reasons why I'm not a fan of it). Trying to remove it while hot is an accident waiting to happen, so I wouldnt try that.

If you're only doing one pizza at a time I'd imagine you'll need to figure out the minimum amount of lump you can have in the grill that will allow you to get up to the temps you want for the one pizza you want to cook

Another option would be to ask for recomendations on a cheap, hot lump that burns fast and just use that for pizza cooks

 

Welcome to the hobby ;-)

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The DoJoe really does need some kind of door or cover to close up its gaping maw to facilitate sniffing out the fire, rather than allowing a complete burn-off of any lump in the firebox. 

 

Trying to gauge the amount of lump for a five number of pizzas sounds unreasonable. Underloading will result in too short a burn or temps not reaching target.

 

i’m considering fabricating a wooden door or maybe one make from sheet metal but haven’t had the time to think it through or do so.

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Thanks for all the responses.  This has been a learning experience (but very enjoyable).

 

I had my 1st bad cook last night.  Living in NW Arkansas, grocery stores are far and few between (there is Walmart, Walmart, and Walmart given their HQ is here).  They don't have tri tip at any of their locations here.  There is a small independent grocery called Harps here that did have some tri tips that were vacuum sealed.  I got one that looked fresh.  I followed the basic cook guidelines I have seen online - 300-350 for about 1 - 1.5 hours with a basic sea salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, etc rub.

 

Looked fantastic coming off the grill at about 135... good sear and inside looked fabulous.  Cut across the grain.. did everything right as far as I know of... but thing was so chewy it was almost uneatable. Even slicing it thin it was just like chewing gristly bubbly gum after a while.  And we love medium rare steak and cook it often but this was bad... 

 

So my first tri tip experience has broken my confidence on that cut, at least temporarily.

 

Opinions?  Did I just get a bad piece of meat that would cause this?  Or do I need to let it marinate overnight?  Do I need to cook longer to break down the connective tissue?  I am just lost based on my experience last night.

 

I thought if it was a meat issue, I will go by one of the local butchers and try it again with a piece of prime.  

 

Any thoughts are appreciated.

 

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16 minutes ago, Chainsaw Al said:

Thanks for all the responses.  This has been a learning experience (but very enjoyable).

 

I had my 1st bad cook last night.  Living in NW Arkansas, grocery stores are far and few between (there is Walmart, Walmart, and Walmart given their HQ is here).  They don't have tri tip at any of their locations here.  There is a small independent grocery called Harps here that did have some tri tips that were vacuum sealed.  I got one that looked fresh.  I followed the basic cook guidelines I have seen online - 300-350 for about 1 - 1.5 hours with a basic sea salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, etc rub.

 

Looked fantastic coming off the grill at about 135... good sear and inside looked fabulous.  Cut across the grain.. did everything right as far as I know of... but thing was so chewy it was almost uneatable. Even slicing it thin it was just like chewing gristly bubbly gum after a while.  And we love medium rare steak and cook it often but this was bad... 

 

So my first tri tip experience has broken my confidence on that cut, at least temporarily.

 

Opinions?  Did I just get a bad piece of meat that would cause this?  Or do I need to let it marinate overnight?  Do I need to cook longer to break down the connective tissue?  I am just lost based on my experience last night.

 

I thought if it was a meat issue, I will go by one of the local butchers and try it again with a piece of prime.  

 

Any thoughts are appreciated.

 

 

Don't allow your confidence get broken. Definitely sounds like a meat issue.

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37 minutes ago, Chainsaw Al said:

  They don't have tri tip at any of their locations here.  There is a small independent grocery called Harps here that did have some tri tips that were vacuum sealed.  I got one that looked fresh.  I followed the basic cook guidelines I have seen online - 300-350 for about 1 - 1.5 hours with a basic sea salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, etc rub.

 

Looked fantastic coming off the grill at about 135... good sear and inside looked fabulous.  Cut across the grain.. did everything right as far as I know of... but thing was so chewy it was almost uneatable. Even slicing it thin it was just like chewing gristly bubbly gum after a while.  And we love medium rare steak and cook it often but this was bad... 

 

 

Even in a city our size, they are hard to find. Occasionally they are the weekly special at Aldi. Almost always available at Wegmans. I have cooked a couple, I kept hearing about them and seeing them on cooking competitions.

 

 I have had some success, Low and slow , typically reverse seer, (similar to when they cook them on that tripod with a grate you can lower by chain into the fire pit). Some were about like I expected, chewy but manageable. One was actually tender enough for the GF. The last one, ugh, like you described. I went on line and found a guy who had the same experience, but he salvaged the rest of it. Cut into chunks, put in the crock pot , covered with Sweet Baby Ray's or similar sauce, and let it go for six-eight hours. You know what? That actually was pretty good.

 

 FYI,  you know the grain changes where the bend  about 2/3 occurs. You should adjust your carving to accommodate.

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9 hours ago, Chris Topher said:

The DoJoe really does need some kind of door or cover to close up its gaping maw to facilitate sniffing out the fire, rather than allowing a complete burn-off of any lump in the firebox. 

 

Trying to gauge the amount of lump for a five number of pizzas sounds unreasonable. Underloading will result in too short a burn or temps not reaching target.

 

i’m considering fabricating a wooden door or maybe one make from sheet metal but haven’t had the time to think it through or do so.

 

As mentioned, I think the DoeJoe was designed for bulk pizza cooks rather than one or two

Its one of the issues i have with the product

Its a great idea but its application is fairly limited on a day to day basis

Unless you've got the family coming around and you're making a dozen pizzas throughout the night, it doesnt really add anything to your cook that a normal Kamado Pizza set up would

If you've making 6-10 pizzas in a night, you wouldnt have much left from a full fire box anyway, DoeJoe or not so i guess the guys at KJ figured it wasnt somthing they needed to worry about (as it would have also increased the cost)

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On 9/18/2019 at 7:00 PM, Polar Bear said:

 

As mentioned, I think the DoeJoe was designed for bulk pizza cooks rather than one or two

Its one of the issues i have with the product

Its a great idea but its application is fairly limited on a day to day basis

Unless you've got the family coming around and you're making a dozen pizzas throughout the night, it doesnt really add anything to your cook that a normal Kamado Pizza set up would

If you've making 6-10 pizzas in a night, you wouldnt have much left from a full fire box anyway, DoeJoe or not so i guess the guys at KJ figured it wasnt somthing they needed to worry about (as it would have also increased the cost)

 

That's probably it, I know that if i'm making pizza, i'm having friends over and we're churning them out. I've always found it easier to make one big batch of dough than a small batch, one big thing of sauce, etc etc etc. Also, cold pizza is good

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On 9/18/2019 at 9:38 AM, Chainsaw Al said:

I followed the basic cook guidelines I have seen online ... Looked fantastic coming off the grill at about 135... but thing was so chewy it was almost uneatable.

Sounds like you got stew meat. It makes a great chili... 

 

You can think of it as a "bad piece of meat." From my perspective, nothing's "bad," there's just a poor match between cooking method and food capability. You had a great process for a standing rib roast. From what you've said, I think the meat you actually bought wanted 8 hrs. at 250F. It happens. Keep trying, the midwest is cattle country so there's got to be some good beef around. 

 

HAve fun,

Frank

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On ‎9‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 6:45 AM, John Setzler said:

I recommend buying a temperature control system.

 

I find that a little strange considering the tag line under all your posts...

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On 9/16/2019 at 11:03 AM, Chainsaw Al said:

So I bought my Big Joe III on Friday and like any Southern male couldn't wait to get it started.  

 

Saturday I smoked a Butt.  Was planning on a low and slow cook at 250-275 for 9 hours or so.  Thought I had the temp pretty stabilized around 270 enough to run out with the wife.  Should have known better, because an hour later when we returned it was at 360.  Long story short, I got the temp down slowly but these grill retain so much heat I learned the hard way that overshooting is a bad thing and until I get a feel for the grill I need to babysit it a little more.

 

 

After owning only Akorns and an Akorn Jr., the upgrade to the Big Joe came with a huge learning curve.  I was used to being able to get it to temp in 15 minutes and holding there, and when I tried that on the Big Joe a) it didn't happen, and b) I was running that temp up WAAAY too quickly.  It would hold for an hour or so, then shoot up 100 degrees.  After over a year of some inconsistent temps with huge spikes, I can now keep it steady for many hours without having to worry about it.  The key for me was letting it very slowly come up to temp and heat soak.  Takes about an hour, but 90% of my cooks are between 250-275 degrees on it, so I usually have the whole day blocked off anyway.  I just light it right when I wake up and start prepping everything else.  Higher temp cooks take a little too long for cooking dinner, so I use my Akorn for the day-to-day cooks.  BTW, don't trust the dome thermometer at all if you're using the deflectors.

 

On 9/18/2019 at 8:38 AM, Chainsaw Al said:

So my first tri tip experience has broken my confidence on that cut, at least temporarily.

 

Opinions?  Did I just get a bad piece of meat that would cause this?  Or do I need to let it marinate overnight?  Do I need to cook longer to break down the connective tissue?  I am just lost based on my experience last night.

 

I did one tri-tip and wasn't a huge fan.  It was tender, but tasted like hot dogs.  Looking back, I may have smoked it with hickory...  Either way, don't be discouraged!

 

I don't have a DoJoe, but if you have a table that you can put off to the side you can set 4 fire bricks spaced apart in a four corners pattern to set the edges of it on.  Just have to worry about getting it there and people/pets touching it.  I bought some at ~$1 a piece from Antique Brick and Outdoor.  I put them on the Big Joe side shelves when I need to set the hot grates or stones aside since the shelves will melt.  Good luck!

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