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Struja

Kamado Joe in COLD Climates

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I am new to this ceramic grill world and probably should have thought about this before I pulled the trigger on my KJC III, but hopefully I will be ok.

 

My KJ is on my rear deck.  I have a KJ cover and it is up against my home so it has a bit of protection from the elements from our house, but not much.  I typically grill all year round (on my Weber natural gas grill) and used to grill on my Weber Kettle and my Traeger all winter long.  The cold doesn’t stop me but the question is, will the cold stop my grill?  

 

First question...Will extreme cold crack my KJ?  I am talking about -25C or colder.

 

If those temps won’t crack my KJ, what if I try to grill at those temps (remember - outside in elements)?

 

If I can grill in the extreme cold, any limitations on what I should or should not do?  

 

Anything else you can share about the KJ in very cold winter temps?

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Cracks come from thermal shock. We start small fires, so everything warms up together. Otherwise, it's as safe as any other rock. 

 

OK, mine lives in a garage and I'm a weenie when it comes to cooking in snow. More power to you, eh!

 

Have fun,

Frank

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It’ll be the best cold weather cooker you’ve ever owned. Don’t force the lid open if it’s frozen or you’ll lose a gasket. At least the old felt gaskets could damage if frozen. Not sure about the new gasket system, but as you know, any time ice glues two surfaces together problems occur. With that, you can put a starter cube in the bottom vent to thaw before opening. Other than that, fire it up and enjoy. My BGE’s stayed outside unprotected in Wyoming and used the same as in the summer. Well mostly...more pork butts and longer cooks as opposed to grilling. 

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8 hours ago, Drusen said:

It’ll be the best cold weather cooker you’ve ever owned. Don’t force the lid open if it’s frozen or you’ll lose a gasket. At least the old felt gaskets could damage if frozen. Not sure about the new gasket system, but as you know, any time ice glues two surfaces together problems occur. With that, you can put a starter cube in the bottom vent to thaw before opening. Other than that, fire it up and enjoy. My BGE’s stayed outside unprotected in Wyoming and used the same as in the summer. Well mostly...more pork butts and longer cooks as opposed to grilling. 

Thanks for the vote of confidence.  I don’t know where it was but just yesterday I read somewhere online that ceramic grills “crack” in the extreme cold and it got me worried.  I am the guy you see in -25C with icicles hanging off his nose grilling some steaks.  

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I'm not exactly  in a cold area but it does get cold in the winter here and I cook year round on my BJ. I have smoked butts when it was 0°  and less outside without any problems. I think you will be impressed with the ability of your KJ to handle the cold temps.

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27 minutes ago, freddyjbbq said:

Sometimes finding it can be more of a concern than cooking on it 

16F81971-BDDA-4A3E-805D-3CF86BCFE4D9.jpeg

Your picture is worth more than a thousand words.  That is efn awesome!!!

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Don't worry about it. You aren't going to thermal shock it. I've fired mine up in -20C temperature, wide open to 650F to do pizza. The 10 minutes it takes isn't going to thermal shock it. There is very little difference between -20C and +30C ambient when going to high temps for something like pizza. Throwing a bucket of water (or a snowman) into the hot bowl would thermal shock it.

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I live in the Ottawa area, where -25 is normal, and sometimes my favourite time to cook.   

As previously mentioned, start with a small fire and grow it slowly to avoid thermal shock.

Also, the comment about not forcing frozen gaskets open is a big one.  Once my grill is cooled off, I put waxed paper

between the lid and base to prevent freezing.     I've had mine freeze a couple times, and I use a heat-gun to thaw it slowly.

- Start by using the heat gun to thaw the top vent if it's stuck so you can remove it.

- Put the gun on "auto" and place it in the top vent for 20 minutes.   It will slowly warm the kamado up until you can safely lift the lid.

If there's any resistance in the gasket, leave the gun in for a bit longer.

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Alaska military resident here. I cooked last winter in -30 c weather no problems. I second all the tips proposed here re: gasket freezing and small fires especially. 
 

Also, if you store your deflector plates outside the grill, be sure to put them inside a the grill warms up.

 

I also wholeheartedly concur that a ceramic grill makes a great severe winter cooker. I’ll take it a step further-not only will your ceramic grill work in the bitter cold, it may will be the only grill that can hold enough heat to do so. 

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