By Braai Joe
Hello from Melbourne, Australia!
Being a South African I've grown up grilling (braaing we call it) on open wood and charcoal fires - it's a national past time and something just in our DNA! After much reading I decided to add to the versatility and go for a BIG JOE!
Just a note to introduce and also to give a huge shout out to all the members who's contributions have been invaluable in making the decision and ensuring that the bug has bitten! John Setzler, ckreef, Jack., keeperovdeflame, KismetKamado, Ben S etc. you are all an awesome source of knowledge, tips and ideas.
And - 1st steaks were great, but the whole chicken next was out of this world.
Very excited to get stuck into it and "braai" on my Joe!
Hello from the West Coast of Canada (Richmond, BC)! New to Kamado cooking. Returned a Weber Smokefire after one week (just really never worked properly and after the 2nd grease fire... byebye) for a KJ Classic 2 (same price point).
First cook were some side ribs which turned out nice. Mother-in-law brought some peaches over and asked if they could get grilled for a nice cobblerish dessert... so since the fire was still lit, opened up the vents full bore... realized that i had left the deflector moons in so I put some gloves on, took out the Divide and Conquer and (you guessed it) lay it on the plastic shelf -- WHOOPS!
Did I mention that was my first cook? Oh well...
I replaced the plastic slats with some untreated cedar. We'll see if that's just a temp solution.
I did a few small cooks afterwards: some okay baby back ribs, and then a total failure on beef ribs -- bought some on sale which ended up not having enough meat and fat to keep it juicy when I overcooked it (luckily my wife made some awesome Mexican street corn salad as a side) --, then an okay small brisket (again, on sale at the grocery store).
Decided that I'm ready for a real test: invited a few (Covid rules apply) friends for a brisket feast.
Went to four grocery stores and Costco... No packers in stock. Went to the Asian grocery and they only sell the point and no flat... Called my favourite butcher: "Of course, I have a 15lb brisket in the back." YES! Called my friends and said this weekend is BRISKET TIME! Got to the butcher: "That'll be 190 CAD (144 USD)..." GULP... This better be the best darn meat ever...
Consulted the all-knowing interweb for "How long to smoke 15lb brisket": 18.75 hours... Seems long, but okay, lets start at 11:00 pm and hopefully we'll be eating at 7ish tomorrow...
Didn't get much sleep but maintained 250 for 11 hours. At the 12 hour mark, the temp of the KJ plummeted. Oh no! What happened? Ran out of charcoal - fire was out. "Quick, honey, throw this in the warm oven while I get this thing to temp!" Threw some BGE lump on to the KA basket to burn (we have a major shortage of lump here in Canada - love to know where to get good lump charcoal). Lost about 45 minutes of cooking time. Once it got back up to 250, I Texas-crutched the meat and threw it back in. Came back 10 minutes later and the temp was up to 350. oh poo... Took another 45 minutes to get it down to 260.
Okay, I've got time for a little nap before people come over... Told my wife and 18 year old son to watch it and if it goes over 300 (or under 250) to wake me up... Three hours later, I check it and it's at 310... My bad, shouldn't have taken a nap...
I threw it into a cooler and waited for my guests to come... I was worried because it didn't bend the way it should have when I lifted it up...
When it was time to carve, it looked like this:
Looked okay but once I tried to slice through it, the whole under side was burnt/overcooked. There was no bark at the bottom of the pieces, as i had to slice down then "scrape" because of the burnt. Later, I chopped some of the burnt parts, threw them in a steamer and fed them to my son as really "burnt" ends.The meat that I did slice was super tender, flavourful, and juicy.
Besides, not taking a nap, buying a good wifi temp probe, and practice, any suggestions on improvements?
I would like to try and do bacon (we live in a city with 60% Asians so pork belly is super cheap), smoked chinook/king salmon (recently came back from a fishing trip on the Coast and our freezer is packed with salmon and halibut), and a Montreal Smoked Meat... But first, perfect the brisket...
Can I just smoke the point, as it's easier to source the part of the brisket here and no one in the family prefers the flat anyway?
TIA for your read and your suggestions
I'm new to the world of Kamado cooking and to this forum, so I'm looking forward to some dialogue.
So I recently found a Big Joe for sale on fb marketplace for the irresistible price of $100! The main body is in not terrible shape, but it's missing quite a few items, and will need some cleaning/repair. I'm hoping the combined expertise hear can help me get this thing in good working order for the least amount of extra $ possible, and more importantly without damaging the integrity of the grill.
The ceramic body itself is in good shape with no major cracks or chips. There are a few issues that need to be addressed however:
The upper part of the interior has some green staining. I assume this is from algae/moss since I live in the PNW. Any tips on how to gently clean this, or should I just do a burnout when I get the rest set up? The felt gaskets are in pretty bad shape and will need to be replaced (tips on cleaning and removing gunk would be welcome too). The wire mesh gasket is mostly intact but has come loose. Does anyone know of an adhesive that would be safe to use to re-attach it? I'm not sure what to call this, but the hole that helps align the hinge on the back side of the band has been worn quite a bit. Making the hole about 1 1/2" long and the ceramic a bit crumbly there (see pic). Does anyone know of any substance I could safely patch this with, and how best to reattach the bands?
At that low of a price I wasn't too concerned about replacing a few parts, but after price checking I found I need approx $400-$450 in replacement parts. I can get most of these from BBQ Guys, but I figured I would reach out to the community here and see if people had recommendations for third party replacements, custom ideas, or (fingers crossed) extra parts that they need to get rid of. Here is a list of what I need:
Firebox Deflector Grill Grates Flex cooking rack (is this necessary or is there another way to grill/smoke without it?) Replacement Gasket kit Missing the upper half of the cart, not sure if I will try and purchase that, or make a custom table I will be focusing on grilling and smoking with this grill, so I don't really need some of the specialty items.
I know this is a lot of information/questions, so don't feel like you have to address everything, but if you have some advice on any of the subjects, I'd greatly appreciate it.
Thanks and happy grilling!