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Seeking built-in island photos or designs with 2 Kamados


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Apologies in advance for this long-winded post.  I took this photo just now.  It was built about 13 months ago.  It rained a bit last night, so things are still a little wet.  I will be using the Large Egg in a couple of hours.

 

From left to right, Four Grand Mere 950B (raised option) from Bread Stone Ovens, Large BGE, Challenger Designs cabinet, Extra Large BGE, and finally, a few plants that needed the rain.  When I put the eggs in place, I replaced the hinge on the large with the newer design and a few months ago went with the new style damper top.

 

I contracted out to a local outdoor builder, that overall was ok.  They had limited experience with Kamados, and no prior experience with pizza ovens.  I usually am a P.I.T.A when it comes to working with contractors, and this was no exception.  I kept a very close watch on the daily progress, and had to get them to correct issues that would have been pretty major.

 

I sourced the oven, the two eggs, and the cabinet myself, and I have been very happy with almost everything.  I wish I had more cabinet space, but that just wasn't going to happen in the space I had available.  All the cabinets that the builder suggested were designed to fit under a built-in gas grill, and being shorter in height and depth, didn't make great use of the space.  With a few Google searches I found Challenger in Indiana; they emailed me a catalog, but I had to order via a local dealer, which I found about 40 miles away.

 

The construction company and their crew did all the limestone work.  The chimney components were from Breadstone ovens.  The oven damper had to have a rod welded internally to extend the adjustment lever, as the brickwork was too thick.  I cut full size plywood templates for the two spaces for the eggs, and left them with the builders, so they wouldn't make them the wrong size.  The wooden egg surrounds and the wooden feet risers I made myself out of 5/4 Ironwood deck boards I bought at Owl Hardwoods in Oak Lawn IL.  I built them in-place, so they fit very well, and I went without a finish on them.  So far they are holding up very well.  They've turned grey, and have some oil stains here and there, and I expect to replace them probably 4 years down the road (or hopefully later).  I used a LOT of Spax screws to keep everything together, as the sun/rain/snow in the Chicago south suburbs can be pretty brutal.

 

What went wrong:

 

Every time I turned around, something was being done incorrectly in the build (my opinion; the builder's opinion is probably different).  They originally had the oven opening facing right into a tree, they built the two egg surrounds to the wrong height (note the risers I had to make), and smaller than the templates I left for them.  I had added a good bit of extra space in case that happened, so when it did, it wasn't a disaster and the eggs still fit.  Also, the three separate limestone tops are each level, but the stone to the right of the XL egg is about 1/4" to 3/8" lower than the other two, and I had to shim the XL surround to make it level.  The surround for the XL egg also had to have a notch cut in the back to accommodate the hinge when the lid is open.

 

The brick surrounding the oven is too thick for the long stemmed oven thermometer to reach fully into the oven body.  It sits a couple inches from full depth.  This (I assume) has created a longer lag between the oven temperature and the thermometer temperature.  A handheld infrared thermometer is infinitely more useful than a dome thermometer here anyway, so this isn't really an issue.  I use the dome thermometer mostly to just estimate how much time I have until the oven is at full temperature.

 

What I like/dislike about it:

 

Overall, it's pretty awesome!  It's situated right outside the doors to the kitchen, and I can look at the fire in the oven or the egg temperatures if I put on my glasses.  I'm really glad I splurged for electricity, even though nothing is electric, as it powers lights, and temperature controllers if I ever buy them.  I'm still afraid to set anything hot or heavy directly on the stone, so I place things on the corners of the surrounds, or on some cutting boards on the stone.  If I have to redo them at some point, I will probably extend them 4" on each side.

 

The cabinet is great, but it doesn't hold most of my accessories.  I use the top drawer to hold three pairs of gloves, my ash pullers and lump rakes, and a couple of cheap digital timers.  I use the bottom space to hold firestarter squares, ash pans, some smoking wood chunks and a few other various items.  My racks, rigs, grids and stones are stored in the garage, which isn't close, but isn't too far, and the rest is stored in the kitchen.  I would have liked more storage, and in hindsight, I would have bought the Challenger cabinet with just a bunch of drawers instead of an open bottom shelf.  Overall, I have no complaints about the Challenger cabinet quality.

 

They built the egg cutouts too low, which is much better than too high.  I had to build risers for each one.  The risers do make it easier to empty ash.  The eggs overall are a little bit higher than the table I used to have, but the height has worked fine.  I can't lean over and get a real good look down the top vent, which is probably for the best.

 

The wood storage area under the oven is full depth, and much deeper than I ever use.  Usually I have firewood stored there, but I just built a second storage rack which is directly behind the oven (out of view) that holds a half of a face cord of firewood.  In hindsight, I would have had this area built less deep, but I wouldn't have made any other additional openings in the back or the sides.

 

The space between the eggs is very large but hasn't been an issue.  When I have both eggs going, I do sometimes move food from one egg to the other, and it really isn't a problem.  I've doubted myself on the design; should I have had the two eggs built next to each other with two counter areas on the sides?, but I think the setup I have is visually more pleasing.

 

This is probably enough for now, but if you have any other questions or want me to measure anything, let me know.

 

Good luck with your build and please post pictures

 

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