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Why can’t I keep the temperature at 225 degree?


Buget
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I am very new to Kamado joe cooking.  I have now tried 2 low and slows, each time the temperature will not stay anywhere near 110C/225F. Even when I am set up for a quicker roast (charcoal chicken etc around 280c), the temperature seems to keep growing.

 

today, I couldn’t get it to hold below 150C/300F.

 

I only light 1 fire lighter in the centre and today I closed it down a lot early than what I have been to gently bring it up to temperature.  I got to 225, but it wouldn’t hold.  I started with the bottom vent at about an inch and the top about 3/4 way to the first mark, but the temperature slowly grew on the dome and on my grill thermometer.

 

I actually resorted to closing the top completely off and the bottom to about 1cm/0.5inch. However, by that time, the dome was hot and it wouldn’t cool down quickly. As a result, my brisket was done way ahead of schedule (4.5hrs) and is likely going to be dry.  
 

I’m not sure what I am doing wrong.  It was a pretty warm day here in Sydney (33C/91F) which may not be helping, but doesn’t explain why the temperature kept growing.  
 

I used a full load of charcoal (50pct new/50pct left over) as I was expecting to go a lot longer than what I did. Maybe too much charcoal in the basket?  Or maybe the wrong type? It was the stuff that came with the grill when I brought it, so it might burn really hot. 

 

has anyone got any ideas?  I have watch pretty much every video I can fine, and they all say about an inch on the bottom and first line on the top for holding around 225, for some reason, it’s not happening on mine.  
 

So the brisket is currently resting.  I am hoping that I can get it through to an early dinner. It is just very frustrating.

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Sounds like temp creep

Try setting your vents earlier 

If you want a long stable cook, add a starter cube, let it burn for around 10min with the lid open, then shut your lid and set your vents 

Leave it alone for at least 90min

When you come back, it'll be fully heat soaked and what its settled at is what it will stay at (unless you change a vent setting)

Dont stress about a 25f to 50f difference. If you want 225f and it settles at 250f, you'll be fine, dont try to chase it

These things take time to come up to temp 

 

Every Kamado is different so the vent settings you see on You Tube videos may not always translate to your backyard, use them as a guide and go from there 

Edited by Polar Bear
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Cheers for your help.

 

the brisket turned out alright.  A bit dry, but still eatable.  Is it possible that the seal or control tower is leaking? Which is cause the temperature creep?

 

so plan of attack for next time:

- start with a bigger cut of brisket.  I hate food wastage, so I down sized as it was dinner for two, but maybe brisket is one of those that you can’t do that to.

- my new charcoal basket arrived frustratingly early and mid-cook (freshly ordered through Amazon from the US, arrived a week earlier than expect which was great but so frustrating).  I’m thinking that will allow me to control quantity of charcoal, air access around the charcoal etc a little better.

- take my time a little more coming up in temp.  It took about 45mins today (with plenty of smoke signals for my neighbours).  And I thought it had stabilised.  I’ll try being a little more aggressive when I close it down next time.
 

shouldn’t beat myself up too much, the brisket had a nice flavour, it was just dry and it is reported as one of the hardest cooks on a Kamado.  Just means I’ll have to try again. 

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I think you may be getting too much charcoal lit 45min of heavy smoke seems like a long time to light. I light a cube or 2 wait till the cubes burn out add plates and racks close dome, if it's after 12 noon pour a drink of makers mark and wait till it hits 180 or so close vents to finger width. My grill will slowly come up to 225 if I think it's coming up too fast close top a bit and wait. Pour another drink. Readjust if nessary When I first started I had 3 drink starting times now I'm down to one, SHUCKS. My top vent is loose and causes no problem. But each grill is different. To save a few bucks or what ever you call them, down under  you could use what we call a Chuck roast. Keep at it, it will come good luck.

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You may not be closing it down enough on the top vent. On my little Akorn Jr to hold at 225f I have literally a small crack open on the upper vent. I lit mine yesterday morning at 7am and cooked some beef short ribs at 225 for most of the day, then when I finished I decided that I just want to see how long it will go on one load of wood without refilling, it is now 10am in my time zone and it is still holding perfectly at 225. 27 hours and counting! 

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On 1/25/2021 at 6:29 PM, Buget said:

Cheers for your help.

 

the brisket turned out alright.  A bit dry, but still eatable.  Is it possible that the seal or control tower is leaking? Which is cause the temperature creep?

 

so plan of attack for next time:

- start with a bigger cut of brisket.  I hate food wastage, so I down sized as it was dinner for two, but maybe brisket is one of those that you can’t do that to.

- my new charcoal basket arrived frustratingly early and mid-cook (freshly ordered through Amazon from the US, arrived a week earlier than expect which was great but so frustrating).  I’m thinking that will allow me to control quantity of charcoal, air access around the charcoal etc a little better.

- take my time a little more coming up in temp.  It took about 45mins today (with plenty of smoke signals for my neighbours).  And I thought it had stabilised.  I’ll try being a little more aggressive when I close it down next time.
 

shouldn’t beat myself up too much, the brisket had a nice flavour, it was just dry and it is reported as one of the hardest cooks on a Kamado.  Just means I’ll have to try again. 

 

Here is what i believe causes Temp Creep, but I'm happy to be corrected by the members here 

 

When you start your grill, if you do not allow it to come up to temp and heat soak the ceramics before you put your meat on, you have a portion of your thermal energy (created by the fire) being slowly absorbed into the ceramics

So, your fire is actually too big for the temp you want because once the ceramics have absorbed the required thermal energy, it now becomes ambient thermal energy (ambient grill temperature)

The amount of charcoal in the fire box doesn't matter at this point, your fire is too big for the temp you want maintain.

 

You could reduce the amount of fuel you start with (in order to avoid a large fire) but then you run the risk of running out of fuel before you complete the cook.

 

Basically, you need to cook more and take your time 

Next time, dont touch your vents once you set them

If your grill eventually settles at 300f, let it stay there (cooking briskets at 300f is fine, i normally do mine at 330f).

See what the temp does for the entire cook if you leave it alone. It'll settle where it settles after 3 or 4 hours, then you'll have a baseline of vent settings for next time

Rinse and repeat 

 

I recommend avoiding brisket while you are learning this process

Its an expensive cut of meat with a reasonable margin for error if you already know what you're doing 

Stick to chicken and pork til you know how your grill works and you've still got your training wheels on  

 

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Polarbear has a lot of good points, what your going through Budget is part of the learning curve with the grill don't rely on videos that shows vent settings those are guide lines EACH grill is different. The settings Polarbear uses are more than likely different then mine or yours,( I use a finger top and bottom and I hold 225 ) but we are at least in the same ball park. Keep a log book on your grill set ups, type of charcoal how you started it with times how you closed  the vents and the final vent settings times to get to temp what adjustments if any during the cook and length of cook. Controlling the grill will come with time. Pick a day when your not busy pop a cold one and play with the grill a bit. You all ready learned an important lesson that these grills take there time cooling off. I went through the same as you are. These grills remind me of something I learned when keeping salt water reef  tanks " Good things happen slowly and Bad things happen rapidly"

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On 1/24/2021 at 11:04 PM, Buget said:

I am very new to Kamado joe cooking.  

 

This is why :)

 

There is a learning curve with Kamado grills.  Not many people master temp control on the first or second or third or fourth try.  

 

I would recommend having a look at the pinned post in the Kamado Cooking section called "The Kamado Book of Knowledge".  That is a little document I put together that will get you over the learning curve quickly and demystify a lot of notions about kamado cooking.

 

 

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