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Glad you got it worked out! Keep working your plan.

 

On a high temp cook, I'm just not going to let the grill burn for an hour. I'm too much of a lump miser. In fact at higher temps, if there is any off-putting smoke after 15 minutes or so (about the time it takes to get up to temp) it's undoubtedly due to buildup on deflector plates.

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On the time for stabilisation - I agree with CentralTexBBQ - I wouldn't leave it for an hour at high heat. Personally, I bring it up to a medium temp - maybe 350 to 400F for the stabilisation period to gas off any bad tastes in the lump. And then ramp it to high heat to cook burgers or steaks or anything that needs high heat. With these grills, once they are lit and stabilised they can get really hot, really quickly with just added air!

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Don't forget you can reuse charcoal, so pre burnt pieces are great for short cooks as they have already been burnt in. Just note they take longer to light.

 

Maybe you should try a long cook like pork ribs to see if it is the charcoal causing the bitterness or maybe short cook reverse sear steak.

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I just had another successful burger cook. 1.  Waiting a while before putting food on the grill. 2.  Make sure you like the smell coming out of the chimney.  3.  Cook burgers on half-moon cast-iron griddle.  I did not wait quite a long this time and th burgers still came out good.

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On 4/17/2021 at 7:35 PM, BurgerJ said:

Hello.  Thank you for all the useful replies.  After several more cooks and throwing away some bitter burgers,  this evening I have success to report. I was inspired by keeprovdeflame so I purchased an Eggspander basket and a half-moon griddle to try to avoid smoke from drippings.  Though I really like using them, that setup alone Did not improve the flavor.  Enter Adm’s comment.  I think you you might be cooking too soon.  I have watched a few kamado grill cooking videos.  A couple of times in a row the cooker in the video, said.  I usually let the grill hold it’s temperature for about an hour before I put any food on it.  That was it.  I started the grill, let it get up to temp and left it alone for an hour.  Burgers were great, no bad taste of any kind.  On some forum I was on someone also said something helpful an profound.  They said don’t put food on the grill until you like the smell coming out the top of the grill.  Again thanks everyone for your help.

 

I always try to start my grill early.  Unless I am doing a low and slow cook, I prefer to have my fire nice and clean and that hour gives me that every time.  

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2 hours ago, John Setzler said:

 

I always try to start my grill early.  Unless I am doing a low and slow cook, I prefer to have my fire nice and clean and that hour gives me that every time.  

 

I agree wholeheartedly about the clean grill. I consider them separate issues. If my grill is clean, I do not need a paeticularly long warmup. If the deflector plates are filthy, my plans morph into a cleaning, understanding that it may well take an hour before the crud and off-putting thick white smoke are gone.

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Clean is good, I brush my grates when they are hot and clean out the ash after every cook. The main thing I do to keep a clean grill, is cook pizza at least once a week. I cook my pies at 650 and usually cook only one or two. After the last pie I let the grill run for another 30 minutes at 650 before shutting it down. Next day pretty much all the interior walls of my ceramic components are a nice chalky white which I hit quickly with the brush attachment on my ash vac. Start a routine like this and your grill will always be relatively clean during additional cooks. 

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There are also quicker and more efficient ways to get hot fires going in a Kamado grill.  I love to use a charcoal chimney to get a load of charcoal completely engulfed before dumping in the grill.  That takes 20 minutes and you are ready to cook stuff like burgers and steaks right away.

 

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What I used to to do in my Keg was place the charcoal basket (assuming you have one) way up high - sitting up on the diffuser X rack holder, and like John mentioned, just dump a chimney load of charcoal in it....emulates cooking on a Weber Kettle a bit.  Always worked beautifully for cooking burgers, steaks etc direct over coals.

 

That said, by order of the commander in chief (my wife) we really only do smash-burgers any more now. 

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1 hour ago, John Setzler said:

There are also quicker and more efficient ways to get hot fires going in a Kamado grill.  I love to use a charcoal chimney to get a load of charcoal completely engulfed before dumping in the grill.  That takes 20 minutes and you are ready to cook stuff like burgers and steaks right away.

 

 

That was my method before the Kick ash Basket for my BJ1 and the KJ Basket for my BJII. Now I use three or four alcohol soaked cotton balls and twenty minutes later, I'm good to go... a tad longer if the lump isn't fresh. I gave my chimney to my brother in law

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1 hour ago, SmallBBQr said:

place the charcoal basket (assuming you have one) way up high - sitting up on the diffuser X rack holder

This is a great idea, will have to try that. Not sure how happy the X rack would be after a while though

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