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Small Cooks on Big Joe

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I saw a video by James who tested fuel efficiency in Big Joe with charcoal in a full Joe Jr charcoal basket, and he said the coals burned for about 5 or 6 hours.  I got about 5 hours doing this.  Most of the time, I am cooking for 2 (but occasionally more, hence I got the Big Joe).  But I am looking for tips/adjustments/mods for fuel-efficient cooking for daily small meals.


Has anyone experimented with placing a Joe Jr Firebox inside the Big Joe to raise up and concentrate the heat source for a small daily cook?  I could add more coals and just close vents when done, but I am researching tips/mods involving changing the size or distance of the heat source to food.    

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3 hours ago, Phillip Sylvania said:



Thank you.  In the pictures where you put a charcoal basket on top of the heat deflectors in the low position to elevate the heat source, what size is the charcoal basket - BJ, CJ, or JJr?




This is my Classic 3 and it's the charcoal basket for the classic 3.


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If you have the BJ3 just use the coal divider to concentrate coals. You can buy it for the BJ2. Or push them in a pile to one side (or even in the middle). 

What are you cooking? Like John’s awesome pics above you can vary grate or cooking surface height, add or remove deflectors, etc. 


The biggest hurdle I find to doing mid-week cooks is the time to get the coals going. Even if I use a fire starter or torch, it still takes time to get the fire right. Both my wife and I work, and kids have after school activities so it’s a time thing. If I do a mid-week cook right now I usually do something on the gas grill where I’m OK without smoke or charcoal flavor, like grilled chicken or pork tenderloin.


Let us know what you come up with! I’m interested to hear it. 

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I bought these Weber charcoal baskets for use with the Joetisserie on my KJ classic 1.  I found they also work well for smaller fires for quicker cooks.  

Char-Baskets image number 0

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While much easier to do on a Weber Summit Kamado because it also has a raised charcoal grate, like @John Setzler and @GrillnBrew and @BigDBBQ mentioned, you can add or adjust or raise charcoal beds or baskets different ways out of the norm for small or quick cooks.  I think it is also a belief you need to heat-soak the entire kamado before using it which I do not believe is true.


This is how I often use my Summit now...


To speed things up, I use a chimney to get a load of coals red-hot (which only take about 10-15 minutes), them dump them and can immediately start cooking.  I just throw the cooking grate on top of the coals even when the kamado itself is still barely warm.



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