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Why Can’t I Achieve “Kamado Zen”


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I’ll second the option to use a chimney to get lit quick. Sometimes I really cheat and even put briquettes in the chimney for quick cooks like burgers and hot dogs where I don’t want to blow through lump. A full chimney of briquettes in a classic is almost instant 400+ within 30-60 seconds.

 

Also, don’t be afraid to keep the bottom vent open more than you would expect. Choking down with the top vent and a wide bottom vent will keep your smoke cleaner. I don’t go below 2 fingers even on low and slow. 4 fingers to 1/2 open for 350-400. If you want to see this for yourself, close the bottom vent to a sliver and watch the smoke start pouring out the top.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a follow up. I spent all day Sunday just firing up a basket of charcoal. No cook, just playing with my grill settings. Learned a lot. Can’t rush the process. Thanks to all who responded. This is a great forum.

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58 minutes ago, TomC23 said:

Just a follow up. I spent all day Sunday just firing up a basket of charcoal. No cook, just playing with my grill settings. Learned a lot. Can’t rush the process. Thanks to all who responded. This is a great forum.

 

You CAN rush the process :)  You just gotta know the tricks...

 

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@TomC23

I think you got some good advice here from these folks.  I just wanted to relate my personal experience learning how to run my kamado.

 

My first every cook was a steak dinner.  I wanted hot and hard HEAT!  I fired up my Vision Kamado and set it up for AIR FLOW!  The next thing I know, the thermometer on the dome was PEGGED!!!!  Somewhere over 700°F.  Maybe way over that!  But, my steaks came out okay - I used (and still use) a good thermometer to get my steaks where I want them.  But for a minute it was an out-of-control situation!

My next couple of cooks saw me trying to smoke meats.  I chased temperatures up and down, in frustration, trying to get what I wanted for a good smoked bird or pork shoulder.  I came here and got a lot of talking-down-off-the-ledge!  I eventually learned how to manage the airflow for my particular kamado.  That came with the experience of using it.

 

The one thing I learned, and others may disagree with me, but cooking on a kamado is an event.  It's not like firing up the gas grill to throw dinner on quickly.  You have to build your fire, get things where you want, and then cook your food.  One thing I used to do at my house centered around Sunday dinners.  I like the idea of a special Sunday meal with my wife, and cooking on the kamado, an event (again, in my opinion) fit into this special meal.  So we would throw on some good steaks, and some good side items, and a bunch of other meats for the rest of the week.  It worked out perfectly!  On top of that, it became an enjoyable event.  We'd sit out by the kamado, have a couple of drinks, pick at some morsels off the grill, and then everything would come of the grill onto a tray to be carried in for dinner and putting into containers for the other meals during the week.

 

My biggest suggestion to you is figure out what you need to do to make this fun! :D  For me, it was treating the kamado experience as an event.  And what an experience it is!  The smells, the tastes, the feeling of accomplishment when other people enjoy your food (and a little bit of a show)!

 

By the way, my kamado is coming out of retirement so I can enjoy these experiences once more!

 

 

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4 minutes ago, GLOCKer said:

 

The one thing I learned, and others may disagree with me, but cooking on a kamado is an event.  It's not like firing up the gas grill to throw dinner on quickly.  You have to build your fire, get things where you want, and then cook your food.  One thing I used to do at my house centered around Sunday dinners.  I like the idea of a special Sunday meal with my wife, and cooking on the kamado, an event (again, in my opinion) fit into this special meal.

 

 

Nice!!!  Love it.  Totally agree.

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