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jsarratt

maintaining temperature

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Anxious to read replies JS. Been chasing temps with low and slows myself. Thursday night I put on two boston butts

for an ACC basketball tournament party on Friday. Only got about three hours sleep. Up most of night trying to hold temp

at 225. Finally said the heck with it. It locked in at 237. Held it for several hours. Think I learned instead of locking onto a

specific temp just horseshoe it and be done. Turned out great.

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Anxious to read replies JS. Been chasing temps with low and slows myself. Thursday night I put on two boston butts

for an ACC basketball tournament party on Friday. Only got about three hours sleep. Up most of night trying to hold temp

at 225. Finally said the heck with it. It locked in at 237. Held it for several hours. Think I learned instead of locking onto a

specific temp just horseshoe it and be done. Turned out great.

You my friend have discovered the secret to fun/relaxing/enjoyable/tasty kamado cooking. Let the cooker settle, once there, it'll sit for hours on end! Most of us have to retrain our way of thinking...we get so worked up and stressed out over pit temp...when in reality, we should concern ourself with the internal temp of the meat. Bottom line, for low-n-slow, if you can lock it in between 225-275° you are golden. There will be NO difference in finished product, as long as you remove the food at the correct internal temp.

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my problem is it for low and slow.  fire either is too hot or goes out.  maybe I am not patient enough

Describe your "low-n-slow" start up procedure in bullet points... we'll help you get this figured out.  We were all in your shoes at one point or another ;-)

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  • light lumps and wait to make sure they are going
  • close lid top and bottom wide open
  • close down to half at 150
  • close down half more at or near 200

when temp gets to 220 i have barely a sliver open up top and  a sliver opened on bottom.  it will get up to 240 so I close up and them I am up down up down up down as I open and close the vents

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  • light lumps and wait to make sure they are going
  • close lid top and bottom wide open
  • close down to half at 150
  • close down half more at or near 200

when temp gets to 220 i have barely a sliver open up top and  a sliver opened on bottom.  it will get up to 240 so I close up and them I am up down up down up down as I open and close the vents

 

Alright bud, try this:

 

Assuming you are using good lump charcoal... if you are not sure, I'd suggest you buy a bag of Royal Oak lump from Home Depot (orange bag).  That way we'll be starting on solid ground. 

 

1) Make sure all ash is cleaned from your kamado (what kamado are you cooking on anyway?)

 

2) Load lump up to the bottom of the fire ring (the entire fire bowl should be filled for every cook).

 

3) For low-n-slow, light in 2 places (12 o'clock and 6 o'clock).

 

4) Leave lid and bottom vent wide open for about 10 minutes.

 

5) Close lid and leave top and bottom vent wide open.

 

6) I'd suggest a target temp of 250 (allowing for a variance of 225-275 during the duration of a long cook).

 

7) When you hit 225 dome temp, close top vent, leaving daisy wheel wide open.  And close bottom vent about 2/3rds of the way.  This will dramatically slow down the temp increase.

 

8) As temp hits about 240, close bottom vent down to about 1/8" and top vent down to just a sliver. 

 

9) Let your kamado sit like this for about 20 minutes and allow it to heat soak, and stabilize.

 

10)  After 20 minutes, take a look at temp.  If you are over 250, make a tiny adjustment and allow 30 minutes for change to take affect.  And do the same if temp if to low.

 

11) Basically, after you have closed your vents WAY down, you want to make no more than 1 or 2 little tweaks during the 1st 30-45 minutes.  After that, just let it settle where it wants.  If it like 265, great,  If it likes 232, great.  Don't stress.  As long as you are in between 225-275 you will be fine.

 

Hopefully this points you in the right direction.  Any other questions, just ask.  We love to help whenever we can :-)

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Rule #1: You will never achieve a stable temperature if you never stop adjusting the vents.

 

Rule #2: Don't obsess over some particular number. Great BBQ can be had anywhere from 200 to 300 degrees. Just relax and let it settle.

 

Rule #3: Unless your grill is so leaky that you can't even snuff out the fire, leaks are not the problem.

 

I don't think that double adjustment business (once at 160 and again at 200) is necessary at all. I just light the fire with both vents all the way open and then go straight to the final vent setting when the grill hits 200 or so. I recommend that you just close the bottom vent entirely once you reach that point. IME the top vent setting is much more critical to the final stabilized temperature, and having the bottom vent always in the same position gives you one less thing to worry about, and makes consistency easier. The top vent I just set at 1. If your grill doesn't have a marked top vent, 1 is the point when the crack goes almost, but not quite, all the way to the top, like on this pic. I find that if you close the top vent down to the point where only the 'half moon' part is open, you'll usually snuff out the fire even if the bottom vent is fairly wide open. I wrote a bit more detail on how I light in this post.

 

 

(what kamado are you cooking on anyway?)

Given that he posted this to the CGK forum, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say he's probably cooking on a CGK. ;)

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Rule #1: You will never achieve a stable temperature if you never stop adjusting the vents.

Rule #2: Don't obsess over some particular number. Great BBQ can be had anywhere from 200 to 300 degrees. Just relax and let it settle.

Rule #3: Unless your grill is so leaky that you can't even snuff out the fire, leaks are not the problem.

I don't think that double adjustment business (once at 160 and again at 200) is necessary at all, I just light the fire and then go straight to the final vent setting when the grill hits 200 or so. I recommend that you just close the bottom vent entirely once you reach that point. IME the top vent setting is much more critical to the final stabilized temperature, and having the bottom vent always in the same position gives you one less thing to worry about, and makes consistency easier. The top vent I just set at 1. If your grill doesn't have a marked top vent, 1 is the point when the crack goes almost, but not quite, all the way to the top, like on this pic. I find that if you close the top vent down to the point where only the 'half moon' part is open, you'll usually snuff out the fire even if the bottom vent is fairly wide open. I wrote a bit more detail on how I light in this post.

(what kamado are you cooking on anyway?)

Given that he posted this to the CGK forum, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say he's probably cooking on a CGK. ;)
Cut me some slack Toe...I'm on my phone and can't see all the "details"... ;-)

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Yeah It took me a few bags of coal to figure it out, don't sweat it you will figure it out.  Im not familiar with the settings of the Akorn but im sure its pretty much the same of all kamados. If you read my 'Picking up my Vision tomorrow , will it fit' thread you'll see that I spent a few days trying to figure out what temps my grill would settle on with different top and bottom vent settings.  I must have burned through 2 1/2 bags of large Royal Oak lump (8kg 15 lbs bags)  and a few sleepless weekends figuring it out.  If you notice I was going crazy adjusting my vents every 15 mins trying to hit 250F, I finally figured out what setting my kamado likes for 250F so I just light 2 spots keep the lid open for about 15 mins then set my vents and close the lid and leave it, it will hit 245-265F every time with patience, it may take 45 to an hour to settle but have a cold drink and prep your meat.  Pick a vent setting and then light it and leave it and see where it lands, from there use it as a bench mark and adjust it to your desired temp and leave it. let your grill settle on a temp. After that just remember the setting and use it every time after you light your coals,  If your grill wont settle after an hour or so then you have an air leak somewhere and you have to fix that first.  To test that fire up your grill to maybe 500F and then shut all the vents down, if it takes way to long to shut down then you have a leak somewhere my vision was taking a long time to kill the coals when i realized that I had a leak around the starter door about 1.5mm wide causing the coals to stay lit leaving me very little coals left after each cook.  I fixed that and its been smooth ever since.  Like the other said dont fuss about the exact temp I realized that it wont make a huge difference as long as your internal temp is good.  I got lots of help from the other members here on lighting your coals for low and slow, Flyingscot64 sent me a great write up using a chimney and i've adapted that method with what I learned about what my kamado likes and have had great results.  Just remember its easier to raise the temp then it is to try and drop the temp, I learned the hard way.  Im sure you will figure it out, let us know how it goes!

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