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Getting to 325

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    Getting to 325

    I haven't charcoal grilled in a long time and I'm having a hard time getting to 325 on my pk360 and maintaining it. I started a full chimney with fresh charcoal. The temp came up way past 325 so I turned down the bottom right vent. The top left was fully opened. I could not maintain the temp no matter what I tried. After looking at the charcoal it was not fully burning even though it was covered in gray ash from the chimney.
    Am I doing something wrong ? I'm using 2 zone method.

    Thanks for anyone's help

    #2
    If I’m wanting higher temps in my 360, I typically use lump. Also, it doesn’t take much vent adjustment to drop/raise your temps.

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      #3
      I am quite curious as to the charcoal you are using??

      Were you using grill grates or the standard factory grates.

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        #4
        I'm using standard Kingsford with regular grates that came with the PK. Last night during the cook I had the charcoal spread out for a 2 zone setup. When I wasn't reaching 325 I tried to make a pile and that seemed to help but still not to 325

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          #5
          Interesting. I don't own or use a PK360 but it seems, especially in a warm climate, there should be no trouble with a full well-lit chimney getting what you want. I would suggest instead of looking for a grey ashed-over appearance you simply watch for the smoke to lessen and see heat waves coming form the top, that's usually 10-12 min from lightup w/ Kford. You could be waiting way too long for the ashed over part, then you've lost a lot of firepower from the coal. I am also puzzled by your statement that the coals weren't' burning. I don't how to piece both things into the same scenario...

          Try adding half a chimney of unlit in first, then dump your well-lit chimney on top. Then try not letting it get above 325 to start. Try opening the vents a little at a time to get to 325 and then maintain.

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            #6
            Maybe try bringing down both exhaust vents to half way when using a full chimney. That unit is very small and made of cast aluminum...it doesn’t take much fuel to get to 325. And as mentioned above, I only use lump on my 360.

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              #7
              You state that you're able to get well above your 325* mark at the initial charcoal dump but can't seem to get it to normalize at that desired temp. It sounds like you are over compensating your ventilation. I'd suggest letting it get rib roaring hot then using baby steps, back one of your bottom vents down slowly. Do it in tiny increments until you get to 325*. I'm not a PK guy either but I've had the same issues with my Webers when I first got them.

              In fact I now have all of my Webers on fan control for that very reason. I realize you may not be ready to take the plunge, but the Fireboard with fan option will get that PK humming within +-5* with that setup. I recently lost my fan cable and until I could get a new one I had to do several cooks with going back to adjusting vents. I had a hell of a time until I took my own advice and slowly and incrementally adjusted my bottom vents.

              Good luck getting her dialed in. Keep working on it, you'll get it.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Huskee View Post
                Interesting. I don't own or use a PK360 but it seems, especially in a warm climate, there should be no trouble with a full well-lit chimney getting what you want. I would suggest instead of looking for a grey ashed-over appearance you simply watch for the smoke to lessen and see heat waves coming form the top, that's usually 10-12 min from lightup w/ Kford. You could be waiting way too long for the ashed over part, then you've lost a lot of firepower from the coal. I am also puzzled by your statement that the coals weren't' burning. I don't how to piece both things into the same scenario...

                Try adding half a chimney of unlit in first, then dump your well-lit chimney on top. Then try not letting it get above 325 to start. Try opening the vents a little at a time to get to 325 and then maintain.
                I think you are right that I'm waiting to long. As far as the coals not burning I probably spread them out to much.

                Thanks everyone for all of the insight. It is a learning experience for me.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I have a lot of experience with blue bag charcoal. It evaporates quickly and makes a huge amount of ash. It is full of limestone binder, sawdust and accelerants. It lights in a hurry and by the time it greys over, it is almost gone. Notice the huge amount of smoke it throws off when it first lights in a chimney.

                  My suggestion is for you to get some good briquettes (e.g. B&B) or good quality lump and give it a try.

                  I do own a PK360, found a blue bag in my cellar stash a couple of a weeks ago, and in a weak moment, gave it a try. Complete fail and had to add some B&B to finish the short cook planned. BTW, it was Kingsford Professional branded as all natural. I bought it about a year ago on sale to give it try. Yeah, guess sawdust, calcined limestone, and wax are all natural I guess! I bit on the "professional" tag but never again.

                  I know I am being harsh on the blue bag stuff but please do give a better briquette or lump a try. I really do think you'll get quite a different result.

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                    #10
                    Thank you, reading this thread makes my pellet grilling Happy.
                    But I do find all the responses interesting.

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                      #11
                      https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...229#post743229

                      I have a bunch of thermostatic control tests and a max temperature test in the thread above.

                      I agree you are probably letting the chimney ash over too much. As soon as you see only scintillations/heat above the chimney and little smoke, it’s ready. Also you can toss in some unlit to help sustain it longer.

                      if that doesn’t work re-check your airflow setup is clear and free however you are doing it.

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                        #12
                        The PK is great but I had a hard time maintaining 350 for any length of time to roast chickens.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Again, thanks for all of the response's I really like Alphones's . Since I am so new to charcoal cooking I naturally went with the known brand of Kingsford. I will definitely give the B&B a try if I can find it.
                          My last cook (Meatloaf ((the food not the Man)), I spent a lot of time really working the bottom vent to get dialed in. Just small adjustments. Since I was smoking the meatloaf for several hours I had time to play with it and I think I am getting there. I did a full chimney. and dumped it after about 15 minutes. The PK takes a long time to reduce temp so I had to be patient.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I stopped worrying about temps for two zone grilling especially if they are high temps. No matter what grill I use I keep all the vents open because I want that really high temp for the hot side. It takes me 40-45 minutes for 2 zone grilling chicken thighs and legs. I keep the chicken on the cool side 95% of the time and by time I get to 35-40 minutes the coals on the hot side are cool enough to place the thighs skin down if I want to crisp/char them up a little. If your just grilling don't worry about maintaining higher temp for too long. If you need to grill more than 30-45 minutes there is a good chance you going to need to add more fuel anyway. Thats the thing about 2 zone grilling you are going to need to move your food around from time to time account for temp changes. None of what I just mentioned applies to low and slow or even some baking or roasting.

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