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Better bark on kamados

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    Better bark on kamados

    It took me while, but I have now figured out the correlation. We all know kamados are reknowned for not drying out the food. And logically that would also play into a less firm bark. My results have been mixed.

    Today, when I switched my ribs around (at the 4 hour mark) I could see the bark was damp and probably would not be crispy at the end of the cook. So I opened the top vent to the full open position (I have a medium BGE with smokeware cap). And 40 minutes later the bark is firming up.

    I have always been of the opinions that have the upper vent mostly shut could help with getting a smokier flavor. So I will probably continue to keep the cap closed for the first 4 hours and open it up later to firm the bark.

    For long cooks with Pastrami or Pork Butt I would probably keep it relatively closed till the last 1 to 1.5 hours. I will continue to experiment but the top vent does seem to be the factor.

    Interesting, I smoke on the BKK and get great bark IMHO though not having owned another brand of smoker I have nothing to compare too.
    Pork butts I get my best bark, even after wrapping it’s still right there.
    Beef brisket/roasts are not far behind.
    Ribs I usually sauce but even if I leave some dry the bark is still hard.
    My Keg I find the bottom damper has the most effect on my cooks


    • LA Pork Butt
      LA Pork Butt commented
      Editing a comment
      I cook on a Large BGE and I give smokin fool a + 1 on bark. It has never been a problem even though I wrap after the cook and hold of a couple of hours. It is still plenty firm.

    I agree that the top damper has little effect on the temperature. But I have learned that it does have an effect on the dampness factor. I will continue to experiment with leaving it mostly open.


    • smokin fool
      smokin fool commented
      Editing a comment
      On my Keg it does so I try to keep it at a 1 or a 2 out of 5, if I open it more than that it lets more air thru fanning the flames so to speak. I've managed to learn to control temps using the bottom damper.
      Depends on the winds too, a windy day throws my calculations right out the window.

    How thick do you apply your rub? I cover in yellow mustard and put as much rub as it will hold.


      Originally posted by LA Pork Butt View Post
      How thick do you apply your rub? I cover in yellow mustard and put as much rub as it will hold.
      I put it on and let it sit over night and then put on more. The problem isn't lack of rub, but sometimes it is sort of damp. I opened up the top vent and it dried within and hour. Part of learning the the smoker for sure.


        I have a (discontinued) Bayou Classic Cypress Grill kamado, about the size of a large BGE. I have not had a problem with bark, I have had a few cooks that seemed a little dry so when smoking I use the plate setter (BGE - fits perfectly) and, if doing a pork butt or brisket, a pan with some water. The top vent will affect the temperature when cooking, I have to set both the bottom and top vents to regulate the temperature. If I move one or the other the temperature changes.

        I bought a triple tier BGE stainless cooking rack, the smoke sweet spot in this cooker is the top rack which is where I cook briskets and pork butts, unless I'm doing more than one.
        Last edited by 58limited; September 6, 2021, 04:35 PM.


        • RolfTaylor
          RolfTaylor commented
          Editing a comment
          Interesting. I guess YMMV applies!

          I have improvised a system with two layers in a medium. The bottom layer cooks faster, so I have to switch things top to bottom mid cook.

          The ribs tonight came out quite well. Tender enough to pull right off the bone. Bark crispy, but except for the ones on the end not too crispy (a bit hard to cut, but not hard to chew).

          The grate temperature was under 210 most of the cook, but the dome temperature was about 250-260 so I left it alone.

        I have a kamado joe. I had a terrible time getting the bark I wanted when I first started learning to cook on it. What I discovered was I needed to cook at higher temps. A brisket at 225F came out without much bark at all. I settled on 300F as the right temp for brisket on my cooker. I get great bark and flavor plus they cook quicker. It’s much the same with pork butt, 275-300F and ribs at 250 to 275F. The low air flow lets you use higher temps with out drying the food. I use a Smobot temp controller so my top vent settings are done for me. If it ever fails I’ll order another one immediately.


        • RolfTaylor
          RolfTaylor commented
          Editing a comment
          Interesting info. Thanks


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