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What is the Best 2-Zone System for Kamados? Round 2

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    What is the Best 2-Zone System for Kamados? Round 2

    I found some very good reviews on the Akorn, Primo, and KJ as well as others from Naked Whiz that compliment Max’s work very well. They look at each kamado in a consistent fashion and add new details. The reviews agree with Max’s thoughts too.

    A number of comments from the original thread noted the gap between the deflectors/diffusers and the side of the smoker create hot spots along the edges and limit the useable space on the grill.

    This would suggest the Primo’s system to be most effective as it would appear to be able to seal off the coals more effectively. However, NW notes his chicken is cooking unevenly here : http://www.nakedwhiz.com/productrevi...0/pxl400-4.htm

    Does this speak to the need for tin foil to protect the chicken, regular rotation, or poor chicken placement for the cook?

    I have not seen anyone else here talk about the need for foil or rotating on their kamados so I am curious.

    Or have others found more effective ways of dealing with the hot edges issues in non-Primo kamados?

    Last edited by IFindZeroBadCooks; June 9, 2022, 01:35 AM.

    I stand by my comments from Pt. 1. The WSCG is incredibly versatile. It easily does two zone cooking. Use it in Kamado mode for long cooks. Use it in Kettle Mode for shorter cooks and grilling. The key to it's versatility is the adjustable fire grate. I have not used a Primo so I can't comment about that cooker. I can unequivocally state that the WSCG is the most versatile and easiest Kamado to use. No messing with racks and multi-levels. It is an insulated kettle that can be adjusted between two modes Kettle/Kamado in seconds. It is the one cooker to rule them all.

    Before I got the Low Profile S&S
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    LP S&S
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    3 Lb Tri-Tip cooking indirect on a two zone set-up
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      I have a KJ. Sure there might be hot spots around the edge, but it’s not really a problem. Maybe just stick the drumstick 🍗 bone out to the edge because it is not edible anyway.


        As for the hot spots on the BGE they are there. Less on the WSCG. If that is a concern get the XL Egg or Jumbo Joe. Bigger is better.

        Plenty of room to avoid the hot spots
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          If that is treated wood in the one picture it looks unhealthy. Just my opinion.

          Happy grilling to you and PBR too.
          Last edited by bbqLuv; June 9, 2022, 07:37 AM.


          • jfmorris
            jfmorris commented
            Editing a comment
            I think you are confusing bricks for wood in that first picture? It is two of the thinner style brick on edge, not treated 2x4's.

          • bbqLuv
            bbqLuv commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes sir, the top picture with the wood.
            BTW, what does FOGO stand for? Fear Of Going Out?

          • Old Glory
            Old Glory commented
            Editing a comment
            FOGO is a brand of charcoal. https://www.fogocharcoal.com/ Means "fire" in Portuguese.

            Yes they are thin fire bricks.
            Last edited by Old Glory; June 9, 2022, 09:27 AM.

          IFindZeroBadCooks I know I am one who brought up hot spots as a thing with kamados around the perimeter. With the SNS Kamado, you obviously know you can use the SNS to setup a pure 2 zone setup with no hot spots on the indirect zone. However, in traditional kamado mode, the design of the SNS deflector is such that it has 3 "legs" about 6 inches wide that reach all the way to the edge of the fire bowl. This puts the "hot spots" anywhere over the 3 gaps not covered by those legs. I have to agree that for a pure kamado, the Primo simply due to its oblong nature makes it easier to bank the coals and have more useable indirect space than on any round kamado.

          What I have done a few times, and I cannot find a picture of it right now, is actually use foil or even a foil steam tray lid, to build a larger deflector of foil on top of the ceramic one, so that I could ensure that my meat was NOT hanging out over the hot air coming up around the deflector. I think I did that once for a very large brisket, and another time for a cook that involved 5-6 racks of ribs all crammed on there. It really did not seem to impact the cook, and the ends of the meat that hung past the deflector avoided getting overcooked that way.

          As I showed in a recent cook (SL Spares, rib tips and brats), I took advantage of the hot spots in those 3 perimeter areas to cook and brown a dozen or so brats in the last hour the ribs were cooking on Memorial Day. So it can be an advantage too.
          Last edited by jfmorris; June 9, 2022, 07:56 AM.


            IFindZeroBadCooks I dug into my photos, and found 3 cooks from last year that are good about illustrating the "hot spot" issue on just about any kamado.

            Here is a Boston butt cooking in kamado mode, with the SNS deflector covered tightly in foil. You can see the 3 "legs" I mentioned, and how the 3 gaps in the other area are where hot air will be coming up from the fire. Your indirect zone is pretty much the area above the deflector. And I will be the first to point out that the deflector gap outside the leg areas on the SNS Kamado seems to be a larger gap than on most. As you will note, I have my air probe above one of the 3 "legs" of the deflector, to ensure I am measuring the indirect grate temp. I ought to put a probe in one of the areas NOT above the deflector some time, to compare...

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            Now, here is my 20# Thanksgiving turkey from this past November. I decided to deconstruct the turkey, and I highly recommend this method. If you look below the grate, you will see that compared to the above photo, I extended my foil wrap of the deflector out significantly, to close that gap to about 1/2 of the normal amount, to ensure that the turkey had more indirect area. Worked perfectly. Heat was pretty similar between the two cooking levels once the kamado stabilized at 350F, but I think I did swap those 2 legs (with deboned thigh for slicing) out halfway through the cook.

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            And finally, I did a 9 pound prime rib at Thanksgiving (a full 7 bone one, with the ribs and the ribeye cap removed for future cooks). I went full 2 zone SNS insert indirect mode so that I could put my "au jus" drip pan under the prime rib during the cook. Any drippings that missed that pan went in the the DNG below, also lined with foil for easy cleanup.

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            I will conclude by saying the best 2 zone system on the SNSK depends on what you want to do. If I want HIGH HEAT 2 zone cooking (think 700F for a pizza), then you just have to go to kamado mode. Due to the way the SNS insert works in the SNS Kamado, when using that for 2 zone, I doubt you can get much above 350F on the indirect side - just too much bypass heat goes up and out the top to get the indirect side much hotter. However, if you want indirect for doing things like a reverse sear or low and slow, the SNS insert works very well.
            Last edited by jfmorris; June 9, 2022, 08:11 AM.


            • jhapka
              jhapka commented
              Editing a comment
              jfmorris let me know if you try the XL Woo ring I agree I think the deflector’s diameter could be a little bigger

            • jfmorris
              jfmorris commented
              Editing a comment
              jhapka I don't see where we would put the XL Woo ring. The top ring diameter of that model woo ring is 23" - not gonna fit inside the grill. You would almost need a custom thing built to replace the ring that the cooking grate sits on, with the tabs to hold the cooking grate, and a lower ring to put a deflector on.

            • jhapka
              jhapka commented
              Editing a comment
              jfmorris I saw your post with the measurements, thanks for doing that I’m not near my cooker so I couldn’t check. I wonder if Dave and SNS have had anybody ask about a more filled-out deflector.

            I also have a WSCG and have been following Smoking Dad BBQ for sometime. He uses a double indirect setup that he came up with for his KJ smokers so he can run higher temps 275 -300 degrees that help melts top sided fat on Briskets, Pork butts, Beef ribs, Pork spare ribs without burning the bottoms of his cooks. This makes for a cleaner, hotter burning fire that adds better taste for the final product.
            I do not have the KJ Slo Roller or ceramic half pizza stones that he uses as a second heat deflector plate, but i use the WSCG diffusor plate then add a 15'' Lodge cast iron flat baking pizza pan flipped upside down on the diffusor plate, then add two 1/4'' Stainless Steel spacers, a 14''round Smokeware Stainless Steel 2'' deep water pan, then on top that with a 18'' flat aluminum pizza tray as my foiled drip tray.
            Sure, even with this set up if you have food lined up near the outer edges of the grill grate your going to get hot spots but with so much other grill grate real estate, its never an issue to keep food more centered. Plus if needed, i have a extend a rack that i can keep centered to add more goodies on top of that rack and away from the outer edges of the grill grate.

            To check out Smoking Dads BBQ double indirect setup, it starts at about the 14:30 mark in his video.


            • IFindZeroBadCooks
              IFindZeroBadCooks commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks for this! I liked and subscribed to his videos as this is the first I have heard of him. Can you take a pic of your setup? I am having problems visualizing why you need all of the extra stuff between the original diffuser and the 18” drip tray.

            • Smoked Transistors
              Smoked Transistors commented
              Editing a comment
              I will for sure, im at work now but can snap some photos later.

            Old Glory I looked at the specs at Ceramic Grill Store, and made some measurements inside the SNS Kamado, and there is no way any of their woo rings will fit, unless they were sitting on the charcoal grate. The design is such that the side walls between the bowl and the main cooking grate are ALMOST vertical. It has the bottom cast iron grate like most kamados, but the bowl is sized towards a 22" cooker (versus 18 or 24 like most kamado sizes), and the upper charcoal grate, which you set a SNS or their deflector on, has a diameter of 21". 5-6 inches above that you have a thin lip that holds a metal ring with tabs on it that holds the 22" Easyspin cooking grate. No where to hang the woo ring even if I could get one the right size.

            I did measure their deflector, and the central "circle" is 15", much like the 15" deflector size for the BGE XL woo ring at the Ceramic Grill store. I think the fact it is raised so much higher towards the cooking grate, and the almost vertical sides of the cooker, make the gap larger than if it were down just above the fire bowl. The 3 legs rest all the way over the edges of the fire bowl, on top of the upper charcoal grate you see below.

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            • LA Pork Butt
              LA Pork Butt commented
              Editing a comment
              Jim, the Ceramic Grill Store can custom built for you.

            @IFindZeroBadCooks Here are some pictures of my set up, but remember i really don't have to use all this extra set up stuff but it lets me run a hotter fire for clean smoke that produces better tasting food on the kamado plus not to mention i like tinkering and trying different Kamado lump setups. I go through more fuel using this set up but that's ok by me.
            Attached Files
            Last edited by Smoked Transistors; June 9, 2022, 03:11 PM.


              Thank you very much for all of the help and excellent comments. It really helps clarify and understand the issue!


              • Smoked Transistors
                Smoked Transistors commented
                Editing a comment
                Smoking Dads theory of a double indirect method really does keep the bottom side of briskets, pork butt from being overly done when using higher heat at 275-300 degrees.

              I have the Primo XL. The firebox is easy to split. You can get a cast iron divider, but it is easier to just use 1 heat deflector (the Primo uses 2 plates). Unless you want to remove all the lump, put in the divider, then fill half of the box. Your choice.

              BUT I have discovered that it really is not great for direct heat grilling. You REALLY need careful fuel management there. Too much lump and by the time you get a hot fire for grilling you face a conundrum. Leaving the lid open results in a runaway fire, closing the lid results in a flashover situation when you open the lid again. Even with careful fuel management flashover is a very real thing. It can be done, but you need to be careful. Open the lid SLOWLY. You want to allow enough oxygen to get in so whatever is going to go FOOSH! does so before you end up with no eyebrows. It is also a good idea to wear welding gloves.

              No. Really. Put on welding gloves. The FOOSH! comes out of the gap in the open lid, which is where your hands will be.

              Now as a smoker I believe there is no better charcoal option. You get incredibly long burn times, extremely stable temperatures no matter what the weather does, the low air flow design retains humidity - really all the boxes get checked. But if I want direct grilling, Im gonna use the cheap kettle I found on the side of the road one day. It is safer, and direct heat is direct heat. Or I use the gasser.

              Oh and about the gap in the firebox and heat plates - it is not worth worrying about. At smoking temperatures it is not really a thing. At least not that I have noticed. Even at 325 degrees (for smoked turkey) it is not a noticeable thing. The kamado design will use just enough air to maintain the temperature and the fire adjusts. If there is not enough air, some coals will self extinguish (and in the process create the flashover hazard, but once the coals adjust the FOOSH! problem largely goes away, although it is ALWAYS good practice to be careful opening the lid above 300 degrees).

              One of these days I intend on getting a Weber kettle. And then if I want dual zone then I just fire up two cookers. Or I can experiment with the SNS thing, but honestly having a Primo XL with a fireboard I am very good on the smoker situation.

              You CAN do dual zone - I have done it without setting myself or the backyard on fire. But in my opinion, there are better options.
              Last edited by SmokeyGator; June 20, 2022, 06:43 PM.


              • Oak Smoke
                Oak Smoke commented
                Editing a comment
                +1 on the flash over. After my first one took all the hair off my right arm I got serious about avoiding them.

              • SmokeyGator
                SmokeyGator commented
                Editing a comment
                Oak Smoke the FOOSH! is a real thing. But if you anticipate it, it can be mitigated. I do not think it can be completely eliminated though, unless you are in pure smoker mode.


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