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Kamado Air Flow, Fire Bowls, and Vents

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  • CeramicChef
    Former Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 1188
    • OKC, OK

    Kamado Air Flow, Fire Bowls, and Vents

    Howdy Meathead Maniacs!

    Ok, I appreciate the feedback on the Kamado Is A Chimney. I hope to build on the previous post where we talked about air flow in general and help you understand how air flows through a kamado and why that is vitally important. Hopefully you can then understand why some kamados command a higher price that others in the same class, i.e. ceramics.

    First, the guts of 3 different kamado brands. We'll look at the Vision at the low end of the price scale, the BGE at the upper end, and the Komodo Kamado at the very top end of the scale. All three have basically the same guts.

    Okay, here are the Vision guts. You can see that the fire grate, air hole, and stress relief crack are clearly labeled. This model of Vision is sold at Sam's and I appreciate Sam's letting one of their Visions pose for these photographs.

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    Note that this is a solid fire bowl and that all the air enters the lump pile through the air holes. Air can also flow around and through the annulus between the shell of the Vision and the fire bowl.

    Now here is the BGE fire bowl. The fire bowl system in the BGE is built in 3 pieces. Let's build our understanding of the BGE from the BGE's shell up to the entire 3 piece system.

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    The fire ring allows for a complete and full load of lump to be in the kamado. By splitting the fire bowl into 2 pieces, BGE reduces the weight of the assembly and makes cleaning out ashes easier. Note again the fire grate. This allows ash to fall to the bottom of the kamado during the cooking process. Again, notice the air holes in the fire bowl.

    The Fire Bowl identified in the picture above is different from that of the Vision above. The Vision is a solid piece with a stress relief crack. Here is a picture of the BGE fire bowl from the side.

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    Again you see the stress relief crack but you also notice below that the air inlet. There is no such structure in the Vision. This air inlet mechanism means that air can enter the lump pile from the bottom as well as through the holes in the fire bowl. Thus, one would expect airflow in the BGE to be more efficient since air now has another avenue to get to the lump fire.

    Now I'm going to show you one of the unique features of the Komodo Kamado (KK). These pics of taken of my KK BB 32" when I was uncrating it. It's air flow scheme, rather than flowing from the bottom vent has unimpeded access to the fire in the lump pile. Thus, 100% of the entering air can only flow through the lump pile.

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    There are several things to note here. First, the fire box is a two piece structure that is held in place by the fact that it rests against the KK shell and it meets at the stress relief joints created by the two pieces. Second, there is no fire grate. Due to the design of the charcoal basket, all ash drops directly on the KK floor. Third, there are two means whereby air enters the KK. Those two vents into the KK are labeled "Heat Shield" on the left and "Heat Shield Plate" in the center. Those shield also prevent ash from plugging up air flow during long cooks.

    Here is a picture of the KK Charcoal Basket in place in the KK BB 32.

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    So, air flow enters the KK at the far left and right below the stress relief, flows up into the charcoal basket and into the fire. FYI, to give you some idea of the size of that charcoal basket, it comfortably holds 2 regular Kingsford Blue Bags of briquettes.

    Okay, now that we see there are real differences in simplicity/complexity of fire boxes. Let's look at how air enters and exits the 3 different kamados we are dealing with.

    Here is the top vent of the Vision kamado.

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    This vent is rather simple and consists of a daisy well mechanism that rotates to open and close the vent. One rotates the vent and changes it's setting via the plastic tab in the 5 o'clock position in the picture above. You 'll also note right under that tab is a strip of metal with numbers ranging from 0 to 3. Those numbers are to help remember vent settings when trying to control temps.

    Here is the Vision bottom vent. It is a bit more complex than the top vent.

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    Notice here that we see a vent frame. Behind that vent frame is a casketing material. The Spark Arrestor Plate and the Air Flow Control plate slide right and left to control air flow. The Spark Arrestor Plate is a safety feature to keep speaks and lit embers from falling onto a wooden deck and causing an unintended fire. Notice that on the Spark Arrestor, there are Vent Numbers, 1 thru 8. Those numbers serve as a guide when it comes to setting temps just as the top vents had numbers for the same purpose. Finally, the Air Flow Control Plate can slide left to a specific position to reduce the amount of air entering the Vision. In this picture the vent is fully open. If one wanted to maximize air flow in the Spark Arrestor would be slid completely left.

    Now let's take a look at the BGE vent system. It's similar to the Vision but a bit more complex than that seen above.

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    The BGE top vents consists of 4 basic parts: The Top Vent Assembly, Slider, Daisy Wheel, and Handle. Whereas the Vision top vent was totally attached, The BGE's top vent is entirely removable and can be replaced by a green ceramic cap when not in use. The Slider is used for making gross temperature adjustments; the Daisy Wheel is used for making finer temperature adjustments. When you want to really crank up the temp, the slider will be completely open. This type of vent allows for a full range of temps to be more easily dialed in than that of the Vision. You can still get the same kind of temps with a Vision, but the BGE allow greater air flow and it does it easier, at least in my opinion.

    Here is the bottom vent for the BGE. It's almost a duplicate of the Vision, but the Spark Arrestor has a finer mesh. The Vision and BGE bottom vents are identical in operation.

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    Now let's look at the vent system for the Komodo Kamado. The KK is unique among kamados in that its bottom vent is actually an air control manifold. Here is a picture of the Bottom Vent on the KK BB 32.

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    This vent consisted of two controls: a dial vent on the left I use for gross temp adjustments. The dial on the left I use to really fine tune temps in the KK BB 32. Remember in the picture of the fire bowl of the KK BB 32 above there was a Heat Shield on the left hand side of the picture? That is also a draft door that supercharges fires. I can open that if I really want to get the KK BB 32 up to a high temp in a real hurry. This air control manifold really allows for precise air flow through the KK.

    Here is picture of the top vent structure of top vent on the KK.

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    This is the largest opt vent in the kamado world and is based on moving as much or as little air as you need through the KK. What you see is the base and it measures more than 9" across. This top vent, like that of the BGE is infinitely adjustable because it has a screw mechanism right at the 5" mark on that tape. Notice the white braided gasket material. It is that material that the top will screw down onto to extinguish a fire. The top of the vent is as large across as a dinner plate. Here is a picture of the assembly in its operational configuration atop the KK BB 32 that sits on my patio. I call him TheBeast.

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    So there we have the different fire box and vent structures of 3 well know kamados. I've tried to point out the differences as we've worked through this and how those differences can affect performance.

    Let's be a little more explicit in dealing with airflow in the kamado. The Vision is a very good cooker and in the hands of an experienced Vision owner, it can turn out some incredible food. The Vision owner has learned how to control the air flow through the cooker. If I were to try and cook on a Vision, I could do okay, but my cooks would be nowhere as good as the comparable cook by the Vision owner. I have no idea of the nuances needed to really control the Vision. That is why the Vision owner would out cook me for a bit of time.

    So too with the BGE. You take the BGE owner and tell that BGE owner to cook on the Vision, you've got hash the first few cooks. And like wise if you take the Vision owner moving over to the BGE. Both would have to figure out the proper vent settings and how the kamado responded to changes in vent settings. If you don't know the response curve of your kamado to change sin vent settings, you'll be eating a lot of hash. Once you get those vent settings figured out and once you know the response curve or your specific kamado, you're in for some extraordinary food on the table!

    Many of the nuances of TheBeast deal with how air flows into and out of the KK. The majority of nuances of any kamado will be found in airflow and how well the cook can capitalize on those nuances. I started on a BGE years ago. My kamado mentor made me sit down on a Saturday and learn all about air flow, the response curve of my specific BGE, and made me record my observations. That was the single best starting point in understanding my BGE ever. I had to do the same thing with my Primos. The first Primo Oval XL had a different set of vents settings than the second. They were similar, but not the same. The response curves were much different because of the different vents settings. I honestly think that price differentials among kamados are due, in large measure, to how air flow is handled.

    Nest time, we'll build on the first two installments here and talk about how to dial in temps and how to determine the response curve of your kamado to changes in vent settings.

    Questions? Comments?
  • martybartram
    Former Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 462
    • Vass, NC

    #2
    Wow! That was incredibly informative. I have been thinking about my next purchase and whether to go with a PBC or a Komodo despite the conversation with my wife last night (below). This really made me understand the difference and the potential of ceramic komodos and will definitely help me make a much more informed decision.

    Last night:
    Me: honey, just a heads up I am planning my next grill purchase
    Her: you said you were done spending money on BBQ stuff
    Me: oh I am not talking about th next 90 days this is like 6-9 months, I can cook 8 slabs of ribs at once on a PBC
    Her: we don't feed that many people you don't need to cook that much
    Me: but I could feed more people with a different system
    Smart ass 19 year old son: like who
    Me: teachers, church parties, parties, wrestling teams and STFU son

    Comment


    • CeramicChef
      CeramicChef commented
      Editing a comment
      martybartram - That conversation snippet was just too funny!

      Thanks for the feedback, it's greatly appreciated.
  • SoCalTim
    Former Member
    • May 2016
    • 266
    • Chatsworth Ca

    #3
    I am a huge BGE guy, love the time you took to do this write up and comparison. I never new the Komado Kamado was so well and cleverly overbuilt, I have only one problem with the KK, IMO it's dang ugly. Maybe I need to see one in person. Thank You! Tim

    Comment


    • CeramicChef
      CeramicChef commented
      Editing a comment
      SoCalTim - thanks! Dennis Linkletter's tag line is "Over engineered." Mine is "Uncompromised Excellence." I guess with the KK you could say that form follows function. Enjoy that Egg. I loved mine back in the day!

    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      SoCalTim ...

      Kamado's are like women. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.👍

      I think TheBeast is a work of art.🤑

    • Spinaker
      Spinaker commented
      Editing a comment
      Sorry to differ with you here. But they are gorgeous, especially in person. Plus there are many different colors you can get. I love the matte black though. SoCalTim
  • JeffJ
    Charter Member
    • Feb 2015
    • 2401
    • Michigan
    • Jeff

    #4
    The Komodo is a gorgeous rig.

    Comment


    • CeramicChef
      CeramicChef commented
      Editing a comment
      JeffJ - Thanks. TheBeast thanks you as well. He cooks better than he looks. Of course, he's tipping of scales at almost !,000 pounds of refractory, so he'd better look good and cook well.
  • Jerod Broussard
    Moderator
    • Jun 2014
    • 9483
    • East Texas
    • Pit Barrel Cooker "Texas Brisket Edition"
      Weber One Touch Premium Copper 22" Kettle (gift)
      Slow 'n Sear for 22" Kettle
      Weber One Touch Premium Black 26" Kettle (gift)
      Slow 'n Sear XL for 26" Kettle (gift)
      Weber Smokey Joe Gold
      Weber Rapid Fire Chimney
      Vortex
      Maverick ET-732 White
      Maverick ET-732 Copper
      2- Auber SYL-1615 fan systems(Awesome!!!!!!!!)
      Thermoworks Thermapen w/ Back light (gift)
      Thermoworks Timestick
      Cambro Model 300MPC110 w/ Winco SS Pans
      B & B and Kingsford Charcoal
      B & B Pellets

    #5
    Nice write up.

    Comment

  • fuzzydaddy
    Charter Member
    • Nov 2014
    • 4949
    • Winchester TN
    • Hardware
      Slow N Sear Deluxe Kamado.
      22" Weber Kettle.
      Slow N Sear, DnG Pans/Racks, Easy Spin Grates, Elevated Cooking Grates.
      Chimney starters.
      PartyQ.
      Joule.
      GrillGrates, GrateGriddles.
      Maverick XR-50 [my favorite].
      ThermoWorks Smoke & Gateway, Thermapen, Thermapop, ChefAlarms, DOT, probes

      Consumables / Favorites
      KBB (short cooks), Weber (long cooks)
      Ribs (beef & pork), Pork Butts, Chuck Roasts, Pork Tenderloins.
      SnS Grills salt free rubs: Not Just for Beef & Rocky’s Rub.
      MeatChurch Holy Cow. MMD, BBBR, S&G, Herbs de Provence, SPOG.

    #6
    Great write up and very informative CeramicChef. Thank-you! That is a beautiful beast! On my XL BGE I use a stainless steel vent cap from smokeware.com.

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    Comment


    • Bill P
      Bill P commented
      Editing a comment
      This is a great accessory. Leaving the vents open between cooks helps keep the inside dry, which helps prevent mold from growing.
      Nice series of threads. Thanks CeramicChef.

    • fuzzydaddy
      fuzzydaddy commented
      Editing a comment
      During a long cook I can grab my welding gloves and remove the top portion to get a quick peak of the meat to check bark, then put it back on making sure to position it correctly, all without causing any temp flunctuation.

    • SoonerBQuer
      SoonerBQuer commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the link. My have a swing top vent and this look much nicer. I mailed them to see if they have it to fit a grill dome.
  • Spinaker
    Moderator
    • Nov 2014
    • 10401
    • Land of Tonka
    • John "J R"
      Instagram: JRBowlsby
      Smokin' Hound Que
      Minnesota/ United States of America

      ********************************************
      Assistants
      Dexter (Beagle mix)
      Kinnick (American Foxhound)
      ************************

      Grills/Smokers/Fryers
      Big Green Egg (Large) X2
      Blackstone 36" Outdoor Griddle 4-Burner

      Broil King Keg
      Karubeque C-60
      Kamado Joe Jr. (Black)
      Lodge L410 Hibachi
      Pit Barrel Cooker
      Pit Barrel Cooker 2.0
      R&V Works FF2-R-ST 4-Gallon Fryer

      Weber Spirit Gasser
      ******************.
      Thermometers
      FireBoard (Base Package)
      Thermoworks ThermaPen (Red)
      Thermoworks MK4 (Orange)
      **************

      Accessories
      BBQ Dragon
      Big Green Egg Plate Setter
      Benzomatic TS4000 Torch X 2
      Benzomatic TS800 High Temp Torch X 2

      Bayou Classic 44 qt Stainless Stock Pot
      Bayou Classic 35K BTU Burner

      Digi Q DX2 (Medium Pit Viper Fan)
      Dragon VT 2-23 C Torch
      Eggspander Kit X2
      Field Skillet No. 8,10,12

      Finex Cat Iron Line
      FireBoard Drive
      Lots and Lots of Griswold Cast Iron
      Grill Grates
      Joule Water Circulator
      KBQ Fire Grate

      Kick Ash Basket (KAB) X4
      Lots of Lodge Cast Iron
      Husky 6 Drawer BBQ Equipment Cabinet
      Large Vortex
      Marlin 1894 .44 Magnum
      Marquette Castings No. 13 (First Run)
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      Smokeware Chimney Cap X 3
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      ********************************
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      FOGO Priemium Lump Charcoal
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      **************************

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      *******
      Next Major Purchase
      Lone Star Grillz 24 X 48 Offset

    #7
    Damn! Sign this dude up for moderator. Are you kidding me? This is a professional write up. I feel like I just subscribed to a new Perk in the Pit. Keep this going man. I've been cooking on my Kamado for three years, and I am learning a lot. Thanks!! CeramicChef
    Last edited by Spinaker; May 19th, 2016, 02:24 PM.

    Comment


    • CeramicChef
      CeramicChef commented
      Editing a comment
      Spinaker - My Friend, you are too kind. I appreciate you kind review. After 20+ years burning lump, you stumble upon a thing or two. Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in awhile.
  • LA Pork Butt
    Charter Member
    • Dec 2014
    • 5051
    • Grew up in New Orleans, lived in Texas for 20 years, lived in Mandeville, LA for 22 years. I now liv

    #8
    CeramicChef I agree with Spinaker. Great job! I fell guilt fo not making a contribution yet, but I am uncertain as to how. A speaker ate post?

    Comment


    • CeramicChef
      CeramicChef commented
      Editing a comment
      LA Pork Butt - Thanks. Just post your comments here this section of The Pit. I'd love to read it. The whole point is to stimulate conversation and exchange ideas.
  • Breadhead
    Banned Former Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 1

    #9
    Great explanation of the 3 different cookers CeramicChef ... Once you understand the air flow of your ceramic cooker intuitively you are in complete control of your cook! Well done Sir.👍

    fuzzydaddy ...

    I use that same cap. 1 other advantage it has over the standard daisy wheel is that it doesn't shift positions when you open the dome to make adjustments. Those still using the standard daisy wheel know what I'm talking about. If you forget to check that change in position after closing the dome and walk away from it for awhile your fire can get away from you quickly. I personally feel that the $38 for that cap was an absolute no brainer.

    Comment


    • CeramicChef
      CeramicChef commented
      Editing a comment
      Breadhead - I agree with controlling air flow. Thanks for the feedback. We're gonna get to bread once we get past the basics here. Next up is how to lay a fire and determining the response curve and vent setting for specific temps.

    • CeramicChef
      CeramicChef commented
      Editing a comment
      I really like that Rain Cap by Smokeaware.com

      TheBeast has square cut threads. It doesn't move a millimeter when you open the lid.

    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      No rush on the bread CeramicChef ... This information is MUCH more important to this thread than a loaf of bread.👍
  • Jerod Broussard
    Moderator
    • Jun 2014
    • 9483
    • East Texas
    • Pit Barrel Cooker "Texas Brisket Edition"
      Weber One Touch Premium Copper 22" Kettle (gift)
      Slow 'n Sear for 22" Kettle
      Weber One Touch Premium Black 26" Kettle (gift)
      Slow 'n Sear XL for 26" Kettle (gift)
      Weber Smokey Joe Gold
      Weber Rapid Fire Chimney
      Vortex
      Maverick ET-732 White
      Maverick ET-732 Copper
      2- Auber SYL-1615 fan systems(Awesome!!!!!!!!)
      Thermoworks Thermapen w/ Back light (gift)
      Thermoworks Timestick
      Cambro Model 300MPC110 w/ Winco SS Pans
      B & B and Kingsford Charcoal
      B & B Pellets

    #10
    Now we just need a write up for the proper use of an excavator to dig one of these out of the ground should one fall out of the sky and into my backyard.

    Comment


    • CeramicChef
      CeramicChef commented
      Editing a comment
      Jerod Broussard - Linkletter usually ships the KK via water, not air. However, I assure you that ironIf a KK did fall from the sky and land in your backyards, it'd work from day one. The KK is one very solid kamado.

    • Jerod Broussard
      Jerod Broussard commented
      Editing a comment
      I have no doubt. It's the impending crater that concerns me.

    • CeramicChef
      CeramicChef commented
      Editing a comment
      Jerod Broussard - just fill in the crater way throwing bones from cooks in. See, problem solved!
  • JCBBQ
    Club Member
    • Jan 2016
    • 1068
    • Jersey City, NJ
    • Primo Oval XL Ceramic Cooker
      Pit Barrel Cooker
      2x Mavrick 732
      Therma Pen Orange
      Favorite Bourbon Blanton's
      SF Giants

      MCS wish list - Lone Star Grillz off set

    #11
    SoCalTim, interesting that you don't like the look of those Komodos. When I first started considering a ceramic I was struck by how beautiful the KK's were. I felt it would be like having a very pragmatic, gorgeous sculpture in the back yard. I love the one that is covered in blue mosaic tile...one day, one day.

    CeramicChef, thanks for all the work you are doing on this. Obviously there is a huge thirst for this information here. Quick question, i'm pretty sure my Primo XL doesn't have a stress relief crack - I'm not home so I can't just check - why is that, do you suppose?


    Comment


    • EdF
      EdF commented
      Editing a comment
      JCBBQ The BGE didn't have the stress relief crack either until maybe 2014. I went through at least three fireboxes, which were fortunately usable for quite a while after they cracked.

    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      EdF ... I have a cracked fire box in my large BGE now that's been cracked for 2 years even though I got a free replacement on warranty a year ago. When it actually breaks I will replace it with the new one in the box that's stored in my BBQ shed.

    • EdF
      EdF commented
      Editing a comment
      Me too, a few times! ;-)
  • Thunder77
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 2735
    • Halethorpe, MD
    • Weber 26.75" Kettle with SnS. Broil King Baron 5 burner. Akorn Kamado, and Akorn Jr kamado. Primo Oval Junior. Love grilling steaks, ribs, and chicken. Need to master smoked salmon Favorite cool weather beer: Sam Adams Octoberfest Favorite warm weather beer: Yuengling Traditional Lager All-time favorite drink: Single Malt Scotch

    #12
    Very nicely done! I like the comparison of the three models. The Beast is quite something! I don't believe that I have seen anything like it before. It's a bit ugly at first, but it grows on you. 😎

    Comment


    • CeramicChef
      CeramicChef commented
      Editing a comment
      jgjeske1 - thanks for the kudos; it's greatly appreciated.

      As for TheBeast - he's quite like the Ugly Duckling. Just come on out to ChezChef and you'll see he's a thing of beauty!

    • Thunder77
      Thunder77 commented
      Editing a comment
      At the very least, he should be proof against Oklahoma weather! 😜 1,000 pounds! That would collapse my deck.
  • CeramicChef
    Former Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 1188
    • OKC, OK

    #13
    Meathead Maniacs,

    I have to say something at this point in the interests of full disclosure.

    The KK really isn't a ceramic kamado. Rather, it is a multi-layered refractory kamado. Refractory is basically cement with a few things thrown in depending upon the formulation you need for the heat you expect to encounter. (Refractory is used in industrial ovens.) Then on top of the refractory is the most effective insulating material known, Aerogel, a NASA product. Finally, you have the elastomeric grout into which the tiles/pebbles are set. The elastomeric grout is designed to flex as it heats. Regular grout doesn't do that and the tiles/pebbles would fall off over time.

    Comment


    • Breadhead
      Breadhead commented
      Editing a comment
      Hmmm... It took a rocket scientist to figure it huh? He must have been a Pit Master in his off time.😎

    • CeramicChef
      CeramicChef commented
      Editing a comment
      Something like that, I guess. Maybe he was moonlighting trying to up his retirement.
  • LA Pork Butt
    Charter Member
    • Dec 2014
    • 5051
    • Grew up in New Orleans, lived in Texas for 20 years, lived in Mandeville, LA for 22 years. I now liv

    #14
    CeramicChef Here is my modest addition to you excellent comparison and description of three Kamado cookers and their airflow and adjustments. I cook on a BGE after owning an original Kamado from Japan for over 20 years before it finally gave up the ghost. That crockery cooker is no match to a ceramic for longevity. While the crockery Kamado appears to to be identical in shape and size as the BGE it did not have the same adjustable bottom vent as My BGE. Here is one of my observations about Kamados and how they cook. In addition to the venting and air flow systems the bottom shape of the Kamado seems to effect the setting of the temperature. A friend of mine has the Visions and it does a fine job cooking, but my observation is that the base is wider than the BGE thus the fire box is wider and the angle up to the felt line is small. What I mean is that the bottom of the Visions diameter of the base is closer to the felt line than the diameter of the base compared with the diameter of the felt line of the BGE. My friend has difficulty keeping the temp at 225 without almost closing down the vents. In other words it just runs hotter that the BGE. Maintaing 250 on the Visions is about at the same setting as 225 on the BGE. Here is a similar parallel. I just purchased a BGE MiniMax and my son-in-law has a Joe Junior. The MinMax is tapered from the bottom to the felt line much like the Visions and the Jumbo Joe is tapered much more like BGE. Keeping the temp at 225 on the Joe Jr is much like doing so on the BGE while the MiniMax is much more like the Visions making it difficult to maintain 225. Also, the firebox on the Joe Jr is deeper than that of the MinMax. So, when CeramicChef says getting to know your cooker is important he is absolutely correct. Every Kamado is unique, and while you do a respectable job switching from one Kamado to the other. There is no substitute for learning to know your cooker.

    Comment


    • CeramicChef
      CeramicChef commented
      Editing a comment
      LA Pork Butt - thanks for your insights. They are wonderfully valid based on my experience. All kamados are different, even within manufacturer and class, i.e. not every XL BGE is alike. Similar, yes; identical, no. Different molds give different results. Nicely said.
  • Pequod
    Club Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 475
    • Crozet, VA
    • Gear
      • Komodo Kamado 23" Ultimate
      • Komodo Kamado 32" Big Bad
      • Medium Konro

    #15
    Enjoying this series. Have been eyeing a Kamado (or SCG) to replace my ailing gasser and WSM with a single, versatile cooker. Never having owned a Kamado, this helps me a lot.

    Comment


    • CeramicChef
      CeramicChef commented
      Editing a comment
      Pequod - thanks for the note. I appreciate your taking the time to give me your opinion. I truly hope this (planned) series gives you some keen insights that help you make a really informed purchase decision.

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Meat-Up in Memphis 2021

Join us in Memphis for our Meat-Up! Space is limited to 400, secure your spot by booking early!
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T-Shirts & More T-Shirts & More
Order men's and women's T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, Aprons, Mugs, Caps, Tote Bags, Flasks, and more, all imprinted with the Pitmaster Club logo. There's even a spiral bound journal where you can make notes on your cooks.

Cool Embroidered Shirt Cool Embroidered Shirt
This beautifully embroidered shirt is the same one Meathead wears in public and on TV. It's wash and wear and doesn't need ironing (really!), but it is a soft cottonlike feel. Choice of four colors and both men's and women's.

Click here for more info.

Support ARC

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. On Amazon it works on everything from grills to diapers, they never tell us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love. If you like AmazingRibs.com, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazon.

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BBQ Stars

Spotlight

These are not ads or paid placements. These Are Some Of Our Favorite Tools And Toys.

These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

Use our links when you buy things

Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. On Amazon it works on everything from grills to diapers, they never tell us what you bought, it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! If you like AmazingRibs.com, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazon

https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs

 


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Surely you know somebody who loves outdoor cooking who deserves a gift for the holidays, birthday, anniversary, or just for being wonderful. There he is, right in the mirror! Here are our selections of best ideas, all Platinum or Gold Medalists, listed by price.

Click here to see our list of Gold Medal Gifts


Digital Thermometers Are Your Most Valuable Tool And Here's A Great Buy!

maverick PT55 thermometer

A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. YOU NEED ONE!

Click here for more info on the Maverick PT-55 Waterproof Instant-Read Thermometer Review shown above. It may be the best value in a thermometer out there


If you have a Weber Kettle, you need the Slow 'N' Sear

slow n sear

The Slow 'N' Sear turns your grill into a first class smoker and also creates an extremely hot sear zone you can use to create steakhouse steaks.

Click here for our article on this breakthrough tool


Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet's Dual Tube Burners

the good one grill

The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King's proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Click here to read our complete review


The Good-One Is A Superb Grill And A Superb Smoker All In One

the good one grill

The Good-One Open Range is a charcoal grill with an offset smoke chamber attached. It is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. The grill sits low in front and doubles as a firebox for the smoke chamber which is spliced on above and behind so it can work like a horizontal offset smoker only better. By placing the heat source behind and under the smokebox instead of off to the side, Open Range produces even temperature from left to right, something almost impossible to achieve with a standard barrel shaped offset.

Click here to read our complete review


Pit Barrel Cooker Smoker

Griddle And Deep Fryer All In One

The flat top does the burgers and the fryer does the fries. Use the griddle for bacon, eggs, and home fries. Or pancakes, fajitas, grilled cheese, you name it. Why stink up the house deep frying and spatter all over? Do your fried chicken and calamari outside. Blackstone's Rangetop Combo With Deep Fryer does it all. Plus it has a built in cutting board, garbage bag holder, and paper towel holder. An additional work table on the left side provides plenty of counter space.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order


Pit Barrel Cooker Smoker

The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy

The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers in the hardware stores because temperature control is so much easier. Best of all, it is only $299 delivered to your door!

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them


The Undisputed Champion!

thermapen

The Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 is considered by the pros, and our team, to be the single best instant read thermometer. Don't accept cheap substitutes.  Click here to read our test results and comprehensive review and why it won our Platinum Medal .


Compact Powerful Sear Machine For Your Next Tailgater

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Char-Broil's Grill2Go x200 is a super-portable, fun little sizzler made of heavy, rust-proof cast aluminum. The lid snaps shut. Grab the handle and you're off to the party! Char-Broil's TRU-Infrared design produces searing heat while reducing fuel consumption. A 16 ounce LP gas canister is enough to keep you flipping burgers for hours.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order


The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted

NK-22-Ck Grill

Their NK22CK-C Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It's hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the NK22CK-C a viable alternative.

Click here for more about what makes this grill special


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G&F Suede Welder's Gloves

Heat Resistant Gloves With Extra Long Sleeves Hold The Hot Stuff

If you're using oven mitts at the grill, it's time to trade up. Say hello to these suede welder's gloves. They're heat resistant enough to handle hot grill grates, and flexible enough to handle tongs. The extra long sleeves even let you reach deep into the firebox to move hot logs without getting burned. Our Fave.

Click here to read our detailed review

Click here to order from Amazon


GrillGrates Take Gas Grills To The Infrared Zone

grill grates

GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, keep small foods from committing suicide, kill hotspots, are easier to clean, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily removed and moved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke to whatever is above. Every gas grill needs them.

Click here for more about what makes these grates so special


PK 360 grill

Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?

The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it's easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado. Beautifully designed and completely portable. Meathead says it is his preferrred grill.

Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

Click here to order it direct from PK and get a special deal for AmazingRibs.com readers only


kareubequ bbq smoker

Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.

Click here for our review of this superb smoker


Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker

masterbuilt gas smoker

The First Propane Smoker With A Thermostat Makes This Baby Foolproof

Set ThermoTemp's dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin'.

Click here to read our detailed review


Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

fireboard bbq thermometer

With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.

Click here to read our detailed review


Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker

Green Mountain Davey Crockett Grill

Green Mountain's portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it's also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order