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I think I just saved a couple hundred bucks

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    I think I just saved a couple hundred bucks

    I've mentioned in a couple of threads lately that I was planning to retrofit the heat deflector hanger in my ancient Kamado #9 so that I could drop in an SnS. I've always assumed that the configuration of this beast just doesn't adapt to a quick sear. I was challenged in that assumption recently in a thread here (sorry, I forget now who it was and what thread it was, but I owe you a Secret Santa gift or some such). The problem (I thought) is that this thing is so large, the fire grate sits a full 18 inches below the cooking surface. Here's an old pic of it opened up to show the scale of things. The disk at the right is a baking steel that I have subbed in for a ceramic heat deflector. I realize this means I'm now working with a radiator instead of an insulator under the grill, but I prefer the net effect of a very uniform heat distribution throughout the chamber. (In low and slow, I set things up so that the controller fan basically doesn't cycle at all for at least the first 5 or 6 hours.)

    Click image for larger version

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    But before investing in the SnS, I decided to prove to myself that it's needed. I've been on my own this weekend, and I remembered I had one last one pound ribeye in the freezer, so it seemed perfect for playing around at lunchtime before settling in for football later. I dry brined for around four hours. I hit it with a very heavy layer of POG (2:2:1 peppernion powder:garlic powder) and put on in low and slow at 225 in heavy hickory smoke (sacrilege, I know) and took it off the grill at 115 internal. Since I now own a pair of PittMaker gloves, I was able to carefully remove the grill, the water pan and the baking steel. I then chucked in a bunch more lump and put the grill back in place. I opened the vents for full heat and closed the lid for a few minutes. I decided things were probably hot enough when the temp gauge in the lid (yeah, my next purchase will be an IR gun, why do you ask?) topped 650. I did a full minute with the lid closed on each side and then went open with flipping every 30 seconds or so. When my Thermapen said 130, I pulled it of.

    This doesn't give the inferno full justice, but here's a pic in the latter stages:

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    And here we are when it came off. Boy, was I surprised!

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    The POG carmelized well, but if you look closely, there's even a fair amount of Maillard browning between the grill lines.

    And the result:

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    This was just wonderful eating. Further refinements to play with will be to use more patience and get things even hotter. Also, I think I'll stop low and slow at 110 and only sear to 125 next time. I really prefer a steak a bit more rare than 130 with the Thermapen. I'm also contemplating dropping my Lodge skillet in there for a more uniform searing surface, or even getting a second baking steel that I keep clean to put on the grill surface (then I can move to pizza out there, too!).

    All comments and suggestions are welcomed as I think through this a little further.

    #2
    Great experiment Jim and it sounds like you were the winner of the lottery without buying a ticket!

    Comment


      #3
      I'm wondering how often the dog heads outside only to be stopped cold by what he smells in the cookers...

      Comment


      • Jim White
        Jim White commented
        Editing a comment
        Heh. Since they're strictly outside dogs, they only rarely get table scraps. Usually only at outdoor parties. But I did give them some beef rib bones last night. They seemed very happy with them.

      #4
      How about just letting that baking steel get to warp 10 and sear on that? That's what I do with the flat side of GrillGrates and love the results. Did a couple of NY's last week that were fantastic.

      Comment


      • Jim White
        Jim White commented
        Editing a comment
        And I'll add, it looks dangerous to me if I leave the steel down at the deflector level. I'm only comfortable with bringing it up to the cooking surface.

      • CaptainMike
        CaptainMike commented
        Editing a comment
        That's a man with a plan!

      • Skip
        Skip commented
        Editing a comment
        You've got this Jim White .

      #5
      Pretty much the same ritual I go thru on my Keg if I want to sear.
      The Keg comes with a tool to lift the grate after that I loose most of the hair on my arms removing the diffuser.
      If I know I'm going to sear I can raise the firebox prior to lighting the charcoal, like you I can get it up to 6-700 F when I completely open the dampers.
      Can't make any mistakes lifting that stuff out though.
      For a heat deflector I'm looking for and appropriately sized disc off a Farm Disc, a buddy of mine had one in a Weber grill.
      When that thing got hot look out, but like you are looking it gave off for very uniform heat.

      Comment


        #6
        Good write up on your experiment. But if you buy another Baking Steel, you will cut your savings in half.

        Comment


        • Jim White
          Jim White commented
          Editing a comment
          But think of the savings on pizza!

          (Of course you're right...)

        #7
        That's an awesome Kamado you have there - I assume it is from the predecessor to the Kamodo-kamado company. I think you ought to be able to make that bad boy do about anything once you work out the technique.

        Comment


        • Jim White
          Jim White commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks. It's from the old company called Kamado that was in San Diego. I think they did their manufacturing in Mexico. In retrospect, it's pretty embarrassing I've had it so long without getting up to speed on all of its capabilities.

        • fzxdoc
          fzxdoc commented
          Editing a comment
          Agreed. That's a pretty kamado.

          K.

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