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I think I just saved a couple hundred bucks

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  • Jim White
    Club Member
    • Sep 2019
    • 408
    • Gainesville, FL

    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.
  • Skip
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 3018
    • Blue Earth, Minnesota
    • MAK Pellet Grill, Large BGE, Weber Kettle with SnS, Weber Gasser, Pit Barrel Cooker, Cast Iron Pans & Griddle, Grill Grates, Mostly Thermoworks Thermometers

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


    • JGo37
      Club Member
      • Apr 2018
      • 1345
      • the LOU
      • Cookers:

        22" Blackstone Griddle, with stand & hood
        CharGriller Portable Firebox - so modified you'll BLOL
        Kitchenaid #810 Charcoal Grill - highly modified
        Weber BI-code Black Performer w/Igniter
        Weber DE-code Red Limited - 'Lucille'


        Ancient heavy CI Propane Turkey Fryer, for lighting chimneys
        BBQ Dragon kettle shelves - 2
        Fyre Dragon Kettle Drippin' Ring, Burnin' Cone & Drippin' Pan - 2 sets
        Fyre Dragon Kettle Ribbin' Ring
        Fyre Dragon Kettle 2-Zone Smokin' Sheet
        OneGrill Rotisserie for the Kitchenaid
        Smoking Tubes: 2x12" & 1x6"
        Weber Gourmet Grill w/Griddle, Pizza Stone & Wok

        My Helpers:

        Anova 900W Sous Vide Cooker w/Radios
        Instant Pot 6Q Duo
        Nesco Tabletop Roaster
        & the PIT!

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


      • 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.
    • CaptainMike
      Club Member
      • Nov 2015
      • 2336
      • The Great State of Jefferson
      • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill w/SnS and DnG (Spartacus)
        Old school big'ol Traeger w/Pro controller (Big Tex)
        2 W22's w/SnS, DnG (1 black, 1 copper) (Minions 1 and 2)
        20+ y/o many times rebuilt Weber Genesis w/GrillGrates (Gas Passer)
        20 x 30 Santa Maria grill (Maria, duh)
        Bradley cabinet smoker (Pepper Gomez)
        36" Blackstone griddle (The Black Beauty)
        Thermoworks Smoke and Thermapen.

      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.


      • 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 .
    • smokin fool
      Club Member
      • Apr 2019
      • 1383
      • Mississauga, Ont

      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.


      • RonB
        Club Member
        • Apr 2016
        • 12121
        • Near Richmond VA
        • Weber Performer Deluxe
          Pizza insert
          Smokenator 1000
          Cookshack Smokette Elite
          2 Thermapens
          lots of probes.

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


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

          (Of course you're right...)
      • jfmorris
        Club Member
        • Nov 2017
        • 2726
        • Huntsville, Alabama
        • Jim Morris

          • Camp Chef FTG900 Flat Top Grill (2020)
          • Weber Genesis II E-410 w/ GrillGrates (2019)
          • Weber Performer Deluxe 22.5" w/ GrillGrates & Slow 'N Sear & Drip ‘N Griddle & Party Q (2007)
          • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
          • King Kooker 94/90TKD 105K/60K dual burner patio stove
          • Lodge L8D03 5 quart dutch oven
          • Lodge L10SK3 12" skillet
          • Anova
          • Thermoworks Smoke w/ Wifi Gateway
          • Thermoworks Dot
          • Thermoworks Thermapen Classic
          • Thermoworks RT600C
          • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

        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.


        • 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.




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