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Kamado Temp Control

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    Kamado Temp Control

    I’m new to kamados and I have a couple questions about temperature control after my first cook. I read most of the sticky manifestos in this channel which helped. I’ve decided to figure out how to use my Kamado as a true Kamado before I move on to using the SnS.

    I was shooting for 350 so I started with two fire starters in a full bowl of lump. After 15 minutes I closed the lid with top and bottom vents wide open. 80 degrees below target I shut it down to half on top and 1” on the bottom per the manual and it crashed hard. I finally opened the vents enough that the temperature increase continued slowly, but then overshot to 380 and let it dwell for 30 minutes to heat up the cooker and get the fire clean.

    Finally here’s the question: when I put the chicken on I lost 50 degrees instantly followed bytemps slowly dropping. I had to reopen everything and slowly close it down again to creep up on 350. Is this typical with kamados or did I rush the cooker up to temp initially and that’s why I lost that heat?

    I’m happy that I lost that 50 degrees because I got a second chance to approach my target but I want to know if I should overshoot before I put the meat on or bring it up to temp more gradually and expect less loss in temperature.

    Very satisfactory first cook with this cooker. I was able to get fairly stable temps and the tandoori style chicken turned out great!

    Attached Files

    #2
    What type of charcoal?? And are you measuring temps with the heat deflectors in?

    I usually overshoot a little, then put the heat deflectors in, which causes it to drop (naturally because it’s not direct anymore). Then I let it come up to temp, then put food on.

    Comment


    • jhapka
      jhapka commented
      Editing a comment
      Frontier lump from Home Depot. I put the ceramic heat deflector in when I closed the lid after lighting the lump. It heated up with the deflector in position the entire time.

    • scottranda
      scottranda commented
      Editing a comment
      You certainly can put the deflectors in while it comes up to temp. I was just telling you what I do. Lots of ways to do it.

      Also, don’t worry about 10 degrees here or there. You will not enjoy cooking/grilling/smoking. I mostly don’t sweat 50 degrees!

    #3
    I cook on a Big Green Egg and use lump charcoal. Putting cold food on will cause a temperature drop because you open the dome and the food is cold, but it shouldn’t take long before it returns to the temperature at which you stabilized it. There should be no need to readjust the air flow.
    Last edited by LA Pork Butt; October 7, 2020, 05:39 AM.

    Comment


    • jhapka
      jhapka commented
      Editing a comment
      After 15 minutes with the chicken inside the temperature had only managed to drop 10 degrees, so in this case I don’t think the temp would’ve recovered without adjusting air flow. Any idea why that might be?

    • LA Pork Butt
      LA Pork Butt commented
      Editing a comment
      jhapka This link will take you to a article that will explain how to tame your Kamado and quit chasing temperatures. https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...-savage-kamado
      Last edited by LA Pork Butt; October 7, 2020, 06:17 AM.

    #4
    I have an XL BGE. It’s very hard to lower temps if you overshoot. I plan on 45 minutes to an hour to bring temp up slowly and heat up the ceramic. There is nothing worse than chasing temp on a BGE.
    I use Fogo lump. I light one Weber cube in the back of the pile. I let that burn for about 15 minutes until some coal begins to ash. I put in my rack system and diffuser plate and grate so they can all come up to temp. Close cover and open vents all the way top and bottom. As temp approaches target I close bottom to a sliver and keep top open. I will adjust top to slow the climb of the temp until I reach target temp. Usually pretty stable at that point.

    Comment


    • jhapka
      jhapka commented
      Editing a comment
      It seems that most guides I read suggest closing the bottom vent down quite a bit, but it seemed like that would make my temp totally dive based on how my cooker was reacting. Maybe I'll try leaving the top vent alone until I get closer to target next time. Still a mystery why I lost so much heat when I put the food on but at least I was able to hold 350 very steadily once I got it there.

    #5
    I cook on a Kamado Joe. Before I went with an automated temp controller I would start the fire with one fire starter square and wait for the flames to die out. As soon as I saw some ash had formed my heat deflector and grate would go in and I would close the lid. I would open both upper and lower vents all the way until the temp was within 40 degrees of my target temp. At that point I would close the lower vent just a bit more than half way and close the upper vent leaving only about 3/8 of an inch open. I would use the upper vent to control my temp and leave the lower one alone. With just a bit of practice you will learn to nail your temps without starving your fire of air by closing the bottom vent too far. The trick for me has been maintaining a small clean burning fire versus a large oxygen starved one.

    Comment


    • jhapka
      jhapka commented
      Editing a comment
      Your vent settings sound closer to what ended up working for me than the guides saying to shut the lower vent down to 1/4" or 1/8". I never really got my lower vent much more than half shut because the temp would dive. Still not sure why it didn't rebound after I put the chicken on.

    #6
    Sounds to me like you are letting the fire get too hot. When you close the lid and vents, it starves for oxygen and goes out. In my Primo XL I only light a small fire, then after 5 or so minutes put the heat plates in and close it up. If I am using my controller then I leave the top vent daisy wheel open and just let the fan work.

    For manual control you just need to get a feel for it. But same idea. Start small and build. You can run with vents open , then for 225 start closing them off at 175. For 350 same thing, only start closing vents off slowly at around 250. If you are using the heat plates, you do not need a big fire. Just enough to keep the temp you want. It takes some practice, but once you get a feel for it then it becomes easy.

    Comment


      #7
      I'm with SmokeyGator , I think you're letting the fire get too hot. I would just light the fire in one place, with one starter cube, like Old Glory says. I'm running a BGE, but it should be very similar. The key is to bring it up slowly, chasing temps on a kamado ain't no fun.

      I light the fire in one place, close to the edge of the charcoal bed. Leave it for 5-10 minutes until I have glowing embers. Now I put the deflector in, and wait another five. Then close the lid and leave both vents fully open for another 10 minutes. This is to warm up the grill properly. When I'm 40 degrees from target temp (roughly) I close the bottom vent so it is only 1/4"-1/2" open, and then start dialing down the top gently until I reach target temp.

      Comment


        #8
        So much good advice here already. Keep trying you will get it.

        Comment


          #9
          You sound like me with my BKK, always chasing temps, although it has gotten better since I fixed and re-siliconed the bottom damper.
          I tried the above lighting the fire in one place, just doesn't work on my Keg.
          In the end I've found light it up lid open for 15-20 mins to get coals established, prepare meat and get it on the grill by the 30 min mark.
          This is were the fun begins as depends on the Kegs mood and me not paying attn to the Keg its usually over 350 but I've learned how to tame it somewhat using the dampers.
          SmokeyGator Hit the nail on the head, you have to get the feel for your smoker, some are set and cook, mine is fiddle about and monitor constantly.

          Comment


            #10
            I pretty much follow the method Oak Smoke recommends below with one addition. I put the heat deflectors in my KJ once the fire is lit, with the deflectors askew and with the vents open the aim is to get the dome warmed up as well as the rest. Helps stabilize overall. When target temp is near situate deflector(s) then close down vents to desired range.

            Comment


              #11
              OK sounds like the consensus is that my fire was too big so I’ll just use one fire starter next time. At the end of the day my target temp was 350 and when the chicken was on it rose from 325 to 350 and stayed there without adjustment so I didn’t walk away from the cook feeling like I was temp chasing. It’s really the fact that the temp didn’t recover when I put the meat on that confused me.

              thanks again for the tips!

              Comment


                #12
                First, you will never need a slow n sear in your kamado. Second, and most importantly, as many above have already said, don't sweat the temps. I no longer use anything but the thermometer that came with my Primo and I don't fixate on a specific number. Also, generally speaking I like cooking at higher temps than all the temps recommended on this site. Remember most folks aren't cooking w a kamado here, our cookers cook differently than, for instance, a Webber. Soooo, for a brisket ill cook around 275-290 - I find the smoke is better than at 225 etc

                Spatch-cocked indirect chicken is a favorite of mine and the kamado is the perfect tool because of the heat coming off the top dome. Generally I'll shoot for 400-425 w the chicken as high in the dome as I can get it. This makes the skin incredibly crunchy. The key is to heat soak your ceramic so that it can radiate heat. I've experimented at 400, 450, and 500. 400-425 is probably my favorite. I don't like the skin under 400.

                I used to start, like mentioned above, w one starter cube and allow it to slowly rise. Now I just fill a chimney w leftover charcoal when I'm prepping the Primo. I'll light a cube under it and get it roaring. Then I'll dump all of it right in the center of my charcoal and cover it with the heat plates and close the lid w the bottom and top vents wide open. When the temp gets to about 300 I'll close the top vent to about 1/2 inch and the bottom vent to about half way. Kind of see how fast the temp is rising. For 400 it'll need to be open a good inch in the end. Don't fiddle w the vents. Trust yourself and worst case scenario if you F it up, you've learned for the next time. Let the temps climb and rest where you have it. Eventually, you'll be able to lock in a temp for a very long time.

                BTW, Great looking cook!

                Comment


                • jhapka
                  jhapka commented
                  Editing a comment
                  DavidNorcross Turboslow... if you know, you know

                • JCBBQ
                  JCBBQ commented
                  Editing a comment
                  DavidNorcross got it! Sorry, thought you were throwing a SnS in a BGE or something. I’ve got the Primo XL which has two zone capability and forget that smaller kamados have a tough time w that.

                • Old Glory
                  Old Glory commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That method doesn't work in my cooker. My fire would be way to hot. Because the fire grate sits so low in the cooker the coals are packed very tightly in a small space. If I light a chimney full of coals that is way too much for my cooker unless I am going for a high heat cook. It might work for a Primo because the coals are more spread out.

                #13
                There are too many different ways to light a fire in your Kamado to even begin to describe them all. This guide is very helpful. It goes over specific methods for cooking different types of food. I think the guy who wrote it is a member here as well. It's just a guide though and as you learn the ways of your cooker you will figure out how you like to cook based on the results you get. Have fun, BBQ and Outdoor cooking is a journey...enjoy the ride!

                Great looking chicken by the way.

                https://www.kamadoguru.com/applicati...t.php?id=80777
                Last edited by Old Glory; October 8, 2020, 03:08 AM.

                Comment


                  #14
                  I would make sure to check out this topic on Taming the Savage Kamado. It is a great act rile and it helped me a lot when I got into the Kamado game!

                  Comment


                    #15
                    I don't have ceramic but have similar in the WSCG as far as management (but much more forgiving on the overshoot). Others that have chimed in also have a lot more experience than I do, but just want to say that I've had luck with something you replied earlier about shutting down the bottom vent first, then creeping in on the top vent as you get closer to temp. I usually knock my bottom vent to where I think it will run around 75 degrees from my goal temp, leaving the top open until it is within 25 degrees or so.

                    I also think that 350 - 400 is the hardest temp to lock in on this style cooker. Not saying it is really hard, just saying it seems more challenging than 200-275 or 450 plus are to lock in as both of those are almost too easy with a Kamado.

                    Comment

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