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SNSK Thoughts after First Cook

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    SNSK Thoughts after First Cook

    If you followed the other thread where I documented my first cook, you know I loaded the SNSK up in kamado mode for my first cook, running an 8# boston butt and 2 slabs of Saint Louis cut spare ribs. The cook started with lighting charcoal around 6:30am or so, and ended with me pulling pork at 11pm. Temperature during much of the cook was in the 225 to 260 range, although I pushed it hot at the end to get done.

    So, here are lessons learned and thoughts.

    1. Bark
    I know I've had kamado owners tell me they have as much bark as on any other cooker out there. I've got an offset, and I've got a Weber Performer with a Slow 'N Sear, and this is my first cook with a kamado, period, although I've eaten food from other folks kamados. I feel that bark formation, and the intensity and thickness of that crunchy bark is not as good in kamado mode on this cooker as what I am used to from either the offset, or the kettle+SNS combo.

    2. Smoke Ring
    There was some smoke ring evident in the butt, but little to none in the slab of ribs we ate last night. Now, that may be due to the hickory chunks in the charcoal bed having been depleted by the time I added the ribs at noon, 5 hours into the cook. And, let's be honest - you can't really taste a smoke ring. This is just an observation. I usually have more on the kettle+SNS.

    3. Smoke Flavor
    I feel that the smoke flavor of both the pulled pork and the ribs was a little lighter than I am used to with the kettle+SNS, or the offset. Still smoky - just not as much. Maybe more than 3 wood chunks was needed in the charcoal bed.

    4. Efficiency
    I ran from 6:30am when I lit the fire, until midnight when I closed the wide open dampers, on a single load of fuel! That is VERY VERY convenient, and a reason to go with kamado mode for long overnight cooks. With the SNS on the kettle, I would have refueled at lease once. On my offset, I would have burned 40 pounds of charcoal and 10 pounds of wood chunks, and been adding fuel every hour.

    5. Temperature Control
    This is my biggest area to learn. The vent settings with a load of cold meat are different than on my dry runs to burn in the SNSK. I do see that opening the bottom vent wider than expected may be needed to increase temperatures, while leaving the top vent around a setting of 1.5 to 2. To get to 325, I had to open the bottom vent all the way, late in the cook. As everyone says - open the top, close the bottom to cool the cooker, close the top, open the bottom to increase the heat. Seems to work just like that anyway.

    6. Overall Impressions and Take-aways
    I really like the cooker, a lot! I think it will let me do some new, fun styles of cooking - after the initial few mandatory low and slow cooks, I want to try some Santa Maria style grilling, and some high temp pizza bakes! I think it will take time to fully work out the vent settings for different target temperatures - but right now, I see stability in the cooker that make me think I won't bother, at least for a while, with an adapter to use my PartyQ fan controller. I'll keep that for when the Performer gets used for overflow smoking.

    My next thought is that I will probably like smoking results with the SNS better than I do kamado mode - I expect it to have the better bark and more smoke flavor and smoke ring that I am used to. I'll certainly be trying that mode of operation soon. But I also expect to use the kamado mode a good bit, if I need to fit more on the cooker, or do high temp indirect such as pizza. I think in kamado mode, I could fit 4 8# butts on there, versus two on my kettle with the SNS.

    My final thought is that, being used to a much larger working area on my Performer, I will probably be doing a cart/table build for the SNS Kamado this coming summer. I need places to set hot stuff, without melting the screen on my Smoke like I did yesterday.

    That's it for now. I've got to get back to doing Saturday stuff. Wanted to share my thoughts while I was sitting down!

    #2
    In case anyone is interested, this is what my cook looked like, temperature wise. You can see the points at which I opened the cooker, or messed with probe placement, as well as see starts of downward or upward trends based on vent settings.

    I wish I could turn off all the markers for high and low alarms, but don't see a way to do that in Thermoworks Cloud.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	ThermoWorksCloud C4_BE_84_75_15_97 Smoke SNSK First Run.png Views:	0 Size:	70.1 KB ID:	978770
    Last edited by jfmorris; January 23, 2021, 11:19 AM.

    Comment


    • smokenoob
      smokenoob commented
      Editing a comment
      as in an electrical engineer who loves charts and graphs

    • bbqLuv
      bbqLuv commented
      Editing a comment
      How to complicate a cook. How did we ever BBQ in days gone by?
      PBR since 1844, how did they brew beer back then? Times they are a-changing. But the answer my friends is blowing in the Wind, . . .

    • smokenoob
      smokenoob commented
      Editing a comment
      I hope you know I meant that in a good way

    #3
    Nice write-up.

    Comment


      #4
      Thank you for sharing, I am looking forward to more reviews on various cooks, as you move through the learning process.

      Comment


        #5
        Jim, one way to get a better handle on temperature control is to us a sharpie to make markings every 1/4” (if that is possible a on the cooker) on the bottom vent and keep the top vent set at the same opening as you make 1/4” adjustments on the bottom vent. My experience with the BGE is that for lower temperatures (225-300) 1/4” equals about a 25 degree change. Every Kamado is different.

        You will love overnight cooks no matter the temperature.

        Comment


        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          Good idea - the bottom vent already has markings - numbers - along with vertical lines halfway between the numbers. That makes it pretty easy to repeat a setting. Do you usually keep your top vent at a particular setting? I ended up with the top vent about 1/2 open, and using the bottom vent to make most adjustments.

        • LA Pork Butt
          LA Pork Butt commented
          Editing a comment
          jfmorris the daisy wheel on the BGE is much smaller than what appears to be on the SNSK. I leave the Dailey wheel leaves on the BGE wide open. See next upload for comparison.
          Last edited by LA Pork Butt; February 4, 2021, 09:44 AM.

        #6
        Click image for larger version

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        Comment


        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah, that is smaller. I think what matters is the vent openings themseselves. I think I have 6, versus 5, and they are fairly large. So choking down some makes sense.

        #7
        Excellent write up on this cooker.

        Comment


          #8
          Jim great write up. When I smoke on the BGE I use 5-6 (or more) big chunks. I bury some under the coals per Harry Soo. I generally get good smoke flavor and smoke ring but do sometimes struggle to get solid bark.

          For temp control the earlier you can start to pre-heat the better so you can get all the ceramic mass heated and stabilized.

          That Kamado guru link I posted in your other thread has a good step by step process to help you learn your temp settings.

          Good luck with her!

          Comment


            #9
            Now that I've done a "hot and fast" cook, I have a few more thoughts. First, on Sunday evening, I broke in the SNS that came with the SNS Deluxe Kamado, without the water trough, to do some "Santa Maria" style steaks - some little USDA Prime sirloins I picked up, where two were about 1" thick (for the wife, who likes med-well) and two were 2" thick (for me!).

            Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_4337.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	2.39 MB ID:	983783Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_4341.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	2.14 MB ID:	983784

            Anyway, my thoughts and questions now are as follows:

            1. Use of Chimney's with the SNS Kamado
            I filled the SNS about 2/3 full with lump, and lit 3 "tumbleweeds" - one at each end and one in the center. With the bottom wide open, and the lid up, the entire SNS was blazing hot in 15 minutes. Since this was a direct cook, I really wasn't focused on heating up the entire Kamado, but did close the lid for about 5 minutes before bringing the steaks out, and the dome thermometer climbed above 500. With that type of startup, at least in the small area of the SNS, I sure don't need a chimney!

            So my question is, if I do hot and fast cooks in the BOTTOM of the Kamado, in traditional mode, do any of you ever bother with a chimney, or do you find that the Kamado acts as a chimney on its own? Could you in fact damage a Kamado by dumping a chimney of hot coals into a cold Kamado?

            2. Drip 'N Griddle Placement
            On my Weber Performer, I always snug the DNG up against the wall of the kettle, which leaves an inch or so gap between the DNG and the bottom of the SNS. On the SNS Kamado, it seems that there is more space on the charcoal grate than on a 22" Weber Kettle, leaving a larger gap than expected between the DNG and the SNS if I push it over to the side wall of the Kamado. Alternatively, if I move it up against the SNS, there is a large gap between the sidewall of the Kamado and the DNG.

            Which way do you position your DNG, and do you do something like foil to cover the gap between the DNG and the SNS in the Kamado (or in your kettle)?

            That's about it for now. I am sure I will have more questions or observations later!

            Jim
            Last edited by jfmorris; February 2, 2021, 09:33 AM.

            Comment


            • Mosca
              Mosca commented
              Editing a comment
              I have never used a chimney. That being said, I don’t think you could damage a kamado by dumping a hot chimney of charcoal into it. However, I think that is a question for the manufacturer.

            • Old Glory
              Old Glory commented
              Editing a comment
              I have never used a chimney either. Thinking about it if it was very cold out I could see the ceramic crack from thermal shock. I have hear of plate setters cracking by taking them out of the BGE and putting them on a snow covered table or deck. I wouldn't risk it on a cold day.

            #10
            - I am like Mosca I have never used a chimney when lighting a Kamado. I do know folks that have though.
            - Additionally I have never cooked with my Kamado dome open. Thats just me. Do watch your gasket if you have flare up.
            - Do not do steaks much on the Kamado I think I have a better tool for the job. But when I do steaks on the Kamado I get it piping hot for the sear (burp kamado) toss steaks on grate, (burp) if you open to turn again then close up all vents (top/bottom) and dwell until desired doneness. BURP again when you open to retrieve the guest of honor.

            Comment


            • smokin fool
              smokin fool commented
              Editing a comment
              Same here never used a chimney either on our BKK.
              Done burgers at the end of a cook, open the dampers and let her rip, it'll get up to 600.

            #11
            Thanks for the write up! I’m a long time kamado user (team green), and your findings are correct. Learn your vent settings and it will be a breeze. It’s a lot of fun doing pizzas on it! As for smoke flavor: just add more chunks. I can’t say that my BGE gives a lighter smoke flavor, but I haven’t used the SNSK, with the lump you use, at that temp. Lots of factors in play.
            As for dumping a hot chimney in a cold kamado? Don’t worry about it. The material can take the heat, and the thermal mass of the grill vs the charcoal is somewhere along a 1000:1 ratio.

            Comment


            • jfmorris
              jfmorris commented
              Editing a comment
              Henrik, thanks - I can see where the thermal mass difference probably makes it not matter if you drop a few pounds of blazing charcoal into a 230 pound hunk of ceramic.

              Pizza is on my plan for the weekend, after I smoke a pastrami using "Turbo Slow" mode on Thursday.

            #12
            I'm very interested to hear your thoughts once you've tried TurboSlow mode. Use the Slow 'N Sear and have the top vent open to 1.5 to 2.0. You will get MUCH more smoke flavor. Will likely rival that offset of yours!

            Comment


            • jfmorris
              jfmorris commented
              Editing a comment
              David - thanks! I have a pastrami sitting in its spices in the fridge, and plan to use turbo-slow to smoke it all the way to 203F on Thursday (@Meathead says to leave it in the fridge for 2 days in his recipe). I am too lazy to steam it, and I love bark, so plan to cook it all the way on the SNSK.
              Last edited by jfmorris; February 2, 2021, 12:22 PM.

            • jfmorris
              jfmorris commented
              Editing a comment
              I'll be straight up - since getting your original SNS (the old laser engraved one) for my Weber Performer a couple of years back, I *only* use my offset if I just can't fit it on the kettle. Now the plan is to fill up the SNS Kamado first, spill over to the kettle if smoking a lot, and only resort to the offset if I really gotta smoke a lot. My personal opinion is that my results from the SNS using charcoal and wood chunks rival anything from my offset, and its a HECK of a lot easier to use.

            • David Parrish
              David Parrish commented
              Editing a comment
              If you have a Sous Vide try that instead of steam. Works great!

            #13
            I've seen a few comments on using the chimney. Any comments on Drip 'N Griddle placement? Hug the edge of the Kamado, up against the SNS, or split the difference? And what about the air gap around the DNG?

            Comment


              #14
              Originally posted by jfmorris View Post
              I've seen a few comments on using the chimney. Any comments on Drip 'N Griddle placement? Hug the edge of the Kamado, up against the SNS, or split the difference? And what about the air gap around the DNG?
              Check out this video (sry for the old branding). In it I use a chimney as well as the DnG. I don't stress too much over DnG placement as far as hug the side or the SnS, but it does make a difference which of the three cooking levels you use. More in the video...



              Comment


              • jfmorris
                jfmorris commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks so much David! I had watched the other video where you do front versus reverse sear, but had not watched this one.

              #15
              Soaking this all in. Great stuff. Thanks to all. FYI, jfmorris I do not use the chimney for this configuration either. For the drip and griddle i really do not think I have paid much attention to the placement.

              Comment

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