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KBQ kept plugging up

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    KBQ kept plugging up

    I’ve used my KBQ at least 50 times now and have not had any problems with it. I really enjoy using it. This last cook on Thanksgiving gave me a few problems so I figured I would ask the experts. Outside temperatures were in the high 60’s. I was trying to smoke a turkey for my neighbor. I didn’t have any lump to start it with so I used some briquettes and a little kindling and my torch. Then I added some oak splits and waited until I had a good coal bed then turned it on shooting for 350. My neighbor had some small plum cuttings that he wanted to use so we piled them in as well. Most of them were an 1”-1 1/2” in diameter. I could barely hit 250 degrees. Then I realized that I had the top poppet open and not the bottom. When I switched them it shot right up. First question—shouldn’t I have been able to reach 350 with the top one open? Second question—after a while the temperature started dropping again, as low as 250. It took a while to figure out that the ashes were plugging up the holes in the burn grate. The ash box was only an inch deep if that. I would clean them and temps would climb back. But they continued to plug every 15-20 minutes. Anybody else ever have this problem? Is it a fruit wood problem? Any help appreciated. Thanks Also the turkey seemed really dark. My neighbor added all the ingredients Click image for larger version

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    I don't know about the wood. But regarding your concern about the darkness of the surface of the turkey: Did you turn off the convection fan each time you worked on the coal bed and the plugged holes? If not, then you would be pulling all the dust and ash into the cook box each time you poked the fire.

    Disclaimer: There are members here with infinite more KBQ experience than me.


    • Ronaldf123
      Ronaldf123 commented
      Editing a comment
      Dr. Pepper yes fan was turned off each time

    Another Disclaimer: As Dr. Pepper said I am not a member here with infinite more KBQ experience.

    However I have experience in when one small mistake in the beginning cascades down to more bad decisions that leads to a disaster.

    The few briquettes and a little kindling are not going to give you the continued heat that the lump will. The fan should have been on from the get go to get to the temperature to were you wanted to go. I always have my top poppet open and bottom closed. When you opened the bottom poppet and closed the top poppet, you introduced "dirty smoke". Part of "dirty smoke" are particulates that end up on your meat. As to Dr. Pepper question, " Did you turn off the convection fan each time you worked on the coal bed"? If not then you introduced more particulates to the top of the turkey. When I clicked on you picture it looked like you had a lot of particulates on the top of the turkey.

    As to cooking with fruit woods I cook with cherry all the time.


      frigate I think you may have accidentally reversed the two poppets:

      From this page, in Bill Karue's own words:

      "Two Firebox outlets select the type of smoke drawn into the Cookbox.

      The lower outlet inverts the flame to produce thin blue smoke, lighter and sweeter flavors, and burgundy to mahogany bark ‒ ideal for longer cooks like briskets and pork butts.

      The upper outlet bypasses the coalbed to produce visible smoke, heavier and smokier flavors, and darker bark ‒ great for shorter cooks like sausage and chicken.

      Opening both outlets moderates flavors and colors and is perfect for ribs."


      • frigate
        frigate commented
        Editing a comment
        Dr. Pepper You are right. I think somewhere in the KBQ Has Landed thread there was a discussion about having the top poppet open.

      Have you cleaned your control box? The manual says you need to clean it every hundred hours…


      • Ronaldf123
        Ronaldf123 commented
        Editing a comment
        Sid P. I have cleaned it once, time to clean again. Thanks

      Pellet grills don't have that problem, they have their own.


      • Ronaldf123
        Ronaldf123 commented
        Editing a comment
        bbqLuv agreed sold mine for a thirty pack

      A few briquettes won't hurt, but they make a huge amount of fairly sturdy ash that won't flow through the Coal Tray normally.

      The culprit is the small form of the cuttings, not the species (plum, which is great). Unlike larger logs, a large batch of small stuff will heat up, dry out, outgas smoke, and break into coals as discrete rather than continuous events. You can use this stuff, but you have to trickle it into the Firebox every few minutes to make the process more continuous.

      If you batch it in a large load, the massive outgas 10-15 minutes later contains a bunch of fuel (smoke), but if it bypasses the coal bed, it won't burn completely and you'll get low power from it. The unburned gas condenses as creosote, leading to the dark color. I am guessing the bird was pretty "robust" in flavor.

      I think the plugging of the Coal Tray was due to the more simultaneous production of similarly-sized coals/ash, whereas larger logs will produce a more continuous stream of large-to-fine coals/ash. The aforementioned trickling technique should solve that.



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