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Fat Cap up or Down when cooking on a Kamado?

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    Fat Cap up or Down when cooking on a Kamado?

    I get the concept that you always want the fat cap ro protect the pork butt (or brisket) from the general direction of the heat, so my question is which direction is that on a kamado? The heat source is below the food, but the deflector plate divert the heat around the sides. SInce the chimney (vent) is in the dome, it would seem the heat would ride the sides of the dome and exit via the vent, so there would be nothing to draw the heat doen over the top of the meat. I am hopeful that Huskee or some of you other "egg heads" can help me out.

    #2
    I'm going to watch this with interest, as I've had the same question with my SNS Deluxe Kamado. I'll comment on my experiences and what I have done so far though.

    On my kettle I always put the fat cap UP, as I know the heat is higher above the grate than at grate level, usually by 50 to 75 degrees. This differential comes down during a long cook, but that is what I have measured. On the kamado, in kamado mode with the heat deflector (plate setter) in place, I've measured similar temperatures on the main grate, and on an elevated grate that is 4-5 inches higher, during a long cook. You are correct that there are hot spots around the perimeter where the heat is coming up, but my feeling is that it evens out much more in the kamado due to the heat absorbed and emitted by the ceramics.

    That said, I've been putting fat cap DOWN when cooking in kamado mode, and fat cap UP when cooking in SNS mode. I'm doing a 21 pound brisket (haven't trimmed it yet) this weekend, and plan to roll with fat cap down on the kamado, since that is technically "towards the heat".

    Comment


    • efincoop
      efincoop commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for you sharing your experience. I threw my pork but on about 9:00 AM EST time and decided to go fat cap DOWN. We shall see how things progress. I also scored the fat cap for the first time per Jeremey Yoder's (mad scientist bbq) advice. I will keep you posted.

    #3
    I am not sure it makes much difference, particularly on a Boston Butt. However, on my BGE I’ve always cooked fat cap down. On a Kamado there a lot of heat absorbed into the ceramic, so you get a lot of heat off of the dome.
    Last edited by LA Pork Butt; September 3, 2021, 09:06 AM.

    Comment


      #4
      My personal preference is to not have any fat cap on a pork butt, they have so much internal that I hack all of mine off the exterior to get more smoke & rub adherence and more flavorful bark. On a brisket I wouldn't worry on a kamado, I'd probably instinctively place it down to bark up the top, but I don't think it matters too much, I think it's 6-of-one-half-dozen-of-the-other deal.

      Comment


      • efincoop
        efincoop commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for sharing your insight Huskee.

      • LA Pork Butt
        LA Pork Butt commented
        Editing a comment
        I take almost all of the fat off the cap. I agree there is plenty fat to go around on the pork butt.
        Last edited by LA Pork Butt; September 3, 2021, 09:40 AM.

      #5
      efincoop Didn't you just say elsewhere you were selling your kamado? Did you get a new one, or is this just a bon voyage cook?

      Comment


      • efincoop
        efincoop commented
        Editing a comment
        You are very astute my friend! Yes there is a very good possibility this is indeed my bon voyage cook on my kamado. I need to make room for something new, so stay tuned! ;-)

      #6
      For me the fat cap is always down. Malcom Reed taught me that one. Has always worked well.

      Comment


        #7
        Based on my experiences I'm in the "it doesn't really matter much" camp. That said, I trim lean and smoke fat down. I like lots of bark and a big fat cap can just end up being really well seasoned fat.

        Comment


          #8
          On my BKK I cook with a diffuser fat cap down, that being said I'm most likely to flip a butt or roast at intervals during the cook.
          Brisket I may flip at the two hour and four hour mark depending if I get a good grip on it, nobody likes patio stone rub.

          Comment


          • HawkerXP
            HawkerXP commented
            Editing a comment
            I prefer grass clippings to patio stone rubs.

          • smokin fool
            smokin fool commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah grass clippings is easier on the teeth than gravel

          • HawkerXP
            HawkerXP commented
            Editing a comment
            Also counts as a salad!

          #9
          Occasionally on a pork butt I’ll leave the fat cap on 1/3 to 1/2 and cook up and score for those tasty chunks of crispy fat.

          Comment


            #10
            I find the bottom doesn’t bark up well due to all the fat dripping down. I start with the fat towards the heat, then once the top is nicely barked up, I flip it to let the bark set on the other side.

            Comment


              #11
              As far cooking goes, I really do not think it matters in a kamado. Whenever I am cooking with my kamados I usually put he brisket fat side down, just casue I like to spritz the meat while it is cooking for the first few hours. The meat needs it, and the fat really doesn't, so it makes sense to have it fat cap down. You get plenty of reflective heat from the dome, heat from the plate setter below and heat billowing from there sides, around the plate setter. So I really do not think fat cap up or down matters as far as cooking goes. I go fat cap up or down, just to make spritzing easier.

              For pork butts I go fat cap up, only because the fat tends to stick to the grate when I am done cooking.

              Comment


                #12
                I do down, but I also agree that it doesn't matter.

                Comment


                  #13
                  I like the fat cap down. I cook hot (300F) and fast, it acts as a bit of a heat shield.

                  Comment


                    #14
                    Thanks for all the interest and relies. I ended up going fat cap (scored) down. I was happy with the results. As mentioned above going fat cap down allowed me to spritz the top starting about 4 hours into the cook. Everyone enjoyed the pulled pork so I take that as a win!

                    Comment


                      #15
                      I ran a 21 pound brisket on my kamado over the weekend, and am glad I put fat cap down. I had a lot of extra heat coming up around the heat diffuser and hitting the point and the corners of the flat, and that down facing side definitely got more heat. I ended up a few hours into the cook making a heat diffuser "extender" from a foil steam tray lid, bent down to size, to protect the parts that extended beyond the deflector.

                      Comment


                      • efincoop
                        efincoop commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Great ingenuity!

                      • jfmorris
                        jfmorris commented
                        Editing a comment
                        efincoop I got the idea from Attjack actually, so can't take full credit! . It also served as a shallow drip tray on top of the diffuser, and caught a lot of grease that otherwise would have run down into the fire.

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