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Unread 08-27-2010, 12:55 AM   #1
Got Wood.
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Join Date: 08-22-10
Location: New Orleans, LA
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Default Kamado Restoration

Hello all,

As you might guess from the name, I'm in Sacramento, and I'm a Nebraska Cornhusker alum. Since everyone knows that the "N" on the Nebraska helmet stands for "knowledge," I'll ask you all to go easy on me as I might not be the sharpest tool in the shed.

I came across this board while I was searching for information on a recent purchase of mine - a Kamado BBQ/Smoker from, as far as I can tell, about 1978. I picked it up at an estate sale from a pair of sisters who were selling off their dad's stuff. No one had even nibbled at it over the course of the two days it had been for sale at a measly $50! After hemming and hawing over taking it off their hands (the only reason for the hemming and hawing was my wife's reaction to me talking about adding to the collection of 6 grills in the backyard), they dropped the price to $25 and I couldn't pass it up. Below are some clickable pictures:

The Kamado is in fantastic shape - no major cracks, one minor crack, all inner components, all the original literature, and just missing a couple of items. According to the literature that came with the Kamado, this is a Kamado Ancient #5 (18" diameter grill, ~150lbs). More details on what came with this thing at the bottom of the post.

I've read through all the Kamado restoration threads I could find (Humpty being the best one) and I've developed a plan of action for the restoration, but I'm missing a few key pieces of information. Below is my plan, along with the holes in my plan in red.

1. Find a draft door for it. I don't know of a place where I can get an original one, so I'm looking for suggestions on where to get a replacement. Maybe from a BGE dealer?

2. Take the bands off the Kamado, clean and paint the bands, then clean and paint the ceramic shell exterior. What I can't seem to find though, are techniques for prepping the ceramic for paint and what brand/type of paint to use for painting. There is a nice buildup of smoke residue at the top of the smoker, which I'm sure I'll need to remove for the paint to adhere properly. I'm painting the Kamado because it will be stored outdoors and I'm really concerned about moisture exposure leading to cracking during fire.

3. I'd like to mount a thermometer, but I haven't decided on using a remote thermometer with wire to the exterior readout or on mounting a BGE thermostat by drilling a hole and mounting it in the top. Any suggestions or comments?

4. I need a new draft top for it so I can control the outlet much better. I've seen several of the Kamado restores that have a cast iron cap with a slider, but obviously I have a ceramic painted top. I'd like to keep the ceramic top for decorative purposes, but I'd really like to have a cast iron sliding top for control. Any ideas on where to get one? Maybe use the Kamado one sold on Kamado's site?

5. I've already replaced the wheels on the cart and painted it. Next up is replacing the weather-beaten handle with a new bike grip.

My first run with the Kamado was, well, a disaster. My St. Louis Style ribs because charcoal. Note to self - don't leave the house if you don't know exactly how the equipment will behave while you're gone.

Said ribs:

From this

to this

Later on that day I decided to throw in a chicken and see how it turned out. Here's a photo of the first successful run of the Kamado:

Anyhow, I'm really looking forward to becoming part of the community here, and would appreciate any help anyone can pass along.

Thanks for reading!

What came with the Kamado:

-Rolling stand with one broken wheel
-Perfectly kept stainless steel grill
-All interior parts (firebox ring, grate)
-Original literature, including assembly instructions and two Kamado Smoker BBQ cookbooks. These have dimensional data on the cooker, were printed in 1978, and are from Pachinko Palace, Inc. These also include the retail outlets for the Kamado, so I best tell that the Kamado was purchased on El Camino Blvd here in Sacramento in a building that is now a gas station.
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