The reason I didn't load very much coal for the cook was I was afraid to overheat the Kamado and crack it again.
For yesterday's first cook, the cooker was loaded with about 1 gallon of Hard Coals Lump for the pork. Then, an extra 2 quarts lump added for the chicken. Wasn't enough for either cook.
Another problem is ash buildup. The ash suffocates the coals and chokes off air flow before the coal burns out. I think the ash is not able to fall through my rusty coal grate as easily and cleanly as it would with a smooth grate or one with different configuration (?).
Am keeping my eyes open for something I could use as a new grate, but have not been able to find anything up here. Thought about buying a commercial drain cover, but they are costly up here at ~$60. Needs to be 7" diameter.
Here's a picture of the ash pattern and unburnt lump from the overnight bakeout. Only used about a gallon of lump and choked down to ~280F. Damper open ~1/2" and smoker top ~1/4" for the night. Quite a bit of unburnt coal left.
Will try Nam-Char
next time (higher quality, low ash). Have a small stash left, but the local shops have not been able to bring it in lately.
If I load the firebox up to the fire ring, how do I manage the ash issue so that the coals don't suffocate?