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Old 06-29-2015, 03:36 PM   #1
rossn
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Default Kamado - Sooty Chicken and Dirty Fire - Need Help!!

Hi,


I’m having issues with getting a clean fire, and temperature stability.


I have a Visions Classic B Kamado, that I’ve had for about a year and a half. I’ve paired this with a Auber 6.5CFM temperature controller. I have a castiron pizza pan that is being used as a diffuser. I think the last few smokes I’ve used either the Royal Oak hardwood lump charcoal, or the Whole Foods 365 hardwood charcoal. Typically, I light it with a bernzomatic Cane torch, in 3 spots.


Sadly, I haven’t had time to be able to smoke since last November, but am going to try and smoke a pair of whole chickens tonight. I still have a lot to learn — both about smoking/barbecuing and this particular setup.


The last thing I smoked were some chicken legs… they turned out black and sooty, when cooked around 325 over lump hardwood charcoal. I don’t recall if I was using the diffuser with that particular smoke (probably so), and the brine probably had brown sugar in it.


I also I have a thick, sticky, oily/greasy black coating everywhere inside the grill, and even on the exterior of the exhaust vent.


Looking through related posts, I think this is creosote, and that it has to do with a dirty fire — likely due to improper air flow. I’ve typically cooked with the top vent partially closed, in order to keep the temp down low enough.


- Any thoughts on what lead the chicken to turn out like this?
- Do I need to clean the kamado, and if so — what is the best approach? If water is involved, do I need to let it dry for some period of time before doing a smoke?
- Thoughts on why I may be having temperature stability issues, even with a temperature controller?
- Is it safe to eat chicken with these deposits?


Thanks in advance for everyone’s help!

-Ross


Here are a few pics to help:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20141123_01_smoked_chicken.jpg (225.4 KB, 232 views)
File Type: jpg 20150629_01_kamado.jpg (55.8 KB, 233 views)
File Type: jpg 20150629_02_kamado.jpg (36.1 KB, 230 views)
File Type: jpg 20150629_03_kamado.jpg (53.9 KB, 231 views)
File Type: jpg 20150629_04_kamado.jpg (61.7 KB, 233 views)
File Type: jpg 20150629_05_kamado.jpg (51.4 KB, 230 views)
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Old 06-29-2015, 03:43 PM   #2
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I'd clean that nasty pan. Put foil on it before a cook and you can just toss it after. For chicken I'd skip the diffuser and just run it normal.

The black inside the cooker is fine, if you want to clean it get a big load of charcoal and run it as hot as you can go to cook any junk out. I imagine you are mostly cooking off that junk on the pan and it's getting on your food and such.
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Old 06-29-2015, 03:50 PM   #3
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I try it W/O the blower and see if you can get a Clean burn (TBS) Looks like the poor air flow and the grease sizzling on the CI are leaving that black greasy stuff on the surface of the chicken. I had the same problem in WSM mini with chicken I solved it by using a Drip pan to catch it before it hit the diffuser.
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Old 06-29-2015, 04:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bludawg View Post
I try it W/O the blower and see if you can get a Clean burn (TBS) Looks like the poor air flow and the grease sizzling on the CI are leaving that black greasy stuff on the surface of the chicken. I had the same problem in WSM mini with chicken I solved it by using a Drip pan to catch it before it hit the diffuser.
I agree with this. I think your chicken grease is dripping down on the diffuser and burning on the cast iron sending up greasy black smoke.
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Old 06-29-2015, 04:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyre View Post
I'd clean that nasty pan. Put foil on it before a cook and you can just toss it after. For chicken I'd skip the diffuser and just run it normal.

The black inside the cooker is fine, if you want to clean it get a big load of charcoal and run it as hot as you can go to cook any junk out. I imagine you are mostly cooking off that junk on the pan and it's getting on your food and such.
man i agree that pan is nasty!!

Even if thats not the cause I would not to eat anything cooked over that thing!
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Old 06-29-2015, 05:21 PM   #6
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1. Yes clean that pan and you can wipe down the insides with a paper towel.
2. Try starting only one spot for a smaller fire, the more coals the more needed air and when the temp controller cuts the air flow it causes dirty fire because it needs more air to keep the other coals burning. I have an Akorn kamado style and had to learn to only start one small area to keep a clean fire and that is plenty to keep your needed temps.
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Old 06-29-2015, 05:31 PM   #7
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I had the same thing in my Joe. It's the drippings burning on the diffuser. Clean it and next time put a drip pan with some liquid on top of the diffuser. Even better is if you put a small spacer between the two so the liquid doesn't boil away so fast.
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Old 06-29-2015, 05:39 PM   #8
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Take out the diffuser, light coals and crank open your vents. Let it burn hot as it goes, don't open the lid until all the coal is spent and the grill is at ambient temperature. Then get in there with a brush and dust pan (better yet a wet/dry vac) and wipe down everything with a lightly damp sponge.

I agree that the CI is not an ideal diffuser. If you do continue to use it wrap it in foil and add a layer of sand or course salt to sop up the drippings.
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Old 06-29-2015, 05:48 PM   #9
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Logged in to see just how gross this pan everyone is talking about really is. Was not disappointed. That can't make good flavors. I'd run that thing wide open and burn it out, ditch the blower and just try to do a cook trying to focus on keeping a small hot fire. Start to shut the vents down earlier than you think and give it some time to stabilize.
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Old 06-29-2015, 06:47 PM   #10
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Alright... diffuser is clean now :) Thanks, guys! Glad to hear it was impressively nasty for what it is (I assumed that wasn't uncommon) :) Also, did a 1 hr high temp burn (850-900deg on the grate, 600deg on the dome thermo)...

I'm having to let it cool down now so I can cook some dinner, but can come back to another high temp burn later. What I'm unclear on is how high of a temp is safe to go with the gasket on the kamado? Is it common to see the dome 250deg lower than the bottom? I was surprised the blower got it that hot, given Auber quoted me a high-end of 400 deg on the 6.5cfm fan. I did have to open the rest of the bottom vent to get it above 750.
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Old 06-29-2015, 06:52 PM   #11
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I wouldn't use the blower for a burn-out. Just crank the vents. Your gasket should be okay as long as you don't open the lid.
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Old 06-29-2015, 08:01 PM   #12
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not sure on the vision, but on my Akorn I have had it up to 700 with no problems, it got so hot it turned my cast iron grates ash white.
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Old 06-30-2015, 12:35 AM   #13
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Thanks, guys -- the chickens turned out looking and tasting great! I'll do a high temp clean/burn next chance I get.
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Old 06-30-2015, 12:59 AM   #14
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That thing is just dirty. You need to put some TLC on it. Get yerself dirty
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Old 06-30-2015, 01:39 AM   #15
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Can you flip that diffuser?

That's what I do on my Kamado, flip it on every cook or so and let the nasty get burned off. Problem solved

I also do a high burn periodically, usually after I do up pizzas
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