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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 11-17-2012, 05:14 PM   #1
Plaid Palace
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Default New to charcoal, getting a Kamado Joe for Christmas

I have been a gas griller for all of my life. Finally now going to get a charcoal grill and I am pretty sure I am going with the Kamado Joe Classic. Price and the reviews have been extremely positive I have read are the main reasons for this choice.

Anyways, my question for you guys is what are the do's and don'ts of getting a Kamado grill? Assume I know absolutely nothing .

How should I break this grill in?

Any tips or anything for a first time charcoaler would be very helpful. I can't wait to come back, show you guys my grill and talk about all the great things I have grilled on it.
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Unread 11-17-2012, 05:58 PM   #2
GreenDrake
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I have had my KJ for four years. You will love it. Biggest thing is catching temps on the way up and learning how to dial in your temps. After some trials with draft door and daisy wheel, it's a piece of cake. I use Lazari oak lump in mine most of the time and start it with an electric element. No need to season anything, just get cooking. The gaskets are long lasting and the new features are a huge bonus. It's a fantastic unit, make sure you get the heat deflector.
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Unread 11-17-2012, 06:01 PM   #3
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I use a kamado style and just learn to catch the temps 25% below your target temp so you don't overshoot and learn the idiosynchrasies of yours and it is all systems go!
Great equipment!
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Unread 11-17-2012, 06:59 PM   #4
MisterChrister
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Never used a Kamado style cooker, but they sound great. There's nothing I can't do on a Weber, so until the budget allows a Kamado, I'm happy! Anyways, just wanted to pop in and say "welcome to the world of charcoal". You won't go back!!!
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Unread 11-17-2012, 09:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterChrister View Post
Never used a Kamado style cooker, but they sound great. There's nothing I can't do on a Weber, so until the budget allows a Kamado, I'm happy! Anyways, just wanted to pop in and say "welcome to the world of charcoal". You won't go back!!!
This is exactly the way I used to think...before I got my KJ. I couldn't justify one until I cooked on one. I was hooked after one cook and had to get one. You won't believe how juicy your burgers will be and how perfect your steaks will be and...well I'll just stop there.
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Unread 11-17-2012, 11:12 PM   #6
Plaid Palace
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1.) Is there a place where it labels all the pieces on the Kamados? I think I know what the gasket is, but not sure. Then someone mentioned a daisy wheel?

2.) You guys are saying catch the temps on the way up? Once the temp gets close to where I want it, how do you maintain it?

SORRY!! I am so new to all of this but plan to be around a LONG time!
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Unread 11-17-2012, 11:19 PM   #7
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I'm also joining the ranks of Kamado Joe Classic owners on Monday :) I'm looking forward to it and good luck with yours as well!

As for your questions...

Use lump charcoal.

There is no break in or seasoning needed.

I'd suggest buying the heat deflector from Kamado Joe or have your choice of the third-party setups for indirect grilling/smoking.

Spend some time learning how to control the temperature in the Kamado with the air vents. This thing is a really great convection oven that you can cook anything in once you learn to manage the temps.

Use it often!
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Unread 11-17-2012, 11:42 PM   #8
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The daisy wheel is the cast iron piece that controls the exhaust. It's on top. Use the intake (lower vent) for general heat control and the daisy wheel for "fine tuning" the temp.

Light the fire with the dome open (Hard to do it otherwise ) and the lower vent open wide. Close the dome and watch the thermometer... start closing the lower vent when you get within 50° of your target temp...maybe a little sooner. If you overshoot, it takes a LONG time for the temperature to drop (because you've got 130 lbs. of hot ceramic to cool). Many beginners overshoot the target temp, close the lower vent completely until the kamado cools... and find out that the fire has gone out. Once you get the cooker stabilized at your target temp, check it frequently... the temperature often creeps up even though you haven't changed the vent settings.

If you do a high temperature cook or a "cleaning burn" (above 500°) and close all the vents... DON"T OPEN IT UNTIL THE TEMPERATURE DROPS BELOW 350°... There's half a cubic yard of hot volatile gas in there just waiting for some oxygen. POOF (flashback).. there goes your manly arm hair... or eybrows. If you must open a hot, hot kamado, open the vent's first... you may get a little flame shooting out but it won't get you... Opening the dome an inch or two and "burping" the cooker will do the same thing. Burning hair smells nasty (Ask me how I know.)

The Kamado is probably the most versatile outdoor cooker made... can get high temps. for searing steaks and some types of pizza or go low and slow... 20 + hours on a full load of lump.

Lots of Kamado owners on this forum... Ask and it shall be answered. P.S. Check out www.ceramicgrillstore.com... Lots of accessories that can double your cooking capacity.

You will find that your gas grill is a great place to store your cooking utensils out of the rain!
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Unread 11-18-2012, 01:58 AM   #9
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Congrats! You might find a better kettle for smoking (22.5, 26.5) but as far as direct grilling is concerned, nothing beats it.
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Unread 11-18-2012, 07:09 AM   #10
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^^^ditto^^^ use lump.
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Unread 11-18-2012, 03:13 PM   #11
Plaid Palace
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What about when using wood chips? What is the best way to use wood chips? I read on nakedwhiz all the different types of chips and what meats they are best with. I am uncertain of how to use them though. Do you just toss some on top of the charcoal and they will catch fire or do you have to lite them?

Also, what about using a cast iron wood chip box? I have a very small one.

Sorry for the dump questions.
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Unread 11-18-2012, 04:32 PM   #12
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No questions are dumb.

Here's my best answer to the wood type question... too bad it's not MY answer:


As far as your Kamado Joe is concerned, I'd avoid using chips. Use chunks instead. You just toss them on the burning charcoal and the magic will happen on its own. You don't need to soak them either...
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Unread 11-18-2012, 10:18 PM   #13
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You will need a way to cook indirect. I suggest trying to do a couple of pork butts first - very forgiving. The Chris Lilly recipe is great. Use wood chunks, not chips. Get a Maverick 732 to help monitor meat temp and the grate temp. The Thermapen is worth the money!
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Unread 11-19-2012, 06:53 AM   #14
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If you mix fist sized chunks of wood with the lump, you will have smoke throughout the cook. Starting from the bottom, place chunks in the middle of the lump roughly on above another so that one will always be burning. Lump in a Kamado tends to "burn down" in the middle so it's best to place the wood chunks close to the middle. Fresh lump gives an acrid smoke at first so let it burn 20-40 min to burn off the gasses that can give food a bitter taste. Hold the palm of your hand over the exhaust (not too close ) then taste it... If it tastes bitter, so will the meat... If it burns your eyes, it's too soon... You want thin, blue smoke ... The flavor is still there... even if you can't see the smoke.
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Unread 11-19-2012, 09:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMSetzler View Post
I'm also joining the ranks of Kamado Joe Classic owners on Monday :) I'm looking forward to it and good luck with yours as well!

As for your questions...

Use lump charcoal.

There is no break in or seasoning needed.

I'd suggest buying the heat deflector from Kamado Joe or have your choice of the third-party setups for indirect grilling/smoking.

Spend some time learning how to control the temperature in the Kamado with the air vents. This thing is a really great convection oven that you can cook anything in once you learn to manage the temps.

Use it often!
Good for you JM! Just in time for Thanksgiving. Watchya gonna cook? You getting it from Espey's Hardware?
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