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Unread 07-30-2008, 07:52 PM   #1
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Default How long can your old Imperial Kamado Claypot do low-n-slow?

I resurrected an old Imperial Kamado 'modern medium' (16" grill) I believe and I've run it a few times now but the first time had a few air leaks (mostly in the top damper) and I was unable to shut it down --- so it ...s...l..o..w..l..y.. ran until I sealed up the top damper by installing some Rutland gasket cement and some huge 5/8" or similar fiberglass rope (that's all I had).. Needless to say that pretty much solved the problem (along with installing a screw on the damper to hold the adjustment plate -- I threw away the old rusty screw)..

Anyway, before I did that this thing slowly simmered away for what was probably 12-18 hours and barely used any koals (it probably consumed about 6-10 Kingsford briquettes)..

So... How long can you run these things low-n-slow before the koals are gone and a reload is in order?

Also -- any particular brand of thermometer you like to use?
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Unread 07-30-2008, 09:52 PM   #2
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Did you have any meat on the grill when when it was running with 6-10 K-briqs?
I don't think they would last that long with fats dripping on them.
The manual recommends 22 briqs for a Medium for baking at 350*, and to use half that amount for cold smoking at 100-150* and to re-fuel every 3 hours. So 325*-500* is kind of the range given for almost all the recipes. I never mastered it low n' slow, only because I'm too impatient to work it like this, and its probably easier to cook on the Large, I used the Weber 18.5" grate with the flip up sides and could easily add charcoal or wood. Usually @ 6 briqs every few hours. Definitely not good for overnighters! And easy to see why people would tend to overload them.
Use a Polder type probe oven thermometer at the grate to get a feel for the temp swings.

Download the Manual from the Naked Whiz and see what I'm talking about.
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Unread 07-31-2008, 10:13 AM   #3
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There's a guy here in phoenix that ran his #7 Kamado for 7 days on a 40# load back in 2003. (http://www.kamado.com/discus/messages/1/3723.html)

With an IK I'll bet you could get 3 days for sure if you can keep the ash from clogging the firegrate holes. It's all about the airflow and how much fuel you can cram in there.
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Unread 07-31-2008, 11:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamprb View Post
Did you have any meat on the grill when when it was running with 6-10 K-briqs?
I don't think they would last that long with fats dripping on them.
Nope.. No meat -- I actually had something closer to 20-30+ total but what I was trying to get at was that I didn't consume all of them by the time I put out the fire (after fixing the air leak in the top damper) -- it had only used between 6-10 over the 12-18 hours (rough estimate since I didn't count how many I put on vs. re-used for the next kook)..

Quote:
Originally Posted by swamprb View Post
So 325*-500* is kind of the range given for almost all the recipes. I never mastered it low n' slow, only because I'm too impatient to work it like this, and its probably easier to cook on the Large, I used the Weber 18.5" grate with the flip up sides and could easily add charcoal or wood. Usually @ 6 briqs every few hours. Definitely not good for overnighters! And easy to see why people would tend to overload them.
I'll have to admit that I had the charcoal piled up to the grill level not thinking that the grill sat that low.. Needless to say I don't do that anymore is its a great way to char your food! As for low-n-slow on one of these -- I think its doable assuming I've got a dome thermometer installed.. I would not let the drippings drop into the fire or you're surely going to impact how well the cook goes. I use a heat deflector on my big K7 Kamado and a drop pan and would plan to do the same on the little Imperial Kamado using perhaps a large heavy metal pie tin (not aluminum) with perhaps 1/2" to 3/4" sand in it to work as a buffer and drip pan sitting directly on the koals and then load up a pork butt on the grill just above that. I'm thinking I should be able to keep the temps down in the 200's without tons of trouble but I guess I shouldn't knock on wood just yet since I've not done it..
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Unread 07-31-2008, 11:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiarby View Post
There's a guy here in phoenix that ran his #7 Kamado for 7 days on a 40# load back in 2003. (http://www.kamado.com/discus/messages/1/3723.html)

With an IK I'll bet you could get 3 days for sure if you can keep the ash from clogging the firegrate holes. It's all about the airflow and how much fuel you can cram in there.
Hey Jiarby.. Long time no hear (I only recently joined this forum but still monitor the Kamado forum -- mostly complaints about lack of service it seems at this point).. I had seen the above message thread sometime back and realize the bigger ones can run long (I've easily ran my K7 for well over 24 hours w/o refill) but the little Imperial Kamado can only hold perhaps 1/8th what the K7 can hold for lump.. My Imperial has the ceramic ash grate at the bottom and I'm not convinced that its the best way to go for ensuring the ash falls through -- I might have to get my brother to weld me up some heave guage steel into a nice mesh and try that out..
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Unread 07-31-2008, 12:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiarby View Post
There's a guy here in phoenix that ran his #7 Kamado for 7 days on a 40# load back in 2003. (http://www.kamado.com/discus/messages/1/3723.html)

With an IK I'll bet you could get 3 days for sure if you can keep the ash from clogging the firegrate holes. It's all about the airflow and how much fuel you can cram in there.
Different beast! Bad advice for a rebuilt claypot.

You've done such a good job restoring it, realize it will be nothing more than a decent grill/smoker! It will never imitate a Richard Johnson Kamado, Komodo, Big Green Egg or Primo! Why? Because they get overfilled with fuel and crack or are inneficient fuelwise as a slow cooker, isn't that why refractory cement and "Space Age Ceramics" have replaced them? I was trolling the egghead forum when the Naked Whiz posted the download copy of the Pachinko Palace Kamado cookbook for the faithful to peruse, and almost everyone laughed it off as a PITA to use compared to the BGE!

Picture cooking on an offset smoker when using the claypot, its a given you gotta add fuel to keep the temps up.

Think about a lot of Asian cooking and the history of ancient Kamado cookers, they were used for searing, wok cooking, as rice cookers and baking.
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Last edited by swamprb; 07-31-2008 at 12:56 PM..
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Unread 07-31-2008, 01:55 PM   #7
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Well.. I was never planning to use (and abuse) my IK like I do with my Richard Johnson's Kamado as I realize they're distant relatives but have totally different usage patterns -- the RJK can take excessive heat (as recently proven when I got mine to the 1200-1300 degree range) -- the IK would probably crack into pieces before it got anywhere near those temps. I am hoping that I can get my IK to do low-n-slow as a (much smaller) alternative (read that as 'portable alternative') to my RJK which weighs in at a whopping 600lb (vs. my IK which is perhaps 50-75lb).. At some point I'll take the IK on a road trip and make some good 'Q' for my mother who's never tasted anything from any sort of clay (or RJK) kooker...
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Unread 07-31-2008, 02:13 PM   #8
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I think Brian is right.... That's how these things get busted is taking them beyond their material capabilities.

Even so, I think a more "breathable" charcoal basket (we used to call them Huck Woks on the K forum) would improve long burn capabilities. Just don't overload the fuel as brian advises.

I don't think anyone needs more than a 16-18hr 200° session anyway.
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Unread 07-31-2008, 03:45 PM   #9
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I'll be honest, I tried to do low n' slow on my Large Imperial Kamado and I had poor results, I either used too many lit briqs and then let them die out and such, that it wasn't worth my effort, it was frustrating trying to cook low, plus the fact the Modern styles like yours and mine are stubbier and have a smaller firebox closer to the grill. Now then, it was much easier to reach and maintain temps in the 350*+ range for me to cook turkeys and chickens than anything else. With a Large you can drop a Weber Smokey Joe grate on top of the firebox and sear anything in minutes, or grill at the ring grate with no flareups with the lid closed and re-use the coals for 3-4 quick cooks. Its a chicken grillin' machine!
Since getting a BGE, I was able to do more with less, but still like the IK and used them together alot!
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Unread 07-31-2008, 03:46 PM   #10
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I think I may see about drilling a hole in the dome for a thermometer and set aside an afternoon or longer to try a sample run w/o food but with my home-made heat-deflector trick and see if I can keep solid 225's for several hours and get an idea of how long the koals will go before the temps drop..
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Unread 07-31-2008, 04:23 PM   #11
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Take a look on the Stoker site, Rocks Science links said he used firebricks in some cooks with his old claypot. A lot of Eggers did the same and the Naked Whiz has some examples before the platesetter.
I tried the Weber charcoal rails in mine to mimic an indirect, but canned them. Look at some of tjv's Eggcessories, that may be compatible with a Medium.
I'm pretty sure RJohnson had some metal grates/firebox combos in his early imported claypots and nixed them because of the cracking they caused. Mixing metals in the pot might not be a great idea, how about using a small pizza stone instead?
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Unread 07-31-2008, 05:50 PM   #12
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Thanks for reminding me.. I've got a Stoker controller that I need to update.. I could use it in a pinch to monitor temps too -- even web-based (I've got an ethernet port in my backyard ). Anyway, I'll check into the other stuff too.. Thx!
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Unread 08-03-2008, 06:28 PM   #13
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Ok.. Just a quick followup.. I did a test w/o any food and ran the IK for about 6.5 hours before it started losing steam and dropped to about 170 by about 7 hours. For the vast majority of that 6.5 hour period it was running at about 240-250.. At that point I shut it down -- it still hadn't used all of the koal but did use about 60-75% of what I started with..

Below is the pic of what I started with -- not new koals by any means..
IMG_0208.jpg

I installed a BGE thermometer yesterday and today I painted the top damper with some flat black stove paint.. Today it looks like this:
IMG_0210.jpg
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