5 Top tips to get that kamado hot.


 

At every demonstration that I conduct someone asks one of the following:

How do I get my Kamado Joe hot?

How do I get my Big Green Egg hot?

How do I get my (fill in the blank) hot?

I recently had a similar problem in a brand new Kamado Joe grill.  No matter what I did with the top and bottom vent, the grill would not get into my prime pizza cooking range of 600F degrees.  I figured out that I was experiencing internal blockage that was keeping the grill from getting hot enough. Here are a couple of ideas to remedy this problem:

Original Kick Ash Basket After about a thousand pizzas

Original Kick Ash Basket After about a thousand pizzas

1) Get a grate in the bottom. I recommend the Kick Ash Basket (I bought mine - and have no financial tie with KAB). Wire grates allow small chunks of charcoal to drop through rather than block the little air holes of the standard fire grate. The Kamado Joe fire plate is particularly troublesome because it has tiny holes that are easily blocked.

2) Be careful with how the heat deflector is placed in the grill. The BGE platesetter allows a lot of airflow around the edges, the KJ deflectors are round and can restrict the airflow.  I found that if you put the KJ deflectors up high in the Divide and Conquer system or overlap them by an inch in the middle, you will get more airflow around the outside edges.

3) Ensure that all of the parts of your setup are cleaned out and allow plenty of airflow.  For example, the BGE pizza stone for the XL is very large relative to the grill circumference so make sure it is not impeding airflow around the edges. Another suspect is the Kamado Joe ash shovel in the bottom. I remove it to cook pizza so that it does not impede airflow.

4) Charcoal. I am charcoal brand agnostic and have had success with almost all brands I have tried. I do make sure that the bags stay dry.  Also, make sure that the little pieces don't create a solid mat that keeps the air from flowing into the center of your charcoal. This is going to sound weird, but big chunk charcoal does not get as hot as charcoal with 3-4” chunks. Less hot ember square inches? or less carbonization of the charcoal? I am not sure - share your thoughts.  See this blog for all the details.

5) A big fire is hotter than a small one. Start the fire in a couple of spots and get it roaring to at least 500F before closing the lid and using the vents.  High temperature means high fuel consumption so go ahead and top up that fire box. The ceramics take time to soak in heat.  

Bonus - One other tip I have learned is to monitor the wind.  If wind is blowing into the chimney, it is reducing the airflow through the charcoal.   Rotate your grill or block the wind.

I hope this is helpful, because pizza really likes a hot oven.  The dough rises more rapidly and the dough interior is not overdone. Pizza should be seared like a steak, not baked like a butt. 

Cortlandt

Fill'er up

Fill'er up

That's hot!

That's hot!

Before the charcoal flames settle down

Before the charcoal flames settle down