Setting up the Pizza-Porta for the Kamado Joe®

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I am excited to announce that I have been spending some time cooking on the Kamado Joe Classic.  These instructions were developed for the Kamado Joe Classic without the air-hinge, but the internal setup is the same. The Pizza-Porta was designed to fit this grill, but the cooking characteristics and setup are a little different.  For those of you with this kamado grill, here are some comments about the fit and about cooking pizza. Setting up the grill for a high-temp cook is very straightforward - First make sure that the ashes are cleaned out. I recommend a Kick Ash Basket to allow more airflow than the metal plate with its small holes.  Alternatively, choose some large chunks of charcoal and put them in the bottom of the firebox to ensure airflow, then fill the firebox area with a full load of charcoal like this:

Kamado Joe fill
Kamado Joe fill

This will be good for a 3 to 3.5 hour cook.

Note that the deflector support is in the highest setting and that is it turned a bit to the left - you will see why in a sec.

Kamado Joe deflector
Kamado Joe deflector

Next, place the deflectors on top of the support. You have to put deflector on top, or they will block the airflow and keep your temperature too low for pizza.

Kamado Joe Pizza Stone
Kamado Joe Pizza Stone

Next, is the pizza stone, but it needs some sort of temperature break between the deflector and the stone.  You can use the metal grate - as shown, or pipe fitting, balls of aluminum foil or other devices to give the pizza stone a little bit of height off of the deflector. A layer of aluminum foil under the pizza stone is also helpful to mitigate some of the excess heat.

Kamado Joe with Pizza Stone
Kamado Joe with Pizza Stone

Finally, the Pizza-Porta is placed over the pizza stone and sits around the deflector rack.  Note in this photo that the support for the deflector fits into a cutaway spot on the base of the Pizza-Porta.  You can also see in this photo that the top, stopper nuts should be adjusted all the way forward for the Kamado Joe.

You can now close the lid.

KJ lid down
KJ lid down

This is how the Pizza-Porta should look with the lid down

Cooking on the Kamado Joe.

Keep the bottom vent and the top vent fully open until your dome temperature reaches 500 degrees.  Then, close off the top completely (use a piece of foil under the daisy wheel if you have leakage) and use the vents on the Pizza-Porta and the bottom vent to moderate your temperature.  It will take longer than you want for the pizza stone to reach full temperature - be patient!  For your first pizza cook, I would recommend a 550 to 600 degree cook.  After you master pizza at this temperature you can adjust accordingly.

At this temperature, pizza will cook in approximately 5 minutes. Check and turn the pizza at about 2 minutes to make sure that the fire is even and the top and bottom are cooking at similar rates. If toward the end of 5 minutes you want the top a little bit more done, you can "dome" the pizza by holding it up inside the dome for about 30 seconds. Experiment and see what works best for your pizza taste!  Please see other sections of the website for tips and tricks of pizza making.

With a little bit of practice you will be pulling out pizzas one after another like this.

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Thanks for reading.