Smoking on Kamado for the 1st time. How much charcoal?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by racing4funn, May 16, 2014.

  1. racing4funn

    racing4funn Newbie

    I have a Primo Large 300 and going to use a DigiQ DX2 for control BUT since Ive VERY new to this I dont want to over shoot the temp.  Im only guess is 8ish nuggets.. help.  
    marauder likes this.
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I don't own a Kamado, but only 8 nuggets seems a little light.  I downloaded and read the Kamado owner's manual and it pretty much reads like any insulated charcoal smoker.  It recommends only using lump charcoal, which is standard for Kamado and Big Green Egg type smokers.

    Think of loading charcoal in your smoker like putting gas in your car. Forget distance and just think time. If you only put in 1 quart of gas, it won't last long. Fill it up, and you can go for hours.

    Temperature in a smoker is like speed in a car.  Say you put in 1/4 tank of gas in your car.  If you drive really fast that gas won't last as long as driving really slow.  Charcoal is the same way with temperature.  At higher temps the same load of charcoal won't last as long as it will at lower temps.

    Temperature you control with air flow through the smoker, which the DigiQ does for you.  More air, hotter temps.  Less air, lower temps.

    My suggestion would be to load your Kamado with say 1/2 load of charcoal and do a dry run, no food. That way you can get used to how your equipment works without wasting any food.  Fire it up according to the instructions then set your DigiQ at say 225F to 250F, your choice.  Let it stabilize for 30 minutes or so.  Then open the grill up for 30 seconds to simulate spritzing meat.  Close it up and watch what the DigiQ does to stabilize your temps again.

    Then run your DigiQ up to say 300F and let it stabilize.  Then 350F.  You'll probably have to open your top vent more the higher you go in temperature.

    You'll have your fuel loading and temp control down in no time. 
    Last edited: May 17, 2014
  3. Use a good quality lump .Royal oak red bag is a good place to start,Home depot has best price. $12.97 for 17 pounds . Do not use briquets .Do not use Cowboy brand (junk). Filling your Kamado with lump and put it in a volcano shape . Light it in the middle of the top of the volcano ,DO NOT USE LIGHTER FLUID . Light with an electric heat gun ,a cotton ball with some vegetable oil, or one of those cube type things that weber and other people make . Get fire started with vents open but not too long no longer than 10 minutes .Gradually start tapering down air intake . Best thing if you are looking for low and slow is to start shutting vents down at about 50 degrees of target temp .Do not shut down completely but you will see that you will only have to have dampers open a sliver to maintain temps.If you overshoot with a Kamado it is not easy to bring it back down ,especially the ceramics like your Primo . Sometimes it is better to get to set temp and then hook up your DigiQ and let it regulate your temps. Also watch when you open your primo during cook that your DigiQ doesn't try to bring temp back up thinking things have cooled too much and you get an overshoot .With Auber control it is advisable to shut off control while open and when closed allow a moment to get temp stabilized before running fan again .
    Last edited: May 17, 2014
    marauder likes this.
  4. go ahead and fill it up with lump  halfway   in your fire box ,when you're done shut off vents  you will be able to reuse the lump for next time..
  5. racing4funn

    racing4funn Newbie

    Ok.. a dry runs sounds logical but maybe I will get a cheap chicken and first run with that.. couldnt hurt being successful..

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