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How to Manage and Control Temperature on a Kamado Grill?

When looking at the structure of kamado, it looks like an ordinary charcoal grill. However, the big advantage here is that the thick walls are great for keeping heat inside the grill. I like Kamado because it is both a griller and a smoker. It is perfect for both, it can grill for many hours at low temperature (approximately 225 degrees), and can reach high temperature (approximately 900 degrees Fahrenheit) to grill delicious steaks or hamburgers.

The key to all this is to control the vents through which the air flows.

Traditional charcoal grills make it possible to use direct or indirect methods of cooking. For kamado cooking, the default method is to radiate heat from the charcoal directly into the food.

On the other hand, if you want to use the indirect method to cook on kamado, you need heat deflectors. These are special ceramic plates that can divide the cooking area into different sections. In this way, you can quickly and easily divide the space into a two-zone cooking space, or completely separate the charcoal from the food, thereby providing perfect conditions for slow roasting. Depending on the kamado grill you have, you need to find accessories that match your model.

How to set up a Kamado for different cooking methods

There are many ways to cook with your kamado style grill, and here, we will provide you with what you need to know in order to prepare for the best results for each cooking method.

kamado smoking

Smoking

Use a full load of charcoal

Only use new charcoal

Place heat deflector above the fire ring

Place the grille on the shelf above the deflector

Place the drip tray under the grate (optional)

No need for drip tray

Target temperature: 225F – 275F (149C – 232C)

Open bottom vent 2″

Close the top vent and fully open the daisy wheel (if applicable); adjust the scroll wheel to increase/decrease the temperature and wait 15 minutes

Lid closed

Use a few pieces of smoked wood that you added at the beginning.

kamado grilling

Grilling

Use a full load of charcoal

Only mix new and old charcoal, or brand new for higher temperature

Do not use heat deflector

Place the grate on the rack above the fire ring

Where possible/needed, use half of the upper layer and half of the lower layer for zone 2 grilling

Target temperature: 400F-600F (204C-316C)

Fully open the top and bottom vents; close the top vents halfway to fix the target and adjust as needed

The lid is closed to reach temperature, but you can open it for short grilling (hot dogs, very thin cuts, vegetables, etc.)

Searing

Use a full load of charcoal

Only mix new and old charcoal, or brand new for higher temperature

Do not use heat deflectors

Place the grate on the rack above the fire ring

Where possible/needed, use half of the upper layer and half of the lower layer for zone 2 grilling

Target temperature: 500F – 750F (260C – 399C)

Open the lid for 10 minutes

Fully open the top and bottom vents; close the top vents slightly to fix the target and adjust as needed

Put the lid on, but don’t leave it at high temperature for too long

kamado roasting

Roasting

Use a full load of charcoal

Mixing old and new charcoal is acceptable

Place the heat deflector above the fire ring

Place the grate on the rack above the deflector

Place the drip tray under the grate (optional)

Target temperature: 300F-450F (149C-232C)

Open the top and bottom vents until it is close to the target temperature, then adjust accordingly

Lid closed

If needed, use a small amount of smoked wood

kamado baking

Baking

Use full charcoal

Mixing old and new charcoal is acceptable

Place the heat deflector above the fire ring

Place the pizza stone on the heat deflector

Target temperature: 300F – 450F (149C – 232C) baking; 500F+ (260C+) pizza

Open the top and bottom vents until it is close to the target temperature, then adjust accordingly

Preheat the pizza stone for 10 minutes

Lid closed

Smoking wood is not recommended

For those who are just starting to use Kamado or grilling as a whole, this may seem like a daunting and complicated task. In fact, it is not difficult. With a little practice, you can easily reach and maintain the required temperature.

The only thing you need to remember is that it is always easier to raise the temperature in kamado than to lower it.

This is why you have to plan in advance what you want to do. If your plan is to cook the ribs at a low temperature and then burn them on the grill with a small amount of charcoal, don’t add any more. However, if you want to cook food at a higher temperature, such as steak, you can add a lot of charcoal at will to reach the highest temperature possible.

How to control the temperature on the Kamado grill?

High Temperature

     First close the lid and keep all the ventilation holes open.

     Use one of the methods detailed above for charcoal combustion. Then wait for your Kamado to warm up and partially close the top vents (keep about ¼ of the vents open) before it reaches the desired temperature (preferably about 20-25 degrees before the target temperature).

     Then wait a while and see if the temperature is right.

     If the temperature inside the grill is too high, close the top air outlet to lower the temperature, but if the temperature is too high, open the top air outlet accordingly to quickly increase the temperature.

Low Temperature

     If you plan on grilling at low temperatures, you have to make your kamado grill burn a little differently. Start by burning a small amount of charcoal. Why? Too much charcoal can cause the grill to overheat and it is difficult to lower the temperature.

     Then half open the top vent and half open the vent door. Close the lid and wait at least half an hour. At the same time, the grill should be heated to a low enough temperature, do not add more charcoal, otherwise the temperature will be much higher.

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