You have finally been able to make a good choice and because of that choice, you now have a pearl of a kamado in your backyard. Only at this moment, you are puzzled by how you get this big guy going? I will explain to you in this article, all the little secrets about; How to light a Kamado and keep it on temperature.
What kind of fuel do you use for a Kamado
You’ve probably heard here and there which fuel you can use best, but I am here to tell you that it is best to use pure charcoal only (that has not been tampered with). If you know a bit about the history of how charcoal is produced, you will know that hardwood is heated to a high temperature, and allowing a small amount of oxygen. Almost pure carbon remains because all the volatile substances are being burned.
I always advise everyone to buy high-quality charcoal, which is why I strongly recommend Jealous Devil because it is 100% natural, is not messed with, burns not 1 but 2 times as hot than traditional charcoal and because of that you also have little waste!
By going for cheap charcoal you run the risk that the remnant is going to be stuck between your charcoal plate, the charcoal plate quickly gets filled with the remnant. This way partially clogs the oxygen supply and because of this people often walk against the wall, because they do not get their kamado optimally going.
Why only use lump charcoal and not briquettes
Many people are not aware that charcoal briquettes are made from the remnant of charcoal. The thing is that the remnant cannot be used because they just simply can not burn. To make the remnant combustible it is compressed with all kinds of resources that make it flammable. You can think of potato peeling, clay, etc. It is known in the barbecue community that you can not get high temperatures out of briquettes then when you working with lump charcoal, you can achieve unbelievable temperatures, which is ideal if you want to scorch a steak as quickly.
To keep the flavor in your meat optimal when you working with a Kamado, I strongly advise that you not use lighter fluid, lighter cubes or any kind of chemical, instead use Natural Charcoal Starters! For those who do not know it yet, ‘the kamado is made of ceramic clay, and this material is porous’ All those chemical give an awful smell, and that will smoke its way into the walls of your kamado, which is really terrible!
How to light a Kamado
I now assume that you have invested in a kamado, a good bag of high-quality charcoal and natural charcoal starters. Now before you want to light that baby up, you have to ask yourself ‘How do you want to work with your Kamado?’ Do you want to work fast and with high temperatures or low and slow? You can also choose the popular minion method.
There are a few important things that I want to mention before I start with; How to light a Kamado. Take precautionary measures and make sure your kamado is in a fire-safe place so a fire-free surface and certainly not close to the wooden fence. Also, take into account trees and branches that can swing above your kamado, especially when it is a hot summer day, that can be very dangerous.
Now we are going to start lighting your kamado, but before that, it is important that oxygen in your kamado is circulated, so you need to open up all your oxygen vents from the top and the bottom completely!. When you have done that. Put some charcoal in your fire bowl and then put a Natural Charcoal Starters in the middle of your charcoal (try to do it as deep as possible) and light that baby up. When the fire starts to rise, take an old spatula and put some not yet burning charcoal on top of the burning fire. Place the charcoal plate and grill grid on top, then you place the lid on with the ventilation completely open. Wait about 15minutess and around that time the charcoal is burning well. You can tell that when charcoal turns red in the middle and white on the side, and you go from there. This is when you want to work with high temperatures.
When you choose to work low and slow then simply have to wait until you notice some white on your charcoal. Also, use a little bit of charcoal like 2 hands because you do not need more. Make sure you leave the charcoal in a pile and do not worry about it (do not spread the charcoal) Place the heat deflector with the drip trays on it add a little water to it because it will provide steam (Because of that, the food will not dry out and it will stay moist) Place the grill on top of the heat deflector and now you can close the kamado.
Keep the temperature constant
When your kamado is hot, it will not quickly lose its temperature and the heat will last for a long time. Just know that you have to keep a close eye on it and it is always better to go to a higher temperature than to go down. The air supply can be closed when the temperature has reached 75 degrees and keep the ventilation open for half way. Keep an eye on how he slowly it walks up to 95ºC as soon as the temperature reaches 95ºC, you close the air inlet and the ventilation to a quarter, because of that the temperature rises at a snail rate to 100ºC to 110ºC which is perfect for low & slow