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Still trying to get right setup for low and slow on mini kamado


JB.1981
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Hello,

I have a Lidl mini kamado and a steel 3mm deflector plate from eBay.  Previously I was using a diy version but was Teflon so I've moved on.

 

first time out with new deflector I charred the underside of a brisket badly.  Turns out I had the plate upside down.  Today I'm doing a pork shoulder, deflector installed correctly, and less fuel.  2 hours in there is a noticeable char underneath the pork again.  I've since put three crushed beer cans on the deflector, a Teflon cake pan on those (with water in) and the cooking grate and pork directly on top of the drip pan. It seems to be working well but it is a bit of a balancing act.

I'd love to see photos of what others are doing as I don't want to destroy anymore £25 briskets!

 

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One possible fault I could see is if you are taking your pit temp from directly above your joint and is only clearing the joint buy an inch or so? If this is the case then the joint itself may be shielding your probe from the hot air rising up and past your joint and then cooling down by the time it drops onto the probe (hope this makes sense), thus giving you a ' cooler' false reading (with the true temp actually being much higher and cooking quicker).

Another possibility is:

Have you checked your probe for accuracy?

Last suggestion I have is:

Do you let the kamado heat soak before putting the joint in?

The only reason I suggest these is to possibly eliminate (or confirm?) your deflector setup as being the culprit and I also imagine space being quite tight inside with a brisket.

Hope you find out what is causing it, would be good to know👍

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Adam, these are all good points.  I am possibly pushing the limits of what this thing is capable size-wise.  Did a 3.2kg pork shoulder yesterday and there wasn't a lot of extra room!

I haven't checked the dome thermo for accuracy but I trust it is fairly accurate as, aside from the recent charred brisket, the cooks have been turning out great and roughly according to time/kg.

I know now for sure that this deflector isn't suitable on its own as fat drips straight onto it and produces these fires.  Even without fire, the gap between the 3mm deflector and my cooking surface is pretty tiny (less than 2cm, I'm sure).

I'm posting pics of my current setup, as adopted yesterday.  This was going great until the drip tray and the parchment wrap conspired to produce a fire.  Top gasket is ruined but the pork shoulder came out beautifully as it happened at the end of the cook when the internal temp was already probing 196f (please excuse the mixed metric/imperial refs)

I'm desperate to get a reliable slow and low setup that maximises space and minimises this charring issue.  Pics below are what I've got at the moment but I'd love to see what others are doing.  There is very little on the internet that I can find that is relevant to slow and low on these minis and so far I haven't had much response to similar requests on these forums.

Pic 1:  ebay 3mm deflector

Pic 2: deflector in place

Pic 3: grate in place on top of deflector (note small gap)

Pic 4:  same as 3 but different angle to show small gap.  2 hours into my pork cook yesterday I noted a scorched bottom again (fat side down).  so I moved to the solution in pics 5+

Pic 5: beer cans as spacers

Pic 6:  drip tray/further spacer (teflon cake tin) atop beer cans, atop deflector.  cake tin/drip tray was filled with water.  this did not evaporate through the cook but at the very end of the cook I did have a fire go out of control - assume the fat here caught alight?

Pic 7:  grate back in place showing greater gap between heat source and meat

Pic 8:  same as 7, different angle

Pic 9:  my old setup. produced consistent results but I was warned against teflon direct on coals.  a bit of a balancing act and reduced space with the height of it too

Pic 10:  a large piece of pork in a small kamado

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Based on your last post I think probe temp accuracy is fine (tick that off the list lol).

ambient temp seems fine since your cooking times are roughly what your expecting.

Im thinking radiant heat from the deflector plate being much higher than the ceramic sides and lid's radient heat.

3 things I could think of is:

1, raise the cooking grid higher to get away from the radient heat.

2, bend more angle into the 'folds' of the deflector plate so it sits lower/further away from the cooking grid.

3, Similar to pic 6 but maybe invert the drip tray to act as another heat shield.

I once was cooking some veg indirectly and wanted to put the garlic bread in aswell, so i put them on my drip trays....which were in direct contact with the deflector plates...great big dirty black incinerated line on all of them that tasted awful! and the butter wasn't melted haha. Anyway your experience reminds me of this and thats what is making me think of the radiant heat🤔

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Blimey...that mini-kamado looks like it has been napalmed!

Personally, I wouldn't be putting squashed pop cans in there as a spacer...those are lined with plastic (to stop the acid in the pop eating the aluminium can) as well as being painted. When that burns, along with the paint on the cans, all that burned gunk is ending up on your food.

Fair dues for trying, but that piece of meat is way too large for that cooking space.

 

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2 minutes ago, The Chairmaker said:

Blimey...that mini-kamado looks like it has been napalmed!

Personally, I wouldn't be putting squashed pop cans in there as a spacer...those are lined with plastic (to stop the acid in the pop eating the aluminium can) as well as being painted. When that burns, along with the paint on the cans, all that burned gunk is ending up on your food.

Fair dues for trying, but that piece of meat is way too large for that cooking space.

 

124608369_10.jpg.8225ecfe48ea5d13b82d6f6cdd679b471.thumb.jpg.84eb7d2f1d11de3a1d35b9867f0320aa.jpg

Haha, they were beer cans, never drinking pop whilst grilling - but, point taken.

The pork turned out perfectly but it took some adjusting mid-cook so I'm not too concerned with the size of the cut but instead with the correct stacking of heat deflector, pan/spacer, cooking grate.  

Can you or AdamG show me what you do for slow and low please?

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9 minutes ago, JB.1981 said:

Haha, they were beer cans, never drinking pop whilst grilling - but, point taken.

Silly me....drinking beer is mandatory when grilling! 😁

Beer cans are plastic lined and painted too though.....

 

9 minutes ago, JB.1981 said:

Can you or AdamG show me what you do for slow and low please?

I'm on the other end of the spectrum as far as grilling space goes.  I've moved from a 23" Pitboss to a 28" Big Joe.  😆

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Im piggy in the middle with an 18"👍

my setup from the bottom is deflector plates, empty drip trays and then the cooking surface. Bear in mind I have roughly 6" between the drip trays and cooking surface due to the size of the kamado, so this gives more than enough space to avoid the radiant heat.

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