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How to Manage the Heat in Your AKORN® Kamado Grill

How to Manage the Heat in Your AKORN® Kamado Grill

The AKORN® Kamado provides great versatility for any pitmaster, perfect for going low n’ slow at 200° or hot n’ fast for the perfect sear.

In this blog, we’ll teach you how to properly start and maintain the heat in your Kamado no matter what meal you want to accomplish. 

How An Ambassador Does It

Instead of starting with a full Charcoal Chimney, ambassador Steve Dotson, Cookout Coach, prefers to add 12-14 briquettes to the bottom of his AKORN® before adding a fire starter beside them and lighting the remainder of his desired coals in the chimney. Once the charcoal in the chimney is lit, he releases the coals into the AKORN®, allows the grill to heat up and then adds wood chunks or chips.

He suggests, focusing on positioning the coals in front of the grill vents to make control of the dampers more effective. 

How to Use the Charcoal Chimney to Start Charcoal in Your AKORN®

If you would like to solely use your Charcoal Chimney to light your AKORN®, fill the chimney with coals and light from the bottom.

Wait 20-30 minutes or until the charcoal has ashed over, then simply remove the center section of the AKORN® grate, which is perfectly fit for the Chimney, place the Chimney on top and release the coals directly into the bottom of your AKORN®. 

Using the Snake Method in the AKORN®

Optionally, you can also use the snake method to efficiently light your AKORN® Kamado.

First pile about 75% of your charcoal and wood chips or chunks on one side of the AKORN. Light the remainder of the charcoal in your chimney then place the lit briquettes or lumps at one end on this pile to allow the fuel to gradually burn for an effective smoking experience. 

This is a great technique to use if you are doing a longer smoke because it burns the charcoal much slower meaning you likely won't have to add fuel during the cook. 

We like to add a few chunks of wood to the larger charcoal pile to keep the smoke rolling throughout the cook.

Set Up For Smoking in the AKORN®

If you will be going low n’ slow, add your Smokin’ Stone above the coals and place a water plan on top to help better maintain the heat and humidity in your AKORN. 

This will also help you get the much desired thin blue smoke for the perfect smoke ring. 

How to Heat Up Your AKORN®

To begin the process of heating your AKORN®, open the bottom damper completely, while opening the top damper slightly. Watch the internal temperature gradually increase to allow the air to flow up from the bottom.

Once your grill is approaching the desired temperature for your cook, make necessary damper adjustments using the following guide, while also ensuring to continuously adjust them as necessary. 

If smoking (~200-225°):  

     Close the top damper completely with the bottom damper on 2.  

If cooking food such as burgers or ribs (~300°):  

     Keep the top damper ¼ open and the bottom damper on 1.  

If cooking food such as whole turkey or chicken breast (~325°):  

     Keep the top damper ¼ open and the bottom damper at 2.  

If cooking foods like roast beef and pork (~350°): 

     Keep the top damper closed and the bottom damper at 3.  

If searing (~450°+) 

     Keep the top damper completely open for optimum air flow and the bottom          damper on 4. 

As always, open dampers to increase air flow for higher heat and nearly/completely closing them to reduce it or keep steady. 

Once your cook is finished, to properly shut down your AKORN, simply close all the vents to cut off the oxygen supply to your fuel.

This will cause the fire to naturally and safely subside over the course of several hours to a couple days. Lock the lid and dump the ash pan after it is fully cooled down.