Posts by rodz

    I did one for the Christmas.

    -Slow roasted the pork at 140 C first .

    -Removed the heat deflector and Cranked the Kamado to close to 250 - 275 C

    -Put the skin side down on the grill for 30 - 45 seconds while gently rotating the sides.

    worked out nicely for me.

    Thanks Gumb .

    Yeah, I agree 100% on the type. I too believe the fire management shouldn't be this delicate :).

    This proves again that the oxygen hungry nature of dense woods as you mentioned.

    ( btw, I tried the iron bark on a small spit rotisserie which I borrowed for Christmas, it stayed for many hours . may be the best purpose given the unlimited oxygen supply )

    So far my best experience has been with :

    1) Heat beads lump

    2) Char griller lump ( expensive at 29 AUD per 10 Kg )

    3) Mallee root

    Please suggest any other type that you think would be the 'go to' for long term use with Kamado.


    One advantage I noticed with the new fire grate was that the temperature was consistant even with the mallee root. I had some previous experience of the cast iron grate holes being blocked by small pieces and some fluctuations in the temp in the kamado which required me to readjust the Air vents after around 6 hours into the cook.



    ( Gumb , Card Shark , seaelem , Narm Naleg )

    I have an update on this topic :)

    Being baffled with the possible issue with IRON BARK charcoal I thought to try out different options like mixing with other type of charcoal and consuming the remaining for Pizza baking and other high temp roasting. But having bought two x 20kg bags and only using it for high temp cooking was a difficult decision.

    Suddenly, an accidental experiment changed my initial conclusion and proved me that I was wrong about this.

    I ordered a charcoal fire grate from amazon to help with achieving a good airflow across my other type of charcoal so that it helps the temperature control. And thought to tryout the Iron bark as well with that fire grate to see what's the lowest temperature it can maintain. starting from 370 F , I kept closing the vents step by step and suprisingly enough, I was able to lower the temp down to sub 300 F and maintain it for couple of hours which I thought was not possible. ( it actually can go lower than if required. see below )

    What I learned so far:

    I think the problem was with the airflow with the original fire grate which comes with the Kamado ( cast iron grate with big holes in it). By this I mean that the air current has to have a certain velocity across fire patch ( not just the volume ) which was simply not achievable with the cast iron grate due to it's design.

    I found that Iron bark charcoal loves a continuous airflow across the embers so that they are always being stoked by the passing air. Once adjusted carefully it keeps stoking a 'small hot fire' patch as the lit charcoal amber consume pretty much all the oxygen it can and hence prevents new pieces catching fire.

    Before lighting, one has to arrange the charcoal pieces so they are tight knit to each other ( to allow heat transfer so that new pieces will catch fire). In my first experiment I filled the firebox up to at least 3/4 mark regardless the cook was long or short , so that there's enough charcoal to keep them together.

    Next I tried with a smaller amount arranged like a volcano and it worked too.

    This type burns from bottom to top , so with time, it creates a space in the middle where the charcoal pieces on top will fall into. so this meant that I had to arrange the charcoal heap properly so that it doesn't create a big gap between pieces so that the fire eventually put off.

    One other hint is to keep the kamado lid open till around 10 minutes to allow the initial fire patch grows to a good size. This helps in keeping the fire without going off once the lid is closed when the ceramics are still colder. ( this was different with Mallee root I tried where I could close the lid with vents open in two minutes after lighting.)


    I did an experiment today which I was able to maintain down to 180 F for 4 hours. I used a small amount of charcoal like 0.8 - 1 kg and arranged it like a mini pyramid and used the volcano technique to light it. This is the left over after 4 hours.

    Hope this helps and regain faith on the Iron Bark charcoal :).

    You can see the new fire grate I have used. ( This is similar to the bottom of the KickAsh basket. I couldn't justify paying closer to 200 AUD for a kickash basket so I decided on a 40 AUD grate at the end). Very happy I did invest on this, But I think the charcoal basket adds another level of convenience .

    sorry guys, I still couldn't take a pic of the charcoal lot but I did another experiment over the weekend.

    I borrowed a charcoal-fire grate from a friend who had an Akorn ( This has better airflow compared to the stock cast-iron charcoal grate which came with the unit ). I just wanted to rule out any airflow issues as well.

    What I noticed is Iron Bark did not like a fire patch with 'embers' . It always had to light with a flame. I scorched it many times with my blow torch until there was a good sized fire patch with flame, but it went out like previous attempts ( Daisy wheel holes full open, Bottom vent at 75% with the deflector on) . The moment I put the deflector on, end of the story :biglol:

    Then I lit it to burn with a flame by opening the daisy will block to form a 'half moon'. Charcoal was going with that amount of airflow. Reached 600 F and maintained it without an issue.

    So my conclusion is, in a Kamado this type can only be used for medium to high temp cooking. Very hot charcoal for that purpose.

    seaelem : thanks mate. I think you guys are right. And I am happy that I am not alone too. ( I have to finish the amount left by mixing with other types I guess)

    sure, will take one tomorrow and send .

    The pieces are of various sizes. I get what you mean, the airflow inside the heap of charcoal.

    I am going to do another test with a borrowed charcoal grate this weekend. that will tell me if it was due to the small pieces getting into the standard kamado fire grate holes, if that's what you meant.

    Have you been able to maintain around 220 - 250 F in a kamado with this lump type ?

    Good evening Guys,

    I wanted to get an expert advice on a problem on Chargriller ceramic Kamado.

    I recently got a bag of ironbark lump charcoal. I have been using heatbeads lump and just wanted to try something different in curiosity.

    In 3 out of 3 attempts I have failed to achieve/maintain low temps ( 250F ) with a low airflow setting , the fire goes off all the time. It looks like the charcoal wants more air than I would supply for HeatBeads.

    as an example , it needed the Daisy wheel slots fully open and bottom vent 2 - 3 out of 5 to stay lit or else it goes off eventually. ( pretty unusual for a low and slow type cooking right ? ).

    with that air flow setting, it always landed in 280 - 300 F range . when I tried to reduce the airflow by setting the daisy wheel slots to 50% or even 75% the fire eventually went off.

    I am just baffled on how to solve this .. does this mean that I cant do low and slow with ironbark lump alone ? ( I mean 220 - 250 F range ).

    any thoughts / advices please ?

    Hello everyone, I think I sort of figured it out :) .

    Today I did the following and the food came out nicely. And for the first time I smelled the real smoke out of the exhaust. ( this is night and day compared to the exhaust smell I experienced in my failed attempts ).

    1) Put a medium load of lump and lit it. Left 15 mins with lid open.

    2) 15 mins : Closed the Top vent with daisy wheel open , no deflector. Bottom vent 1.5 out of 5

    3) 45 mins : Temp at 250 F . The fire patch looked pretty good. No smoke at the exhaust.

    4) I split a apple wood chunk into two pieces. Placed both one of them at the 'border' of the fire and the other slightly into the fire. ( idea was the second block to get started before the first one finished ).

    5) Placed the deflector and set the daisy wheel at 60%.

    *the smoke started almost immediately. The exhaust smelled bit strong.

    6) 1 hr : smoke got thinned out but slightly visible when looked closely. The smell is less strong. ( for the first time I smelled the what I think is the apple wood smoke ) . I thought I'd left it another 15 mins.

    7) 1.20 Hrs : Temp was around 260 F. I put a couple of pork spare ribs from coles , lightly coated with a rub I had at home as a test ( I know this does not need to be slow cooked , just wanted to see how the smoke test comes out as I was curious to see if I still get the harsh after taste )

    8 ) 2 Hrs : smoke is faint . Exhaust smelled much pleasant. Unlike any of my previous attempts.

    9) 5 hrs : I took out the food. good color. Tasted a piece , acrid / harsh taste anymore.

    The smoke taste was not strong but noticeable. I think it's all about experimenting with 'amount' from here.

    I checked the fire status : only one chunk has got almost consumed and the other is pretty much not burnt ( the first must have gone the other direction).


    So my main learning points are :

    1) Wait till the fire is fully settled until I put the smoke wood ( only if the smoke wood is needed ) : For my setup this is around at 45 mins from the start of the fire. ( temp was around 230 F at this time. Target : 250 )

    2) The smoke chunks does give a very light smoke when the lump is at optimum temperature. ( as I mentioned earlier it is starting as light grey . No white smoke noted. This initial smoke thins out to almost like a vapor stream from a hot water kettle. The exhaust smell becomes pleasant within 20 mins of putting the smoke wood piece ).

    - in my failed attempts earlier , although I waited till the smoke thinned out. it could have been still too early. ( as I remember I put the food on around in 50 mins from the start. )

    - I must play around with placing the wood chunk at the right place on fire patch so it keeps smoldering with time. Now that I solved the main technical issue, I can experiment with this slowly. ( I think the smoke wood layout done by Jimmy70 would be nice to follow. I just need to work out where to put the first piece of wood). But I think I should now start cooking without smoke wood first to learn the craft :).

    - BBQDave : Yes, I get what you mean. I think I must now experiment with amount of wood pieces as I get to the cooking.

    Thanks so much everyone for your valuable advises. It really made me to re-think and find my way out of the problem. I think I still have lot to learn from here onwards. :).

    It was so encouraging to learn from your experiences !!!

    Ok ! I started my testing with basics.

    Test 1 : Basic fire & smell test of the exhaust :

    The idea was to make sure the charcoal I'm using is fault free ( I know this is well reviewed but wanted to eliminate a bad batch reason ). Also wanted to rule out the fire starter I used out of the equation.

    thought to do this as a dry run without food so I could repeat couple of checks.

    1) Built a small heap of Headbeads lump and fired using a cotton ball with vegetable oil ( just some technique I saw online . My butane torch is still on it's way from amazon ). Was bloody hard to get it started though.


    2) Waited 10 minutes till I saw the cotton ball disappear and lump caught fire. while it still had flame I closed the lid and set Top & Bottom vents fully open for 20 mins.

    The first 10 minutes it emitted a medium thick white/grey color smoke. ( must be the VOCs burning out and startup smoke of the charcoal ).

    I held my hand over the exhaust and smelled it : had a light fuel smell ( indicating partial burn) . not too bad though.

    3) Closed the top Vent block keeping the daisy wheel holes open. Button vent at 2/5. Didn't place the deflector as this was just to watch the charcoal smoke and smell.

    in around 30 mins, the smoke thinned out to a light vapor stream.

    Did a exhaust smell check - it smelled much clean ( desirable )

    I then set the Top vent to 70% and then left it for another 20 mins. It settled at 240 F without a visible smoke. (total time : 50 mins )

    Did a exhaust smell check - it smelled same as above ( clean )

    Closed the vents and let it cool down.

    Test 2: Fire lighter cube check

    I lit a new fire . This time I lit it with the lighter cube ( Red Head started ) and waited 15 mins before closing the lid and repeated above.

    After around 30 minutes I checked the exhaust :

    The results were pretty much the same as above. Thin smoke , smell of a clean burning charcoal at the exhaust . No specific nasty smell from the lighter cube ( must have burned off completely ).

    *I will not use that lighter cube again. Just wanted to rule it out in my specific problem. it starts with a nasty smell and so I totally agree that it would taint the interior of the cooker and affect the food in the long run as you guys said.

    Test 3: Smoke wood check

    Performed the same test as above , this time I thought I would add a piece of smoke wood and do the 'exhaust check'

    I split a piece of apple wood ( Fornetto chunks from Bunnings ) into three pieces. The chunk is like 5 cm x 10 cm each.

    1) Lit the fire with a medium pile of charcoal. ( repeated the above steps )

    2) In around 20 mins Set the top vent block closed but daisy wheel fully open , bottom vent at 2/5

    In around 40 - 45 mins the temp was at 200 F, exhaust was clear , the fire patch was ok but looked like still settling.


    4) at 50 mins , I added a piece of smoke wood just above the fire patch. the 'smoke' started almost immediately.

    interestingly the smoke was never 'thick white' which I saw in other days ( must be due to I added the smoke wood much earlier previously, where the lump was still getting into a proper burn rate.).

    The starting smoke was like light grey ( not white ) but visible . but it had the 'eye burning' strength. ( I think it was still getting settled )

    Did a exhaust check and I could smell the raw / harsh smell of apple wood in my palm . As per my memory it was less crude than the previous times where I added a full chunk and much early in the process.

    4) In around 60 minutes ( 10mins after adding wood chunk ) , the smoke thinned out but still visible when close to the top vent


    Question :

    Is the above what's called 'Thin Blue Smoke' ? or does it have to thin out even more ?

    5) I left it for another 15 mins , (1.15 Hrs since the start of fire ) - and did another exhaust check . This time the smell was less strong. I guess this is as good as it gets .

    Question : Is the time point of time I should add the meat ?

    ( In around 3 mins if I check the palm I could smell the apple wood smoke after the other compounds has vaped off ( very desirable ) ) .

    Question :

    I guess at the exhaust smoke, the smoke is sort of concentrated so it smell stronger. Is this right ?

    6 ) Left the fire for another 30 mins and still could see a 'faint' smoke and exhaust check was same as above.

    7) I opened the lid and checked , the wood piece was almost turned into dark color charcoal. I then added another piece and observed the same as above.

    Just wanted to repeat the test and see I get consistent results,

    My comments:

    - The charcoal seems to be fine

    - The fire starter cube doesn't seem to be the cause I got the strong taste ( I will not use it in future anyway)

    - Looks like the source of the strong taste is adding the smoke wood. May be too early or too much. ( Would need to figure this out in next few tests )

    - Did not check the drippings on the deflector in the above tests as they were just dry runs.

    *The biggest thing I reinforced myself is that I should wait till the fire patch is at a good burn rate ( at least 45 mins after lighting with my fuel load and Vent settings ) before I add the wood chunk. It does n't give a white smoke at all. Starts with a medium grey smoke and thin out quickly. I did n't see a 'blue' tinge but the smoke thinned out until I had to close up to the vent to see it properly.

    *what I did earlier in my strong tasting cooks: I added the wood chunks at around 30 mins instead of the 45 - 60 mins mark. I only saw the thick smoke white / grey with charcoal starting and it thinned out in around 20 mins from the startup.( So this is the take away point for me from you guys, Thanks so much )

    In my previous attempts although I remember like I waited till the smoke thinned out like above to put the meat on, it may have still had a strong smell at the exhaust. And also I remember that each time I opened the lid for some reason, the fire stoked and gave white smoke for a while before thinning out. ( This could have been absorbed /coated on the meat as creasote in my guess ) .

    I will do another test with and without smoke chunks with some meat tomorrow :). Will use the cotton ball to light the fire and use a foil to cover the deflector so it leaves the drippings out of the scene.

    Gumb : sure will start with that (Y)

    Bilda : Thanks Bilda, I still doubt that's not the case. I definitely liked the smoky flavor which I got to have couple of times when tasting bbq in other places. This feel like some technical problem which gives me a 'unrefined' / harsh aroma as described earlier.

    Whatever it is , it is over powering the actual smoke imparted into the food . Today I took a piece of beef roast I did the other day from the fridge, smelled so good , but the moment I put in the mouth I get that fuel like after taste . So yes, it could be that fire starter or something,

    I am determined to find the cause by doing small changes. will report back !

    Thanks Guys. I sort of had the same doubt. ( I use the foil wrapped version of the white cube ). Pretty nasty smelling at the start and burns for like 15 mins.

    I will get rid of that for sure , already ordered a butane gun as I had some left over butane cans.

    btw, I do still think the original complaint I made of the smell / taste must be due to my process. Although I waited till the white smoke disappeared , the fire may have not been matured enough so that its out of volatile compounds. As most of you guys said , I should have left it for another 30mins atleast to stabilize at that burn rate.

    I will do more testing as mentioned. looks like I have a direction to try out.

    Thanks guys !

    CozI'mHausen : I use redheads lighter cubes and keep the lid open till the cube depletes completely with fire.

    Gumb : thanks, year I agree with the operationof kamado. just wanted to start over and rule out every factor ( thinking it could be the batch of charcoal I bought ).

    Narm Naleg : thanks, keep watching. I will post my updates next week.

    thinking of doing a series of tests following the advises you guys given me. I'll report back.

    I only tried an apply wood chunk piece. was there the whole time during the cook.

    - I bought this at Tasman Butcher shop. yeah , it looked like all the meat was scraped out :D .

    I will go easy next time. Yeah, I could imagine that this is a long journey with lot of learning on the way :).

    btw the smell test I did just couple hours ago :

    During the first hour since the start of the fire , the exhaust didn't smell good , had a bit of fuel like smell.

    In 1.5 hours , it started smelling a lot lighter and better. When I checked the fire , pretty much all the charcoal chunks were lit by that time. ( this was botton vent 50% , top vent 50 % moon position )

    So I think the time to allow the charcoal fire to stabilize properly is a key , specially with this brand of charcoal. I couldn't see the smoke because of the darkness.

    Thanks again guys, I am getting a bit more comfortable hearing the above. Looks like I have rushed in some sections and had wrong options :). I will try doing a few cooks this week and report back.

    I would like to know a few take away points for a long lowNslow cook with smoke but I will keep that for later as surely it looks like I need to be strong with the fundamentals first :).

    Jimmy70 : yes, I wrapped it, but as I remember after initial 3 hours under smoke at 250 F. too long do you think ?