How To Cook On A Kamado Joe Barbecue - The Basics Of Fire Lighting

It is easiest to think of fire as a living entity comprised of three elements - heat, oxygen and fuel. A good fire needs all three for maximum efficiency. More oxygen and fuel produces a hotter fire whilst reducing the amount of oxygen available to the fire, results in a lower temperature. With our Kamado grills, the temperature is easy to control thanks to the patented "Kontrol Tower" vent. Simply open the vent to increase the airflow which subsequently will increase the temperature 

Starting your fire.

Create a pile of charcoal in the firebox, with the largest pieces at the bottom and then proceed to filling in the gaps with smaller chunks. The height of the pile should reach the fire ring, if you want a full "burn". The pile does not need to be packed very tightly as good airflow between the chunks is desirable.

Charcoal, wood fuel and sources of ignition.

Next, use an appropriate tinder source such as our "Hammaro Tinder Cards" to ignite the fire. Remember, your ignition source may add unwanted flavours or chemicals to your food. Therefore, we would recommend against using petroleum based products or fire lighters made form non-natural materials (e.g. lighter fluid, hexamine etc.). Another option is to use an electric firelighter (similar to a heat gun) to light the charcoal directly. This has the advantage of not leaving any chemical residues and being reusable.

Type Of Charcoal

The type of charcoal/wood used is also very important. We would suggest using high quality, responsibly sourced charcoal for best results (we recommend our Lump Charcoal here). Be sure to choose charcoal that has not been impregnated with accelerants, as again, these can leave chemical residues on your food which can impair flavour as well as your health! 

Knowing when your coals are ready.

Once a good amount of the coals are burning, stir the pile to ensure all coals are lit. We suggest using a piece of stiff cardboard or an electric fan/blower to fan the coals to ensure that all coals are burning and hot. At this point, the dome of the Kamado unit should be open for approximately the first 10 minutes after lighting.

Due to the excellent heat retention of the ceramic elements within our larger models, it is best to raise the temperature slowly rather than to initially overshoot the temperature desired and then attempting to lower it back down. Achieving the correct temperature stability may take up to 30 or 40 minutes.

Once ready, the charcoal should be glowing white hot with red middles (for searing at high temperatures) or they should be an ashy white colour but still very hot (for cooking larger bits of food that need time e.g. whole chicken, large vegetables etc..).

Keeping the temperature stable.

This is important for many different types of foods, particularly those that require much longer cook times. As mentioned previously, it is easy to vary the cooking temperatures by opening or closing  the "Kontrol Tower" vent. Many Kamado models feature a built-in thermometer so that perfect cooking temperature can be achieved and maintained. .

Good luck and may you achieve BBQ perfection.

See our Kamado Joe range here:

Buy Hammaro Tinder Cards here:

Buy our high quality charcoals and woods here:

The Bushgear Team