Had friends round for boardgaming on Saturday, so enlisted some help on lifting the heavy main unit onto the wheeled stand. Completed the rest of the assembly last night, and poured in some charcoal to give it a first burn – not cooking anything, as the purpose of this is to burn off any nasties from the manufacturing process and season it.
The top vent is good, and moves smoothly. In contrast, the bottom vent is pretty crap, and made of the thinnest of metal – I managed to remove the sliding door off of it without trying – fortunately, I managed to fit it back in. To be honest, this isn’t a tragedy, as much of the temperature control is done using the top vent, but you need to be able to close the bottom in order to damp down the fire after a cook. As the vent is screwed onto the body of the Kamado, it doesn’t look like it will be too difficult to replace, if necessary – if I can find someone with metal skills to fabricate something for me; or it may be that a spare part from one of the branded grill can be made to fit.
Otherwise, everything was good. Easy to light, kept burning nicely, consistent temperatures.
I note that the seller, having sold 5 of these, has put the price up from the 309 quid that I paid to 529 quid. That is now not far off the price of a branded model, and – in my opinion – no longer worth the risk of buying such an unknown model, with minimal support other than any statutory warranty. However, I am more than happy with my bargain, and am looking forward to experimenting with it.
The boardgame session on Saturday was a good example of why it is going to be useful. With 14 guests to cook for (ok, 13, as one is vegetarian, and caters for herself), I had burgers and bangers in the pellet grill, slow smoking. They were ready for lunch at 1pm, and after people had taken their first burgers/hot dogs, I moved the rest to the upper rack to keep warm, while adding some chicken to cook on the lower rack. The problem was that I couldn’t get a high heat on the chicken, without drying out the rest of the burgers/bangers – it was only when I had shifted them, that I could raise the temp, and I was listening to cries of “is the chicken ready yet?” for the next 20 mins.
With the additional grill, I can continue to do slow cooked stuff (including pulled pork) on the traeger, while doing high temp grilling on the Kamado.
I will take some pictures sometime of the grill in situ, but I was busy on Saturday, and the weather was kind of horrible yesterday.