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Welcome to The Backyard Blog! My name is Austin Veteto, that’s “Veh-dih-toe,” and I’ll be one of a few different contributors here. At Vision Grills we’ve noticed that, outside of warranty communications, we don’t get much of an opportunity to communicate with you. With this blog, we can share with you some of the best things we’ve learned about Kamado cooking and you can, in the comments section below, do the same! The overarching goal of this blog is to share and exchange great information. We know that you are a wealth of information, so please join the conversation below and we can all get better at our craft. Posts will range widely from heavy-hitting topics like getting a brisket right every time (yes, that’s a heavy-hitter) to lighter topics like accessory recommendations and fun cooking tips. Over the course of the blog, various members of our Vision Grills family will be introducing themselves as well, so there’s a lot to look forward to – stay tuned!

“So, Austin, where’s all this great information you keep talking about” you ask? Well, I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off The Backyard Blog than by sharing a few of my favorite tips and tricks as a primer course in Kamado basics.

Charcoal

Grill aside, lump charcoal is the best tool at your disposal. It is important to know the capabilities and behavior of the charcoal, as it is fundamental to grilling success. Practice makes perfect, but here are a few quick tips to make your life easier:

  • Fill the fire bowl up about an inch over the air holes to eliminate the need to add extra charcoal during long cooks. Try to put the bigger lumps toward the bottom, as ash from small pieces can lessen air flow and lower temperature.
  • Grill temperature largely depends on the amount of lit charcoal. For lower temperatures, light fewer pieces. Do this by keeping a tight rein on air flow (more on that in the next section).
  • Lump charcoal can be reused. If, after shutting down your grill (by closing both top and bottom vents), there are still lump pieces left over, they can be relit for the next use.
  • Do not use lighter fluid or any chemicals/accelerants in your Kamado!

Temperature Control/Management

Arguably, the most challenging part of Kamado cooking is mastering the art (yes, art) of temperature control. While many factors affect temperature, there are a few steadfast rules that should keep you on track.

  • Once your charcoal is burning on its own, set the vents for the temperature at which you plan to cook. Pro tip: Aim low. It’s much easier to raise than lower the temperature.
  • The top vent profoundly affects air flow; use it for larger temperature adjustments, while relying on the bottom vent(s) for smaller adjustments.
  • Strive to keep the lid closed as much as possible. Excessive oxygen can create a very hot fire, making it difficult to manage temperature.

Please join the conversation below. We would love to hear your thoughts on this post and what you’d like us to focus on in the future! For specific question or concerns, head over to our Contact Us page or send an email to help@visiongrills.com

Austin-bio

Austin Veteto is a 25-year-old college graduate who loves the outdoors and singing with his internationally-acclaimed a capella group. Austin’s time at Vision Grills is divided between experimental cooking, editing, copywriting, and customer service.

 

 

 

54 Comments

  • henry clouse says:

    you have some good imformation here. keep it up, am looking forward for more

  • Duane says:

    It’s nice to see you guys setup something to interact with your customers. Hopefully you guys will respond to comments and questions when people post them.

  • Willy says:

    I have been grilling for as long as I can remember. My Dad taught me. I own, or have owned most every kind of grill. Vision grills offers the next great advance when it comes to outdoor cooking, the first two being the (Weber) BBQ Kettle and the rotisserie.

    The greatest challenge for me has been controlling the temperature. Even the slightest breeze, or even a change of direction, can result in a significant change in your grill temperatures You can’t just, “Set it and forget it”. You get out of it what you put into it.

    My most recent attempt was a 6 rib Prime Rib. I seared it thoroughly on my large Weber while pre=heating the Kamado to 175* I put just two small hunks of apple wood, just enough to impart a hint of smoke. 7-8 hours later the internal temp of the roast was 124* Covered it with aluminum foil and two heavy towels. 45 minutes later at 130* you could cut the meat with a fork!

    As you spend more and more time with your grill you will find that you become better and better at judging what you need to do to maintain a steady heat during the cook..

    • Alex Montagano says:

      Heavy towels? Please explain. I have cooked ribs in a number of different ways. My favorite right now is to cook it Portuguese style. Its fast and the ribs are tasty. First brine your ribs overnight in salty water. I get the BBQ Hot, sear level. Oil the grill Place the ribs on the BBQ & shut that baby down flipping the ribs to sear in the flavour!!! Close all the vents and watch the charcoal choke smoke. When it gets down to low grill temp, open the vents slightly for low gill. Open it once in a while to inspect the ribs and turn over. Maintain a low grill temperature. After about 1 hour remove the ribs and place them in a plate and generously bast them with a mixture of Canola oil and chilies. Let them rest for about 5 minutes and baste them again, serve.

  • Curtis v says:

    For beter control over air for the vision, make sure your top is contacting gasket, a lot of people do the dollar test. If you have any gap your not going to be able to control the air properly. You should be able to close the lid on a dollar bill and pull it out with the same amount of force all around the lid.

    • Alex Montagano says:

      Yes, I even use an old sock to reduce air inflow where you enter the electric starter(My model has an opening for an electric starter above the vent controls. I also uses wood stove gasket caulk to caulk the joints. Another way that the grill becomes air tight is by cooking on it. There is so much grease on my top vent that I can’t open it on cool days. I have to wait for the grill to warm it up and free the grease.

      • Steven says:

        Hi, the top vent gets stuck with all the goodness that leaves the grill when smoking and when this happens I put mine in the dish washer. Then its back to like new. Hope this helps

      • Phillip Roberts says:

        Is there any way to seal around the electric starter vent? I have the Pro S series and there is a 1/8 inch gap around the little door when closed. I contacted Vision and they said to bend the tabs to make it close tighter, but that didn’t help. I have a lot of trouble keeping the temp around 200. I thought sealing around the door might help.

        • Cathy Moore says:

          Hi. I had the same problem when I got my grill. I now seal the starter area with duct tape (and any other part of the front that was letting in air) and I can now easily hold the temperature at 200. I found this solution on the Internet and it works great.

          • Greg Ray says:

            I had to trim the gasket on the back of the electric starter opening. I am smoking pork belly right now at 185-190. I also made a few adjustments to the pro-zone seal. My grill is easy to adjust 10-15 degrees at a time. I hope this helps.

      • Michael Groah says:

        Yes that happened to me also actually I broke mine trying to open it I had to fix it with JB weld I took mine apart and decreased it it works fine now

    • Kim says:

      Is there a trick to open and close the top vent? I can’t get mine to move.
      Kim

      • Bob E. says:

        KIm,
        I have found that after a low & slow cook, if you run the grill up to 500 it will burn off the grease that causes the top vent to seize up.

  • BobA says:

    My top vent is very crooked and won’t sit flat. Smoke comes out around the bottom of the cap. If the top is for large temp adjustments, could this explain why I have a difficult time keeping my temps below 225?

    • Alex Montagano says:

      BobA, if your top vent isn’t sitting properly, this will absolutely affect the performance of your grill. Inspect in carefully and see if there are any obstacles. Checked and see that the ceramic opening in which it sits on isn’t wrap. Its possible that when your grill’s ceramic was formed and baked that it warped.

    • Curtis says:

      That top vent should have a felt gasket seal as well, it should not be crooked. You need to fix that if that’s the case. You can’t let air in or out of that cooker unless you give the okay by opening or shuting those vents. If you have air leaks you have a runaway grill on your hands..

  • Dan says:

    Thanks for having the “Vision” to start a blog. I operated a medium Big Green Egg for 15 years but decided on a Vision grill when looking for a larger kamado cooker. I have not regretted my decision and I have enjoyed learning how the vision grill works. I had to spend sometime making the bottom vents “tighter” by bending the corners of the slider. This really helped with temperature control. Just did a pulled pork and was able to achieve a 1/4 inch smoke ring. Good eatin’

    Btw, I gave the Big Green Egg to a friend who now understands why kamado cooking is the best way to cook outside. “Slather on”

  • Canuck cottager says:

    Luv my Vision Grill! Any hints on slow smoking flank steak?

  • Steven says:

    Hi, all. This should help with the temp issues, not the equipment issues I/e gasket or bent lid. https://patronsofthepit.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/the-long-burnthe-method-of-jim-minion/ I always use this method and I can regulate temp very easily except on humid days with no breeze. On regular days temp up or down is done in 15-30 min and that’s 600 to 225 sear to finish, giant chuck steaks. Hope this helps, sounds great willie. Great job!!!

  • Bill Trammell says:

    There is a good chance that the gasket below the cap is twisted or installed improperly. Remove and replace the old gasket, if needed, being sure that you remove all of the old gasket with a utility. The replacement gasket will come with a heat resistant adhesive. Please let me know how this works for you. Bill

  • Ray L says:

    I have only been a Vision owner for about a year and I can tell you, I have become even more addicted to grilling now than ever before. It’s nice to know that I can get advice from people with the same setup as mine (B-series). So here we go, I have questions already.

    I have made several attempts recently at cooking my favorite food on the grill (PIZZA!!!). I cannot seem to cook the pizza without burning the crust. When the crust is right, the toppings are not done. Here is my setup for cooking a thin crust pizza:
    – grill temp about 500-600 deg – let stabilize at this temp for a good 30 mins
    – using lava stone for diffused heat
    – cooking on top rack
    – using ceramic pizza pan (one with holes) – not using pizza stone, which may be my problem

    Could the pizza pan vs the pizza stone be causing issues? Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Andy says:

      I just picked up the Professional S. Prior to this unit I played around with charcoal for the first time on an Akorn Kamado (no ceramic). I have the same issues on my new grill making pizza as Ray, cooking much the same way as Ray. For some reason the Akorn kept a perfect over temp where my crust and toppings would be nicely caramelized but the bottom crust was not burned. With the Vision S, in order to get the top caramelized to my liking, the bottom gets burned.

      Any thoughts on this? I cook directly on the Vision lava stone sitting on the top rack and get the same results.

    • Armando says:

      Ray, I have owned a Vision for about 24 hours and just completed my 1st attempt at a pizza and the only part that burned were the edges that hung over the ceramic pizza pan. I stabilized the temp at 550 and cooked for about 8-10 mins. I opened the top once 1/2 way thru to check. Came out perfect. I cooked 3 pizzas to feed the family….Good luck….

  • Steven says:

    Hi, I do pizza all the time you can see picks on Instagram @ food_smoking_lion. I use the same temp put the stone in at the beginning cause if you put a cold stone on a hot grill it could crack. I only use that on the top rack and 3-5 min and done. If I do veggies I par boil them and drop in ice bath and dry then the veggies are soft but still have great color. Hope this helps

  • clintk says:

    i heat my grill to 600-650
    set lava stone on top of 2nd tier rack while grill is heating up
    roll pizza dough in corn meal and make pizza
    put pizza on grill-will be done in 7-10 minutes
    according to grill temp
    pizza wont burn unless forgot about
    perfect crust-not burnt unless pizza hangs over the side of lava stone

  • Larry Thomas says:

    Ok Austin, or anyone. I just purchased the Vision pro S-series. Big party next weekend, my Mother’s 90th birthday. I’ve got 12 1 1/4 New York strips. I can’t find directions for grilling the perfect steak on your website. I’m new to this type of cooking and don’t want to screw it up. Any help would be much appreciated. Might be able to add it to your beef section. Thank you

    • Rod R. says:

      Hey Everyone,
      Just purchased a classic B from Sam’s Club yesterday. I wanted to grill some steaks but I’m with Larry here! I can’t find any info on grilling steaks on the site? Anywhere? ! Can anybody share their tips or techniques on how to properly grill a steak? Thanks.

    • Bob E. says:

      I use reverse searing, the steaks have come out perfect every time so far. Use a meat thermometer preferably with a wireless receiver, use the lava stone deflector and get your grill temp to 350. Bring the internal temp up to 5 degrees below your desired level (e.g. 120 for rare). Remove the steaks, cover them with foil, and remove lava stone deflector, then bring the grill to 500. Place the steaks back on the grill for 1-2 minutes per side to sear the steaks. Enjoy!

  • Teresa Gregory says:

    How do you grill vegetables and potatoes. I haven’t seen any info on it. I have the S-series.

  • Rex Samuels says:

    WELL, AUSTIN, HAVEN’T HEARD ANYTHING FROM YOU. Please keep this going, would like to see videos of
    cooking and recipes like the other Kamados have on you tube….LETS GO!!

  • Don Box says:

    Just ordered my first vision kamado grill from home depot, looking forward to a new expirance in outdoor cooking. any suggestions for a new vision cook will be appreciated .

  • Jim says:

    I bought my grill from Home Depot and I chose to assemble it myself since they said it would take over a week. I found the assembly was actually very easy. Then I read that it is not to be used on a wood deck. I use my regular grill on the deck and it doesn’t retain much heat. How hot does this thing get? I was hoping to use it now but but my wooden deck is the only spot I have to put it.

  • Mark says:

    I used my Vision Pro Grill yesterday. I smoked chicken quarters for two hours. I could keep the heat below 300 degrees. I smoked for two hours, and I shut off all the vents. The next morning at 8:00 in the morning the grill still had a temperature of 200 degrees. Apparently there is some air leak. I’m suspecting that it is near where the heating coil is inserted. I took a hair dryer to confirm this, and air came through that vent.

  • Andy says:

    Last grill I made was a old aluminum gas
    Grill I put a 1 inch plate in it and some side on it with 2 inch air gaps and I use wood some coal wood type to and it wa small so fire was hot and grill I set on top of half cut off freon tank the fire was good and use old paper to start a little lighter fluid and hard woods with some coals on the wood . I could cook fairly quick but not as quick as the George Forman but wiphen everything was right the food tasted great . Now got vision kamoto grill use less charcoal and I have been try to use less charcoal and no luck so far . I have saved a lot of hard woods by shutting it down but still I don’t eat till on forth beer every night . I guess I will use note charcoal . I wish I could just cook on wood the fire is low enough it mite be possible . So I was wondering if any cheap suckers out there like me that have lots of different hard woods and is doing the same thanks all keep cooking on wood .

  • Robert says:

    Hi, I recently bought a kamado akorn char grill and had an issue which I think I put way too much charcoal. First I had the temp dramatically drop so I had to put more charcoal in but then I put a little too much in and got the grill over 400. Any tips on how for next time to keep the temp at where I want it. I was using regular charcoal instead of lump charcoal. Thanks

    • Cliff says:

      I have a Akorn(only use for a quick meal ie: hamburgers, etc) and have since graduated to the Vision B series. My biggest complaint with the Akorn is temp control. When I did ribs I mix lump with briquettes, and no matter how I tried the temp was uncontrollable. Got to the point I keep a spray bottle with water and cool the fire off. Do your self a favor, and buy a Vision grill. Set it(temp) and forget it!

  • Rod R. says:

    Hey Everyone,
    I have a question concerning care of the grill ceramic. My grill is brand new, just purchased it yesterday so I haven’t used it yet, ….hopefully going to for the 4th!

    my question is, after using it for sometime I would assume the grease will permeate into the ceramics, is this a bad thing? I was wondering if it souk be acceptable to pressure wash the ceramics to get the grease out of them. Is that a good idea? Bad idea? Unnecessary? I’m just wanting to properly maintain th grill for years of consistent use. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks Everyone! Looking forward to everyone’s advice.

  • La2Walker says:

    Coat fruit pieces with raw sugar or brown sugar before grilling to give them a beautiful dark caramelized color and crunchy sweet flavor.

  • Spu_orb says:

    Coat fruit pieces with raw sugar or brown sugar before grilling to give them a beautiful dark caramelized color and crunchy sweet flavor.

  • Let meat rest for five to ten minutes after you pull it off the grill before you serve it. This allows the juices to pull back into the center of the meat, giving it a better flavor and texture.

  • GoogleEarth says:

    Grill lemon halves until they are slightly charred and caramelized, then squeeze the juice into vinaigrette dressing to go with your dinner salad. The sweet and smoky flavor gives a taste to dressing you won t forget.

  • Rosalinda says:

    A bit susirpred it seems to simple and yet useful.

  • My husband was thinking about investing in a Kamado. It’s good to know that you shouldn’t use lighter fluid. I’m pretty sure my husband will really appreciate these tips.

  • Well – I saw some similar posts and hope maybe there might be something else I missed. Yes – I am a Vision Grill Newbie – but a long time Weber user. Just purchased a VG Model B today and cooked steaks on it this evening. So far so good. Used lump charcoal – and filled a charcoal chimney full to the top – then poured it into the crucible and used the electric starter (also a first for me as well!) That’s one thing I am uncertain of – is that TOO much coal for the VG? I cooked steaks atop the upper grill and had the pizza stone in place on the supplied rack during this activity. I do have to say that the steaks cooked extremely well – one of the cleanest bbq steaks I have ever eaten. The rub is – I was going to roll into round 2 (I know I am a nutball) and try to smoke some ribs following the steak success. I could not get the grill to lower the temperature to 250 or where I was aiming at. Even when I decided to perform a full shut down – with everything closed (both vents & lid) the grill seemed to be on the way to a core meltdown – and hovered in the 300 degree range for quite some time. I did notice a little bit of gas escaping around the vent cap when the lid was down and I had the steaks on – and tamped it down firmly to eliminate that. The lower vent system seems to be sanitary, and all the hardware seems to be plumb. As well as the lid itself seals nicely without any leaks appearing when the unit it is closed. Just curious if there is anything I did wrong or another area where I might get leakage? Holding off on the ribs til tomorrow…

  • Jason says:

    When I have the top vent set on “0”, should smoke be able to come out of it?

  • John Sabatini says:

    How long should it take to get grill temp up to over 500 degrees? Using a chimney starter with lump charcoal and top and bottom vents wide open, took a long time to just get it close to 500 degrees, wanted it around 550 at minimum before searing but it never got there.

    • Gary Janssen says:

      When I want to cook hot I use the electric starter and get the coals started from the bottom. When I want to do a long smoke I just use a a chimney only about half full and put it in the very middle. That way you get a long slow burn.

  • I’ve had my Visions Grill for a little over a year and my biggest problem is getting the fire to light and for the grill to heat up. It occurred to me that maybe it’s because I’m “dumping” the lump charcoal in to the grill so there’s a lot of small pieces and dust that ends up at the bottom. Should I just be taking the larger pieces from the bag and using those? Would a wire rack sitting above the air holes help???

    Thanks

    • Shawn Moorman says:

      Ash in the air holes really effects your ability to reach high temps. I’ve gotten in the habit of dumping the ash from my last cook before starting each time.

  • Jarvis Arline says:

    Well I am cooking on a Family Dollar Grill and it is been doing just fine I’ve used some of the message that are stated in Austin comments about grilling and his tips on grilling with charcoal on a grill and it worked I first started out cooking on it this because I had a point in my life where I was trying to keep my cool it Grill top down so when I looked at this on today it made me realize that I was not too far off so I really do appreciate Vision grill for all their tips and everybody who has thank you so much Jarvis Arline

  • JOHN Bates says:

    We just fired up our Vision and after burning it off I put a frozen pizza on a stone on the grill grate with a deflector. I kept the temp at 400 degrees and used corn meal on the pizza plate, the outcome was maybe should have taken it out 5 minutes earlier but it was cooked great and the bottom crust was golden brown not too bad for the first time, We are very happy with it and with vision customer service.

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