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Kamado Joe, Classic Joe II 18"

After it were assembled..

In the aftermath of the BGE cracked ceramics horror show I ranted on about in my other blog on the Kettle Joe, she who must be obeyed was averted from purchasing yet another BGE horror story and we ordered the Kamado Joe Classic II 18" with the allegedly "free" installation for $999 all in on Amazon.

The nice chap who arrived to assemble it on 9/16 was paid by Amazon to the tune of exactly $99, so this was in fact not exactly free to me.

It did make me understand the various "other" offers available though.

One was with a "free" cover for $899 and there are more expensive options with the SloRoller Hyberbolic chamber and other bits like the Series II charcoal basket for various price points upwards from my $999 to $1599 et al, all based on what you are getting in your package.

KJ Egg in the pallet

Had I known that this was so simple to install, she who must be obeyed and I could have easily lifted it off the pallet and assembled it all pretty easily ourselves.

Now one thing to consider with paying for installation is if the hinge system needs adjusting you will need someone like this to set it up right and the ceramic petals in the AMP firebox thang is a delicate job do try yourself without a live demo as an example.

Overall, this thing is not the BGE drama show when it comes to assembly due to the sanity in Engineering of the Hinge system Kamado Joe now use.

There is no hinge to assemble in a ring a la BGE, it comes assembled! Tres sane!!

The install guy put it together while I yakked at him about the Kettle Joe and I even showed him the fine job I had done sealing the Kettle Joe and it's few peculiar quirks plus the most awesome price I had paid for it!

He then took the Classic Joe's dome off and placed it on a plastic table he had brought with him.

I offered to help him lift it but he ignored me and did his own thang.

He later explained it was because when he had done this in the past, one customer had dropped the base and he is on the hook for breakages that result from assembling them.

With one person grabbing a grip in the ash vent hole and another on the underside of the hinge it's not actually that difficult.

Next, you place the red ceramic egg on the ground and build the metal two piece nest and trolley wheel gig and tighten the 4 screws in that thang and then you lift the KJ Egg into the nest making sure the ash vent has open space with zero nest leg obstructions and away you go.

On the Pallet sans cardboard box surround

Sometimes the hinge spring needs to be adjusted and that be a bitch on a Kamado Joe Series II and III in case you wuz wondering.

Next is cleaning out the inside of Styrofoam and assorted gubbins that collected in there, before placing the stainless steel insert the ash draw will live in at the bottom of the Kamado, aligning it so the tray can slide in and then you put the AMP firebox base so it is over the steel ash collector plates and tray.

The next piece is something that needs some serious engineering improvement in my humble opinion.

These are the ceramic petals that go around the AMP base that you have to also somehow clip into a steel ring at the top.

The spacing and alignment of these and doing this solo is a pain in the ass as getting them into the top metal ring is very tricky indeed.

I rebuilt and spaced mine a few times already and am happier but its not perfect.

I also did a cook with the bottom AMP iron grid in place with the Series III charcoal basket resting on that but quickly found that this causes clogging and impacts airflow so its just the Charcoal basket solo now sans the iron grate.

Then it was time for a run in cook and another rebuild of the petals and a first cook five hours later that evening.

The results of the first cook were pretty stunning.

I did a huge Rib eye, three Lamb chops and three chikken drums with Asian veggies and a baked potato.

It should been 2 baked potatties but one rolled off onto the floor revealing another KJ flaw.

In future I will have the Baked Potato lower down and the meat on the other half of the grid equation.

Kamado Joe Grill corner

There are also two half circle deflector plates, which I did cook with by the way and these do not fit perfectly.

I watched another YouTube video from Smoking Dad BBQ and saw the accessory ring can also hold the deflector plates (Duh)!

I have since fiddled with it and have managed to get it all right using the charcoal basket protusions.

KJ Dome latch

These series II onwards KJ's also have another very nice feature the BGE is lacking, which is a dome latch that you can operate with a single finger.

Lid closed and latched

After a day or so operating the latch was like second nature and real easy to accommodate.

On 9/18 the weather was warning of incoming rain cells so I hurriedly put both the KJ eggs in their all weather Pajamas and I am glad I did because it is still raining!

Kamado Joe and Kettle Joe in Pajamas

The Kettle Joe is good but the Kamado Joe Classic Joe Series II was in a different league with steaks and chops and especially veggies, much to my amazement.

The Kettle Joe will be for long and slow cooks as well as beef, pork and Lamb ribs and beef chuck roasts and I will use the Classic Joe for steaks, chops, chikkens and such.

If I am in a hurry the Kettle will be the tool as it is much quicker to get going than it's ceramic cousin.

The Kettle Joe is also easier to control temperature wise for some reason...

This was most interesting, I was not expecting that one!

So on 9/21 I needed to cook my beef short ribs while we went on the road to take care of family health issues and I set the Kettle Joe up for a fast smoke of these BBQ ribs I had paid $20 for.

2 Day prior I had dry brined them and set the 4 tablespoons of crushed pepper with some thyme into the equation.

I set the temp for 278 and climbed into the Bell and flew off to do our business.

3 hours later we get back and the charcoal was near spent (only armed 2/3). So I lifted the SloRoller and tipped a dustpan full of charcoals in it and it climbed back to 275 and sat there for another hour and it started to dip again.

The temps were at 191 and I needed 200 so in went another dustpan full of charcoals..

The cook was some 5 hours and I let it rest for 45 minutes.

Then came the taste test.

All I can say about that is Fuck Pork ribs!

This shit was mega delishus! I never cooked anything finer in my life!

I also cooked 2 cheaper and smaller chuck steaks and that too as ridiculously yummy but these were not pre-brined.

Will try them pre-brined as I suspect this is THE secret to smoking steaks on the Kettle Joe.