The Sweet Spot
Every so often, there is talk about a “sweet spot” – the ultimate grid height. If you find the “sweet spot,” please let us know. We’ve been looking but it’s as elusive as a “sure thing” in Vegas!
The best “sweet spot” is the one that gets your desired results. From our experiences, we find it’s not so much about an actual “spot” but more about having the proper set-up and a basic understanding of how ceramics work. Here are a couple concepts that work for us:
- To develop that perfect steak, sear close to the lump and finish to the desired doneness in the dome. By searing close to the lump, you can get the same char results but with less intense temperatures than if searing at the fire ring. When you move the food into the dome, you stop the searing process and basically roast the meat to the desired doneness. This method is akin to a chef searing on a stove top and sliding the pan in the oven to finish.
- To develop uniform temperatures on low-&-slows, try to equalize the space between the indirect piece, grid(s) and dome. If you need to skew the set-up in one direction, go vertical into the dome.
- To grill, it’s easier to cook higher in the dome, with slightly hotter temps than closer to the lump with lower temps. Higher in the dome just reduces the chances of burning something when you run for a beverage or your significant other distracts you with a quick task. It happens!
- On indirect cooks, the more food you can keep over the indirect piece, the better the end product will be. Also, match the indirect piece with the size and shape of what your cooking. That being said, don’t go overboard the other way either: a 16-inch pizza pan to cook one chicken wing is overkill, don’t you think.
- With indirect cooks, the more uniform you can make the airflow up the ceramic walls, the more consistent the inner temps will be across the grid(s). When airflow is disrupted, temperature gradients are created. More times than not, this effects the temperature(s) across the grid.
- No matter how hard you try, the cooker can develop hot spots. Lump does not always burn in a circular pattern. So, when prepping for a cook, have a plan to move grids or food should a hot spot develop. Hot spots do not always develop at the back of the cooker. The fix can be as simple as spinning the grid.