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Home Brew Forums > Food and Beverage > Meat Smoking, Curing and Sausage Making > "Big Red" Kamado Kooker at Menards
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:44 PM   #71
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Just saw the new version at Meijers. It's definately reengineered. It has a "cast" metal top vent (looks like pot metal though). Picture shows a cut away of the sides and it actually contains insulation between wall. Gaskets look similar to the old ones (only going from memory). No price tag on it. The sign say you can get an optional ceramic place setter.

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Old 02-27-2012, 01:32 PM   #72
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Just purchased the Char-Griller Kamado from Lowes over the weekend. The ash pan now has an oven door type gasket similar to the lid gasket. I looked down through the vent cap with both the lid, and the bottom air vent closed and saw no daylight.

The top vent cap has a silicone o-ring where it meets the top lid, and the whole mechanism is very tight.

Fired it up for the first time yesterday afternoon- after seasoning the grates, I made pork-chops. They turned out awesome! After some initial skepticism, my wife gave her overwhelming approval of my purchase soon after her first bite. My first Kamado- lots to learning and experimenting ahead.

FYI- my Lowes has grill covers from Char-Griller in stock- around $25.00- seems like good quality.

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Old 02-27-2012, 02:27 PM   #73
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I just got my Menard's sale flyer by email, the Big Red is on sale for $249. Check it carefully to be sure it's this year's model, not leftover from last year. If the vent cap is black metal it's a new one.

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Old 02-28-2012, 01:57 AM   #74
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Question: Is it not unusual for the Big Red Kamado to take 2+ hours to cool to 200 degrees from 450? I seasoned the grill and after closing the dampers, it took about that long for the grill to cool enough that I was comfortable with wheeling it into the garage. (Had the garage door cracked open a bit to ensure air flow until the charcoal died.)

I bought my Big Red from Menards yesterday. It must be a "newer" model--the ash pan gasket is similar to the top lid gasket. The floor model at the store had a felt-like gasket in the ash pan.

In a pitch black garage, I placed a high-intensity flashlight in the grill and looked for light "leakage". There was no light escaping through the seals but there were a few hairline leaks where the welding job was shoddy or absent.

Mine had a significant gap between the ash pan damper and the ash pan--about 1/8". It looked like a manufacturing defect--someone dented the pan. I managed a bead of high heat silicone to seal it.

Also managed to squeeze in a bead for the damper on the lid.

I am guessing that air manages to seep through the rope seals as the burning charcoal creates a vacuum...

Any thoughts from you more experienced BBQ-ers?

BTW, this is my first kamado style cooker.

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Old 02-28-2012, 01:08 PM   #75
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Its normal for me and I have upgraded the lid and ashpan seal. Must be some other leaks we have not found.

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Old 02-29-2012, 12:25 AM   #76
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Ordered one from lowes. can't wait to post pics! glad to hear about the upgrades from lastyear's model.

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Old 02-29-2012, 06:11 PM   #77
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I just discovered something bad with last year's model, the inside of the ash pan is not heat resistant. I took mine off today to clean it and found that, since it's the same powder coat as the outside, that the hot ash/coals that fell on it cracked the paint. One other thing is if you don't have a cover and leave it outside, water leaks in and makes a puddle in the ash pan. Well, the water got under the cracked powder coat and started to rust the steel it's made of. Good thing I had a can of heat resistant paint in the garage. So, if you have one of last year's models you better check for this and if the new ones are the same you'll need to make an aluminum foil liner.

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Old 03-02-2012, 11:49 AM   #78
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Picked mine up last night... The top vent is a huge upgrade to lastyear's model. The ash pan seems to be better with a porcelain coated tray inside... Did the old version? Seems like they made all the right changes.

Has any one bought the smokin stone, if so where? Can't find it on the chargriller web site.

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Old 03-04-2012, 06:27 PM   #79
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I picked one of these up at Lowes on Thursday and made a couple video reviews of what I have if you are interested in taking a look...

http://youtu.be/OmWZ7h-aZdw - Walkaround Review
http://youtu.be/h-Wifp2CKiE - Seasoning Burn
http://youtu.be/jxyZasR9aF0 - 7lb Boston Butt Cook

It has an air leak at the lower vent but I'm not 100% concerned that it's a problem. I haven't made up my mind if I'm going to remove the vent and seal it up yet or not.

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Old 03-27-2012, 01:58 AM   #80
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Struggling a bit to get it under 300 degrees without it putting out the coals. Any advise? Also, the thermometer on mine is off approx 50 degrees.

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