Temperature control is hands down the most fundamental element of grilling. No matter the type of grill, a pitmaster has to become skilled at the art of raising and lowering the heat to get the flavor and texture of their BBQ creations just right.
On a kamado grill, temperature control requires a different approach from a gas grill or a pellet grill. It requires a lot more finesse, and there is a significant learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll love the flexibility that a kamado grill gives you.
Below, we’ll show you the basics of temperature control on a kamado grill, using the Grilla Kong kamado grill as our example.
New to kamado grills? See “What Is a Kamado Grill?” to get up to speed.
Kamado grills are a type of charcoal ceramic grill. As with most other charcoal grills, airflow is how the grill operator controls the grill’s temperature. More airflow to the charcoal in your kamado brings more oxygen to the fire, which makes it burn hotter. This in turn makes your fuel consumption increase as well.
The kamado’s built-in thermometer keeps you informed about the temperature inside the kamado. If you want to raise or lower the temperature, you’ll do it using the two main tools built into the kamado: the top and bottom vents.
The top and bottom vents both control airflow to the kamado, but they serve different purposes. Both can be adjusted individually, which means you have a lot of control over exactly how hot you want the grill to get. Next, let’s talk about how to use the different vents.
The bottom vent is called the intake vent. It’s larger and gives the coals their main source of oxygen. Due to that, it’s going to give you more direct control over how hot the grill gets. When lighting your kamado grill, you’ll start by opening the bottom vent fully and letting the air flow freely until you build up an ember bed. This vent has the biggest effect on how hot your coals get overall.
The top vent is your exhaust vent. It gives you more precise control over the temperature. You’ll need to adjust it throughout the smoking or grilling process to get the heat just right. While your bottom vent is going to provide the biggest changes to your temperature, the top vent will allow you to make smaller adjustments. It’s also the source of those delicious smells that gets everybody’s stomachs growling. It’s important to NEVER close your top vent completely unless you’re trying to shut the grill down.
Smoke, Bake, Roast and More with the Kong Kamado Grill
Use the Kong’s built-in temperature gauge as your guide.
These are the basic techniques for controlling temperature in your Kong kamado grill. Keep in mind, your grill should already be started with vents wide open by the time you get to this point:
If the temperature gets too hot while you’re preheating, close both the top and bottom vents. Leave them closed until your Kong has cooled down enough for you.t. Keep in mind, you DO NOT want to do this with food on the grill. Airflow is needed to provide the best smoke flavor possible. With no airflow, your grill will put out an unappealing white/black/grey smoke that will leave a poor taste on your tongue.
These tips will help you control your Kong’s temperature more easily so you can get the most out of your kamado:
Discover the Power and Versatility of a Ceramic Grill
No matter what, we’re always here to help you become a certified Pitmaster PhD in the art of kamado grilling. For more tips on mastering the Kong, see our beginner’s guide to kamado grilling. Plus, be sure to see our Kong virtual toolbox that’s packed with resources for Kong owners. Finally, you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you figure out all the tips and tricks we know!
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