Smoking: Low Temperature Cooking

How to cook low and slow

One of the benefits of cooking with a Kamado Joe ceramic grill is the ability to cook at low temperatures. There is nothing more mouth-watering than a moist and smoky Boston butt, brisket or baby back ribs.

Grill set up and cooking instructions:

Charcoal & Air Flow

  1. Build a mound of charcoal that starts just below the holes in the side of the fire box with the peak of the mound just below the top of the fire ring.
  2. Build the mound with large chunks at the bottom and smaller ones as you build it. Dumping charcoal directly into the fire box will allow small pieces to block the air holes in the fire grate, which can prevent you from reaching grilling and searing temperatures.
  3. Charcoal can be relit 2-3 times for multiple cookings. Use the ash tool to stir the used charcoal, so the ashes will drop through the fire grate. Add 1/3 new charcoal to the existing charcoal and build a new mound. This works for well for roasting and grill temperatures. A full fire box of only fresh charcoal is recommended for smoking and searing temperatures.

Charcoal Tip: You can’t have too much charcoal, but you can have too little.


  1. Light the charcoal with a fire starter cube or two, chimney starter, electric starter or other method.
  2. Open the bottom draft door and leave the dome up.
  3. Wait 8-10 minutes for the charcoal to build a small bed of embers.
  4. Close the dome, open the top vent fully and adjust the air flow as needed as you near the target temperature.

Lighting Tip: Never use lighter fluid or any other combustible liquid.


  1. For “low and slow” temperatures like 225°F, start with a very small fire in one area of the charcoal.
  2. Close the lid and allow the temperature to come up slowly with the draft door open 2” and the top vent open 1/2” and the daisy wheel holes fully open.
  3. This method may take 30-45 minutes to reach your target temperature, but it will ensure a long and slow cooking period.

Low Temperature Tip: It is easy to raise the temperature, but very difficult to lower the temperature if you go over your target temperature

Cooking Instructions

  1. Place the heat deflector on a level surface with the ceramic plate in the bottom position.
  2. Place a drip pan no more than 3" deep between the ceramic plate and frame of the heat deflector. Insert them into the grill.
  3. Fill the drip pan with 2 liters of Dr. Pepper® or Coke® and add enough water to fill 3/4 of the pan. You can just use water.
  4. Place the cooking grate on top of the heat deflector frame and place the meat directly on the grate.
  5. Insert the temperature probe if you are using a thermometer.
  6. Leave the bottom draft door and top vent fully open until the grill reaches 200°F (93°C). This may take 45 minutes or more.
  7. Close the draft door to a 2" opening and close the top vent with just the daisy wheels fully open.

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