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10 Hacks For Kamado Joe Jr’s! 

10 Hacks For Kamado Joe Jr’s! 

Kamado Joe Jr Hacks

The Kamado Joe Jr. might be the smallest grill in their lineup, but it is versatile enough to let you use accessories in a lot of creative hacks.

This includes ways that you can use the Kamado Joe Jr. to sear like a griddle, bake pizza, or smoke classic barbecue.

Accessories like the Kick Ash charcoal basket, and the soapstone let you alter the Kamado Joe Jr. to maximize the airflow.

With careful placement of the heat deflector, and the soapstone inside the wire inset rack you can even create a dual indirect heating method for high heat roasting.

All without having to worry about direct flame burning the bottom of the food.

The dual indirect heating method can also be used to make some impressive pizza on the Kamado Joe Jr. Though you do need to give the flame time to fully heat the ceramic dome to ensure that the cheese and ingredients on the top broil at the same time that the bottom crust bakes.

Using a cordierite pizza stone instead of ceramic also buys you some thermal insurance.

Cordierite pizza stones deal with extreme heat better and are less prone to thermal shock.  

If you are thinking about creating your own outdoor kitchen, you can integrate your Kamado Joe Jr. into a table, cart, or countertop.

There is a wide variety available through licensed and unlicensed aftermarket vendors.

When shopping for the right Kamado Joe table, you want to take into account the diameter of the circular hole in the table, as well as its weight rating.


What Are Some Hacks for Kamado Joe Jr’s?

The accessories designed to pair with the Kamado Joe Jr. open up a wide world of hacks. Most of them center around the internal rack that comes in the original purchase.

Simple things like changing the placement of the ceramic heat deflector and adding a soapstone can create a dual-indirect heating system.

This lets you bake and broil using high heat, without having to worry about burning the food with direct flame.

The Kick Ash charcoal basket is also another great accessory to maximize the airflow delivered from the lower damper door to the charcoal.

It solves the low airflow issue that is somewhat common with the Joe Jr. that can slightly clog up with ash in the relatively small firebox.

It also optimizes the Kamado Joe Jr. for use as a portable grill, as it lets you pull the coal bed out.

You can then extinguish it without pouring water in the bottom of your Kamado Joe, which could easily damage the ceramic components.

Moving the heat deflector up in the internal metal rack can also change the airflow dynamics.

If you add a carefully placed soapstone just above it, you can create a double indirect heating fuel source hack that lets you indirectly cook using high heat without having to worry about direct flame burning the bottom of the food.


Air Flow Improvement Hacks

One of the best ways to improve airflow in a Kamado Joe Jr. is to use the Kick Ash charcoal basket accessory. It creates more airspace around the charcoal to boost combustion. It also makes for easier cleanup.

Of course, the steel wire basket also improves the portability of the Kamado Joe Jr, as it lets you take the coal bed out to extinguish it, rather than waiting for them to suffocate on their own.  

It also helps to develop a good understanding of the relationship between the lower air damper and the upper lid vent.

Keeping some air passing out the lid vent helps boost airflow.

Though you don’t want to have it too wide open when you are trying to grill slow and low or using indirect heat.

You want the hot air to be trapped under the lid with just a modest amount of air passing through to draw more fresh air to be drawn up through the lower damper to feed oxygen to the fire.

Making sure to thoroughly clean out the bottom of the firebox after every cook is also critical for maintaining good airflow. The Kamado Joe Jr. doesn’t have an ash catcher, so you need to be meticulous when scraping spent ash out of the damper door.


Fuel Source Hacks

The double indirect heating method used in some of Kamado Joe’s larger models has been scaled down to fit in the Kamado Joe Jr.

This technique makes the Kamado grill’s firebox work harder by driving up the airflow, and burning more fuel for robust combustion, while still using indirect heating.

Note this requires a very clean lower firebox and ash catcher to ensure that your Kamado Joe Jr. is getting maximum airflow.


Accessories You Will Need For Double Indirect Heating

Kamado Joe Jr. Rack (That came with your grill)

Heat Deflector

Kamado Joe Jr. Soapstone

Kick Ash Basket


How to Set Up a Kamado Joe Jr. for Double Indirect Heating

Step One: Take the stock rack that came with your Kamado Joe Jr. firebox and then place the heat deflector in the low position.  

Step Two: Carefully set the Kamado Joe Jr. soapstone on the second position, with roughly half an inch between it and the lower heat deflector.

If you can’t get it to stay in the second position of its own accord, you might need to place some stainless steel nuts to act as improvised spacers.

Step Three: Install the Kamado Joe Kick Ash charcoal basket.

Step Four: Build a robust fire in the bottom firebox of the Kamado Joe Jr. like you would for a direct heat grilling session. You can place a chunk of your favorite smoking wood in the bottom if you like.


Kamado Joe Table 

A lot of Kamado Joe grills like the Kamado Joe Jr. can be purchased without a stand or can be removed from the stand to let you install the grill in a table or countertop.

This is a great way to seamlessly integrate your Kamado Joe into an outdoor kitchen.

Just bear in mind that these tables are not offered directly by Kamado Joe. Rather you can buy them through licensed and unlicensed aftermarket vendors.

When shopping for one, you want to pay close attention to the dimension of the circular hole for the Kamado Joe, as well as the weight rating of the table.


Kamado Joe Accessories

The Kamado Joe Jr. has a few key accessories worth adding to your outdoor cooking arsenal, though the soapstone is probably the handiest.

It lets you sear foods on a flat surface just like a griddle top. You can also repurpose it as an additional heat deflector in the double indirect heating strategy.

The Kick Ash charcoal basket is another great accessory to add to your Kamado Joe Jr. arsenal.

It maximizes the amount of airflow that can pass around the lump charcoal. It also makes it easier to clean up.

Especially if you want to use your Joe Jr. as a portable grill and you need to extinguish the charcoal, without ever pouring water into the firebox.

The Kamado Joe Sear Plate is another popular accessory to pair with the Kamado Joe Jr.

It is similar to the soapstone, except it has slots to let rendered fat and grease flow off.

You can also use it as an alternative for the double indirect heating system.

The Joe Jr. stainless steel rack lets you create a warming rack or a secondary cooking space for times when you might want to smoke two flat cuts of meat at the same time.

It’s great for things like smoking pork tenderloins, boneless chicken breasts, and pork chops.


Can I Make Pizza on Kamado Joe Jr?

The shorter distance between the ceramic dome lid of the Kamado Joe Jr. and the grill grates maximizes the broiling effect which makes a great pizza.

Though it’s best to use a cordierite pizza stone, to make traditional flat crust New York-style pizza.

Cordierite pizza stones do a better job of handling extreme temperatures while also being less vulnerable to thermal shock.  

Though you do need to set up the internal workings of the Kamado Joe Jr. to make a great pizza.

The goal is to bring the heat deflector stone higher to create more of a broiler effect.

This closer distance with minimal air gap optimizes the broiling effect on the bottom of the crust to get it nice and crispy.

To do this you need to put the internal rack in the firebox with the heat deflector on the top of the rack instead of the bottom.

Then you put the cooking grid in place and set the pizza stone on top of it.

This creates the smallest possible air gap between the bottom of the pizza stone and the heat deflector.

You can then build a hot fire in the bottom to drive up the heat of the ceramic, without actually making conductive contact.

When it comes time to make your pizza in the Kamado Joe Jr. you need to use a fresh dough that has above-average water content and bread flour.

This will both trap steam for a soft fluffy interior, while still giving you a nice crispy crust.

You can then use the following steps to make a world-class pizza on your Kamado Joe Jr.

Step One: Remove the rack and heat deflector from the grill before starting a high heat fire with a target temperature of 350 to 400 degrees.

This will let the upper ceramic components absorb the maximum amount of heat energy.

Step Two: When the heat on the dome lid thermometer reads 350 to 400 degrees, you can install the heat deflector on the top of the rack.

You should then set the grill grates in place and put the pizza stone on top of it.

Step Three: Let it continue to heat until the dome thermometer reaches 500 to 550 degrees.

Step Four: Prepare your fresh dough pizza on a metal or a thin pizza peel.

Step Five: Place the pizza directly on the pizza stone. Use the peel to rotate the pizza a quarter turn every two to three minutes to ensure that the bottom of the pizza crust is baking evenly.

Step Six: Remove the pizza from the pizza stone when the cheese is fully melted, with hints of golden brown on the crust. Give it 3 to 5 minutes to cool before cutting.

This will prevent the super-heated melted cheese from sticking to the pizza wheel or knife blade.


Final Thoughts

The Kamado Joe Jr. is very versatile and has some great accessories that open the door for some creative hacks.

Things like the Kick Ash charcoal basket, the soapstone, and being creative with placing the heat deflector let you griddle, bake pizza, and smoke classic barbecue in fun, creative ways.

You can even set the heat deflector higher, and pair it with a soapstone set just above it in the wire inset rack to create a dual indirect heating method for high heat roasting.

Yet you don’t have to worry about direct flame burning the bottom of the food.

This type of dual indirect heating method can even be used to make some impressive pizza on the Kamado Joe Jr.

Just make sure to give the hot flame time to fully heat the ceramic dome before placing your fresh dough pizza on a cordierite pizza stone.

This ensures that the cheese and ingredients on top broil at the same time that the bottom crust bakes.

You can even buy an aftermarket table to seamlessly integrate your Kamado Joe Jr. into an outdoor kitchen.

There are many kamado tables sold through licensed and unlicensed aftermarket vendors. Just make sure to double-check the diameter of the circular hole in the table, and make sure that it is rated to handle the weight of your Kamado Joe model.