Frequently Asked Questions
What can a QueBQ add to my already great kamado cooking?
A QueBQ is a stick-burner firebox for your kamado. Because of oxygen control, the type of fire in a QueBQ is different than the fire in the kamado. The QueBQ adds a live fire flavor, turning your kamado into a stick-burner smoker to cook competition-style barbecue. QueBQ also adds that live fire smoke flavor to anything you cook in your kamado. The fire can be from about any fruit or nut wood, like hickory, pecan, red oak, peach, apple, cherry, apricot, maple, or sassafras.
Why is QueBQ smoke flavor different from kamado smoke flavor?
The smoke flavor from the QueBQ comes from burning wood at a particular temperature with plenty of oxygen. This competition-style smoke flavor is what quality stick-burners excel at creating. This temperature is in a range where the organics - particularly the lignin that holds the wood together and creates most of the smoke flavor and aroma - can burn cleanly. Without adequate oxygen and the right temperature, as in the kamado, the desirable chemical reactions from the wood cannot occur - causing instead the acrid, heavy, or even bitter flavors of some smoked foods. This is the reason kamados use charcoal – charcoal has a minimal amount of organics to cause this undesirable flavor.
You talk about a clean fire. What is a clean fire?
Fire goes through four stages of burning, as seen by the color and the odor of the smoke. In its first stage, the fire burns with a white smoke. The white smoke is water steaming off from the wood. The wood temperature cannot exceed about 200 degrees until the water is driven from it.
The second stage of a fire creates black or gray smoke. In this stage, the fire is not hot enough to fully break down the organics in the wood into the best flavor-producing compounds. Instead, the fire creates complex compounds that have a bitter or acrid flavor. Large amounts of creosote can be formed in this stage of the fire. A little creosote flavor can be good, but too much can create a heavy, overbearing flavor. The odor of the smoke in the first and second stages of fire is also usually bitter and can burn the eyes. Remember, the odor of the smoke is also its flavor. You don't want this flavor on your food!
A clean fire is one that is in the third stage of burning. In this third stage, the heat from the fire is high enough that the great flavor-producing compounds of a campfire are formed. Much of this great flavor comes from the gases released by the wood and burned in the flames of the fire. The odor of a clean fire is one of wonderous sweetness. The color of the smoke is very light blue.
In the fourth stage of a fire, the fire is too hot to create the desirable flavor-producing compounds. The smoke is clear and there is little or no odor – or flavor.
The color of the smoke indicates the temperature of the fire, not the flavors being produced. Charcoal can produce a light blue smoke, but cannot create the flavors of a live fire because most of the flavor-producing compounds have been burned off when the charcoal was made. The small amount of remaining flavor-producing compounds in the charcoal do provide some smoky flavor.
What kamados are the QueBQ designed to work with?
Right now, the QueBQ is designed to work with the Large Big Green Egg® and the Kamado Joe Classic®. The chimney of the QueBQ is designed so that it can be manufactured in a variety of heights and offsets, so that we can easily re-tool for other kamados if there's a market. Some kamados approximately the same size as the BGE and KJ may work with the QueBQ. Please call to inquire about whether the QueBQ will work with your kamado. Since the Primo® kamados are oval, the QueBQ will not work with these or other oval kamados.
How can you control two different types of fire at the same time?
The chimney of the QueBQ has 3 air dampers that provide complete control of the smoke to the outside and to the kamado, as well as fresh air into the kamado. This unique, patented air control system provides for maximum flexibility. In combo cooks, with fires in both the QueBQ and the kamado, some extra care is needed to ensure the fire in the kamado gets enough air. Because the smoke-laden air from the QueBQ is already hot, less heat is needed from the kamado charcoal to maintain temperature. Also, the concentration of oxygen in the smoky QueBQ air has been reduced. The charcoal in the kamado still needs enough oxygen from the fresh air to burn. The User's Manual found under the Manuals and Specifications tab discusses in detail control of both fires.
How does the kamado fit on top of the QueBQ? Where's the kamado air inlet?
The kamado needs minimal adjustment to fit on the QueBQ. The inlet damper on the kamado base should be removed. The dampers on the QueBQ chimney replace this inlet damper. Also, the base of the kamado needs to be rotated 90 degrees so the air inlet lines up with the QueBQ's chimney. The chimney is designed so that the ash tray on the Kamado Joe can be removed through the chimney.
What type of wood can be burned in the QueBQ?
Any seasoned wood and any charcoal normally used for cooking can be used in the QueBQ, so long as they can safely fit in the firebox. The wood can be store-bought chips or chunks, or locally harvested small, split logs. I typically use chunks bought from a barbecue supply store because they are more consistent in size and of better quality. Chips tend to burn very fast, offering minimal smoke flavor.
Lump hardwood charcoal or charcoal briquets can also be used. Lump charcoal produces less ash, but briquets can burn hotter and more consistently. There's an old saying in barbecue: “Wood is for flavor, charcoal is for heat.” The same is true for a fire in the QueBQ.
I typically mix both during cooks, starting with a bed of charcoal, then adding wood chunks unless I need to increase the temperature in the kamado, when I'll add charcoal. Add only small amounts of wood or charcoal at a time to keep your smoke as clean as possible.
Heavy creosote or tarry woods, such as pine, are not recommended. Treated woods should not be used in any cooking system, including the QueBQ, or for any cooking.
What type of maintenance is required for the QueBQ and my kamado?
The QueBQ should be seasoned before the first cook and annually afterwards. Ash should be removed before it builds up enough to impact air flow. A periodic cleaning of the outside with mild soap and water is recommended.
Since cooking with the kamado involves having a charcoal fire in an enclosed space, the kamado tends to get dirtier than the QueBQ. We recommend after each and every kamado cook that the inlet and outlet air vents be opened and the kamado be allowed to burn itself out and clean itself at the highest possible temperature.
The QueBQ should be covered with the kamado cover when not in use.