I am getting into the slow cook game and have a few questions.
Broil King Keg 5000 (with heat diffusor/water pan insert) kamado grill
ThermPro dual probe thermometer
Big Green Egg natural briquettes with almond wood chunks on top
My problem is that since this is a keg, and not a smoker, I can't access the heat source (the charcoal) easily once I have the heat diffuser (pan full of water) and meat on the grill. The charcoal is not burning fully, and there will be temp fluctuations. This last cook I did I spent a lot of time placing and replacing the charcoal ebfore I lit it, and made sure it had a really good light. Even then, it only burned about half the charcoal. I'm using natural lump charcoal, so irregular shapes and sizes, and it doesn't seem to pass the heat (meaning ignite the neighboring piece of charcoal) very well. The heat fluctuation happens when the heat will drops below 215 or so, and I have to open the vents pretty wide, then the temp will start to rise (assuming the additional air flow helps catch more charcoal to light), and then tamp them down again.
My questions are:
What is a recommended charcoal to use, and should it be natural cube briquettes and not lump?
I'm wondering if I'm using too much charcoal for a four hour cook?
Another problem I had at first was the meat was cooking too quickly, so now I put the meat on the secondary swing-away rack and have wrapped the heat diffuser with foil (under the water pan), but I'm curious if that will impeded air flow.