How To Adjust Temperature On Kamado Grills

kamado grill vents for temperature adjusting

I have read the question about how to adjust the temperature on Kamado grills many times and have looked at some of the answers. Here you can read my tips and ideas on how to do that.

Compared to many other charcoal grills there is a big difference in controlling the temperature in a Kamado and the reason is the excellent insulation and heat retention.

After you have lit the charcoal in your Kamado grill you have to pay attention to how to adjust the temperature.

Warning: Raising the temperature is easier then lowering it.

How To Get Started

If you have don’t know what a Kamado grill is you can read it here. However, if you have used your Kamado grill for a while you roughly know what the settings are for what you are going to cook. Grilling needs a higher temperature than smoking. That affects your basic settings where to start. I keep a simple log of the settings I used in the past and this works pretty well for me.

However, it this is your first time I tell you how I start my Kamado for low and slow at 225 degrees. Just remember these are my personal basic Kamado grill vent settings for my Kamado.

Low and Slow at 225

  • Open bottom vent about 3/4 to 1 inch
  • Add your charcoal to the basket
  • Light the charcoal
  • Keep lid of the Kamado open
  • Wait till charcoal is lid well
  • Close the lid
  • Open top vent

For some people now the tricky part begins and many times the temperature overshoots. The reason is that you have to start shutting the top vent slowly and anticipate what the temperature will do.

This is my method but that does not mean that this is the only way. It is just how I do it.

  • Keep your eye on the temperarure gauge.
  • When temp reaches 150 I close top vent 50%
  • When top vent reaches 175 I close it to 30%
  • When top vent reachers 200 I close it to 25%

After this, I fine-tune the top vent and adjust it to reach and stay at 225 degrees. These are my basic Kamado grill vent settings

Important tip: Wait, Wait and, wait even longer.

The reason you have to wait is that a lot of the heat will go into your ceramic inserts. So, it seems that your Kamado is at the right temperature but it is not ready for your meat yet.

If you would put your meat on it now and the ceramic insert is done absorbing the heat the temperature will go up and overshoot your 225 degrees.

Give the grill time to absorb the heat and radiate it back to the cooking chamber before adding your food. I usually close my top vent a little more at this stage.

As I wrote above getting the temperature higher is very easy to do by opening the top vent. However. lowering the temperature is harder to do because of the radiant heat in the ceramic insert and will take a lot longer. That is the reason that it is a little harder to work with a Kamado grill.

Grilling on a Kamado grill

To get started with heating up your Kamado for hot grilling is not that different than the way I described for low and slow on 225.

The first 5 steps I use are the same. After that, I just take longer to shut the top vent and this is depending on what temperature I am planning on cooking.

You will understand that for indirect grilling a chicken at 350 degrees I start shutting the top vent earlier than for searing a steak at 500 degrees.

Basically, I do not change the setting on my bottom vent for grilling compared to smoking.

chicken wings on a kamado grill


It is a little harder to control the temperature on a Kamado grill than on a standard charcoal grill. The ceramic insert needs to absorb the heat first before you can start grilling or smoking.

That is the main reason the temperature will overshoot and you have to lower it. Lowering the temperature in a Kamado grill takes longer than raising it.

Tip: Do you know you can also cold smoke on a Kamado grill.

Take your time to get used to your Kamado grill and I suggest keeping a simple log with the top and bottom vents you used as a reference. It saved me several times for ruining a good piece of meat.

If you are still looking for a grill have a look at the home page here on the Kamado Country website and find the best Kamado grill for your type of cooking.

Jeffrey Brooks

Jeffrey Brooks is an experienced backyard griller that uses a Kamado grill for most of all the cooking he is doing. With his experience, he will do reviews and answer every question you have about Kamado Grills. You can read more about Jeffrey Brooks

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