Monday, May 19, 2014

How To Grill Raised Direct Using A Craycort Grate On A Kamado Ceramic Grill

I received a grate question from Brian S. this week:

I am new to the BGE and I found your blog, and I have to say I have tried a bunch of recipes off of it and have enjoyed them all especially the Asian wings.  I bought a cast iron grate from Craycort I was just wondering how you do a direct raised cook with it?  Any info would be great. 
Kamado grill (Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, Vision, etc) users often use a technique called "raised direct". Moving the food up from the direct heat of the fiery coals and closer to the reflective heat from the dome balances out heat and minimizes the need for frequent flipping.  With a spatchcocked chicken done with the raised direct method at 350-375°F for an hour, you don't even have to flip the bird at all.  

This is one of the 50+ tips, tricks, and techniques from my book, The Kamado Smoker and Grill Cookbook, which comes out this August.  Each technique is paired with an original recipe for you to practice on your kamado grill. 

There are several ways to do this while using my favorite cooking surface, the Craycort cast iron grate.  You can use the same techniques as a regular grill grate but because the Craycort has removable inserts (so you can use accessory inserts or add fuel/wood), you just have to make sure to position it carefully on a few of these methods.

Raised Direct Using A BGE Grid Extender
The Grid Extender is a piece of equipment sold by Big Green Egg to provide an elevated cooking surface and/or add capacity to a kamado cooker.  I put the Grid Extender on a regular cooking grate and then just lay the Craycort on top of the Grid Extender as shown.  You have to position it so the three spindles or "arms" of the Craycort aren't tilting on the metal loops of the extender legs.
Grid Extender shown on a regular grate.  Yes, my extender has seen some years of use.

Craycort cast iron grate placed on top of a grid extender.

Top view.

Raised Direct Using A Homemade Grid Raiser
Doug H. does a fantastic job running The Naked Whiz, a superb website resource about kamado ceramic grills.  He gives step by step directions for easily and cheaply building your own raised cooking grate.  I use a homemade rig the majority of the time.  Just put it on a standard grate and then put the Craycort on top of that.
Homemade grid raiser in place.

Craycort on top of a homemade grid raiser.
Raised Direct Using Three Cans
I have seen many people suggest using 3 empty cans on top of another cooking grate to support a raised grate as shown.  I haven't used this method because I haven't had too, but it seems like it would work in a pinch.  I would be careful about how much weight you load on top of them.  Also, I would not use this often or for long, just because I'm not sure what fumes might gas off from the paint/metal on the cans at higher temps.  You can also do the same thing using fire bricks instead of the cans, which is more stable.
This method raises the cooking grate significantly higher than the other methods but it depends on your cans.

Raised Direct Using A Double Fire Ring
If you are lucky enough to have two kamado grills, you can steal the fire ring from one and double it up on the other.   The advantage to this method is that it still lets you use all of the Craycort inserts, like a veggie wok, griddle, or chicken throne.  This is also the most stable method.

Double fire ring in place.

Craycort on double fire ring.
Raised Direct Using A Spider Rig
A spider rig is a useful wire bracket sold by the Ceramic Grill Store.  You can use it for a wok stand or for lowering a 13" grate just above coals for high power searing.  If you invert it on a regular cooking grate, you can also use it for a raised direct cook that isn't as tall as the other methods.

Spider Rig inverted to use as a grid raiser.

Notice the Craycort is lower than the top of the base here, compared to the other methods.

Thanks for the question, Brian! 


  1. Well Brian, you certainly asked the right guy. Great posts Chris.

  2. I hate to admit it, but it's like you are speaking another language that I can't understand! I guess I'll have to buy the book and learn the lingo. GREG

  3. I've found that the half height fire ring puts the Craycort at about gasket level in my LBGE.