Assembly and Unpacking
What you will need
Natural Lump Charcoal:
Your KEG will run on many types of fuel including traditional charcoal briquettes and even wood chunks. The KEG works best with True 'Cue™ 100% Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal (MODEL# TCF5505). Good natural lump charcoal, like True 'Cue™, contains no chemicals, additives or ﬁllers. This means your fire burns hotter, cleaner and makes less ash than with charcoal briquettes.
Fire Starter Sticks
The preferred ﬁre starters for your KEG are True 'Cue™ Match tip Firestarters (MODEL# TCF5511). They'll get the lump charcoal going without using lighter ﬂuids. (Which we don't recommend) You'll ﬁnd lump charcoal and starter sticks at hardware stores, general merchandise stores, and outdoor product stores where cookout supplies are sold.
A meat thermometer is essential for ensuring that meat is cooked to your liking, and in the case of ground meat, to a safe standard.
Provides indirect and delicate heat for even, low and slow cooking. Fill it with liquid when using the Keg as a smoker. This helps maintain a moist environment for low and slow smoking in indirect heat. Reverse it and use it to elevate the main cooking surface for more delicate heat. Made from durable porcelain coated steel.
Smoking is another seasoning to add to grilled favourites. Like spices, different woods impart very different flavours – from the intense, spicy notes of mesquite and hickory, to the sweet and fragrant notes of apple and cherry.
TYPE FLAVOUR IDEAL MEATS MESQUITE PUNGENT, SMOKY, SPICY BEEF, PORK HICKORY PUNGENT, SMOKY BEEF, LAMB, PORK WHISKEY SPICY, SMOKY PORK, POULTRY, BEEF MAPLE SWEET, SMOKY PORK, POULTRY PECAN RICH, FLAVORFUL PORK, POULTRY, LAMB CHERRY SWEET, SMOKY PORK, POULTRY APPLE SWEET, SMOKY PORK, POULTRY, SEAFOOD, CHEESES ALDER MILD, SMOKY LAMB, PORK CEDAR BRIGHT, SPICY, SMOKY SEAFOOD, CHEESES
If you've never done any smoking before, don't overdo it – start with a small amount of wood chips (1/2 cup or so), and soak them in liquid for at least 1/2 hour. Drain the wood chips, and then scatter them directly on top of the smoldering coals.
Before you cook anything on your new KEG, you first have to burn off the coating used to protect your KEG during shipment and season your cast iron cooking grids.
Step 1: First remove the grill grates and wash thoroughly in warm, soapy water. Rinse completely and dry with a soft towel. Don't allow to air dry and don't ever put in a dishwasher. When the cast iron grill grate is completely dry, apply a coating of solid vegetable shortening to both sides of it for protection and replace the grids. Also apply vegetable shortening to the top damper, inside and out. This seasoning will protect the cast iron parts from rusting during normal use.
Step 2: Fire up your KEG to about 400°F for about an hour. That'll burn off any of the protective coating that might still be in the pores of the metal.
Step 1: Set the top and bottom dampers positions to position 5 to let the maximum amount of air in to fuel the ﬁre.
Step 2: Open the lid, remove the two grilling grates and pour roughly 1.5 pounds (4 inches,) of the natural lump charcoal onto the charcoal grate in the bottom of your KEG. Careful - not too much charcoal. The charcoal should cover the charcoal grate in a slight mound piled not much higher than the ﬁre holes. This should maintain a smoker temperature of 225°F for up to 6 hours.
Important: Do not allow lump charcoal to block or cover the air holes in the ﬁre bowl.
As you become more familiar with your KEG, you will quickly get a feel for how much charcoal you need for each type of cooking. Because your KEG is so efficient, it takes less charcoal than you're used to using.
Step 3: Now the starter sticks can be lit and poked into the side of the mound.
Step 4: Allow the charcoal to ignite with lid open until any ﬂames go out before closing the lid.
Step 5: Put the grill grate back in place and close lid. Stay close by to adjust dampers to desired cooking temperature.
TIP: The KEG heats up fast and can get extremely hot. Begin to adjust the dampers down from the "5" position once the temperature hits about 100°F below your target temperature
ALTERNATIVE LIGHTING METHOD: Lighting the charcoal with a Charcoal Chimney Starter - Place 2 pieces of shredded newspaper loosely in the base of a Charcoal Chimney Starter. Place 3 cups of lump charcoal in the top of the cylinder. Rest the Chimney Starter on top of the grate and light the newspaper. Allow the fire to ignite the charcoal and burn for ~ 10 minutes. Dump onto the mound of charcoal in the base of the Keg, and let sit with the lid open until any flames go our before closing the lid.
Controlling the temperature:
The KEG allows you to control cooking temperature by regulating airﬂow through the top and bottom Dampers. The more you open the dampers, the more air will ﬂow through and the hotter the temperature will get. Small adjustments to the dampers will impact the cooking chamber temperature.
Cooking At Low Temperatures:
For cooking at low temperatures - below 300°F - manage the temperature closely so not to exceed desired cooking temperature when starting the fire. It is important to get the dampers in the 1 position (or lower) before the ﬁre gets too hot.
The KEG allows you to adjust the position of the cooking grates to suit your needs. The cast iron cooking grate has two positions. The lower position enables the grill to accommodate larger dishes like whole turkeys or roasts. For smaller items, you may want to use the higher position. The Multi-Tool can be used to adjust the grate position. Make sure the tab on the tool ﬁts the notch on the cast iron grill grate. The chrome plated grill grate provides an additional cooking surface. When using the chrome grate, the cast iron grate must be in the lower locked position. The chrome plated cooking grate can swing out of the way to access the lower cooking grate during cooking.
When you're ready to shut down the KEG, close both dampers to put ﬁre out completely. You may still have unused charcoal left, leave it there, it is still good to use the next time you ﬁre up your KEG. As for the grease left on the grill - cook it off at the beginning of the next use as it will continue to season the grill grate.
care and Maintenance
The KEG will give you many years of great service with minimal care. The seasoning process will help preserve the cast iron parts. If at any point you see rust forming, use a steel wire brush to clean the grate and then season it again as described earlier. When the charcoal ashes do pile up, remove them into a metal bucket with the Multi-Tool - only perform this when the grill is cool and charcoal has been extinguished.
Remember: Never put any part of your KEG in the dishwasher for cleaning. For surface clean-ups, water, mild detergent and a sponge will do just ﬁne.
* Always keep your KEG covered with a grill cover.