Kamados are incredibly efficient, hold in radiant heat for rich, moist food, and often last longer than gas grills without the need for repair. There is a lot to love about kamados, and most of it is due to the ceramics they're made with. However, virtually all kamados come with a ceramic firebox, and sometimes these can form a crack under extremely high heat. Over months of cooking, a small crack can eventually lead to a broken firebox.
Fact: Some Ceramic Fireboxes Break
The problem is, ceramic fireboxes are often too porous. A high porousness offers better insulation, but also increases the chances your firebox will crack under intense pressure. Two common causes of pressure are high and unevenly distributed heat, which can go hand-in-hand. Since kamado cooks often like things hot, they sometimes reach the high temperatures that put their ceramic fireboxes in danger. The good news is with most kamado brands the firebox is under a warranty: some brands offer three year coverage, others, like Saffire, lifetime coverage. The bad news is even with a warranty there are shipping charges, potential delays, and in some cases multiple firebox breakages throughout the long lifespan of your grill. Some manufacturers have added a thermal-relief point in their fireboxes, which does a little to prevent fireboxes from breaking. Saffire, on the other hand, has taken a much more thorough approach to solving the problem.
At Saffire, we strive to make our products as durable, dependable, and cost-effective as possible. This is evident in the many features we have pioneered over the years, like thicker grill head ceramics, tougher carts, and stainless steel hardware, all at an extremely competitive price. With our history of kamado innovation, it shouldn't surprise you that when we tackled the firebox breakage issue, we went big. Here's how.
Patent-Pending Crucible Firebox
Let's face it, ceramic fireboxes are great, but they do have a history of cracking under pressure. Larger-sized grills especially have trouble with uneven heat, which may lead to broken fireboxes at high temperatures. Clearly, the best solution to prevent firebox damage is to replace those larger ceramic fireboxes with something new that won't break. That's what we did. Moving forward, all newer model Large and XL Saffire grills come standard with Crucibles. We so strongly believe in the Crucible's durability and design, we've moved to patent it.
From the beginning, we knew the more modular we made the new firebox, the less likely it would crack or break. If other companies added a single stress-relief point to their firebox, Saffire would add several. To do that, we needed a way to hold several firebox pieces together. We chose an aluminized, rust-resistant shell for the task. With an outer shell, we could hold together as little or as many firebox pieces as we wanted. Each piece would be able to expand or contract individually in response to the heat, reducing the likelihood uneven heat distribution could cause a crack.
The beauty of using firebricks over solid ceramic is as follows:
- firebricks are not as porous as solid ceramic fireboxes,
- they allow independent expansion and contraction, and
- they are also simpler to replace.
Firebricks are much less likely to break than ceramic fireboxes are. Because of their low porousness and high density, they hold up much better to both high heat and physical wear. However, even if some cracks in the firebricks should appear, the Crucible is designed to hold these firebricks into place. Finally, if any firebrick were to break into pieces, replacing it would be as simple. Just loosen the outer shell's bands, remove the firebox's damaged firebrick, and replace it with a new one. Also, replacing one or two bricks can save on shipping costs, compared to replacing a whole broken firebox.
Extremely-Hot Temperatures with No Breakage
The Crucible can reach extremely high temperatures before reaching the point where firebricks may crack. Ceramic fireboxes are in danger at approximately 1,200° F and above (as measured in the firebox). On the other hand, the Crucible firebrick can go as high as 2,200° F and still be in the clear. That means your kamado can reach temperatures as high as 1,320° F as measured in the dome*, and your firebrick should still be okay! So even if your Saffire itself were in danger of cracking, it's highly unlikely your Crucible firebox would break. That's incredible!
Air Gaps Provide Equivalent Insulation
The most obvious downside to using firebrick over solid ceramic for the firebox is insulation. Since a higher porousness provides better insulation, firebrick won't hold in the heat as well as a traditional ceramic firebox. However, here at Saffire we've already considered that. Saffire's patent-pending Crucible comes with air pockets built into it, right between the rugged firebrick and the aluminized outer shell. This air gap adds the extra insulation the Crucible needs to provide the best cooking experience you've ever had.
More Charcoal, Faster Lighting
While we were designing the Crucible to finally eliminate broken fireboxes for good, we were able to give the Crucible more charcoal space too. The traditional solid-ceramic design tends to hoard internal grill space. Since we've already done away with that, we decided to use that new-found space for your charcoal. With a bigger charcoal area, there's more room for your charcoal to breath. Since fire needs oxygen, more space can mean much faster lighting time and less time waiting for the grill to get up to temperature. We consider that a win-win!
Charcoal Baskets and Ash Pans, Now Standard
We were hearing a lot of buzz around how easy it is cleaning out a kamado that has a charcoal basket and ash pan inside. We thought, "Why aren't those standard?" So now they are. With Saffire, all Platinum Crucibles and latest model Platinum Grills come with these accessories. However, we know not everyone wants all the bells and whistles. For those who want a Crucible experience at a much lower price, we also offer Bronze Crucibles and Bronze Grills.
For a demonstration of how these two accessories work together, watch this!
Is the Crucible worth having in your kamado? We hope the answer is as straightforward to you as it was to us!