KC Combo - Nothing but headaches. Why I would never recommend one.

Pip

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My lovely wife purchased a KC combo for fathers day last year and to her credit, it was perfect on paper. Here is my short and tragic history with this unit. I only have about 10-15 cooks on it.
  • First thing I noticed (first cook I made rubbery ribs) was an ungodly hot spot above fire pot, even with grate closed. It hits 500 degrees on a heat cycle. I believe this is an inherent design flaw. It is billed as a smoker, but there is not enough headroom or side-to-side room in the small chamber to be able to move your meat far away from the hot zone. The PID holds temp fine, but the burn cycle just gets too hot anywhere you would want to set your meat. There is a rack above, but you can't fit most cuts of meat on it. This is unresolved and I do not see how it can be fixed. I've tried foil but I have not tried a ceramic deflector. I highly doubt it would change much and I really don't want to put money into this thing. I will say the pellet side is excellent for grilling and searing for this reason. (unresolved)
  • Next, the controller died around my 3rd or 4th cook. I went to power it up and nothing would happen. No idea why. It is stored unplugged and under a cover. Support replaced the controller with no problems. (resolved)
  • Then I started having app problems. It would go through an endless loop of firmware updates. (app changed to SmokeIT shortly after this)
  • The app UI is terrible. Really really bad. It's unintuitive and buggy, even on a good day when you aren't having connection problems. (unresolved)
  • Next, with the new controller and having given up on the app, I learned that the ash clearing brush was 100% useless as the bristles cook off and do not reach the bottom of the pot. I had smoke billowing out of the pellet hopper and found out you need to vacuum out the pot after every couple cooks. (solved unsatisfied)
  • The grommet for the grate control rod doesn't stay put. (unresolved)
  • And finally, just recently I powered up the grill and noticed some of the LED lights went out on the controller, and then I could not connect to the app. Support has mailed me a 2nd replacement controller and I'm hoping it also fixes my app connection problem. (unresolved)
I might be able to deal with the software sucking, and maybe a bad part here or there because eventually they'll get the app figured out and support is fine with replacing parts, and the warranty is good. But not being able to do long smokes on this "smoker" is very disappointing. I am now looking to either sell this for a Yoder or buy a standalone smoker to sit next to it. Which stinks because the propane side and griddle are really awesome.
 

blackhawk556

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Very odd. My KC combo don’t suffer from extreme temps like yours. The right side of the smoker chamber is cooler by 10-40 degrees at times. I’m going to cook a shoulder today on the left side as last time it took way too long on the right side. I think the design of the slanted plates prevents the heat from being even inside.
I started a thread yesterday about my success with the smoke IT app. You might want to check it out.
 

Sparky

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Hello Pip & welcome. I also got my KC Combo for Father’s day last year have had no major problems with it other than user error. Just had to play with it and get the feel of going from a stick burner to a pellet. I got an Enzoo wireless thermometer with 4 probes for Christmas and got to use it this last weekend. I put 2 of the probed on the back left & right sides to see just how much of a temperature difference I was getting. Turns out it was only 20 – 25 degrees difference. Also the probes from the Combo and the Enzoo probes I have in the brisket were only off by less than 10 degrees. I also got a rack that lets what your cooking sit above the grills over the fire pot and it did not burn the brisket. I was cooking it at 225 for 15 hrs. I also use a small metal rod that I shift the ash in the fire pot about every 2 -3 hrs. since the ash brush does not do its job. I’ll post pics of the rack & rod that I’m using later today.
 

Pip

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Thanks for both replies. I am now wondering if my bad controllers have been causing the burn cycles to be too intense. Or if there is some other defect. I have seen the broiler plate glow red at times. Regardless of everyone's creative work-arounds for the various flaws, it shouldn't be necessary. Especially for things that the grill advertised to do out of the box, like have a working app or an ash cleaner.

Anyway, I'd love to hear more from people about their experiences and how they have made it work.
 

Sparky

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Here is the rack. Had it over the fire pot the whole 15 hrs doing a brisket last weekend and it did not burn. And here is the rod I use to shift the ash. I just slide the plate back and it’s easy access. Also FYI on long cooks you need to push your pellets around because it will course a void going into the hopper. Bad design. Hope this helps you.
 

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blackhawk556

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Thanks for both replies. I am now wondering if my bad controllers have been causing the burn cycles to be too intense. Or if there is some other defect. I have seen the broiler plate glow red at times. Regardless of everyone's creative work-arounds for the various flaws, it shouldn't be necessary. Especially for things that the grill advertised to do out of the box, like have a working app or an ash cleaner.

Anyway, I'd love to hear more from people about their experiences and how they have made it work.
Wow glow red at times. That it super high. Are you using an iPhone by the way? Have you updated the firmware from the app? Just wondering if you’ve seen my thread from a few days ago concerning the firmware. Check it out. It might help you.

 

blackhawk556

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Hello Pip & welcome. I also got my KC Combo for Father’s day last year have had no major problems with it other than user error. Just had to play with it and get the feel of going from a stick burner to a pellet. I got an Enzoo wireless thermometer with 4 probes for Christmas and got to use it this last weekend. I put 2 of the probed on the back left & right sides to see just how much of a temperature difference I was getting. Turns out it was only 20 – 25 degrees difference. Also the probes from the Combo and the Enzoo probes I have in the brisket were only off by less than 10 degrees. I also got a rack that lets what your cooking sit above the grills over the fire pot and it did not burn the brisket. I was cooking it at 225 for 15 hrs. I also use a small metal rod that I shift the ash in the fire pot about every 2 -3 hrs. since the ash brush does not do its job. I’ll post pics of the rack & rod that I’m using later today.
How exactly do you use that rod? I’m confused. The ash is sealed during cooking so how do you shift it?
 

Tarmac

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My lovely wife purchased a KC combo for fathers day last year and to her credit, it was perfect on paper. Here is my short and tragic history with this unit. I only have about 10-15 cooks on it.
  • First thing I noticed (first cook I made rubbery ribs) was an ungodly hot spot above fire pot, even with grate closed. It hits 500 degrees on a heat cycle. I believe this is an inherent design flaw. It is billed as a smoker, but there is not enough headroom or side-to-side room in the small chamber to be able to move your meat far away from the hot zone. The PID holds temp fine, but the burn cycle just gets too hot anywhere you would want to set your meat. There is a rack above, but you can't fit most cuts of meat on it. This is unresolved and I do not see how it can be fixed. I've tried foil but I have not tried a ceramic deflector. I highly doubt it would change much and I really don't want to put money into this thing. I will say the pellet side is excellent for grilling and searing for this reason. (unresolved)
  • Next, the controller died around my 3rd or 4th cook. I went to power it up and nothing would happen. No idea why. It is stored unplugged and under a cover. Support replaced the controller with no problems. (resolved)
  • Then I started having app problems. It would go through an endless loop of firmware updates. (app changed to SmokeIT shortly after this)
  • The app UI is terrible. Really really bad. It's unintuitive and buggy, even on a good day when you aren't having connection problems. (unresolved)
  • Next, with the new controller and having given up on the app, I learned that the ash clearing brush was 100% useless as the bristles cook off and do not reach the bottom of the pot. I had smoke billowing out of the pellet hopper and found out you need to vacuum out the pot after every couple cooks. (solved unsatisfied)
  • The grommet for the grate control rod doesn't stay put. (unresolved)
  • And finally, just recently I powered up the grill and noticed some of the LED lights went out on the controller, and then I could not connect to the app. Support has mailed me a 2nd replacement controller and I'm hoping it also fixes my app connection problem. (unresolved)
I might be able to deal with the software sucking, and maybe a bad part here or there because eventually they'll get the app figured out and support is fine with replacing parts, and the warranty is good. But not being able to do long smokes on this "smoker" is very disappointing. I am now looking to either sell this for a Yoder or buy a standalone smoker to sit next to it. Which stinks because the propane side and griddle are really awesome.
I’ve had the Combo for a few months, the only problem I have is that the unit will not turn off when I press the power button, The fan just keeps running, and the hopper starts smoking, then I u plug it, but I know this is not good for the Controller. What is the correct way to shut this thing down after cooking?
 

blackhawk556

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I’ve had the Combo for a few months, the only problem I have is that the unit will not turn off when I press the power button, The fan just keeps running, and the hopper starts smoking, then I u plug it, but I know this is not good for the Controller. What is the correct way to shut this thing down after cooking?
When I press the power button the numbers on the display shut off but the fan keeps running for an extra ten minutes. This is normal. After ten minutes it shuts off completely on its own
 

Sparky

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Sorry blackhawk556, I have been slammed. Will get it done.
blackhawk556 I just open and go thru the opening to move the ash in the fire pot to help it go into the ash tray. I tried doing a video but it says the file is too large. Hope this helps you.
 

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MKinHB

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When you press and hold the power button to shut down, the unit goes into shut down mode.
The lights go off and everything shuts off, but the fan continues to run until the unit reaches a safe (cool) temperature to turn off.
It's doing the right thing by keeping the fan running.
 

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