Primo Faq / First Use
FAQ & General Suggestions
Yes. You can use your PRIMO all year around. Enjoy the superior cooking performance and unique flavor that Primo offers throughout the year. From Tropical weather areas to Arctic location, your Primo will perform very well. . . better than any metal constructed product on the market.
Yes. The exterior shell of your PRIMO is protected with a lead-free glaze that is thermally bonded with the ceramic material in order to protect the unit from rain or snow. We do recommend that you use a PRIMO vinyl cover to protect the metal parts of the grill.
The gasket is a seal between the two sections of your grill and allows you to regulate the temperature through the metal slide door and the slide top. It also protects your PRIMO if the lid is lowered too quickly.
Your gasket is made of a generic chemical-free felt which will deteriorate over time. You may purchase a replacement from your local dealer or through Primo.
Yes, time will tell. It can be re-glued with a high temperature adhesive. In the event that you would like to change it, a gasket kit is available through our company or the point of purchase of the unit.
We recommend that after cooking simply close the slide door and the cast iron top completely so the remaining charcoal will extinguish. Re-use the remaining charcoal the next time you grill. Due to the thermo-characteristics of your PRIMO, the grill will take a few hours to cool off. DO NOT USE WATER TO EXTINGUISH THE COALS.
Close the bottom slide door and the top damper completely. Keep them completely closed until you reach the cooking temperature; afterward readjust the slide door and the top damper to regulate the temperature.
No. If you cook with the lid open you are losing all the cooking characteristics of your Primo and all the benefits of cooking with a ceramic grill. In the end, you will wind up with dried-out food.
You will not need a rotisserie. Due to the reflection of the heat within the ceramic your Primo will cook your food evenly. Most foods such as roasts, whole turkeys, or chickens do not need to be turned. For slow cooking you should keep the temperature of your PRIMO around 250F and for quicker cooking keep the temperature at 350°F.
Yes. Your Primo allows you to cook different foods the same time.
Yes. Use the ceramic PRIMO PIZZA plate, or a baking stone and you will have an exceptional result.
Sometimes you can use a drip pan to prevent flame ups, especially when you are roasting large pieces of meat.
No. The heat circulates all around the food and you don’t need to place the grill closer to the charcoal.
Yes. For smoking you need to adjust the temperature of your PRIMO between 150F-250F. If you want to add flavor you can put in some of your favorite wood chips.
No. You don’t need to clean the interior walls of the Primo...nor the inside. It is best to simply clean the cooking grates and remove the ashes only. You may clean the exterior glaze surface with warm water and regular dishwater soap.
Yes. If you plan to put your PRIMO on a wood deck or on a wood
table we recommend that you use the ceramic shoes provided with your PRIMO . You may also place it into an Outdoor Kitchen for the ultimate outdoor cooking experience. If you choose to do so, there are clearances that you must be aware of. Contact Primo’s website for updates on building your unit into an outdoor kitchen.
Very easy. Just open the bottom slide door and use your ash tool to rake out the remaining dead ashes. Do not remove the firebox or the ceramic plate. By using natural lump charcoal you will need to empty the ashes probably every 8-10 uses. If the ashes build up the airflow will be reduced and you may have a problem heating your PRIMO quickly.
Should I Be Concerned?
If you Grill/Smoker shows tiny cracks, you shouldn’t be concerned about it’s durability nor it’s performance over time. These tiny cracks are known through the ceramic industry as “crazing”. Your Primo product may have these cracks which may be more visible with our newest “Slate black” color.
Yes, this is normal. This “crazing” does no harm and is no reason to be concerned. If you should have chunks of ceramic popping out or big chips coming off, that would be a different matter. But the fine lines or tiny cracks are normal and can be ignored. Because we choose not to use lead in our glaze mix, you benefit from a manufacture who cares about your health and the environment.
Shall there be any concerns, you may address your questions directly to Primo.
Your PRIMO is made from a hi-tech ceramic material that holds the heat better than any other ceramic grill on the market today. The thermo-shock resistance is very high and stands high temperatures without cracking.
This material also makes your PRIMO resistant to any changes in temperature. Thus allowing you to cook without worrying about rain or snow.
The outside surface of your grill has been glazed with a lead-free non-toxic glaze that is bonded with the ceramic body so that it retains its nice finish forever.
Your PRIMO is the result of years of research and more that 20 years of cooking experience. We are the only company who manufactures in the US which allows us to maintain a high standard of quality control for each unit produced.
The advantages of a PRIMO Ceramic Grill & Smoker over other charcoal grills are that you will cook your food without flames so that your food will not dry out. Other grills require you to add water pans or injections to keep your food juicy. With PRIMO, the juice of the food stays in the meat without losing any flavor so your food shrinks less. It is also ready to cook in 10 minutes, that’s even faster than a gas grill.
Setting up your Primo to Cook
1) HALF FIREBOX *Applicable with the Primo Oval only: Use the iron firebox divider (sold as an accessory) to cook only on one small section of your grill OR use it for INDIRECT COOKING (light your fire on one side; cook on the other side. This is for slower, more gentle cooking.) You can also grill over the lit coals and do more gentle cooking at the same time on the other, unlit, side. Or you can sear on the lit side, then move the meat over to the cooler, unlit side, and finish your cooking there. REMEMBER: on the Primo you always cook with the top DOWN.
2) FULL FIREBOX: Use this for larger loads of food, or hotter cooking, or longer cooking (aka “low and slow”). If you use the full firebox you can also cook INDIRECT by placing aluminum foil sheet or pan over one or two drip pan racks (sold as an accessory) . This will block the direct flame and allow you to roast or bake rather than grill.
1) Only use pure lump charcoal. No briquettes! Sprinkle in smoking woods (fruit wood, hickory, etc) for flavor if desired.
2) Pour in enough lump charcoal to go up to 1/2 of the firebox. In the Primo you use the same load of charcoal for many cooks – so you have to remember to shut down the Primo after your cook (see more on this later)
3) Open the dome vent and lower vent FULL OPEN to allow air flow when first starting the Primo.
Primo sells a special tool for removing ash and small bits of charcoal that have fallen into the bottom. Use this ash rake to “stir” the coals from your prior cooks and thus remove ash from the leftover coals in the firebox (it naturally falls down at the bottom of the grill), then use the ash rake to remove ashes from the bottom of the firebox. Scoop them out of the lower vent. Throw COLD ashes/coals in garden or compost because they are good for the garden.
2) Use the Primo Quick Lights (can be bought from Primo – or other starter helpers.) For a ½ firebox, place one or two starter pouch buried half way down into the coal. For a full firebox use two to three pouch in various places of the firebox.
3) You may use an electric starter as long as you monitor it.
4) Chimney starters are helpful, but they are messy.
This directs the flow of oxygen in from the bottom of the Primo and out the top. It helps ignite the coals.
WATCH CLOSELY NOW… It only takes a few minutes for the Primo to get hot enough to start prepping your cook. When you are sure the coals are ignited, CAREFULLY OPEN the dome and finish setting up your Primo. CLOSE THE DOME AGAIN and let the Primo and grates continue to warm up.
In rare occasions the opening of the dome (the lid) will cause a spontaneous blast of flame. This is very rare and happens only when the burning coals are severely deprived of oxygen. Opening the dome quickly allows a blast of oxygen which causes the fireball to erupt briefly. TO AVOID THIS always crack the lid open a few times before opening it fully. This allows oxygen to get to the coals in a controlled fashion and eliminates the possibility of a fireball. It is a good practice to get into this habit every time you open the dome.
You DON’T. This is important. With the Primo you DON’T use the old fashioned “let all coals go grey” system. With Primo you watch the temperature gauge. Depending on what you are cooking you start closing the vents fairly quickly (within 5 – 10 minutes) to achieve optimum heat in the Primo (see cooking with the Primo)
How Long To Wait For Coals
This depends on what you are cooking.
a. If you want a “low and slow” cook, close down your two vents fairly quickly- before the temperature gauge reaches 220 degrees. It is easier to regulate your temperature as it rises than it is to cool down your Primo if you overshoot your desired temperature. Since 220 degrees seem to be the favorite target temperature for smoking foods, regulating the air flow through the vent to get this temperature level will come with experience.
b. DO NOT LEAVE THE DOME OPEN LONGER THAN NECESSARY. This allows too much air to reach your coals and throws off your temperatures. It also allows too much heat to escape from the Primo.
c. If you are medium roasting (vegetables, a whole chicken, a turkey) allow your Primo to reach about 300 degrees then shut down your vents to about ½ inch. Again, experience will teach you how much to reduce the vents to achieve your desired cooking temperature.
d. If you want high-heat searing (steaks or searing meats) allow your temperature to reach about 500 to 600degrees, then close down your vents to about 1 inch. Again, experience will guide you. Variables include how much and what kind of lump charcoal you are using, how much food you are putting on the Primo, what the ambient temperature is, etc etc.
e. Always mind your vents. It doesn’t take long for the Primo to reach temperatures of 600 - 700 degrees which is too hot for most cooking and becomes dangerous and/or time consuming to cool your cooker down to your desired temp.
First Food Cooked on your Primo
First PRIMO Turkey
Grill Temp - 275° - 300°F
Place Turkey 10-15 lbs on a Primo Sitter (recommended) and coat with your favorite spices. You may place beer, herbs, or any favorite flavored juices/sauces inside your sitter before setting your chicken upright.
Retain Temperatures of 275 - 300°F until done. Use a meat thermometer for safe temperature of poultry.
You may allow 2 cooking hour per pound.
Raise the temperature to 500ºF in the last 20 minutes for a stronger roasting effect.
* Our Ceramic Sitters are perfect for roasting a turkey. Our Turkey Sitter is washable and has a porcelain glossy finish. 2 sizes available (chicken & turkey size)
First PRIMO Chicken
Grill Temp - 325° - 350°F
Place Chicken on a Primo Sitter (recommended) and coat with your favorite spices. You may place beer, herbs, or any favorite flavored juices/sauces inside your sitter before setting your chicken upright.
Retain Temperatures of 325 - 350°F until done. Use a meat thermometer for safe temperatures of poultry.
You baste your chicken with extra sauce, though it isn’t necessary when using your Primo Grill. The moisture retaining capability of your Primo will not dry your food.
* Our Ceramic Sitters are perfect for beer can chicken, or any other liquids, herbs, or sauce you wish to use. The Chicken Sitter is washable and has a porcelain glossy finish. 2 sizes available (chicken & turkey size)
First PRIMO Burger
Grill Temp - 450° - 500°F
Cook burgers with lid down for 6 minutes on each sides. Cook onions at this time also.
Reduce temperature by closing draft doors. (chimney top and bottom door)
Add cheese (optional) within the last 3 minutes of cooking session. Also warm-up buns during this same time period.
First PRIMO Fish Salmon is a preferred 1st time choice
Grill Temp - 325° - 350°F
Place your salmon Steak or filet on your Primo Grill when temperature level is achieved. You may sprinkle herbs, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
Retain Temperatures of 325 - 350°F until done. 10-15 minute per lb of fish . Use a meat thermometer for safe temperature for fish.
First PRIMO Rib Roast
Grill Temp - 450°F
Place your Rib Roast on a Primo V-Rack Rib Roast and cook for approximately 35 minutes for a 6 lbs Roast. If using our Primo Oval, use firebox divider and cook indirectly.
Reduce grill temperature to 300º F
Turn Roast over and simply cook to desired meat temperature level. Use meat temperature probe for accurate temperature level.
* Our V-Rack is perfect to cook Rib Roast. You may use this rack for many other roasting feast: Ribs, pork loin, pork roast and Boston Butt.
First PRIMO Ribs
Grill Temp - 325° - 350°F
Place your ribs on your Primo Grill when temperature level is achieved. You may sprinkle herbs, spices. Wait until the last 20 minutes to pour your sauces.
Retain grill temperatures of 275-300°F until done. Using a meat thermometer can be misleading with ribs. Check the temperature frequently
1 hours per pound is a conservative time period. If you are using our Primo Oval, utilize the cast iron divider to do ‘true indirect’ cooking.
* Our V-Rack is great for ribs. It allows you to place your ribs on your grill without direct contact with the primary cooking grid.
First PRIMO Vegetables
Grill Temp - 400°F
Place your Zucchini first, cook for 10 minutes at 400ºF. Add peppers, mushrooms and onions after the first 5 minutes.
Lower temperature to 300ºF
Turn over all vegetables and cook for another 10-15 minutes to desired tenderness.
Serve with balsamic vinegar.