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Temperature Control

bhuggbhugg Posts: 177
edited November 2011 in Forum List
So, this is only my second time to fire-up my Egg, and I am trying to control the temp.  I am not trying to re-invent the wheel, so what do I need to know.  I lit the coals, and once they were going, I shut the lid.  At this point, the temp sky rocketed to around 450.  I then shut down all vents, and I have not been able to get a temp below 350.  Any pointers are greater appreciated and needed.  I have been asked to smoke the Thanksgiving turkey, and if I cannot control the temp, might as well decline the challenge.
Large BGE
Dallas, TX

Comments

  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,062
    It takes a long time to cool off the egg, so you need to close the vents up as the temperature rises. If it gets too far above your target temperature, you'll have to wait for it to cool down.  Here is some info on controlling the temperature:

    http://www.greeneggers.com/index.php?option=com_simpleboard&func=view&id=746823&catid=1
    Barry Lancaster, PA
  • Don't decline, whatever you do.  You've already found that the BGE heats up quickly, so stick around until it hits your target temperature and close off the airflow to stabilize the temps.

    I've found airflow is the key.  When I'm cooking brisket, I usually wait until it hits around 200F, then shut the vents (top and bottom) until they're open only a sliver...and it sticks at 200 all day long.  The more oxygen moving through the egg - the hotter it gets.

    Once the egg is up in high temps, it is hard to bring it back down without just extinguishing it and starting over.  Which, if you have time, is a perfectly good solution as well.

    Good luck!  Experiment - cook yourself a turkey!  :-)

  • FxLynchFxLynch Posts: 433
    If you are going for lower temps, don't light a whole lot of coals on fire.  If I am smoking at 250, I only use one small lighter block.  Then as soon as a few coals are lit I close the lid with the bottom vent open and top vent off.  I let the temp start rising and put the top vent on at 200, start closing it and the bottom till the temp levels off at 250.  I never let it get super hot if I am using low cooking temps. 

    Good luck, it takes a little while to figure it out. It took me a couple times to get the temp control figured out, and thats after using a weber grill for 16yrs. Until you are pretty comfortable, I would stay right with the grill while stabilizing the temperature. 
  • bhuggbhugg Posts: 177
    When you first light your coals, when do you shut the lid and focus on the temp?
    Large BGE
    Dallas, TX
  • FxLynchFxLynch Posts: 433
    Thats the part that requires some trial and error.  If you are going a low temp cook, I'd say within 5 minutes of lighting I have the top closed.  You really only need a couple of them going to get started.  Then it will very slowly heat up.  

    If I am cooking at 700 degrees, let it burn for a while open then when I close the lid the temps shoot up super fast.
  • bhuggbhugg Posts: 177
    I think that is where I made my mistake.  I will try again tomorrow.  
    Large BGE
    Dallas, TX
  • It is better to have bottom closed and top at a sliver. I shut it down at 200. 1//4 inch on bottom and sliver at top.

    If it gets too hot I close the bottom.

    I grill therefore I am.....not hungy.
  • Keep playing with it, and you will get the hang of controlling the temp.  I suggest cooking cheaper meats at first.  One tip I will give, never close the  top, Daisy Wheel, completely.  This is for low and slow.  If you are cooking steaks or burgers and are searing, you will close the wheel.  But that is just for a short time.  During long cooks, the particulates need to escape.  

    Paul
    thebearditspeaks.com. Go there. I write it.
  • BakerManBakerMan Posts: 154
    edited December 2011

    As a new Egg owner I 'll share what I have learned in the past few weeks with my Large Egg. The following is what I have observed as far as temperature control and has worked for me cooking wings, tenderloins, beer can chickens and pizzas.

    The trick is to be consistent each time you build a fire and cook so you are not trying to control what "appears" to be random events.

     

    Temperature Control

    There are three factors that control how much heat your Egg produces and your ability to control it.


    • The amount of charcoal you light initially and total amount of charcoal in the grill.

    • The amount of intake air from the lower vent

    • The amount of air that can exit the upper vent

     

    For the purpose of my discussion I classify heat into three ranges


    • Low - 200-300

    • Medium - 300-500

    • High - > 600

     

    Charcoal Lighting

    The more charcoal that lights initially the hotter your fire will be. If you light the fire and leave the the lid up until most/all the charcoal lights you will have a tremendous amount of heat that will be hard to regulate. Closing the grill at this point and trying to lower the temp to cook at low/medium will be tricky because so much charcoal is burning and producing heat. On the other hand, if you light the fire, wait until an amount of charcoal that will fit in your hand is lit and then close the top it will be easier to adjust the vents for low/medium cooking and maintain a constant temperature.

     

    Air Flow (upper/Lower)

    With the combination of lower and upper vents you can limit air flow to the point the coals go out or open the vents and get the grill going like a blacksmith's forge and every range in between. The trick is to not let the grill heat run away but instead plan ahead for the type of heat and duration you want. Also limit the number of variables each time you cook.

     

    Preparation

    Before lighting a fire I always stir the remaining charcoal in the firebox and knock all the ashes into the the lower reservoir. I also make sure all the vent holes are clear. Performing this step will insure consistent, predictable air flow each time you build a fire. Once the ash and air holes are clean I fill up the firebox with charcoal. I like to start with the same amount of charcoal (combination of new/used) each time I light the grill. Now you are ready to light the charcoal.

    I have found that using the guidelines below I can set a desired temp and maintain it for severals hours.

     

    Low Heat

    Light the charcoal and leave the top up until you have several pieces of charcoal lit that is about the size of your palm.

    Lower Vent - Open about 1/2 inch

    Multi-function Top - Slide top closed and open rotating vent so holes are unobstructed.

    Stay with grill and close lower vent as you approach tour desired low temp. You can fine tune with rotating vent.

     

    Medium Heat

    Light the charcoal and leave the top up until you have several pieces of charcoal lit that is about the size of your palm.

    Lower Vent - Open about 1/2 to 1 inch

    Multi-function Top - Slide top halfway open and close rotating vent so holes are closed.

    Stay with grill and close lower vent as you approach tour desired low temp. You can fine tune by sliding the top open/closed.

     

    High Heat

    Light the charcoal and leave the top up until you have approximately 1/2 the charcoal lit.

    Lower Vent - Open about 1 inch to start

    Multi-function Top - Remove and set aside

     

    Stay with grill until temperature is stabilized. If you walk away before temps are stabilized the grill can easily hit 1000 degrees and "freak you out" as the gasket catches fire (been there, done that) Use lower vent to regulate temperature.

    Keep in mind these are guidelines. By insuring ash/ air vents are clear and using the same amount of charcoal each time you cook you have removed two potential areas that can cause inconsistent results. After you try this a few times you will start to get a feel for how the grill reacts and you will feel comfortable controlling the temps.

     

    Temperature Probe

    A wireless temperature probe is a must have. Once you get the hang of regulating your grill temp the wireless thermometer will allow you to relax and monitor the meat without having to constantly open grill (lose heat/smoke) to check the temperature. A lot of people on the forum like the Maverick ET 732 (see below). I already own the Oregon Scientific and it works great.

     

    Maverick ET732

     

    Oregon Scientific

     

    Hope this helps,

    BakerMan - Purcellville, VA
    "When its smokin' its cookin', when its black its done"
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    The daisy is a dimmer switch. Too hot? Shut it a bit. Too cold? Open it.

    No idea why some wanna make it difficult.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Sometimes when I light my BGE, I partially close the vents before I walk away.  This way I dont have it "wide open" and if I get distracted doing prep or having a few beers, I dont return to a red hot kiln ;-)
  • "a few beers". So unlike you. ;))

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • Just into my second smoke on my BGE and learned quickly how fast it can heat up and how long it takes to bring temps back down if you don't stay close by.  Great pointers BakerMan - very helpful - thanks.
  • If you are using starter cubes don't shut the dome until they are burned out. They put off a high amount of heat and cause false temp readings.
    Low heat smoke - full load of lump, light 2 cubes & 9 & 3 o'clock, walk away and have a beer. Once flames are gone and you have glowing embers shut the dome When you get within 50-75* of target temps start closing your vents. For a 250/275* smoke my bottom vent is open about the thickness of a quarter and top vent pedals are barely open.
    If this is only your second cook I would recommend that you play around with temps. Just fire up the egg(no intention of cooking) and aim for 250* and let it settle in for an hr or so then open vents a bit and aim for 350* and so on intervals of 100*. Each time let the egg settle in Make mental notes if where your vent are during each stage. This helped me the most. I am in the process of learning this on my small which is way different than my large.

    -----------------------------------------


    Large BGE. Small BGE Henderson, Ky
  • As several others have already noted, air flow and the control of it is key. Low temp cooks (200-300), I often have my lower vent open only a sliver once the coals get burning. My opinion is to use the bottom vent as your main control rather than try to control with the daisy wheel. Others find the top works better. You just need to find what works best for you. Keep trying - I got frustrated a couple of times early on after coming to Eggland from a gasser. It is easy to over think temp control at first. After a few cooks, you will just seem to "know" what is going to work for whatever temp you are going for.

    Also, I have found that the weather - both in the days leading up to a cook and the day of the cook - will change how you set your vents. I have found that having a lot of rain or humid weather leading up to a cook seems to add moisture to my Egg. It seems to take more air to get/maintain a given temp under these conditions. We have been hot and dry here for the past couple of months and I'm finding myself having to keep my vents closed down more to keep temps under control. I am also having a lot less issue with mold in the Egg when going several days between cooks lately due to lack of moisture.
  • Keep at it, I was asking the same question recently and had a lot of good info from the eggers on the forum that helped me out. I have found that if using fire starter blocks you need to use two at 3 & 9 o'clock (as suggested above) every time and need to wait for the flames to go out before closing the lid. I also seem to have better luck controlling the temp by either opening the DW fully or taking it off and then using the bottom vent to control the temp, especially with the plate setter in. Someone else also pointed out that the screen on the bottom vent will effect your air flow, found that to be very true.
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