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Temp Control

Was fortunate enough to come across a great deal on a new Large Egg over the weekend, and now I am officially an Egg Head.  I've been checking out the forum and seeing alot of great tips and tricks for different foods which is great.  I did have one question...what is the best way to "learn" your egg as far as temp control.  Is it worth filling the firebox with lump and giving it a couple runs (under 350 of course for the gasket) to learn the different DFMT and lower vent positions or would it be better to just slap some food on and go the trial and error route.  I've had a friend of mine tell me to just get one of the Digi Q's or other devices but I want to learn "old school" and not have to rely on some device.  I'm looking forward to many post on here and learning some great cooking techniques.

Comments

  • Welcome to egging.  I would just jump right in.  But start with some inexpensive meats like chicken or fish just to get the hang of things.  Calibrate your dome thermometer and get an instant read thermometer and you're good to go.  Go buy bigger pants, you'll need them.

    Damascus, VA.  Friendliest town on the Appalachian Trail.

    LBGE Aug 2012, SBGE Feb 2014

  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,088
    I agree that it is better to learn  how to control temperature without buying any automatic controllers.  Once you've learned the technique, you can add that item to a future wish list if you still want one.

    Try cooking a Spatchcock chicken indirect at around 350 and see how you like it.  Start your fire and as it gets up to 200 degrees, start closing down the vents and DFMT untill it stabilizes.  Bottom vent will be open about an inch and DFMT will have the petals open.  Fine tune from there if necessary.
    Barry Lancaster, PA
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 14,045
    edited January 2013

     

    Please hold off at least a year on the Digi Q , learn how yourself first.

    As to the DFMT, I do not use it at all. 100% control from the bottom vent (some leave the bottom vent open and use only the DFMT) and some use both. I try to keep it simple. You will find what works for you.

    Oh, as to spatchcock chicken: I cook at 400 "direct" and the bottom vent is is open less than a qt inch and no DFMT. Also I cook this on a raised grate.

    You will find hamburgers to be one of the best cooks ever.

    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini.... 5th Salado EggFest is March 14, 2015

  • Greeno55Greeno55 Posts: 348
    edited January 2013
    I have a cyber q wifi and absolutely love it and would never consider getting rid of it. But I use it maybe one out of every 20 or more cooks. It's great when doing low and slow to help you relax, but most of my cooks are less than 30-60 minutes, so I've made sure to get used to controlling it manually.

    To get used to controlling I've saved these pictures to use as a great reference:

    http://www.greeneggers.com/index.php?option=com_simpleboard&func=view&id=746823&catid=1
    LBGE + others I hope - Sudbury, Ontario
  • SaltySamSaltySam Posts: 322

    I'm about six months into owning an Egg, and I'm still learning how to fine tune everything.  As far as temp control, some tips I've learned:

    -the Egg heats up faster than it cools down, especially if it's been above 500

    -let the egg stabilize at a temp for about 15-20 min.  That creates a more even temp throughout, minimizing hot and cold spots.  It also allows for the coals to create a "clean" smoke.  I'm not 100% sure on the science behind it, but I've found that food tastes better, and has a less harsh smoke flavor

    - Absolutely calibrate the dome thermometer.  I did for the first time a week ago, and mine was off almost 25 degrees. 

    -Cook to food temp, not time.  (wish I learned that one a long time ago)

    - Document your cooks!  Keep track of your setup, temperatures, what went right/wrong, taste, etc.  It's helped me a ton.

    LBGE since June 2012

    Omaha, NE

  • tgklemantgkleman Posts: 194
    I agree that a pit controller is most useful for long, low and slow cooks.  I also agree that you don't "need" the pit controller for low and slows... But it sure makes life easier by removing any doubt that the egg will be at the correct temperature for the duration of the cook.


  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    Like GreenO said, i too cook using my Digi Q one out eight times, and it's not as a necessity, but it allows me to do other things with "peace of mind" while cooking.  Now i will use the Digi Q to monitor my grid temperature and internal food temperature, without the fan.  "There are many ways to skin a cat" , and thats very true about cooking on the egg.  For some reason(?) i have learnt to cook with my bottom vent wide open, while controlling my grid (Digi Q) temperatire reading with the top vent.  This works for me, and i have absolutely no problem with it.  You have a good idea about "test running" a few loads of lump thru your egg.  But you should have little problem doing a spatchcocked chicken --  trying to maintain 350 to 375 degrees dome -- this is a very forgiving meal.  I do believe the temperature controller is a very good investment because there are many times it will allow you to turn your back and walk away from the egg, knowing it will maintain the setpoint.  Originally, i was cooking "low and slow" overnight butt cooks, 20 to 26 hours and the temperature controller was a must - but now i turbo cook them and don't rely on the controller. Good luck on your new egg!!
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 4,962
    edited January 2013

    Good info above-and remember the feedback loop for any adjustments you make to the vents takes several minutes to be reflected in the revised dome temp.  Don't get into chasing the temperature-you will get frustrated. 

    WRT the spatchcock chix cook-here's the link-and the Naked Whiz's main site is a great reference for all things ceramic:

    http://www.nakedwhiz.com/recipes2.htm#chicken

    Welcome to the cult.

    Louisville
  • Thanks for all the great advice so far.  I'm definitely going to try the Spatchcock Chicken either tonight or tomorrow night.  It seems like a great first cook to learn the ropes of the egg plus keep the temp lower for the gasket.  I calibrated the thermometer last night so hopefully I'm good there.  @SaltySam-  Great advice on documenting the cooks.  I'm going to be "procuring" and decent hardsided notebook from work to use as my log.  Again...thanks everyone for the advice. I'm looking forward to talking more with all of you.
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 14,045
    edited January 2013

    Kinderfe please post pics of cooks, good and bad....

    I will bet my bad is way more bad than yours :-B

    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini.... 5th Salado EggFest is March 14, 2015

  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 5,609
    If you spatch the chicken and have a setter, use it on the first one or two, anywhere between 350 and 500 on an indirect and you will still be OK. Raised direct is great too, but watch the temp, if it gets much over 425 it could turn your chicken into a charred mess. 
    Good Luck! Happy smoking. 

    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
  • NibbleMeThisNibbleMeThis Posts: 2,237
    When my sister got her Egg at the end of last year, I had her do a pork butt for her first cook because it's one of the easiest (IMO) and most forgiving cuts to cook.

    I agree with everyone else about learning your manual controls first before buying a controller.  I think that better teaches you to know the ins and outs of your Egg.
  • U_tardedU_tarded Posts: 1,168
    edited January 2013
    I found this when I started its a great rough guideline however you still need to account for elevation, ambient temp, lump type and loading (stacking or just dumping). But it works better than a hot in the dark

    http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/746823/x/p1
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