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Problem getting low enough cooking temps

BuzzBuzz Posts: 62
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
Last Saturday night, I tried my first overnight cook in my Large.[p]I'd had problems using my regular brand of lump for long cooks. I would run out of lump after only about 10-11 hours cooking at 230 degrees F--- even when I started with a firebox full.[p]This time, I tried a different lump. My past experience with this brand is that it is a little harder to light than my regular stuff and it sparks more, but seems to burn longer. (I'm in Europe, so I can't get the brands you folks would know.)[p]I filled the egg about halfway up the fire ring and lit the fire using a wax starter cube. I gave it a few minutes to get going with vents open, then dropped in the plate setter and grid and closed down the vents to what I expected should be okay. Bottom and top in their normal slightly open position.[p]The fire stabilzed about 275 degrees (grid temp) but I could *NOT* get the egg to drop below that. I went ahead and put in the meat, a 5 lbs boneless pork shoulder rubbed with Dizzy Pig.[p]If the bottom vent was open at all (even only 1 or 2 mm), the temp just hovered at 275. The only way I could lower the temp at all was to close the bottom vent all the way, which would have eventually put out the fire completely.[p]The outcome was still excellent. The pork came off the egg at 200 degrees, sat wrapped in a cooler for a few hours, and then pulled beautifully. It was great. [p]Interestingly, I had a lot of lump leftover. It probably only used half of the original load of lump during the 11 hours at 275.[p]The only real downside was that it was done a lot sooner than I had planned. It was finished at 10:30 AM instead of mid-afternoon like I'd planned.[p]Any suggestion on what to do when you just can't seem to get the egg to come down low enough?[p](PS - Sooner or later, I'll give in and get a BBQ guru.)

Comments

  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,778
    Buzz,
    You said you couldn't get the Egg to drop below 275. You should be closing vents and approaching your target temp from below, not trying to get the Egg to drop from above. [p]I've dumped a chimney full of roaring coals onto a prepared bed of charcoal and after I added the plate setter and the butt, the temp was down below 175 or so. I then started closing vents and let it slowly rise up to 230 (on that particular cook) where it stayed for the remainder of the cook. So, I don't understand how you are getting the Egg above 275 unless you are just letting the temp get too high and letting the cooker stay there for a while.[p]Also, do you have air leaks around the gasket? Maybe too much air is getting in besides the air entering through the vent?[p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • Buzz,
    Several possibilities...First and most likely, you let the egg overshoot your target temp and then it's really hard to get it back down to 230-250 where I assume you wanted it without putting the fire out. Been there. Done that.[p]Another possibility is that you have some leaks in your gasket or your dome is not properly aligned. This allows for additional airflow and keeps the fire hotter than desired.[p]Finally, could your thermometer be miscalibrated? Maybe you were at a lower temp than you thought all along.[p]But it's results that count and it sounds like you had good eats![p]HTH[p]Paul

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Buzz,
    since i first got my egg, i thought that temp control was a combination of the top AND bottom vents, and since that's my habit, that's how i do it. [p]so if your bottom vent is closed to within a millimeter, try leaving it as-is and fiddling the daisy wheel shut more.[p]as the others said, if you want 250, it should never see temps above that.[p]but at the same time, you CAN get it to come down, it just will not happen quickly.[p]at 275, if you want to drop to 250, and don't want to close the lower vent any more, shut the daisy itself til it is nearly closed and give it a half hour or more to see if it is tedning downward.[p]there's not a huge difference between 250 and 275 anyway, so you didn't screw up anything....[p]you said it was done a lot faster than planned. how big was the butt and how much time did you think it'd take?

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • BuzzBuzz Posts: 62
    It was a 5 lbs boneless shoulder. [p]I put it on at midnight. I figured it would take somewhere around 12 hours. It was actually done in 10.5 hours.[p]Ideally, I'd have liked it to be done around 3:00 PM, but I wasn't willing to get up and try to put it on at 3:00 AM.
  • BuzzBuzz Posts: 62
    I don't think I've got gasket or dome alignment problems. My Egg is pretty new and I never see smoke coming out through the gasket.[p]You all are right about overshooting the initial temperature.[p]I always start the fire in the egg because I don't have a chimney starter.[p]When I use a starter cube in the egg, the initial flames make the dome thermometer read high even though the egg itself is still cold. I leave the bottom vent wide open and top off until the fire is going and then shut down. [p]Once the air supply gets cut down and open flames give way to glowing embers, the temp usually falls down below 200. Maybe I just let the fire get too big this time.

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