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Temperature Control - Top vs. Bottom Vent Settings

MatanuskaMatanuska Posts: 29
edited 2:25PM in EggHead Forum
I've had my large BGE for two weeks now & I'm having fun trying to figure out some basic top vs. bottom vent settings that will give me repeatable stabilized temperatures (around 250, 350, 450). I'd like to master manual temperature control before I think about a Guru (same reason I'm teaching my kids how to drive on a stick instead of an automatic - it's a little jerky to start with, but worth it once you get it figured out).

I don't have any problems getting the temperature quickly up to the level I want with the top & bottom vents wide open, but after I pinch them back to stabilize the temp I haven't worked out whether it's better to fine tune the air throughput with the top or bottom vent (or both). 1/2" open at the top & bottom seems to get me around 350 - 400 F once things stabilize, then I tend to tune up or down with the top, but if that doesn't do it I start fiddling with both.

What settings work best for you? I know the answer is "It depends ..." (on charcoal brand, lump size, and amount, old to new charcoal ratio, weather, meat load, whether the burn is stabilized when you start adjusting the vents, etc.), but can anyone share some settings that have worked for them? (I've already picked up a few pointers from the temperature control article on the NW website).



  • J StrausJ Straus Posts: 54
    I tend to rely more on bottom vent setting and here's why... I think that you can be a little more precise with the bottom than the top. The area that opens on the bottom is linear in fashion with the uniform shape of the bottom vent. The daisy has those almond shaped holes and mine don't line up that well anyway, so a little turn can make a proportionally gibber adjustment. I am probably splitting hairs here anyway. Also, the daisy can flop around, and rotate pretty freely and may move on you unintentionally. I try to keep them balanced with a bias towards restricting the bottom. I know people here do pretty open bottom or top with control on the opposite end, and I just haven't spent much time with that. You will eventually see that sometimes you want an increase and you open the bottom up and nothing will happen, and that's because the top is the oxygen limiting factor so then when you open the top some, you get your increase, and vise versa.

    It's a cooker, it's a physics class, it's an obsession!

  • Thanks, Justin.

    I think you've got a good point about more precise control with the bottom vent. Come to think of it, before the daisy wheel was available & tilting the ceramic cap was the only option, sliding the bottom vent was probably the only way to effectively regulate the temperature with any precision.

    Time to do some more experiments.
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