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New Egg - Need Help with Temperature Control!!

TonyTony Posts: 224
edited 11:59PM in EggHead Forum
Yesterday I finally succumbed to the 5 year temptation since learning about the egg-sistence of the BGE. I got a Large in the Cypress table (very nice!). Upon getting it home yesterday, I put just a little lump in it (2 lbs?), and lit it off, burned it up with the bottom damper about 1/3 open, top daisies all the way open. Didn't pay much attention to it, just wanted to season it a little. Got up early this morning (couldn't wait, actually!), loaded her up to just above the holes in the ceramic (per instructions) and lit off just the center of it. I let it burn lid open for 5 to 7 minutes, then closed it down. Set the bottom damper about 1" open, and the top daisies about 1/2 way open. It settled around 325 degrees (too hot for what I want to do). So, I closed both openings about to 1/2 of initial. Over time, it came down to ~300 degrees. Closed them more... now bottom damper is only about 1/8 of an inch open, top daisies about 1/16" inch, each! It is still holding around 250 degrees. I would like to get it down to ~200 degrees, but I'm afraid closing it any more will suffocate the coals, eventually. That's the setup, now the question - for ~200 degrees, what are your damper and flue settings??? Based on my current settings, do I have an air leak? Too much charcoal in it? What? Please help!![p]Tony

Comments

  • Essex CountyEssex County Posts: 991
    Tony,
    Everything you're doing sounds reasonable. One problem: once you've gotten the egg hot, it is hard to get the temp down to the really low levels you're shooting for. The ceramic itself will hold heat for quite a while. If you want to go to 200-250, it is much easier to do this by catching the temp on the way up. It's not a matter of too much charcoal. It can't burn any faster than the oxygen you've allowed it to have. It could be a leak. Toss in a handful of wood chips and see where the smoke comes out. Others may chime in, but I have never been able to keep a steady temp at 200. I can do 225 and I never see much reason to go lower. Just my thoughts.
    Paul

  • Essex CountyEssex County Posts: 991
    Essex County,
    Actually, you can close the bottom vent more. On a long low and slow, mine's open about a credit card thickness.
    Paul

  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    Tony,[p]Contrary to the instructions, you need more lump. Fill the firebox. Any left-over can be used again. For long cooks the lump level will be halfway up the fire ring.[p]Try to catch your pit temperature on the way up. As you have seen it takes a while for it to come down.[p]As far as vent settings, those settings are normal. Close the lower vent some more if you want the pit temp to drop a bit. You must have built a good fire.[p]~thirdeye~

    Happy Trails
    ~thirdeye~

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • TonyTony Posts: 224
    Wow - that was quick replies... and very helpful!! I was wondering if I let too much get going before closing her down; the thought of the ceramic holding heat and being a bit deceiving about what was really happening did occur to me, which is why I was hesitant to close her down any more. However, the specific reply about the bottom damper being open a credit card thickness for low and slow is *precisely* what I was looking for. ~25 years of grilling and smoking, I've never had anything that would light off and burn for 10 to 15 hours at a constant temp without lot's of constant TLC... which is a real PITA! If this thing works as advertised, I can guarantee smoking will become a much more frequent deal around this house![p]Thanks again, everyone![p]Tony
  • jwirlwindjwirlwind Posts: 319
    Tony,
    I don't think you ever need 200 or lower unless you are trying to cool smoke meat or cheese. I am a strong believer in loading the Egg to the top of the fire ring every time I light it. Unused lump will be used the next time but you will not have to worry about fire going out. I like to light the lump over the entire surface and not just the middle. Makes for more even fire or heat. Another thing I have found that works for me, unless I am doing an overnight or low and slow, I don't use the daisy. leave the top open and control from the bottom. I just did some Ribbbbbbbs and they were perfect with the top off. Another reason I like to keep the daisy off is to give me a peek at the meat if I want to without raising the dome. I believe the Egg is all about experimenting and fun doing it. [p]Chef Jerry

  • TonyTony Posts: 224
    Jwirlwind,
    Thanks Jerry... I am not even planning to cook today; have a photo gig to shoot at a good friend of mine's parents 50th Wedding Anniversary and Vow Renewal; I'm loading up for that event, now. Agree that 200 is rarely required - but occassionally it is, as you suggest. I mainly wanted to burn it today to further season it, and to begin to learn it a bit. I dailed the damper down to ~credit card size opening, barely cracked the diasies; she slowly descended to 210 degrees and has been siting the solid as a rock for about an hour. The coals have barely been burned... if it burns this whole load like that, I can tell eating heaven is just around the corner!! Next weekend for father's day - succulent brisket done for 12 to 14 hours, followed by some 3 to 4 hour babybacks! Yippee![p]Thanks again to all...
    Tony

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Jwirlwind,
    fill to the top of the (upper) fire ring? every time/[p]you must mean the lower fire box, no??

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Tony,
    can't add anything to what's been said other than this:[p]you can't snuff the fire if the egg isn't shut. almost shut? barely open except for a teensy bit? still counts as open, especially if you have a fire established and you are trying to come down

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
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