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Adjusting the dampers

Jim BenensonJim Benenson Posts: 29
edited 5:16PM in EggHead Forum
Everyone of us that has a fireplace has at times lit the fire with the damper closed and had a room full of smoke occur very quickly. The BGE is also a type of fireplace with an air inlet at the bottom and an exhaust outlet at the top. The incoming air supplies oxygen to the fire; the exhaust is the products of combustion, primarily heated air and smoke. We actually cook in that exhaust. If the top damper is closed as much as possible during cooking while still maintaining the right temperature, then the maximum amount of heat and smoke will be retained and you'll get the most flavor. If it's too wide open, then heat and smoke will be lost that could otherwise add to the cooking process.[p]I'm going to try that principle the next time I fire up the Egg, but I'd like to know what other Eggers think.[p]Jim


  • Zen Cooker #1,[p]I tend to follow that rule and keep my top as closed as possible and bottom as open as possible. Also the top is where your moisture (steam) escapes so the mo' closed the betta'. Having the bottom open mo' helps keep the fire lit (IMO) as well.[p]my .02,[p]Jeff
  • sprintersprinter Posts: 1,188
    Zen Cooker #1,[p]Sounds completely logical to me, go for it and let us know what you find out. My guess is that you'll find that the bottom vent is much more effective at controlling the temperature than the top one. Also, I think that by allowing the bottom one open and trying to adjust temps with the top, you are actually choking out the fire and causing more smoke than the fire can handle. It needs fresh oxygen to burn effectively and cleanly. By choking off the top vent in an attempt to control the fire, you are making it smoke more by depleting its ability to get the fuel (oxygen) it needs to burn. Its kind of a snowball effect after that. The trick is, IMHO, to get a good combination in the top and the bottom, thus allowing the fire the fuel it needs to burn cleanly and at the same time keeping as much heat in the egg as possible.[p]Just my two pennies, may be completely off base. A bit too much "physica of flame" to think about this Thursday but an interesting question none the less. You are living up to that new moniker just fine.[p]Troy
  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    Zen Cooker #1,[p]You are in the Ball Park. Also consider that you can still achieve a desired dome temp with no chimney at all but you are using more fuel and allowing more air to rush through your Egg to do so. It would be like heating your house with the windows open - you can, but using lots more fuel to do it. Also consider that moisture is in that Egg and the less air moving in and out (which carries out the moisture) the more moist the meal will be. I think you will have the most efficiency with as much restriction as possible and still maintaining the desired dome temp. However, we are talking about some pretty small differences. I think you will see more smoke flavor added by adjusting the dome temp lower, maybe - 200-225, than worring about the top. Just use one and you will be fine. [p]Tim
  • SpinSpin Posts: 1,375
    Zen Cooker #1,[p]Your theory is correct, up to a point. Your Egg controls the cooking temperature by limiting the airflow (oxygen) available to the fire to support combustion. The Egg controls operate reliably when the bottom vent is regulating the incoming air and the top vent is regulating the outgoing exhaust. [p]It is possible to cook on the Egg using no top vent. This setup works well, but reliable temperature regulation is a smaller temperature range than when both vents are employed. The Egg does tend to allow oxygen to enter via the top vent using this control method.[p]Cooking with the top ceramic cap in place, or completely closed top vent, produces the same situation with the resulting problems magnified as the bottom vent is the primary control for cooking temperature. The bottom vent tends to exhaust and breathe in at the same time. Any adjustment to it affects both the ability to exhaust and intake fresh air, making reliable temperature regulation impossible to predict for the cook.[p]Consider the whole cook of the meal. Meat absorbs and distributes smoke flavors when it is under 138°F. Anything above this temp (the surface temp) and the smoke just sticks to the meat without penetrating very much.[p]Use your theory to smoke the meal heavily during the heating of your Egg, then crack the top vent a tad and control the temp as you wish.[p]Spin
  • Zen Cooker #1,[p]Thanks for all the responses. They're very thought-provoking. Since I am somewhat schizoid, I like to think about the theoretical stuff, but when I'm cooking, it's all Zen. Just me and my Egg doing our thing together.[p]Last night, I did the eggplants I bought at the farmers' market on Saturday. Coated 'em with olive oil, then cooked 'em at 225-235 for about 40 minutes, with a little bit of grapevine thrown on the coals. If there is heaven on Earth, this must be a part of it.[p]Jim

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