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slow cook help

I'm learning but need a little help on the long slow cooks. I have a large BGE and I set it up as follows: fire box to the top with lump, big pieces on bottom, smaller toward the top. Next the fire ring, next the plate setter, legs up, with a pizza stone and a drip pan centered on the setter. next the grill grate(doesn't exactly fit over the setter legs but good enough. Next a 5# brisket, fat side up.
Using the BGE dome gauge brought the dome temp to 250. I also had a remote therm at grill height(not a lot of room because of the size of the brisket but i did my best. The tip protruded thru a small potato and sat near the edge just above a setter leg so that it couldn't be hit by a direct flame). At 250 dome, it read a steady 166. [p]I think that low grill temp is the problem. Now I want to fix the problem for next time. I'm no expert, but here' the way I see it. There is two types of heat in the egg. 1)The 'convection heat' coming from the air flow from the burning lump. 2) The 'radiant heat' coming from the heated ceramic surfaces inside the egg. In my case the convection heat was diverted by the plate setter to the perimeter of the egg, going straight up the sides and out the top. I had the bottom vent open about 1/16", and the top daisy wheel open about half way(much more open on the top vent than the bottom causing very little exit friction if that lingo makes any sense. The meat itself was getting only radiant heat.[p]Started the cool about 6pm. at 4am the dome temp was holding well at 250, with the grill still about 166. At 7am the dome temp had dropped to under 200 and the grill temp to 130. I think the lump got low, it was not out. anyway I panicked and heated up the oven to 'convection 220' and finished it there to 195 in foil. It came out pretty good even though it was a little mushier than I would have liked. [p]Now help me if you can. Do I need to do something to get more 'convection heat' to the meat like: use some fire brick to divert the hot air more to the center of the egg where the meat is or raise the grill and meat so that there is more space between the plate setter and the grill surface or close the top vent more to cause more 'convection heat' to stay in the egg ( it seems that might raise the grill temp). And now i'm out of other ideas but obviously I well never get an internal meat temp of 190-200 with a grill temp of 166. [p]Thanks for your help in advance.[p]EdB


  • MarvMarv Posts: 177
    EdB, You did an excellent job in your detailed observation. This helps us who would like to help get a better understanding of your problem areas.
    #1: Need to start out with more charcoal fill fire ring too.
    #2: You are right about not setting the grate & brisket) right on the pizza stone. It needs to have the circulation of heat and air around it to cook.
    #3: You are right again about the grate temp. you need to get it up to at least 200 to 250. (Perferably 200-225)
    As I have said in many posts before, when a receipe calls for a certain cooking temp, it is refering to the temp where the meat is. (look at your kitchen stove and see where the thermometer is, it is NOT at the top of the oven)
    Heat rises by natural convection, so it is only natural that the dome be hotter at the top than at the grate.
    Leave the top (daisy wheel) open about 1/2-2/3 and the bottom open enough to settle your grate thermometer at 200-225
    Hope this helps as I know there will be many other suggestions this subject.[p]Really, brisket is NOT that hard to cook to perfection.[p]Marv

  • ZipZip Posts: 372
    EdB,[p]You may want to get rid of the pizza stone. I feel that is not helping you and is part of the problem. The more ceramic mass you have in the cooker, the more energy is used to heat other than the meat. Just for giggles next time, double check the dome temp with the Polder and make sure the dome thermo is correct. 160º at the grid is too low, that needs to be higher.[p]Ashley[p]
  • PujPuj Posts: 615
    EdB,[p]I'm with Ashley, get rid of the pizza stone. The plate setter and pizza stone combined is too much ceramic mass! I didn't read it in your post, but hopefully the plate setter is inverted and the grid is sitting on top of legs. Set up this way, there is plenty of space between the brisket and ceramic to allow for proper heat circulation. This should help get the grid temp up some.[p]Puj[p]
  • GandolfGandolf Posts: 882
    I'm really new at this, but have been following the Forum for some time. Long enough that my first and, so far, only cook was fabulous (just got my Medium on Sunday). Don't worry, it is ready to be fired up again for dinner tomorrow.:-) If you haven't tried Cat's ribs yet, they are great! I've thought that the cooking temps provided here are dome temps and that those dome temps would provide the right grate-level temps?

  • StogieStogie Posts: 279
    EdB,[p]When you are pressed for space at the grate level but still want to monitor the temp, simply place your potato on top of your meat as close to the middle as possible. Or, poke it thru the meat so it protrudes out the bottom of the meat. Not sure if this is possible as I have no idea how your egg is set-up.[p]One of the problems with a crowded grate is that the thermo tip may get jostled around and hit the meat, resulting in inaccurate readings.[p]Just stick with all things in life...a little practice is all that is required![p]bbqflames.gif
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,508
    Right now I am beginning to experiment with this more. I find it kinda odd that this does not get talked about more often. The differences that you experienced, and I experienced last weekend, should definitely raise a few flags!! 80 degrees is quite substantial.[p]With the mass that the BGE already has, and the mass of your meat, I would start with eliminating all the extra ceramic mass and water. Just a dry drip pan (no larger than you need), and the meat elevated several inches above it. [p]I hope, like you did, that more people can report their findings for whichever setup they are using. Maybe we can find a pattern to why certain setups result in HUGE temp variations. Afterall...we are hear to learn![p]Thanks.
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
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  • Marv ,when you say leave the daisy wheel open 1/2-2/3 open are you referring to the "little daisy openings" or the one large "whole wheel" opening?

  • DutchDutch Posts: 21
    EdB, after owning a large Egg for 8 months and following this forums advise and suggestions I can add one hint that has helped me in my cooking. For different types of meats, when smoking indirect I always use a liquid, such as water, apple juice or bourbon under my grate. However I heat it up on the stove first till boiling point and than transfer to the Egg. As a result; JUST GREAT FOOD.

  • CatCat Posts: 556
    DUTCH ,[p]Excellent advice about pre-heating the water - otherwise the fire has to do it for you.[p]But I recommend you pour the bourbon (or juice) into the chef instead. Flavored liquids in the drip pan don't add any flavor to the meat. [p]Cathy
  • WooDoggiesWooDoggies Posts: 2,390
    DUTCH ,
    I will use your preheated water technique on my cook tomorrow. Thanks for the idea![p]WD

  • MarvMarv Posts: 177
    Q-BALL, I use the large one and open it enough to stablize the temp that I want.
    Humidity, altitude, outside air temp, type of charcoal all play a part in how the final cook will produce the meat we all crave.
    We all give advice here mostly from personal experiences but it all has to be taken with a grain of salt because we all cook a little differently. So to do your cook excatly as I would do mine will probably turn out close, but different from mine.
    Like many have said in earlier posts "if it satisfies your taste buds, you have succeeded"[p]Marv

  • Cat,
    I wondered whether drip pan fluids added flavor to the cook. Thanks for answering my long-time ponder. Now, here's another ponder - if I soaked my smoking wood in burbon would it impart some flavor into the meat? Or would it just speed up the combustion of the wood? I have some old burbon that is just taking up space in my bar.[p]Spring Chicken

  • Gandolf,
    It is becoming increasingly clear that you cannot assume a given dome temp will yield the correct grill temp. It depends on the setup you have. For instance, i was using the plate setter for creating the indirect cook. It is very large and forces the air (in my opinion) too far around the
    meat and out the top. I'm being advised to use a smaller 'diverter' and less ceramic mass. I also am being advised to measure the grill level temp and pay less attention to the dome temp. I am being led to believe that too low a grill temp can lead to unsafe meat. Not good!

  • Puj,
    Yes, the plate setter was inverted and I will try it without the pizza stone next time. Even without the pizza stone the meat is only about 3" above the surface of the Plate setter and with a drip pan with 1" sides, not a lot of room for circulation. Specially since the plate setter is diverting the hot air so far from the meat. I am not convinced that the size of the top opening isn't a large part of the problem. A large top opening compared to the bottom vent opening doesn't force the air to recirculate back around the meat. Obviously, I could be totally wrong. I am looking to the gurus on the forum for confirmation or not. I think there are some real experts here.

  • CatCat Posts: 556
    Spring Chicken,[p]I think the volatiles in the bourbon would burn off very fast, and wouldn't contribute any flavor - unless you soaked the wood a long time, like a Jack Daniels barrel.[p]A better use for the bourbon: Gretl's fabulous salmon.[p]Cathy
    [ul][li]Salmon with Dijon Bourbon Glaze[/ul]
  • Cat,
    You're probably right. I already had the salmon recipe on file to try one of these days. Thanks.

  • MarvMarv Posts: 177
    EdB, You learn quick..[p]marv

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