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Temperature Control: What's the trick?

edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
Hello,[p]what is the secret to keeping the temperature where you want it? I just bought a BGE this past weekend and had alot of difficulty in keeping the temperature at 250. It kept dropping on me, like the coals where going out. Should I bring the heat up to a really high temp then let it come down or go just above and close my vents? Any tips would be appreciated.[p]Thanks,
Tony

Comments

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    Tony,[p]There is a new users page on my website that might help.
    The link is below.[p]Don't let the temp go too high, too long or the ceramic absorbs it and it's HARD to make it let go. [p]With practice, it gets easy. Check the link for more.[p]Tim

    [ul][li]New Users[/ul]
  • RhumAndJerkRhumAndJerk Posts: 1,506
    Tony,
    First of all welcome to the forum.[p]Let’s start at the beginning.
    Is the opening of your firebox aligned with the opening in the bottom of the egg?
    Are you using good-sized chunks of lump charcoal?
    Are you starting the fire with a fire starter and not newspaper?
    Do you have a slide daisy wheel top? If so, how are you setting the openings? [p]For a low temperature fire, your bottom vent should be set around the width of your thumb and the daisywheel slightly open. It is very hard to bring an egg down to 250 if it has been at a higher temperature. It is better to start cool and walk the temperature in the low 200’s[p]Here is probably the most important step of all. Dip your thermometer in boiling water and see if it reads 212. If it does not, then adjust the nut on the back until it does. You may have been at 250 and never known it.[p]The final piece of advice is to throw the cookbook that came with the egg. It is outdated and in some cases just plain wrong.[p]Hope this Helps,
    RhumAndJerk

  • RhumAndJerkRhumAndJerk Posts: 1,506
    Tim M,
    That is a nice page.
    R&J

  • sdbeltsdbelt Posts: 267
    Tony,[p]RhumAndJerk and Tim M both provided some great input, but what can further help, is for you to describe a little bit more about what you are doing to attempt to achieve your results.[p]Probably most important would be to describe the vent settings you are using. For 250, I find that the bottom vent needs to be nearly closed. Sometime that means I have to look in from the side to see through the opening, and other times it means I can just see a sliver of the opening from straight on (depends on how hot it is out today, and if there's any humidity in the air). As well, the top daisy-wheel (and I'm assuming you've got one), should be slid closed, with the vent openings no more than half open.[p]For lump loads, I fill the fire box completely, attempting to avoid too many small pieces, so there's some decent air flow possible from the bottom to the top. I also make sure it is reasonably clear of ash (ie, the bottom is cleaned out, and the wholes in the grate are exposed to the lump).[p]To start the fire, for a 250 cook, I like the fire started near the top. I use an electric starter, but if you are using cubes, one would be enough, just put it in the middle, and don't bury it too deep. The key would be to get a decent little fire going right in the middle of the lump. After the lump is started, close the dome, and set the vents open about 1/2 open at the bottom, and the daisy slid closed, but the vents fully open on top. Let the Egg breath, until it gets to about 225. At that temp, you want to start clamping down the vents. Close the bottom vent to 1/4 (about 1"), and keep clamping it down every 5 minutes, for each 5 degrees that the temp climbs. This is the high maintenance method, but it pretty much assures success. Later, when you get your vent settings dialed in, it gets to be very much a set-it and forget-it process.[p]The one thing I like to avoid, is getting too much of a fire going, such that when I start clamping down the vents the fire gets over starved for air. You can see this when smoke burbs out the bottom. It still happens to me on occassion, but when I see it, I know I'm a little late getting the vents closed, and I'm probably going to overshoot my target temp.[p]Also, if the BGE gets hotter than your target temp, cooling it off is pretty difficult. The ceramic does a great job of capturing heat, and aside from putting the fire completely out, it's darn near impossible to quickly reduce the temp by say 50 degrees, so starting a big fire and then trying to calm it down is an approach that isn't going to work.[p]Good luck,[p]--sdb
  • Thanks for the tips and especially the link to the new users page.[p]What I was doing is lighting the coals with the electric starter and opening the daisy wheel and bottom vent all the way. Once it got to around 250, I started to close it. It stayed at 250 for a while then started to drop so I had to open the vents again, then close them, then open them, etc..[p]*sigh* more practice I guess![p]Thanks again!
  • sdbeltsdbelt Posts: 267
    Tony,[p]Then it just sounds like you were adjusting the vents too far in either extreme, to maintain your desired temp. In general, the bottom vent is the main temp regulator, and the top vent is more of a fine adjusting tool.[p]Good luck on your next cook. If you've tried other things, share with us what's working, what you like, and what further challenges you see.[p]--sdb
  • Tony,
    These guys are giving you some great advise better take it. The one thing a lot of first timers do is they are stingy with the Lump. You can't put in to much but you can put in to little you need some critcal mass.
    Elder Ward

  • Tony,[p]All the advice you've been given is very, very good and things you'll need to know but it misses the obvious. The 250 dome temp you're seeing is not an accurate reading. It's the reading of the electric starter AND the lump. Take away the eletric starter and you lose the major source of heat. A simple experiment will bear me out. Bring the Egg to 250 and take out the starter but do NOT close the vents any. You'll see the temp drop to around 100 pretty quickly. Part of that drop will be because you opened the lid but the main result of the drop will be because your primary heat source (at that point) has been removed.[p]I noticed this when I first started using the Egg. I use starter cubes and adjusted the vents when the thermometer said 250 and invariably I practically killed the fire. But then I noticed a rise to 250 and then a drop to 100-150 AS THE STARTER CUBES BURNED OUT. Ergo the starter cubes where my primary heat source. I stopped adjusting the vents until I saw the SECOND rise in heat and haven't had a problem yet. Oh yeah, allow yourself more time (I go 45 minutes or more) to get the Egg lit and stabilized. Sure, I burn more lump that way but I KNOW that the temp is where I want it.[p]Kelly Keefe
    Jefferson City, MO

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