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Maintaining 160deg temps?

Hey all,[p]Want to do some Jerky, but am trying to figure out what is the secret to keep at 160 degrees? I have a plate setter so I will definately use that -- it seems to allow lower temps. Currently, with everything basically closed except the tiniest airgap (You can't see that the bottom vent is open except from the side), I can get around 200 degrees. [p]I also have the slide metal top, with the daisy wheel opened the smallest "Crack" I could get.[p]So, how do I maintain 160 for 12+ hours to do Jerky?


  • WessBWessB Posts: 6,937
    That is very difficult to do, much easier when it`s cold outside...the one suggestion I would make is to close the danpers down as SOON as the firestarter goes out,not completely closed but approx. where you are at with your settings now...dont wait till you hit 160° to start backing only requires a very small amount of lump to get those low temps and once the egg heats up to 200° you will most likely not get it back down without snuffing out the fire..make sure your therm is calibrated and go for it....HTH[p]Wess

  • ChuckChuck Posts: 812
    <p />Jamesw, I have found it difficult to hold 160 for that long. I have probably done 15 batches of jerky in the last year and all have come out well. I start out at around 140* and slowly climb to slightly below 200*. This seems to work really well, I have been really pleased. It usually takes 6 - 8 hours to do a batch this way. Good luck .[p]Chuck <><

  • Jamesw,
    When you close that daisy wheel down to smallest crack you can, close it a little more. Even when closed, the daisy wheel still allows some airflow since it doesn't completely seal itself. The draft door on my Egg closes at a V to the door frame and I generally position that V at just about 1/2 to 5/8 down from the top of the door.
    I've done a few batches of jerky right after pulling a shoulder or brisket thats been at 200-220 for 20 or more hours and haven't had any problems dropping the temp and holding at 160 within 10 or 15 minutes.

  • WessBWessB Posts: 6,937
    Citizen Q,
    either I misunderstood your post or you posted wrong...are you saying after 20 hours at 220° you can drop to 160° in 15 minutes...if so I would love to see that happen...the ceramic wont give up heat that fast..not meaning to be disrespectful...thats just a hard thing to imagine..[p]Wess

  • ravnhausravnhaus Posts: 311
    Cool racks! Look like expanded metal?

  • ChuckChuck Posts: 812
    ravnhaus, Correct, they are expanded aluminum. The cost me about $1.50 @ and are "disposable" although I get more than one use out of them. I get them at my local bge dealer and haven't seen them elsewhere. They work very well for jerky and I use them to smoke almonds and on also.[p]Chuck [p]
  • WessB,
    As long as it takes to wrap a brisket in foil, take a wizz and grab another beer is about as long as it takes to drop that temp. It took me a while to get it right, with the biggest obstacle being that little voice in my head that kept saying "You can't close those vents that much! You'll snuff out the fire you dope!" Ignore that voice, it's full of cucca.[p]I try to keep 200 degrees throughout my low and slows though, only bumping up to 220 to quicken an unusually slow cook, so it may just be that I've never actually dropped to 160 from 220 and that it would take a bit longer from that temp. But dropping the 40 degrees from 200 is old hat now, I've done it a half dozen times at least and as a matter of fact, it's actually been easier to drop the temp to 160 than it is to start a new fire and try to hold 160.[p]

  • sdbeltsdbelt Posts: 267
    Jamesw,[p]My last round of jerky, finally yielded as close to what I want as I think I'll ever get. I used my remote thermometer as the dome thermometer, and monitored the dome temp like a hawk the entire time. My max dome temp was 188, as I recall, but most of the cook was near 180. That's a tad higher than what I wanted (which was 175), but still in a good spot for jerky.[p]Anyway, here's my list of things to consider: [p]#1, as I mentioned was monitor that dome temp more closely than usual. [p]#2, is that with jerky, like ribs, you open the dome a fair amount, to flip and move the jerky around. Each time you open the dome, you are essentially fanning the fire. The first time you do that, is to load up the Egg with jerky, which takes quite a long time, and the fire below that seemed stabilized and good to go, is now out of control. Gotta get that back in control in hurry, and that means closing down those vents. Then, 1-2 hours later, you open the dome again to flip and rotate, and again, vent adjustments are going to be needed to re-stabilize. I found that after about 4 hours, the amount of vent adjustments finally began to minimize, and overall I didn't need to watch that dome temp so closely.[p]#3, is that you really can't ever hope to reduce the temp significantly, once a temp has been achieved. If you let it get to 200, before the temp is stabilized, or just as you are loading it with jerky, you are going to have a really, really tough time reducing the temp with fresh lump in there. It's easier with spent ash-laiden lump (as Nature boy notes), but fresh lump really, really wants to burn. So #3 is really as important as any of them.[p]#4, to avoid #2 and #3 creating a problem, I load my BGE up before the temp has stabilized. In my experience it takes too long to get the jerky on the grill, so after I pull my electric firestarter, to put the plater setter in, I immediately load the jerky. Dome temp is usually around 140 when I'm done loading it. But again, this is where you really need to watch it, because that dome temp is complete fiction (it's lower than actual grill temp). As the ceramics and everything come to temp, that dome temp is quickly going to rise, because in all likely hood, despite your best efforts, the fire below is already larger than you need.[p]#5, is to clamp down the vents. I've actually completely closed my bottom vent before. Somehow, air circulates in from the top, down to the fire, and exhausts back out the top. Bottom line, is that it's harder to completely kill the fire, when you've got fresh lump in there, than you'd at first think. Now, if you are able to avoid a spike up in temps, having the bottom vent the way you describe (just visible from the side), is the right answer, but only if you haven't accidentally overshot your mark, and are trying to bring it back down.[p]#6, I've never been successful, if it's hot outside. In the summer here in Phoenix my dome reads 150+ before I start the fire. My opinion is that if the dome reads above 100, before I start the fire, it's probably not a good time to try to make jerky in my BGE.[p]Good luck. Jerky took a great deal of patience for me, even though it was the #1 thing I wanted to make on my BGE...the #1 reason that I purchased it, and it was the last thing I was able to achieve a good result in cooking.[p]--sdb
  • sdbelt,[p]Hey, how do you monitor the Dome temps with another thermometer without having to open the vents too far? I also have a NU-701. I usually put it in through the slide-metal-top, through the daisy-wheel opening.[p]Anyway, that requires the holes to be open to a certain setting. Way too open for 160deg. About right for 250. [p]Anyway, how do you put your remote thermo in? Or are you saying you stick the remote thermo into the hole the regular thermo goes in? (I think it's too small)[p]Thanks,

  • sdbeltsdbelt Posts: 267
    Jamesw,[p]I remove the BGE thermometer and put the probe in that hole. I do this for ribs as well. My probe fits in that hole, though it is a tad tight. If yours doesn't fit, I'd think it would be safe to expand the hole via drilling, but that would certainly be a risk you'd have to examine for yourself. You might consider a bit designed for drilling ceramics, if it's something that you find is necessary.[p]--sdb[p]PS- My remote therm is a Redi-Check brand, which may explain why it works for me.
  • WessBWessB Posts: 6,937
    great advise and very well stated....Thanks..[p]Wess

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