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Here we go again....Lighting?

AuburneggerAuburnegger Posts: 127
edited 2:57AM in EggHead Forum
Can you guys walk me through initially lighting and then getting to certain temps...

1. Lid open til fire starts on coals or lid closed after lighting blocks are lit?

2. When to adjust bottom and top vents.

3. Do you start with the DFMT on when lighting or leave it off til temps start to climb?

4. Where do you have your vents for

Thanks...It would be a great idea if we could have something to mark on the egg for us rookies to hold temps... :blink:


  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    If you are using starter cubes, let them get going for a few minutes, then close the lid - be careful not to snuff them. Leave the daisy off for a few minutes longer to get a chimney effect going and to let the smoke from the starter clear. The bottom slider should also be fully open.

    The temp will rise from the flames of the starter, then will die down as the flames extinguish. This is when you want to set your vents. You can set them earlier if you want - just watch for the temps to rise and catch the temps on the way to your target, not after it is exceeded.

    225 - don't do it. Go for 250. Bottom draft door is open about the width of a nickel, daisy slider closed, petal open a toothpick width.

    350 - bottom slider open about 3/4", petals open, slider closed.

    450 - Bottom slider open about 1.25", daisy slider open most of the way.

    These are for a large. My medium acts differently. As always, wait for the nasty thick smoke to clear (about 20-30 minutes) before adding your food. Do not adjust the egg after you open it and add the food. Let it come back to the set temp on its own - it will - trust it.
  • Thanks. I just cannot seem to get this dialed in yet. It has only been 4 cooks but damn I feel like I am smarter than this! :angry:
  • crghc98crghc98 Posts: 1,006
    As stated above fight the urge to make adjustments once food is added, and also in my experience fight the urge to make micro adjustments. The egg holds moisture so well 15 degrees either side won't effect anything but cook time.
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    Set them and quit fiddling. The egg takes 20-30 minutes minimum to settle in after you adjust. If you make another change before you see the entire effect of the prior change you really don't know what you have done with either of them. This leads to "chasing the temps" throughout the cook.

    And only adjust one vent, not both. That will help you get over the learning curve more quickly. Before long you will light the egg, set your vents where you know you want them and know they should be, and come back in 30 minutes and be +/- 25* from your intended cooking temp.
  • Which vent do you like to adjust first when you need to increase the temp?
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    Depends. If I want to bump it/lower it 10 degrees I'll adjust the top.

    More than that and I slide the bottom.
  • Regarding...the nasty thick smoke to clear (about 20-30 minutes)...

    if you use starter cubes...its fine to let your fire get going pretty good before you close the lid (10-15 minutes with open lid)....

    I am able to get my fire going (15-20 minutes)...close the lid, and stablize temps without much gray smoke at all. When I do have it usually its only from grease burning off used lump (if I leave old lump in the cooker)

    To me this was the hardest thing to figure out as a newbie..but once I did its like second nature...

    You will get it with practice...
  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259
    A couple more ideas over what's been mentioned.

    Try lighting about a half a gallon of lump at the bottom of the fire box, let that get going into a fully involved mini-inferno, then add the lump necessary for your cook. I have been doing it this way for several weeks, and have found that dialing in temperature is easier and the fires burn more evenly.

    As for vents, I have used the following rule of thumb for many years, and it's never let me down. You always want more ventilation available at the top than you have at the bottom. This forces the fire to suck air into the box, but let's it escape freely. In the reverse situation (more circulation available at the bottom) the air and smoke in the dome tends to hang like a grey cloud and get sooty. Fidel's "nickel" sized slot at the bottom and "toothpick" opening on the daisy wheel is a perfect example. That's a lot more ventilation at the top than it is at the bottom. It is also just about exactly how mine would be set for a low and slow.
  • I was a Gas convert so I had quite a bit of frustration at first. Everyone here is very helpful though, so take what you can use and discard the rest for now. Through trial and error (after error, after error) I have found the following works well:

    Leave the dome open until the starters are completely burned up. (I switched methods and now use the papertowel/veg oil method exclusively)

    When the starters are burned up, close the dome. Leave DFMT off. Leave bottom draft door wide open. and watch the temp. If you are using a platesetter, put it in at this time.

    When you get within 50 degrees of target temp, set your dampers where you want them. this is hard if you don't know where that is. When my Egg was new, I experimented a bit and marked (in pencil)the bottom door where 300, 400 500 and 550 was.

    Having two temperature control variables is confusing and difficult. Therefore I do not use the DFMT for cooks over 350. Just leave it off. When you do use it, think of the bottom vent as the gross adjustment and the daisy on the DFMT as fine tuning (less than 10 degrees). I typically only use the DFMT for low and slows or higher temp cooks with smoke added (like a roast).

    As far as temp goes- Fidel is dead-nuts on re:250.
    with no DFMT, I find 350 to be about 1/4" open

    different Lump will burn differently with some burning hotter than others. Don't let this bother you. Temp control is more an art than a science.
  • Much of that is different from person to person.

    1. I usually leave the lid up when lighting. Unless the kids are outside, then I close the lid, take the top off and open the bottom wide open until it is going good.

    2. I adjust the bottome when the fire is lit and the temp is getting close to target. If you are ding an indirect cook, adding the platesetter at the end will drop the temps down. You will need to handle that differently.

    3. See #1 answer

    225 is hard to get. For me to get the large to 250, topy is closed except the whell it spun so the petals are open. The bottom is cracked about 1/8"

    350 would typically be another indirect cook. No suggestions from me, I usually don't do 350 indirect.

    450, again depends on indirect or direct.
  • Good point Fidel. The size of the egg really affects how open/close it needs to be for temps. My small needs the bottom to be further open to hit the same temp compared to my large settings.
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