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How to keep temp 200-250 degrees?

bhameggbhamegg Posts: 3
edited 5:07AM in EggHead Forum
Whats the trick to keeping temp in the 200-250 range? I have trouble getting temp below 300 afet lighting fire and catching. Any knowledge on this is greatly appreciated. Have butt on now, but temp was too high for the first two hours.


  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    if you are using starter cubes, use fewer of them. i use paper towel and a little oil. usually i use two, tonight (smoking some bratwurst) it was half of a single one.

    don't get concerned if themps are due to flames on the thermometer. once the flames die you'll see the "real" temp.

    in any case, when it is too hot, you just need to shut the vents more. if it is start-up, the ceramic won't be hot enough to keep it at 300 for very long. if you have been at 300 for an hour, yeah, you will need to wait a long while before it gives up its heat and drops.

    as long as it is open it is getting air. it's not reallypossible to snuff the fire by shutting the vents almost all the way. meaning, if you are at 300 but afraid to shut it more, just go ahead and shut it. it's simply getting too much oxygen
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • KokemanKokeman Posts: 819
    when i am doing a low and slow i just light one spot in the middle. when not using my digiQ i open the bottom about 1/4 inch and the daisy wheel just the slots open.
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    There are a lot of ways to light an egg. Personally I like to light in more than one place.

    Take a look at the link below to get an idea on vent settings.

  • tbonemactbonemac Posts: 69
    tonight I used 1 starter cube right in the middle. Let the fire get going and with the plate setter in the egg when I got towards 200 I started closing the vents to be able to hit and hold my mark. Right now my daisy wheel is closed and the petals are just barely cracked. The bottom vent is just barely open, credit card width. I am holding 220-235. I got (2) butts on the egg for about 5 hours now. I have also used the paper towell and oil method and it works good also.
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    If your dome thermometer is calibrated and you are not using a powered vent system, keep an eye on the temperature. 220° - 230° is pretty low on a large for an over night. That would put the grid temperature about 195­° to 205°

  • AnnaGAnnaG Posts: 1,104
    Guess I just got lucky... No dome therm (it bit the dust) but had grid temp of 200 for a long time (also had a maverick monitoring meat temp)... Bottom vent was a credit card and D/W about 1/4 open... Then I bumped things up....

    Did 1st butt direct, but not by choice... just forgot to put the p/s in... Still turned out great!!! :)

  • bhameggbhamegg Posts: 3
    Thanks for all of the repsonses. Obviously, I am new to the egg world. When you get it going for a low temp smoking cook, whats your process in getting fire started? Should it be diferrent than when coooking steaks or chicken? Typically, I put a few starter cubes in and let it get hot, then drop temp down...must be why I have trouble gettting temp down b/c it starts off so high.
  • bhameggbhamegg Posts: 3
    Thanks, sounds like I am letting it get too hot on startup
  • Bob VBob V Posts: 195
    Again need the stress the difference in how you make fires between an all-out leave 'em all open steak sear and a low and slow for pulled pork or the like. For the high temps you start from the bottom: light a double handful of coals, then fill and get it roaring. For low and slow, you pile in the charcoal and light just a few coals at the top, then let the fire burn down through the pile slowly. Elder Ward referenced in the recipe section describes that method best.

    Also, for low and slow you always want to creep up on your target temperature slowly. The Egg is a lot easier to heat up than to cool down.

    I started the fire for my pork shoulder last night around 10pm using the Elder Ward burn-from-the-top method. Lighted off 1/2 starter lump in top of pile with bottom half open and daisy wheel open "full daisy" petals. Waited about an hour until hickory smoke was billowing and temperature was at about 150, then put on the pork (registered 42 degrees at start). Closed down bottom to about a credit card, closed daisy to 1/4 petals. Went to bed.

    Woke up this morning with grill temp at 210 and pork at 140. Opened bottom slightly and boosted temp to 250.

    Start slow, finish only slightly faster. No worries!

    Bob V
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    there is no reason to let it get hot.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • New to the egg world and have had a devil of a time getting my low temps consistant on my first butt. This thread was a tremendous help. Got it locked and loaded now. Thanks to all for sharing.

    The swine is a Divine gift to be enjoyed by every man, woman and child.!/GBBQS

  • I am a smart ass......I just set my Stoker and forget it until I raise the lid to remove the meat
  • AdamdAdamd Posts: 160
    edited December 2012
    On my small I use 2 starter cubes, I then let it burn in a fire starter for a little bit then I pour the coals into the egg. I shut the dome and I don't use the top vent I just leave it wide open. I then just close the bottom vent almost all the way. Maybe it's open 1/4" and it usually always keeps it right at 250-275f without problem!!
  • Hello all, 
    I had a lot of these same problems starting out, so I just thought I'd share the solution I landed on. I tried stacking the largest lump I could get very carefully to ensure good air flow, but this left me with dirty hands and the same problems (temp too high and/or running out of lump). I tried building a pyramid and lighting in one or multiple spots, same result. 

    Now I'm using a chimney starter and two pieces of crumpled newspaper to get things lit. I let that run until the coals are all glowing orange and there are faint flames coming out of the top. I do this in the egg with the lid open and the bottom vent wide open. From there I pour in enough BGE lump to get just above the first seem and dump the chimney right on top. I mix the whole thing around a bit with a tool and/or welding gloves and add any wood lumps for smoke. I let the fire stoke with the lid open and the bottom vent wide open for 1-2 minutes, then shut the lid and adjust lower vent and daisy wheel to my ~250 settings (lower vent about a nickel's width open, daisy wheel vents about 1/3 open). Once temp starts to rise I adjust as needed for that cook. 

    I know the chimneys don't have a lot of fans around here, but it works great for me. Good luck and thanks for sharing, it's how we all learn and get better. 

    Cheers -
    Finally back in the Badger State!

    Middleton, WI
  • I have a Large Egg I think the trick is to light it in any method you choose....let the temp rise to 300 ...about 10-15 mins...then add placesetter and grill ( this will drop the temp a lot)...then dial back the bottom vent to 1/4 " and open Daisy wheel to only the little vents...the intial 300 is really only an internal air temp...the key is to dial the vents back after 10-15 mins...dont let the ceramic get to 300 or it will take quite a while to cool down...hope that makes sense...
  • Bhamegg, good question because I am new to the egg world and I was wondering the same thing.  Seems like I started off good but really overcooked some ribs yesterday.  :(
    But I DO LOVE MY EGG!!
  • j2lindsay said:
    Bhamegg, good question because I am new to the egg world and I was wondering the same thing.  Seems like I started off good but really overcooked some ribs yesterday.  :(
    But I DO LOVE MY EGG!!

    let's start you a new thread.This one is from 2009 and many of these guys don't hang out here anymore. Do you know how to do that? I'll be glad to help if you need it. It's a great question and we'll be glad to help you out.
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • cookinfuncookinfun Posts: 129
    Plus 1 on Cookinupnorth...I start the LGBEs using two fire starters, each cracked in half.  I found that the reduced flame from 1/2 cube, spread four places gets the egg to a controllable low temp cook.  Of course I let it settle in awhile, to burn off the nasties.  I used to use oil-paper towells, but I have grown lazy in my "old age".
    (2) LBGEs,  WSM, Vidalia Grill (gasser), Tailgater Grill (gasser)
  • MrCookingNurseMrCookingNurse Posts: 4,628
    Oh Fred???



  • cazzycazzy Posts: 9,058
    Holy old thread Batman! :-w
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • Old thread but still a burning question.   IMHO the most important factor in starting and maintaining a low temp i.e. 190 - 230 degrees F for 8 hrs or more is to start with a lower firebox cleared of small, marble sized, bits of lump that can clog the firebox plate.  One of the first rules ... clear the airway ... and keep it clear.  
  • Haven't read all of the comments above (and also note that this is an old thread), but try a water pan. For me, it has worked wonders in stabilizing low temps. 
  • ToxarchToxarch Posts: 1,658
    Hook up the Stoker.

    Aledo, Texas
    Large BGE
    KJ Jr.

    Exodus 12:9 KJV
    Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.

  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,247
    I would guess the OP is long beyond this issue in the 8 years since posting.  May have served up the BGE for cheap if the issue was never resolved.
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • SGHSGH Posts: 23,997
    A 8 year old thread and not a single person has mentioned anus. What a shame. 

    Location- Just "this side" of Biloxi, Ms.

    Status- Standing by.

    Arsenal-Just a small wore out and broken down Weber kettle. No other means to cook at all.
    Virtus Junxit Mors Non Separabit
    The greatest barrier against all wisdom, the stronghold against knowledge itself, is the single thought in ones mind, that they already have it all figured out. 
  • TheophanTheophan Posts: 1,953
    Old thread but still a burning question....
    I don't think so.  The only burning question is WHY keep a Big Green Egg's temp 200-250 degrees?

    There's a HUGE difference between a small but still briskly burning wood fire going at a decent rate in a stick burner that winds up only heating a different chamber to 200° or so, and a fire in the BGE that has been starved so desperately of air that it's only heating the Egg (the same chamber!) to 200° or so.  The fire Aaron Franklin has going for a 200°-225° smoke is a briskly and clean-burning, NON-smoldering fire!  To keep an Egg that cool means a tiny and rather smoldering, air-starved fire.  Totally different situation.

    My BGEs just perform better, and I get better smoke and better smoke flavor when the temperature is 250°-275° or even hotter.
  • ToxarchToxarch Posts: 1,658
    Every stick burner fire is vent controlled to control temperature. If you are smoking on a stick burner at 200-225, you either have very very little wood on the fire or you are choking down the fire, I don't care what your name is.
    Aledo, Texas
    Large BGE
    KJ Jr.

    Exodus 12:9 KJV
    Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.

  • TeefusTeefus Posts: 531
    8 year old necropost. Can't resist responding....

    If I'm doing a low temp cook at 200 to 250 (smoking salmon for example) I start with a small well established pile of burning lump in the immediate proximity of the air inlet. I pour lump in the rest of the firebox along with any hunks of wood and close the Egg. I adjust the airflow to get me to 300 degrees to bake off any nasties from the lump. When the smoke goes from white to transparent blue I throttle it back, with the intake and the daisy wheel just cracked. Opening the egg to add the fish unloads all the heat. Once it's closed back up it rises to the target temp and burns like a candle for hours.
    Michiana, South of the border.
  • WDE86WDE86 Posts: 69
    I find it easiest to stay low when I've completely cleaned the egg out, raked and vacuumed all ash, cleared all air holes, and then pour a good half-fire box of lump around my electric starter just like this one.

    I start that with the lid open and the bottom vent wide open and once I've got a good "pocket" of coals about the size of my fist, I pour lump until I'm even with the bottom of the fire ring and remove the electric starter. 

    Once the starter is removed, I insert my plate setter and water pan, close bottom vent to halfway, and leave my daisy wheel slid all the way open until my temperature begins to rise on the dome thermo. Once that happens, I slide the daisy wheel closed and start adjusting the vents there as well as the lower vent until I "lock in" my desired temp. 

    It isn't super difficult. It just takes practice and having a little familiarity with your grill. Practice makes perfect. It can seem a bit complicated until you've run through this a couple of times but it will quickly become second nature. I blew well past my target temp a few times before nailing my "process" for dialing in my egg. Don't get discouraged. 
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