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Maintaining temps

newbynewby Posts: 9
edited April 2012 in EggHead Forum
I will admit right off the bat that I'm usually a short term cooker on my BGE, hamburgers or steak for dinner which don't take a lot of finesse with the temp. But occasionally I like ribs or pork butt or would really like to try a brisket but struggle with the temp control. On advice from this forum, I invested in a digital thermometer to get a true reading on my heat and found my BGE thermometer was off about 25 degrees. I cooked a pork butt last week, got the temp to 280, by fiddling with both the top and bottom vets got it to hold for about an hour, HORRAY!! Then the temps started dropping, more messing, back up, over 280, messing, down, up, down, up down. How in the world do you guys get it to keep the same temp for hours? What am I doing wrong?? I put a new gasket on, I make sure the bottom holes are clear and I filled the firebox about half way up the second ring to have enough coals. What am I don't wrong??

Comments

  • Hi54puttyHi54putty Posts: 1,258
    One mistake I made the first few low cooks was to not give the Egg time to settle in on a temp. I learned here that I was "chasing temps" which is a very good explanation. I would suggest giving it more time to adjust and then stabilize and only make adjustments every hour or so. Butt is very forgiving and you can afford to make the slow incremental adjustments without messing it up.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,009
    Adjusting the temperature too much. Same thing I did for about 6 months. If you get to within 10 degrees +/- on lo-n-slo, you are fine. Expect a small amount of temperature creep, and if making an adjustment, move the vents in no more than 1/8"  increments, and let sit for at least 1/2 hour. If I'm looking for 250, I don't bother till it is 270, or 230.

    Don't freak if you find the temp at 200 or 300 for awhile. It just means the cook will be longer or slower.

    On a long cooks, like for a butt or brisket, the vents often need to be almost completely closed after 8 hours.
  • dlk7dlk7 Posts: 963
    For low and slow I use a DigiQ DX2 on my BGE XL.  Set it and forget it.  A bit pricey but controls pit temp within a degree or two and monitors food temp.  I hear BBQ Guru is coming out with a WiFi model soon.

    Two XL BGEs - So Happy!!!!

    Rudderville, TN

  • Jameson19Jameson19 Posts: 71
    One mistake I made the first few low cooks was to not give the Egg time to settle in on a temp. I learned here that I was "chasing temps" which is a very good explanation. I would suggest giving it more time to adjust and then stabilize and only make adjustments every hour or so. Butt is very forgiving and you can afford to make the slow incremental adjustments without messing it up.
    +1 on this. It's my opinion this is the most important part about firing up my egg. When I do this correctly (depends on my attention level, how many people are over, and the beer consumption), I have more success. I learned on a Weber Smokey Mountain which requires much more babysitting than an egg, making the learning curve on the egg that much harder. Now I set it and go do whatever with peace of mind. 
    Large BGE in Vegas
  • twlangantwlangan Posts: 283
    I calibrated my thermometer before I installed it on my new Egg and found it was off by 10 deg.

    I did a low and slow 6 hr cook today on spare ribs. 250 deg for 6 hrs. I'm an Egg newbie and learned already that the daisy wheel is the key to making small adjustments. It was 48F outside and wind blowing like crazy - and I was able to hold 250F dome to within about 5 deg either way through the whole cook. Bottom vent was only about 1/8" open and daisy wheel about 50% open. I checked on it about every 30 min and only made about 1/16" adjustments to the daisy wheel at a time. I am very impressed at how stable the Egg is on low temp cooks. My old electric tin smoker - what a joke! If I farted toward that thing it would lose 10 deg - and I wouldn't have even considered using it on a day like today.

    I also had better luck (and speed) getting to a stable temp by leaving the dome open longer after lighting the lump. On a previous low heat cook, I closed the dome very soon after getting the lump lit and it took awhile for the smoke to clear and hold a temp. Today, I let a good glow get started before closing the dome and shutting down the bottom vent and it only took about 10 min and a couple of adjustments to get a stable temp. I think the higher initial heat output sped up the process of warming the ceramic up and most of the nasty was already burned off the lump making for a clean burn quicker.
  • I calibrated my thermometer before I installed it on my new Egg and found it was off by 10 deg.

    I did a low and slow 6 hr cook today on spare ribs. 250 deg for 6 hrs. I'm an Egg newbie and learned already that the daisy wheel is the key to making small adjustments. It was 48F outside and wind blowing like crazy - and I was able to hold 250F dome to within about 5 deg either way through the whole cook. Bottom vent was only about 1/8" open and daisy wheel about 50% open. I checked on it about every 30 min and only made about 1/16" adjustments to the daisy wheel at a time. I am very impressed at how stable the Egg is on low temp cooks. My old electric tin smoker - what a joke! If I farted toward that thing it would lose 10 deg - and I wouldn't have even considered using it on a day like today.

    I also had better luck (and speed) getting to a stable temp by leaving the dome open longer after lighting the lump. On a previous low heat cook, I closed the dome very soon after getting the lump lit and it took awhile for the smoke to clear and hold a temp. Today, I let a good glow get started before closing the dome and shutting down the bottom vent and it only took about 10 min and a couple of adjustments to get a stable temp. I think the higher initial heat output sped up the process of warming the ceramic up and most of the nasty was already burned off the lump making for a clean burn quicker.
    you got it.

  • newbynewby Posts: 9
    Thanks for all the advise and personal stories. I tend to leave both vents wide open until I'm up to cooking temp and then start adjusting. I will perservere! The Butt was excellent anyway, yes, it is forgiving. Thanks all.
  • TaterTater Posts: 16
    I will side with DLK7 here...DigiQ DX2 rocks and make cooking much more enjoyable when your not fighting the temp battle....All turns out great in the end but DigiQ does it with a lot less baby sitting!
    Always having fun with the BGE!
  • boatbumboatbum Posts: 1,261

    Just make sure you dont blur the automated temp controllers with the non automaked.   Different approaches.

    My experience is without the automated ( stokers, etc ).

    As mentioned above by Hi54Putty -- make sure you allow enough time for establishing a stabilized temp before you start the cook.   When doing low and slow - there are times I wait for 1+ hours before I put the meat on.   I kinda know what the vent settings should be - but temp, humidity, wind direction and amount, all can cause variance.

    After the fire is built - My experience is investing some time in finding the settings for that day, stabilizing - means I spend less time worring with adjustments through out the long cook.

     

    Cookin in Texas
  • asfishasfish Posts: 25
    edited April 2012

     

    I've done 2
    or 3 slow cooks now; I use the BGE digital thermometer, I’m starting to see
    that there is not a big need to worry about the egg temperature that much when
    slow cooking.

    The thermometer
    I use has a probe for meat and for the BGE, so I focus more on the meat temperature
    whilst keeping an eye out the egg temp and adjusting it every hour or so. The
    first cook I did I was obsessing and fiddling with the vents on the BGE every
    15 minutes.


    Other thing
    I learnt is that the egg is not a domestic oven, in that you can just chuck charcoal
    in and have the ideal temperature in 15 minutes

  • Just make sure you dont blur the automated temp controllers with the non automaked.   Different approaches.

    My experience is without the automated ( stokers, etc ).

    As mentioned above by Hi54Putty -- make sure you allow enough time for establishing a stabilized temp before you start the cook.   When doing low and slow - there are times I wait for 1+ hours before I put the meat on.   I kinda know what the vent settings should be - but temp, humidity, wind direction and amount, all can cause variance.

    After the fire is built - My experience is investing some time in finding the settings for that day, stabilizing - means I spend less time worring with adjustments through out the long cook.

     

    Yep.

  • TaterTater Posts: 16
    I will side with DLK7 here...DigiQ DX2 rocks and make cooking much more enjoyable when your not fighting the temp battle....All turns out great in the end but DigiQ does it with a lot less baby sitting!
    Always having fun with the BGE!
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