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Another Newbie Needing Advice, Temp Control

gfavorgfavor Posts: 57
edited June 2012 in EggHead Forum

Today I’m
going to attempt to cook at 250-275 on my large BGE.  I’ve done a lot of reading on the forum but I
want to reach out to the experienced-ones to be sure I’m thinking correctly.  I understand my goal is to start with a low
temp and work up to "equilibrium temp" of 250ish.   

So here’s
my plan … sorry to be so wordy but I want to be sure I’m on the right track.

Open the lid. Be sure all holes are clear and the ashtray is empty. Fill the egg with fresh
lump coal; it’s BGE coal.  Be sure the electric
lighter is half way into the pile of coals. 
Have the Damper and DFMT wide open to get good air flow.  Light the coals with the electric starter (for
about 6-7 minutes).  Remove lighter and
let the coals get nice and hot throughout, it should take 5-10 minutes; having
flames are ok.  When the coals are good
and hot close the Damper to about 1/8-inch (a very small damper opening) and close
the DFMT to a small hole. The purpose it to allow very little air flow but
don’t smother the fire. Close the lid And wait …..

I’m
hoping the dome temp will rise slowly.  When
the temp gets within 50-degrees of my goal close the damper a bit more and
hopefully it will stop at my goal of 250-275. 
I should be very very patient and not panic if the temp shoots up to
400+.  Just leave the Egg alone for a
while and see what happens with the dome temp. 
It’s very important to let the Egg’s temp equalize on its own; without
me messing with it. So above all do not open the lid during this wait time
because that much air the raise the dome temp then everything will be out of
control. Once the temp is equalized I can open the lid for a short time and
close it; the temp should return its equalized dome temp.

So am I
generally on the right track? 

Question:
Should I let the coals get good and hot OR should I just close the lid right
after I remove the electric starter and the fire will spread on it own (it
won’t go out)?

Comments

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    edited June 2012
    "coals get nice and hot throughout" means it will overshoot.

    when the electric starter has done its job, shut the thing and set vents
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • gfavorgfavor Posts: 57
    Thanks Stike, that part was bugging me, I really appreciate it.
     
  • "coals get nice and hot throughout" means it will overshoot.

    when the electric starter has done its job, shut the thing and set vents
    I do it that way and it does not overshoot (or it comes back down within minutes if it does) BUT Stike is right in the sense that it is easier to overshoot. If you aren't really comfortable with temps, it's better to keep it under control and creep it up instead of chasing back down.  I like a fully lit bed for my low and slow, but I'm in the minority here. I sure do sleep good though :)



  • gfavorgfavor Posts: 57
    Yep I believe (Cen-Tex Smoker) I remember reading your past responses on this topic.  Seems like there's many ways of getting to that equilibrium temp.
  • MikeP624MikeP624 Posts: 292

    Once the coals are lit and going for a bit i put in the plate setter and cooking surface and then shut the lid with the bottom vent open about 2 inches and the daisy wheel on with the holes fully open.  I give it a few minute to see where i am at and adjust accordingly from there.  If you start with the bottom vent only open an 1/8" it might take a long time to get that much mass up to 250 or 275. 

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    C-T.  if you have a truly fully- lit bed of coals, isn't it raging? like wok-level temps?

    i'm asking seriously, hope you don't read any wise-assery into that.
    i have just found that a 250 is a small fire, and so if i had a fully involved bed of lump, i'd be searing stuff
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • C-T.  if you have a truly fully- lit bed of coals, isn't it raging? like wok-level temps?

    i'm asking seriously, hope you don't read any wise-assery into that.
    i have just found that a 250 is a small fire, and so if i had a fully involved bed of lump, i'd be searing stuff
    It's hot for sure. I let it go for maybe 15-20 minutes but as soon as I shut the lid and choke it down, it settles right in. It's at 250 within minutes. I guess since the dome is open, it does not heat up the ceramic so it's very easy to get it down very quickly. It's probably overkill but I had a bunch of fires go out when i was learning and I could tell it wasn't creeping the way it should. I figured if it was all lit, it would not need to creep. I've never had a fire go out since (6 +years) so I just keep doing it that way.

    I don't put the platesetter in until the fire is choked down and behaving. I put it in with the cook.

    I will say this, it is probably overkill and wastes a little more lump, but it makes for a rock solid fire that will smolder for days without any tending. 





  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    if you can bear with this a sec:  i would think that in choking back the fire, you risk a more unstable one.  now, that's obviously not true if you have rock solid fires. but i cant help but think that with a small fire, it is condensed and exactly the size it needs to be to sustain 250.  but spread out, i wonder how the fire 'knows' where to coalesce. i.e.: ....which parts of the much larger bed of lump need to go out and what parts keep burning.

    just can't get my head around it.

    but if it works, it works


    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • if you can bear with this a sec:  i would think that in choking back the fire, you risk a more unstable one.  now, that's obviously not true if you have rock solid fires. but i cant help but think that with a small fire, it is condensed and exactly the size it needs to be to sustain 250.  but spread out, i wonder how the fire 'knows' where to coalesce. i.e.: ....which parts of the much larger bed of lump need to go out and what parts keep burning.

    just can't get my head around it.

    but if it works, it works


    I'm wide open to hearing about it. I made this up all by myself so I don't give a lot of credence to it

    It does work though. Like a champ. I'll try the small fire thing again next time and see the diff and report back. If my fire goes out and I'm hungover because I didn't get my beauty rest, I'm coming after you :))



  • Phoenix824Phoenix824 Posts: 243

    gflavor - temp should not shoot to 400 if you only have open 1/8 of an inch.    During the lighting process it may but if you are using the plate setter if should drop to 200 or under as soon as you get the plate setter in.     I like to work my way up from 200 or under.     I would rather work half an hour to an hour to get the temp up to where I want it and then work down 25 degrees if I overshoot.    If I was at 400 with the plate setter in I would be worried but like I said at an 1/8" you should not get there.     

    Steve
    Van Wert, Ohio
    XL BGE
  • Stike- this is pretty much what it looks like (maybe even a little hotter) before I shut down. Not wok temps but i bury the starter in there so it's burning pretty good.
    Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    atsa decent bed of coals, mang.  how much lump do you go thru every month?

    still, not as much as i thought you were doing. like you said too, dome open you aren't getting the ceramics jetting hot either. so when you shut it and add the cold meat, probably takes it from a 400 fire to the 250.


    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • FlamethrowerFlamethrower Posts: 493
    I guess I do mine a little different. I fill up the bowl to the fire ring,Place my electric starter in the middle and buried for bout 7-10 min. and pull it. Top and bottom vents wide open. If doing an Indirect with the platesetter and a pan with water,I place them all on and get everything up to my target temp prior to putting my food on the grill. bout 50 drgrees to target temp,I start shutting the vents to the area where I know the temp. is.
    LET'S EAT
  • atsa decent bed of coals, mang.  how much lump do you go thru every month?

    still, not as much as i thought you were doing. like you said too, dome open you aren't getting the ceramics jetting hot either. so when you shut it and add the cold meat, probably takes it from a 400 fire to the 250.


    I go through some lump. that's why I buy the cheap stuff. I don't even add the meat until its down to 250. 5-10 min max. 



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