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Having trouble regulating temperature

lwjrlwjr Posts: 4
edited October 2012 in Beef
I am having serious problems controlling my temperature when trying to smoke a brisket. What is the best way to start the fire and bring it up to the required cooking temperature (225-250) and then maintaining. I am always adjusting the vents. My range has been 200- 300 degrees. Thanks.

Comments

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 24,166
    edited October 2012
    Clean out the ash then fill with lump up to the top of the fire ring.  Make the top a pyramid and light it in the center. Leave the bottom damper fully open and the DW off or opened all the way.  

    Monitor the dome temp.  When it's at your target temperature, take a peek at the fire and make sure it looks like it's centered and well established.  Close the daisy wheel and bottom damper to about 1/4".  

    Let it stabilize, see where the temp levels out after 15 minutes or so.  Don't micromanage the dampers and DW.  It takes a long time for any adjustment to reflect in the dome temperature.  If it's stabilizes hotter than you like, make no more than 1/8"  close to the damper and DW.  Once the smoke clears and smells good, start cooking and you can make another couple of adjustments over the next couple of hours.  

    It takes much longer to reduce the temp, so it's always better to not overshoot your temperature.  There will be a human tendency to over-compensate closing the damper/DW to cool it down faster.  That's a trap - you can choke off your fire.  Running a little hot is fine, the temperature is not that critical at any given point.

    What will work against you is starting all the lump at the beginning.  If you do that, you create a situation where the fire will go ape-sh*t when you open the lid.  You just need a pound or so of lump started and burning to maintain low and slow temps.  Also, don't open the lid unnecessarily when you're trying to find a stabile temp.  
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  • lwjrlwjr Posts: 4
    Thank you!
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 24,166
    edited October 2012
    Also, not sure if I was clear on where to light it....light the top of the pyramid.  Some people light in a few spots, I just light a 3" or so diameter in the top center.  The fire likes to burn down.   If you light from the bottom, I find the heat and hot gasses that percolate through the un-lit lump give you more nasty smoke. 

    You might find your final damper position is under 1/8" - almost closed. Depends on ambient temp, how much heat load you have in the egg, humidity, etc.   You can regulate finer using just the DW or the damper.  You just want the other to be in the ball park. 


    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • MaskedMarvelMaskedMarvel Posts: 1,708
    I think cleaning the Egg before a low and slow really helps. I try to stack the biggest lump pieces on the bottom as well - trying to allow as much air through as I can. Pile small stuff on top.

    Also- what helped me really get around the temp control thing was getting a six pack and a bag of lump and doing a dry burn. Testing how long it took to get up to temp. Testing how it reacted to adding the plate setter. Testing how different settings meant different temps and what subtle changes would do. I found it very valuable and worth the lump. If I recall, I think I finished that off with some spatchcocked chickens. Yum!

    Fiddling with the Egg during a cook burn will have your temps all over the place. Especially if you open the dome. Trust the Egg to do what it does best. Learn those subtleties. And once you grab the temp control thing you'll be amazed at how effective the Egg really is!
    Large BGE and Medium BGE
    36" Blackstone - Greensboro!


  • MaskedMarvelMaskedMarvel Posts: 1,708
    For low and slows I start my fire much like Nola described and get the lump going. When I'm certain it won't go out I shut the Egg down to where I know my ballpark target temp settings are. The Egg slowly heats up to that temp. I add the PS and water bath. Restabilize. I shouldn't have to adjust settings much. And then add the meat. Again I shouldn't have to adjust the settings much. The Egg uses the amount of air going through it to determine the temperature. Leave those settings alone.
    Large BGE and Medium BGE
    36" Blackstone - Greensboro!


  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 8,241
    I agree with NOLA, start the fire on the top, for anyone using an electric starter, the tendency is to bury it, leave it on the top of the pile with only a few pieces over the coil. Something learned on this forum is good smoke fire likes to burn down, nasty smoke fire likes to burn up. 
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