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Newbie to the Egg world & forum has some questions...

First off, would like to say hello! I'm a recent convert to the BGE's (less than 2 weeks) & know that once I get over the learning curve, will love it like the rest of you. Tried a couple of things on it last w/e wings & ribs. Cooked the wings on direct (I'm thinking it was a mistake, esp since I'm still in the head scratching stage of trying to figure out the whole vent system) and ruined 1/4 of them. Put the plate setter in the day after & tried low n slow on the baby backs which turned out much better than the wings. Can someone give me an "idea" how far off I need to shut the vents to obtain around 225 temp?...Y'all forgive me, like I said, I'm new to the whole BGE world...I "thought" I had snuffed out the fire b/c I had the vents shut off too much, but the temp's would not come down. I know it takes a while for them to cool off, but I had waited as long as I could & the temp was still hovering around 300 when I put the ribs on & just estimated my cook time. At any rate, again, my 1st question is, what is a estimation on how to obtain 225 & my other question is, once the lump is lit, how do you keep the temp from hitting in the 500 + range when you close the dome, or is that just something you live with & have to wait for it to cool down some?

Thanks in advance, looking forward to getting to know those on the board & learning what you seasoned pro's will share with me :)

MadDawg

Comments

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 21,405
    Welcome, MadDAWG.

    Nothing wrong with doing wings direct.  I did some that way tonight - raised grid.

    If you're shooting for low temps, you don't need much burning lump.  Sounds like you're starting a big fire, then closing the lid and trying to cool down the egg.

    Try lighting just the center area on top of your lump pile.  Close the lid with the vents open, watch the temp start crawling up as the fire starts.  Once you're near your set point, close the bottom vent to about 1/4-1/8" open, and the top about 1/4"-1/2" open.  Let it stabilize and adjust just the bottom vent. (or just the top - you only need one vent to control the temp, two can be confusing)  Don't chase temps, let it stabilize.  Have a perfect temps isn't that important.

    Getting the egg stable at 225F can be tough.  You need a good little fire and smaller lump sizes.  Most people cook low and slows at 250-300F. 

    Anyway, don't light a giant fire, just a small spot on top in the center for low temp cooking.

    Anyway, have fun and good luck!
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe 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 

  • brewbqbrewbq Posts: 52
    I'm still pretty new to this as well, only been egging for a few months now.  I do feel pretty darn comfortable with the process though, it really doesn't take long.  A few more weeks and you'll have it down.  For me, to hit 225 I usually have the lower vent open only about a 1/4 inch and the daisy wheel is almost completely shut.  The vent holes are only open a millimeter at most.  The important thing is to leave everything open until you get to about 175-200, then close it all down to where it needs to be to end up.  If you wait until it is too hot, you'll have a heck of a time getting it to cool.  Sometimes, when I have a lot of time, I'll let my starter cube light a few coals and then shut it down.  The air you are allowing in (at the above settings) should be just enough to let the fire grow to the desired temp, but it does take a while (like an hour or more).  I'd recommend keeping everything wide open once you have some coals lit (and remember, you don't need to light them all, just a bit in the middle) until you get close to your target temp, then close everything down to where it should be.  You could also do some dry runs (without food) for practice, just trying to hit target temps.  For the most part, if you can hit around 225-250 and 350-400, you can cook just about anything (there are hotter temps, but you just let 'er rip for those).  Good luck, have fun and remember, you'll get the hang of this.  Everyone starts somewhere and you'll be a pro in no time.
  • U_tardedU_tarded Posts: 1,434
    I came across this thread a few months ago and it has been the most helpful visual I have seen. It same me a lot of time chasing the temp. It's amazing how much difference a small adjustment can make. Here is the link http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/746823/vent-settings-a-visual-guide/p1
  • allsidallsid Posts: 492
    I am by no means an ambassador to the group, but welcome to the club.  I considered myself a decent cook and grill aficionado pre egg, but was quickly humbled by both the nuances and techniques involved in showcasing a meal from the egg.  This and other forums as well as blogs became invaluable recourses for me to build upon my skills and take outdoor cooking to a new level that I had never anticipated.  At first, I would do multiple searches to find out techniques on the simplest of things like lighting the egg.  I still do the searches, but am and become more confident with every cook.  You will too-

    My two cents toward your question(s) regarding temperature would be for you to remember your vessel.  It is thick walled ceramic, and you need to get the thing stabilized at a temperature, near, or close to where you want to cook.  This evening I wanted to cook chicken thighs (pics to follow) that were pretty much frozen.  It was cold, and wet here with snow on the ground.  I lit my lump twice before it got going, and found my egg at over 600 and climbing.  I shut it completely down, seasoned the chix and 5 min later, it was stable @ 350.  110 min later cooked direct & raised on a half moon the chix was fantastic.  

    I have fought and fought with how to make things delicious on the egg, but seem to come back time and time again to the concept of stabilizing your heat as best as you can.  Ideally, I do my chix on the bone between 250 & 275 for an hour with cherry wood as an accent and call it good.  

    Regardless, keep cooking!  Do burgers, dogs, simple things, but go for it.  Your skills and technique will evolve with perseverance, trust me.  Just do it with a smile, and it will all be worth while-  Good luck!

    Proud resident of Missoula, MT
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  • jlsmjlsm Posts: 937
    When I started 1 1/2 years ago, I was obsessed with "how wide should I set the vent and DW." I wondered why folks didn't specify in the cooks. The reason? It varies. You will find what generally works for you after a few cooks. My egg is in an area that gets no wind, so my settings might be wider than those for someone in a more open area. In the winter, the temps go down to 0, and I need to keep the bottom vent open wider  to compensate.

    The key to coming up with consistent settings is keeping the ash clear and making sure your grate holes aren't clogged. That way, you start with a given. I highly recommend getting the High-Que grate for consistent air flow. 

    I know it's frustrating. But in a month or so you'll move beyond it. 
    *******
    Owner of a large and a beloved mini in Philadelphia
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,617
    That's one thing I've learned.. 250 is much easier and works just as good as 225. Welcome and have fun.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
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