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Help with keeping temp low

dlosapiodlosapio Posts: 10
Hello all, 

I've been an egg owner for about a year now. I've probably smoked about 10 pork butts, several racks of ribs, etc. but a problem I have is that the temp slowly rises during the cook. I've searched the forum but have seen the same answers: 
   -let the temp come up because it's harder to cool off once it passes your mark.
   -close the vents to 1/4" or less.

Here's the problem for me; I start low and it just keeps climbing over time, and I've shut the vents to where they're almost closed, yet the temp just keeps rising. I've opened the egg to mist while cooking and the temp drops to 125 or so, then again it climbs past my 225 target. 

Any suggestions? Maybe unwanted air is coming in and the gasket needs to be replaced? It looks to be in good shape but I can't really think of anything else. I use one of the fire starter cubes so I wouldn't think the fire is too big.

It doesn't ruin the cook but I would like to keep it low and slow if possible. Thanks for the help.

Dan

Comments

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,159
    edited April 2013
    I don't have any gaskets and my domes should be re-aligned. I can hold 200* with no problems. What you have to understand is limiting the air flow. @ 250* the lower vent is open about the width of a quarter and the daisy less than 1/4 of the max. Nothing happens instantly with these things(except flashback) Make small adjustments and wait. When you first light the egg establish a fire with the dome open, close the dome and set to your target temp. Stir unused lump thoroughly before you add lump and clean the egg completely every 30 or so uses or if the ash completely fills under the firegrate.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • JMSetzlerJMSetzler Posts: 75
    dlosapio said:
    I've opened the egg to mist while cooking and the temp drops to 125 or so, then again it climbs past my 225 target.

    Dan
    If you can avoid too much of this your problem will subside.  The influx of air when you open the lid to mist is stoking your fire.  If you have to do this, one thing you can do is close down the vents completely for 5-7 minutes before and after you open the lid.  This will help minimize the growth of the fire when you do open the lid. 
  • dlosapiodlosapio Posts: 10
    Thanks for the comments guys. JM, I've misted only the ribs, so I think that is only part of the problem. With my pork cooks I'll only open it maybe once during an 8-12 hour cook to get readings from the thermopen. I didn't think about that stoking the fire but it makes sense, I guess I was just thinking it was cooling out the dome a bit. Little Steven, what I meant to say is that even with the upper and lower vents closed about as tight as possible without closing them entirely, I'm still getting temps that rise to 250-275. I don't know how to let any less air in. And I'm not being impatient with it either. Here's kind of how it goes:

    I light the fire with the top open and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
    I add the platesetter and shut the top, adjust the vents (keeping them near-closed) and let it come up to around 200-225.
    I add the meat and the temp is great for a while, maybe an hour or two. 
    Then the temp starts rising, and there is no way to shut the vents any more without closing them entirely and putting out the fire. 
    I am pretty anal about cleaning out the firebox regularly and I have upgraded the lower ceramic grate to the High Que steel grate, so airflow should be fine, but I guess my problem is too much airflow anyway. I'm not really sure how to get it any cooler. 
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,159
    When you add meat the temp should drop some, depending on the mass. As the meat warms the egg temp rises also. Do you have a good digital thermometer? I would pull out the dome thermo and insert your digital probe through the hole and see if you are reading accurately with the dome thermo. (I don't believe the boiling water test is all that accurate). If your vents are nearly closed and you don't have a gaping hole somewhere it doesn't make sense.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 4,872
    LS-beat me to it-but check for a good dome to base seal as well.  Physics says you have got to be getting excess air to the fire for the temps to keep climbing.  However, you do mention it plateaus in the 250-275*F range.  Have you noticed excessive cool-down times and lump usage after shutting the lower vent and installing the ceramic cover following a cook...Running out of ideas-good luck.
    Louisville
  • dlosapiodlosapio Posts: 10
    I have a Maverick ET-732 so I have a probe in the meat and one grate-level. That's what I usually go by as it varies with the dome thermometer. Maybe I should check the back of the egg and make sure someone didn't drill a hole in it or something. I did buy a demo'ed egg! ;)
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,199
    Do the "dollar" test on the gasket, i.e., will a piece of paper be held snugly everywhere around the rim? A couple of times, I've had a very small gap at the back by the hinge assembly, and that screwed up temp control some.

    Otherwise, let the Egg get dirtier. At least once a year I have to take everything out of my Eggs, and clean away all the ash, bits of lump, and gunk that have accumulated around the fire pot. I do that because I can't get the temp up to 250F dome w/o opening the bottom vent to at least 1/4". When everything is good and clean, including an uncrusty daisy, I often will have to close the vents to cracks to hold down to 250F.
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,159
    edited April 2013
    I agree woth Lousubcap. As I said in my first reply though, my domes are not aligned properly and smoke pours out between the dome and the base but it doessn't interfere with my low temp cooks. Hmmm. maybe I should check my thermos :-?

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • dlosapiodlosapio Posts: 10
    Great, thanks all! I'll do the dollar test when I get home. I'm a bit apprehensive about messing with the hinge assembly but I'm sure there are some good resources on this site to guide me along. I appreciate the advice.
  • I've found that lighting lump in more than one spot can cause the fire to get too large.  On low cooks, I only light in the center and seem to have a more controllable burn.
    Brighton, IL (North East of St. Louis, MO)
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,159
    gdenby makes a valid point. I am far from anal about cleaning the egg. That and the HiQ grate might be the issue.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • carter422carter422 Posts: 58
    I love my Hi-Que grate for anything 350 or over.  Anything low and slow I will go back to the stock grate.  Easier to make a small fire bigger than a big fire smaller.
  • You need to let the temp get above the desired point and then snuff it down by closing the vents. If I want 250, I might need to get to 325-350 and then close it down. For low temps, both the daisy wheel and the lower vent are nearly closed. 

    Of course, I don't really do that anymore. I get it up to 325, attach the DigiQ to the lower vent, close the daisy wheel to a slit, and walk away. Then I prepare food and come back at least 30 min later. I do that for temps up to 350. For higher temps, I go manual.
  • tazcrashtazcrash Posts: 1,747
    Just to add to the stats. I have a large, with a High-Q. When I want low and slow, I close the bottom to the width of a coin slot. 
    Just remember if you have a solid steady temp, and then you add food, or platesetter or AR stone, that will make the dome temp drop. 
    Resist the urge to chase it. It will come back. 
    Bx - > NJ ->TX!!! 
    All to get cheaper brisket! 
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,159
    edited April 2013
    I think his problem is the Hi Q grate. I've heard this before

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • henapplehenapple Posts: 10,842
    is 225 your dome temp. i low and slow at 250-275
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • tazcrashtazcrash Posts: 1,747
    One other thing I will say is that my egg's low and slow sweet spot is closer to @henapple's. 

    I don't fight it, I work with it. 

    Is there a reason you want\need the temps that low?  
    Bx - > NJ ->TX!!! 
    All to get cheaper brisket! 
  • MowgliMowgli Posts: 34
    For low and slow I just use this
    I never ever have to check the temp or worry about it anymore.
    It holds it steady +-2 degrees celcius
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 5,291
    It may be useful to take a look around your draft door (the intake at the bottom of the base). If that is not sealed well, it may be letting air in to feed the fire. If your egg doesn't take too long to cool and you are able to snuff your fire out in a reasonable amount of time after cooking, then this might not be a problem for you.

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • dlosapiodlosapio Posts: 10
    I'll try to put the original grate in for low and slow, but I don't see how that would make a difference when the air intake is controlled with the vents. All the Hi Q really does is prevent clogging and bring the temp up faster for grilling. Taz, I guess it's not a huge deal but 225 is a good standard for smoking. I don't really fret when it climbs to 240, but when it gets to 275, 280, that's a decent difference. It usually turns out ok anyway, but I thought it would be good to get the opinion of some other Egg aficionados. Maybe my ol' girl just runs hotter than others. 
  • dlosapiodlosapio Posts: 10
    BTW, this forum is awesome. To get this many responses in a day is nice. I've got to hit you guys up more often!
  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 764
    I find that I don't have temperature creep, what I do is stabilize the temperature without the platesetter.  Then when I am happy that I have a clean fire that is holding my target temperature I add the smoking wood, the platesetter and the grill.  Go inside get the meat and ignore the thermometer for at least an hour because it will be running low.  Then when the temperature will peak at my stabilized temperature no problem, I rarely make adjustments and only open the lid if I foil or sauce ribs, after opening the lid I also ignore the thermometer.  I think a lot of these temperature problems stem from people micro-managing the vents.

    Gerhard
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