Big Green Egg - EGGhead Forum - The Ultimate Cooking Experience...
We’re so close to Thanksgiving that we can taste it and we’re ready to help you prepare the most delicious Thanksgiving feast you’ve ever cooked! Check out our Turkey Cheat Sheet for turkey tips, our Thanksgiving page for turkey recipes, and our Holiday Entertaining Publication for all other Thanksgiving needs to help you make this the best Thanksgiving yet! PS. Don’t forget about breakfast Thanksgiving morning either!


If you missed the 17th Annual EGGtoberfest here are the highlights Click Here

Maintaining temperatures in the 225-250 range

I am new to this forum and been a BGE user for a short, but delicious 2 months.  I have recently been experimenting with slow cooking ribs and brisket at very low temps using recipes from the forums.  Some call for temperatures as low as 225 but I have not been able to reliable get to and maintain a temperature much lower than 290.  To try to get below that, I have had to close the top and bottom vents so much that it snuffs out the charcoal.

 

The shop where I bought the Egg told me that using natural wood charcoal only, it would be virtually impossible to maintain a temp. much below 300 and suggested I mix in some hard wood with the charcoal to drop the burning temp in the fire box.  I haven't tried that yet, but would welcome any other tips anyone has

 

thanks!

Comments

  • SteveWPBFLSteveWPBFL Posts: 1,264
    I've run 225F grate reliably by 'arranging' the lump from the bottom up to the top in descending order with biggest - bigger - big - smaller - smallest at the top, filling to top of the firering, and lighting in the middle with a Weber firestarter. Mixed in also depending on the cook is usually several chunks of some type of wood. The lump needs to burn so it needs to breathe from bottom up to the burning point. The only problems that I have had are when the smallest lump is toward the bottom and plugging up the grate holes or otherwise choking off airflow. I do think going much below 200F grate is difficult without a controller, though, and I have one that I have run down to 160F at the grate. 
  • calracefancalracefan Posts: 475
    Keep in mind that on an indirect cook, in the beginning the dome temp will be a little higher than grate temp, as the cook progresses the temps equal out (grate temp will rise to dome temp). Also if you have not done it, calibrate your thermometer. Also don't sweat being exactly at temp, it will still turn out fine.
    Ova B.
    Fulton MO
  • yzziyzzi Posts: 1,620
    How are you lighting the egg? Depending on how you light it should have no issues holding in the lower 200 range. Also have you calibrated your thermometer?
    Dunedin, FL
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,287
    Start a small fire in the center. If using something that flames, like a starter cube, leave the dome open. Once the fire dies down, put in any equipment (placesetter, etc), and close the dome. Put on the daisy wheel, petals wide open. Close the bottom vent to no more than 1/4". As the dome temp approached 225, close the daisy half way, and the bottom vent to 1/8". Wait 45 - 60 min for smoke to clear. You should have a stable temp in the 250 range,

    ***

    Most forum recipes, when a temperature is mentioned, are referring to the temperature as measured by the dome thermometer. The differences between the dome and grill level are as @calraefan mentions.

    As to achieving temps in the range you want, it is certainly possible to do using just lump, and proper air flow.

    I'm going to guess that you are starting too big of a fire and/or letting the heat get too high at the start. If the Egg gets hotter than desired for more than a few minutes, it can take a very long time for the temp to come down. There's been a few times when I've been distracted, and let the dome reach 450 for 10 - 15 minutes. It has taken well over an hour to get back under 300 w. the vents shut down.

    Personally, I don't recommend cooking at a dome temp lower than 250, unless doing something like cold smoking cheese. As mentioned, the grill temp at the felt line will be lower. Meat at 225-ish will take forever to cook. And, w. a fire that small, there is a chance it will go out during an all night cook.

    The method I described at the top is rather slow. Here is my routine. I use a weed burner to start 3 spots around the perimeter. Just enough flame to establish some glowing edges. I put in any gear, and close the dome. Bottom vent at max, no daisy. Wait 10 - 15 min. Check temp. If at 200F, put on daisy, petals to the side, and close bottom to half. After another 5 min, temp should be approaching 250. Then I close down as mentioned above, or even smaller. Usually takes another 15 for the "bad" smoke to clear.

    Put the food in then. Expect the temp to drop. Give it about 30 min. If the temp has not returned to 250, tap the bottom vent open just 1/32" more.

    During long cooks at 250, I expect both top and bottom vents to be opened just a crack.

    If you don't get en exact temperature, don't sweat it. An hour at 275 will just shave some time off the cook, and and hour at 225 will just add an hour. Small adjustments can take 1/2 hour to get to a different temp, so don't fuss.


  • ParcivalParcival Posts: 7

    Thanks all for your suggestions.  It looks like I have a lot of learning and experimenting to do, but looking forward to it.

    As to some of your suggestions, I definitely was going about this totally wrong.  I was starting a full-blown fire with the fire box filled with charcoal.  The temps were getting >700 and then I tried to bring it down.  I mistakenly thought I had to get a "full blown" fire to ensure that everything was lit and would stay lit, but all these tips will give me plenty to work with this weekend

    Thanks again and I'll follow up next week with progress!

  • cookinfuncookinfun Posts: 129
    Well I have found that, especially with low/slow, I light the wood charcoal ( doesn't matter about fullness of firebox ), in three different places.  I cheat a little with the wax starters, and leave the dome open until the starters are used up and charcoal started, then close the dome, leave the top vent open, and close the low air inlet to approx 1/8" - 1/4" open.  Let it burn to stabilize maybe 30 or more minutes and good to go..

    I have occasionally allowed the ttemp to soar above the target temp, and it takes forever to reduce the coals to what is wanted.  Probably due to the elevated temp of the ceramic.
    (2) LBGEs,  WSM, Vidalia Grill (gasser), Tailgater Grill (gasser)
  • QDudeQDude Posts: 556
    My XL seems to like 275 dome temp which is kept with both vents opened about 1/8".  There is nothing magical about cooking in the 225 degree range.  It only takes a lot longer to achieve the same great tasting food on the egg.  What's the point in that?

    A northern Colorado Egghead since 2012!

    XL and a Small BGE.

  • ParcivalParcival Posts: 7

    Successful completion of brisket #2 this morning at 5am (6 hours earlier than expected, based on recipe I was following).  Thank you all for your tips.  Was able to keep temp at ~240 degrees for a 6.5 pound brisket for 10 hours.  Tried to keep the largest chunks of charcoal toward the bottom of the fire box (but this was tough, because most were very similar in size).  Also, ensured temp never got ~300, before I started to try to control the end-cooking temp.  Brisket turned out fantastic. 

    Most important lesson was that "professional" recipes are there to be tweaked, not followed letter to the law!  Timing was way off, and the spice recommended in the original recipe would created a salt lick as opposed to a flavorful, balanced brisket

  • ParcivalParcival Posts: 7

    To many people's point, I also realized there is nothing special about a specific cooking temp listed in a recipe.  Though we have loved the brisket today, we would have loved it more had I started cooking at 9am this morning in time for an early dinner at 5pm today.  Following the recipe that listed a 225 temp for 14-15 hours, I started last night at 10pm expecting to finish for lunch today.  Instead, brisket finished at 6am (cooked at 240) so learned that the original recipe was way off in timing (even with the slight temp difference), at least for my grill

    PS:  did check the thermometer and it is dead-on accurate

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,287
    Parcival said:

    Most important lesson was that "professional" recipes are there to be tweaked, not followed letter to the law!  Timing was way off, and the spice recommended in the original recipe would created a salt lick as opposed to a flavorful, balanced brisket

    Congratulations! Don't depend on recipes. Most are not formulas, but more of a set of suggestions.
  • PjoePjoe Posts: 224
    If you want to go lower and slower, look into a Stoker of DigiQ controller.  I can hold 180* for smoking salmon.

    Bill
    LBGE AR SMALL BGE WOO RING
  • Doc_EggertonDoc_Eggerton Posts: 3,983
    I don't know what to offer other than keep trying.

    Don't overheat at the beginning, and leave a long time to get it stable at the desired temp.  I 've done butts at the 180 range for over 12 hours.  Just did a much shorter salmon smoke at that same temp.
    Pasquali Luciano
    Buon appetito to all the BGE family
    XLBGE, LBGE, MBGE and lots of toys

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,502
    Less lump will get you there. Get a big tin can, punch some airholes in it and light

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • you need to find a new shop. You can cook at 225-250 for days on your egg. Just takes a little practice

  • n2wdwn2wdw Posts: 47
    How do you keep the temperature from getting too hot?  By not putting in so much charcoal?  Or by closing the lid and closing the vents, before the temperature gets too hot?

    if the answer is you control using the vents, then does it matter how much charcoal you put in?  I'm hoping that's the answer as I'd rather just put charcoal in and not have to worry about that variable, if possible.

    Thanks
  • caneggercanegger Posts: 520
    Ya just put the charcoal in and control at vents good to go
  • MJGMJG Posts: 151
    I am pretty new at this but have has success with low and slow(s). I load up with lump pretty good, most likely too much, as I have over half of what I started with when I am done. Thus far I have used the BGE starter cubes I got when I bought my rig. I put one in the center, light it and leave it open, have 2 beers, and then put in my platesetter, drip pan, grate, and whatever. I then let it get to proper temp are run for a while, say 30 minutes, before I put whatever it is I am going to cook on. I think it's important to keep on the right side of the temp....ease into it as these rigs go nuclear fairly quick. Keep after it....you will get there. Make sure you have proper cocktails as you run the risk of everything going to hell in a hand basket without!
    Large Big Green Egg in a nest. North Shore of Boston.
  • n2wdw said:
    How do you keep the temperature from getting too hot?  By not putting in so much charcoal?  Or by closing the lid and closing the vents, before the temperature gets too hot?

    if the answer is you control using the vents, then does it matter how much charcoal you put in?  I'm hoping that's the answer as I'd rather just put charcoal in and not have to worry about that variable, if possible.

    Thanks

    I have a full (top of the fire ring) load of lump right now going 250. it will be there all night. It's all about airflow

  • MrCookingNurseMrCookingNurse Posts: 3,749
    It's amazing they let some people sell these things.

    Like cen tex said, load it up and cook 225 for days.

    1. You must have a fire established.
    2. Your temp must be set hard at 225-250 for at least 45-60 min for it to be set. Small adjustments and wait.
    3. You really can cook those meats better and more consistent at higher temps. 250-275.

    It's just trial and error man. Don't give up. I'm sure someone has already posted tons of stuff for you to think about so go get em!!

    Oh and one more thing, if your shooting for 225, don't let it get too hot or you'll never come back down. I let mine get to around 3-350 with nothing in it. Then throw ps and grates in and it has to be trimmed down if you over shoot a lot, it will take forever to come back in.

    No I'm rambling. Try some more and let us know how it goes. You'll get it!!


    _______________________________________________

    LBGE & SBGE (big momma and pat)
Sign In or Register to comment.