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Smoking Temperature Control Advice

I just got my egg a month, or so ago and I'm getting pretty accustomed to using it. However, I'm having trouble keeping my temperature low and consistent for 8-hour (+) smokes. I recently tried my hand at a Brisket..... it got a little overcooked, well really overcooked. I was shooting for a 230-250 dome temp for the smoke and here's what happened, start to finished:

1 - Replaced all the charcoal (BGE Lump) with fresh coal, placing larger hunks at the bottom & working my way up.
2 - I lit the fire
3 - When the temp hit 175, I shut the lower vent to 1/4" and closed the top wheel, leaving the daisy wheel 1/3 open.
4 - I let it sit for about an hour under the temperature stabilized at around 230 (or so it appeared)
5 - I put the wood chips (1/2 bag, pre-soaked for a couple hours), the plate setter, drip pan (with apple juice & water, 1-in deep), and then the meat.
6 - The temp dropped, and came back up to 230 and appeared to stabilize and stay there for the next 1, to 1-1/2 hour, SO
7 - I went to bed and when I got up the next morning (about 6-hours from last checking), the temp had risen to 305-310 over night..... and the meat was not in very good shape, luckily it was just for my wife and I. We still ate it and it wasn't horrible, just not close to what I was hoping for.

I know that there's a lot of factors, environmentally, that can have an effect on holding low temps in the BGE. I also know that this happened because of the user (i.e. me) and not the egg. But, I'm just wondering if anyone has some advice for me, or has had this happen and tell me what I could try different next time....

Sorry for the long-winded post here, I just really need some advice and figured a more detailed post would help...



  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 11,749
    My settings are typically much more closed for temps <250. I wonder if the massive heat sink that you put in all at once (PS, drip pan, meat) held the temp down for a bit until they increased enough to let the entire egg heat up to the level the air flow settings allow.

    Was all the liquid evaporated? What temp was the meat?
  • Yeah, everything in the drip pan had evaporated and the drippings were dried to a crisp.

    I'm guessing I need to close the lower vent down 1/2 of what it was (to about 1/8th inch)
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 7,248
    edited September 2013

    Other than slightly different vent settings, the only thing I do differently is that once I have a small (around softball sized) section of lump burning I load all the hardware (save the meat) shut the dome and let the dome thermo (calibrated?) come up to temp.  Once stable, then load the food and enjoy the ride.  FWIW-

    Louisville   L & S BGEs 
  • it sounds like you nee to invest in a BBQ Guru DigiQ Dx2 once you have one no more run away fires you set it baby sit it for maybe a hour to make sure it's locked on the desired temp and forget it and go to bed when you wake up and check your cook it is excatley where you left it the night before .I have one and swear by it the best investment I made in my egg 
    2 Large Eggs and a Mini 2 Pit Bulls and a Pork shoulder or butt nearby and 100% SICILIAN
    Long Island N.Y.
  • The platesetter, or a stone on a spyder if you use that setup, has a major impact on airflow and temperature.  I suggest lighting the egg, getting up to about 300 or 325, putting in platesetter (which will drop temperature immediately), and then stabilize temp for 30 min with platesetter in place.  Then add food, which won't have much impact on temp at all.  Also, I think most of us who smoke lo and slow only have top petals on daisy wheel open 1/4 petal or less, not much at all (again, not shut that much when initially getting up to temp
  • One other note--cook some butts before brisket, much more forgiving than brisket.
  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,212
    Agree with lousubcap. How much lump did you light and when was the last time you calibrated your thermometer?
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: and  and
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • Look into the Auber PID.
  • If I'm understanding your settings correctly it sounds like you are set up for a 300 to 325* cook. True what's said about adding all the cold mass at once but the egg will recover to where it's set eventually. For 250 I use the bottom vent open about the thickness of a quarter and the daisy open maybe a fifth of a "teardrop". I would check the thermo.


    Caledon, ON


  • Just got a message from a much smarter egger than me. I didn't notice you had liquid in the pan but he did. The liquid will hold the temp down til it's gone then the egg will go to it's natural temp.


    Caledon, ON


  • radamoradamo Posts: 362
    If I'm understanding your settings correctly it sounds like you are set up for a 300 to 325* cook. True what's said about adding all the cold mass at once but the egg will recover to where it's set eventually. For 250 I use the bottom vent open about the thickness of a quarter and the daisy open maybe a fifth of a "teardrop". I would check the thermo.
    Little Steven,
    What size egg do you have?  With my XL I seem to need my bottom vent open between 1/4 and 1/2" to hold 250.  Less than that and it seems to go out.  This is with my daisy vents open about 1/2 petal worth. 
    Long Island, NY
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 27,498
    edited September 2013

    I have all the sizes except the XXL (so far). My XL is the old style with the squat dome. It is about the same setup. I always found that with the larger intake and the grate size and hole dimensions I was always fighting to keep the temp down. I don't know if anything has changed with the new style other than the dome geometry. Does the platesetter sit lower in the newer ones, that is, is the firebox notched to fit the platesetter legs? Could also be the brand of lump you use.

    Edit: I was thinking about the large in my original comment.


    Caledon, ON


  • radamoradamo Posts: 362
    The platesetter can optionally be in the notches but most times I have it with a leg straight back to offset the heat coming up the back.  The lump used recently was a brand new bag of BGE.  
    Long Island, NY
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