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Temp Control on Longer Smokings

I've made several pork shoulders and briskets now, and I've noticed that about six hours into the smoking, I have to open up the bottom air grate and daisy wheel more and more to keep the same temperature.  Yesterday I had the door half open and the cap off completely to keep around 250.  On a lark, I decided to pull everything out (meat, grid, platesetter), and clean out the ash clogging the intake holes.  Took about six minutes, but when done the heat came back up nicely and I was able to put the grate and daisy wheels to more reasonable settings. 

Is this typical?  I'm using lump but not BGE brand, and I know there are a lot of small pieces.  


  • How much lump are you starting with? For a long cook I always make sure all of the ash is cleaned out and all of the air holes are clear. I then fill the fire box completely to the top with fresh lump. Never really had the problem you describe.
    Well, "spa-Peggy" is kind of like spaghetti. I'm not sure what Peggy does different, if anything. But it's the one dish she's kind of made her own.
    Aurora, Ontario, Canada
  • That's not normal......That lower draft door and daisy wheel should only be barely open if you trying to stay sub-250F and you have a healthy load of charcoal in the fire grate.

    You nailed it--the grate was plugged up. 

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  • What size egg? You may consider upgrading you charcoal grid to either a HighQue or one that @stlcharcoal makes These will greatly improve airflow on the small - large eggs.


    Large BGE. Small BGE Henderson, Ky. Waitin to find a Sasquatch to Egg.
  • CANMAN1976CANMAN1976 Posts: 1,457
    I find RO very bad for ash and it clogs me up every time!! Wish maple leaf was cheaper it has very little ash.
    Hows ya gettin' on, me ol cock

    Kippens.Newfoundland and Labrador. (Canada).
  • mokadirmokadir Posts: 114
    I used to similar issues, but not as severe, as the holes gradually clooged up with ash during long cooks.  I used to use a hangar (or one of my crossbars from my adjustable rig) every so often to keep the holes clear and that would prevent that from happening.  Now, I have the high-que and have no problems.
    Delaware Valley, PA Large BGE, CGS adjustable rig, iQue110, High-Que grate
  • jaydub58jaydub58 Posts: 1,261
    As @Mattman3969 says, the high-cue charcoal grid is a great answer to this problem.  I have one on each, my large and mini and no difficulties like that at all. 
    John in the Willamette Valley of Oregon
  • Might need to stir up up your coals a bit or add some more
     1 Large Big Green Egg
     1 Weber Kettle
     1 Weber Weber Smokey Mountain 18"
     1 Long Horn Off Set
     1 Bradley Smoker
     1 Weber Silver Gasser
     1 Weber Smokey Joe Small
     1 Orange Thermapen
  • Thanks for the replies! I started with probably two chimney starters full of charcoal, and I had a few small pieces left over from a previous session.  I cleaned the air holes pretty well when I started, though.  I have a Large Egg. I've considered getting one of the other charcoal grids, but I like staying with "stock" parts if I can.  Guess I should pony up for the better grate.
  • RRPRRP Posts: 13,420
    That sounds weird...are you sure that the opening in your fire box is lined up with your vent opening? It may sound minor, but honestly it can make a huge difference! You should be able to maintain that low of a temp for 20 hours at a minimum...assuming you put enough lump in to start with...BTW you did put in more lump then just 2 chimmeys worth didn't you?
    Dunlap, IL
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