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Trusting BGE with low temp cook?

I'm new egg owner -- about 6 weeks old now.  My family has asked me to do the brisket for Christmas.  Will do 2 packers but now I'm starting to doubt myself if I could come out with good brisket for fear that I may ruin it.  Cannot happen on Christmas day.

Reason being... I've been reading many posts about BGE and how hard it is to maintain low temp (either it dies or go off with high heat).  To boost, I've had this experience with my BGE with low heat and it went little too high fast but I was around to avert the problem.  Just that this time around, I need to start the night before and I do not want to be up and about all night.

FYI - I've been using my weber for a long time and I have no problem setting up the smoker.  Leave it alone and forget it.   Can someone assure me that I will be fine leaving it alone all night?  Lets say I manage to maintain it for 225 for an hour, then I can go to sleep all right?   I don't have my weber anymore.  Sold it a couple days ago.   Stupid me to do that. 

Or should I be safe.  go with pulled pork?  Or buy ATC?  Which I am afraid is a waste of money.  Never had need for it for couple years with my weber. 
Large BGE
Frederick County, MD
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Comments

  • busmaniabusmania Posts: 301
    Its pretty easy, but not as easy as a weber.  Ive been egging about a year and I still have to make adustments.  Id watch it every few hours.  A simple adjustment can take an hour or more to actually do anything to the temp.  You want to make VERY small adjustments on the vent when doing so.  at 225, the fire should not go out.  Got a maverick?  Its cheap and will alarm you if the temps get too high or low so you can rest easy.
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  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 2,623
    I've done a half dozen overnight cooks without a problem and without a temp controller. Load the firebox well, make sure you have some clear space for airflow through the grates get it stabilized as you suggest. I usually just have my top and bottom vents open around 1/8 to 1/4 inch and my egg settles in between 220 and 250. I sleep well and have never had a problem.

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

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  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 11,153
    edited December 2013
    I have done a 15# Packard and the temp never spiked, beautiful smoke ring, and I was asleep for most of the process &/or watching football. I most recently smoked two 8# flats at the same time (Large BGE). I have only been egging since September and have never had an issue with slow & low or achieving 500-600 for pizza, or temp control in general. IMHO BGE is quite easy to control. I like the fact I load up my lump and wood chunks for long smokes (15-24 hrs) and have never run low on fuel. OBW I don't have any gadgetry. So, what I'm saying is get-r-done on the BGE. You will love the brisket and so will your guests.
    LBGE 2012, Mini MAX 2014, SS Table and Stoker
    Die Hard HUSKER & BRONCO FAN
    Middleburg, FL
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  • stlcharcoalstlcharcoal Posts: 1,344
    Get a temp controller.......I went for 10 yrs without one, then finally broke down and got one.  Now I can't live with out it.  It takes all the worry out of the process.  I would be checking the Egg every time I walked by or every 30 minutes--tweaking the setting and using a wiggle stick for the ash.  Then I made a grate, hooked up the temp controller, and it's out of sight out of mind until the meat reaches temp.

    Connect:  Website  -  Facebook  -  Twitter

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  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 6,965
    Every Egg seems to have its sweet spot and some people have no problem going with 225 and it not going out. I, along with many others, have found that 250 seems to work better and less of a chance that it will go out. That being said, I tried monitoring temps at both the dome and grate level where the food is multiple times and found that for the most part 250 grate was around 275 dome temp. If I were you, I would just go 275 dome temp and then you would have no worries about your fire going out. Just make sure to stabilize it before tossing the meat on and don't adjust it after you toss the meat on. The temps will recover by themselves.

    Richardson, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

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  • Get a temp controller.......I went for 10 yrs without one, then finally broke down and got one.  Now I can't live with out it.  It takes all the worry out of the process.  I would be checking the Egg every time I walked by or every 30 minutes--tweaking the setting and using a wiggle stick for the ash.  Then I made a grate, hooked up the temp controller, and it's out of sight out of mind until the meat reaches temp.

    I agree with this. I use an Auber PID and it holds temps within a degree or two as long as I want.
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  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,569
    I'm assuming you've cooked brisket before with success. The Egg should make it easier.

    I'm also one of those that prefers at least a 250F dome for an overnight. I light in 3 spots around the rim to lessen the chance that the fire will burn straight down the center. Early on, I used a Maverik remote, and when the alarm went off, I found a fireless column of ash from top center to bottom of the lump. Even a blower control would not stop that.

    For all nighters, my method is to now have the food in at a stable 250 before I close my eyes. I happen to habitually wake up after 4 - 5 hours, and check the temp then. Again at 4 - 5 hours when I get out of bed.

    Worst I've had was a fire that had just gone out when I did the out of bed check. Dome was still at 180. Ran inside, turned on my oven to 250, ran back and retrieved the pork, and stuck it in the oven. Reloaded the Egg (only time I ever had too little lump), and restarted the Egg. Half an hour later, put the meat back in the Egg, and all was fine.
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  • Definitely hand build your lump pile, don't just pour from the bag.  Start with a cleaned out egg, place large pieces at the bottom and get smaller as you fill it up. It helps maintain airflow and keeping the fire from being choked out.  Bring the lump up to about an inch below the top of the fire ring and you will not run out.
    Chicago, Illinois
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  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 6,639
    All good info above.  I would do a trial run before Xmas to get a little eggsperience before the big cook. There is an eggcellent article here about building the fire- http://www.nakedwhiz.com/elder.htm worth the read.  And as mentioned, find the sweet spot in the 240-270*F calibrated dome temp range and make sure you are stable (no vent changes for around 45-60 mins) before loading the brisket.  Then you should be fine. 
    Louisville   L & S BGEs 
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  • Thanks for these replies.  Yes I've had many good briskets coming off the weber.  Thus why my family were asking for it. 

    I do have maverick 732 but this means I would need to wake up to look at it.  Just because I'm deaf. :-)  But yeah rather than getting out of warm bed and go outside to check temp though. 

    I'm in the NO ATC camp, but I guess because the stake is higher this time around.   I feel pressed.  Maybe worth investment with the controller but then again will I need it after this.   Believe me I love gadgetry but I go by principle -- always ask yourself... DO I REALLY NEED IT?

    If I do, then I typically get carried away.  I love the thought of having wifi controller. :D
    Large BGE
    Frederick County, MD
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  • henapplehenapple Posts: 14,564
    You could cook the brisket a few days before and foodsaver. I always struggled with overnight cooks so I picked up the digiq dx2 and love it. My brisket held at 210 and then 225 when I bumped it up. The brisket will be just as good two days later sealed.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
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  • dfrelichdfrelich Posts: 60
    edited December 2013
    And yeah.  I've done two trail runs with no food.  I cheated, I was around and made few adjustments over 5-6 hours courses.  Maybe I should just set it up.  Leave it alone and see how it goes for more than 8 hours or so. 

    Both times weather were ideal.  No wind, etc.   But with Christmas... I must do it no matter what weather comes at it.  So that plays bigger factor. 
    Large BGE
    Frederick County, MD
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  • HoovHoov Posts: 258
    I have done a bunch of overnight low cooks and the Egg holds steady at 250 very well. It almost feels like cheating. Just did one a couple days ago with snow on the ground and on the dome. Trust your Egg.
    - Proud owner of a Large BGE
    - Norman, OK
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  • stlcharcoalstlcharcoal Posts: 1,344

    I was with you on the "I don't need a temp controller"......I had an Egg 10+ yrs and knew how to run the temp control hands down.  But sometimes things happen over night--the wind shifts, the OAT drops, lump settles, etc.  Once I convinced myself that even though I understood the thermodynamics of my Egg, I couldn't control external factors.  Bought the temp controller and after a few 24+ hrs cooks, I kicked myself for the 10+ yrs of screwing around with that fire.  For under $150 you can put all that worry behind you and let it do the work.

    I was going to sell my Gen1 IQ110 and get a IQ120, so let me know if you want a used one for under $100.  Otherwise I can get you a new Gen2 IQ 110 or IQ120.

    Connect:  Website  -  Facebook  -  Twitter

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  • Between learning the new Egg and cooking brisket...it may take a few times trying to really "nail it".

     

    Good luck, and happy holidays.

     

    -SMITTY     

    from SANTA CLARA, CA

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  • Did an all night turkey for Thanksgiving. Had the fire at 250, for about an hour, put in a cold bird around 11:00 pm and an hour later the temp was back up about 200. I woke up around 3 or 4 and looked out, it was stable at 250. The next morning, I pulled about 7 and shut down the fire. The temperature was stable at 250. No magic, no mirrors, but a lot of smoke.
    Bob
    Cookin' on the coast
    Shellman Bluff, GA
    Medium BGE

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  • dfrelichdfrelich Posts: 60
    edited December 2013
    After thinking this over and reading other advices.  I've decided.  To play it safe.  I'll go ahead and buy the ATC.   Just because I've convinced my wife that the EGG can do it all.  Now I would hate to explain to my wife what happened if brisket failed for whatever reason may be.  

    You should meet my wife... she has that wicked smile.    Don't want to give her the pleasure.
    Large BGE
    Frederick County, MD
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  • dfrelich    you will be fine with the egg holding temp thru the cook as long as you clean out all the ash from  the egg and make sure that all the wholes in the fire pit are not clogged and then you fill up the Egg with the lump placing the larger peaces of lump on the bottom and the smaller ones on the top hence creating a good air flow remember your fire needs air flow if you don't have air flow your fire will die out .I would also recommend for a low and slow that you light the fire in one spot (the center) and just let it burn don't mess with it and once you have your Brisket in don't open the Egg because if your looking your not cooking  you might also want to mix the smoking chunks thur the lump so you get a good smoke thru out the cook I hope I have given you the courage to tackle this Brisket cook good luck and most important remember to enjoy and don't stress over it 
    2 Large Eggs and a Mini 2 Pit Bulls and a Pork shoulder or butt nearby and 100% SICILIAN
    Long Island N.Y.
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  • Had my egg for about 10 years no temp control device and she always runs through the night with out an issue.  It's a BGE if you need to spend the money on a temp control device you need to sell your egg and buy a broke down smoker that requires a temp control device.  
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  • bicktravbicktrav Posts: 467
    edited December 2013
    I'm sure the temp controller would be easier, but you don't need one.  There are just two things you need to keep in mind:

    1)  Leave yourself time!  Don't put yourself in a position where you've only got 30 or 45 minutes to stabilize temp before you need to throw the meat in.  That situation is a recipe for disaster.  Factor in a good hour or two of stabilization time before you even consider throwing the meat onto the egg.  During that time, make sure you are adjusting properly--meaning stand there and make minor adjustments as it comes up to temp.  Leave both vents wide open; then, when the temp is 100 degrees from your target, close the bottom by half.  When it's 50 degrees from your target, close it by half again.  When it's 25 degrees close it by half again.  Once you reach your target, throw the daisy wheel on to stop the rise.  Adjust the petals from there.  Doing that results in increasingly small adjustments that make it easy to reach your target.  For 225 you'll want about 1/8 inch on the bottom and top.  Get there gradually!  Then let it sit for an hour before you put the meat on.  Two hours is even better if you can.  

    2)  When you put the meat in, there will be a temp drop.  Probably a big one.  DO NOT FREAK OUT AND SCREW WITH THE VENTS.  Even if it's 2 hours in and the temp is still low, don't touch the vents.  It will get there.  It's a guarantee.  Once more: DO NO TOUCH THE VENTS!  The only situation in which it's appropriate to alter your vent settings is when the temp is above your target.  Even then, it's probably not too necessary, so long as it's a deviation of within 30 or so degrees.  But never open your vents more once the temp is stabilized.  

    If you do both of those things, you'll be fine.  It's more work than having your temp automatically regulated, but the results are the same.  And--at least for me--the work is fun.

    A caveat about point #2: while it is true that you should generally avoid opening vents in order to increase temp during a low and slow, this advice assumes that there is nothing dramatically wrong with the basics of the cook.  What I mean is that if you've got ash stuck in your grate, which is preventing air flow, well, then your temp is screwed--and probably not in a way that can be remedied by opening your vents.  If you didn't put enough charcoal in, your temp is likewise screwed.  But if you don't have those kinds of larger problems, do not open your vents more. 
    Southern California
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  • Thanks for additional reassurance.  I would like to avoid technologies because it gets old fast with today's technologies. 

    Yesterday I was hanging out with group of old friends.  One of them have BGE and he says he has ATC and rarely has need for it.  He says get the right kind of lump charcoal and you're set.  He swears by BGE lump for low and slow.  Don't go with Royal Oak which can be found locally.  He uses it for high temp but for low and slow… go with BGE.

    Any thoughts?
    Large BGE
    Frederick County, MD
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  • dfrelich said:
    Thanks for additional reassurance.  I would like to avoid technologies because it gets old fast with today's technologies. 

    Yesterday I was hanging out with group of old friends.  One of them have BGE and he says he has ATC and rarely has need for it.  He says get the right kind of lump charcoal and you're set.  He swears by BGE lump for low and slow.  Don't go with Royal Oak which can be found locally.  He uses it for high temp but for low and slow… go with BGE.

    Any thoughts?

    That's funny because I have read BGE lump is just rebranded Royal Oak.
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  • busmaniabusmania Posts: 301
    Supposedly RO is the same as BGE lump, just repackaged.  For half the price, I have no problems with lownslow with RO.  In fact, I have a bag of BGE lump in my shed but I still go with RO every time.  I guess im saving the BGE bag for a  "rainy day" or really important cook...or something.  Not really sure why I have not used it yet!
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  • I've heard the same. Could be that BGE branded has a select lumps?
    Large BGE
    Frederick County, MD
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  • busmaniabusmania Posts: 301
    I personaly stopped buying BGE and switched to RO exclusively after I noticed no difference except the price.
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  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 822
    I always try for 225º but if it climbs 20 or 25º I don't worry about it, I am fortunate in 2 1/2 years I haven't had a fire go out on me.  Just make sure you are up 8 hours after putting it on to check the temperature.  I usually do an 8 lb brisket and it seems to take 10 to 11 hours but I just feel better if I check it a little earlier.

    Gerhard
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  • NPHuskerFLNPHuskerFL Posts: 11,153
    To be clear I'm a gadgetry type of guy. I mean who really needs a thermostat that gives live Doppler updates, can be controlled over mobile devices or computer, tells you anything & everything you need to know and has self diagnostic ability...this guy does. Lol. So ya, when I get a wild hair I'll probably purchase a WiFi ability controller for my BGE. But, IMHO you still are best to hand build your lump pyramid etc. Once you can control without gadgetry you will be golden with the gadgetry (sort of a double threat :-P). But, I definitely embrace technology.
    LBGE 2012, Mini MAX 2014, SS Table and Stoker
    Die Hard HUSKER & BRONCO FAN
    Middleburg, FL
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  • stlcharcoalstlcharcoal Posts: 1,344
    dfrelich said:
    Thanks for additional reassurance.  I would like to avoid technologies because it gets old fast with today's technologies. 


    There's nothing that technologically advanced about a temp controller.  Fan, probe, and a circuit board.  Unless you get the really fancy one w/ WiFi, there isn't going to be anything new an exciting in 10 yrs from now.  My 5+ y/o IQ110 is almost identical to the new IQ110's.  I'm only upgrading to get the one that will run my Rebel23 better.

    And as for your friend.........does he get up to change the TV channel and volume manually, or does he "not even use the remote anymore" because he doesn't need it?  If you're smoking, hook it up--it can save you some serious money, time, and disappointment on the off chance the fire goes out.  Been there--and I'll never run an overnight cook without it again.

    Connect:  Website  -  Facebook  -  Twitter

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  • Hungry JoeHungry Joe Posts: 1,169

    Practice with some pulled pork before hand. You can vacuum seal it and if by some chance your brisket doesn't turn out as planned at least you have something to put on the table.

    A temperature controller is not something you will use every day but when you do a low and slow you will be glad you have it. Treat yourself to a nice Christmas present.

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  • Had my egg for about 10 years no temp control device and she always runs through the night with out an issue.  It's a BGE if you need to spend the money on a temp control device you need to sell your egg and buy a broke down smoker that requires a temp control device.  
    Touche.

    Large BGE
    Frederick County, MD
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