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New Egger Here

Hi all, new to egging but I have been lurking for a few months. I got a LBGE from the wife for Christmas and have been tinkering for the last few months. All in all enjoying the egg and the quality of food it produces. I have had no issues with the high temp direct cooks but have struggled a bit on the long low and slow cooks. My biggest issue is temperature stability on overnight pork butts.  Early on it seemed I was not building a large enough fire and would lose temp, now I feel I have a strong fire going but still lose temp overnight. For instance last night I put on a pork butt after 2 hours cooking and holding steady at 260 I turned in. Checked it a 6am and I had dropped to 185. Pull the butt and the plate setter and the burn pattern was very uneven. I was using BGE charcoal and some hickory chunks. 

 I have followed all the advice here on charcoal arrangement and lighting(I use a chimney). I am looking for some insight from the more experienced. I would like to get better feel for this before buying a temp controller.  Is this the norm without one?  Happy to provide more details if it will help. I have attached a few cook pics for fun, ABTs and a butt.


Jeff

LBGE Atlanta, GA

I bow to YEMTrey, the college basketball guru of the Egghead Forum.

Comments

  • SoCalTimSoCalTim Posts: 143
    Hi Jeff, For over night cooks, I've gone to a Pitmaster110 to control the temps. It's pretty awesome. Just set it and forget it. Tim
  • SmokinpigSmokinpig Posts: 138
    Thanks Tim. I guess the real question is can it be done without a pit controller, I imagine the answer is yes it will just take more practice. I am interested in a pit controller but want to try and learn it free hand first.

    LBGE Atlanta, GA

    I bow to YEMTrey, the college basketball guru of the Egghead Forum.

  • dlk7dlk7 Posts: 974
    Try using Rockwood or Ozark Oak lump.  Both burn very consistently at low and slow temps.

    Two XL BGEs - So Happy!!!!

    Rudderville, TN

  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 1,468
    Your experience is not the norm. The norm is posted (tongue in cheek) here.

    http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1162936/the-egg-freakin-rocks

    If you have unobstructed airflow, once it stabilizes it should hold the temp. You could have small stuff blocking he holes in your charcoal grate. I prevent that by clearing a small space at the front of the firebox to make sure 2 or 3 holes in the charcoal grate are wide open. Others have dealt with it by getting a Hi-Q grate that is harder to clog.

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

    San Antonio, TX

  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 3,632
    Welcome aboard.  One thing I learned with low and slow is:  after egg came up to temp and stabilised, and before you put the butt on, don't be afraid to remove the platesetter to check the burn pattern just like what you did the morning after ... it you see uneven burns, stir to distribute the lit lumps more evenly, proactively.
    Vaughan, ON, Canada

  • SmokinpigSmokinpig Posts: 138

    I appreciate the feedback. I think I will start from square one, clean the egg out take it apart make sure everything looks good.  Then load it up on a day where I have the time to sit there and play with the temps.

    One thing I have struggled with on the low temp cooks is that I have to leave my lower vent open about 2 inches (screen closed) to hold at 250 which differs greatly from what I see others doing. I think I do have some sort of airflow issue.

    LBGE Atlanta, GA

    I bow to YEMTrey, the college basketball guru of the Egghead Forum.

  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 1,468
    Yeah, for 250 I have my lower and upper vents open less than 1/4 inch.

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

    San Antonio, TX

  • SmokinpigSmokinpig Posts: 138
    The egg is still running so I will go snap a pic of my bottom vent and top to hold around 250.

    LBGE Atlanta, GA

    I bow to YEMTrey, the college basketball guru of the Egghead Forum.

  • grege345grege345 Posts: 1,342
    Sounds like the firebox hole might be slightly clogged or even on the outside of the firebox. You can get an ash tool behind there but it's better to pull the firebox out. On all low and slows I do I clean it completely out. Then I arrange the bigger chunks around the outside of the fire grat and in the center. I've never had a problem with BGE charcoal other than the price. I also got a hi-que grate a little while ago. That was an improvement as well
    -————————————————————————•———————————————•———————– Pennsylvania / poconos
  • SmokinpigSmokinpig Posts: 138
    I will take it apart this week and see what is going on.  Here are my vents to keep it at 250 which is far more open than most. I also have a bag of rockwood that I will test.
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    LBGE Atlanta, GA

    I bow to YEMTrey, the college basketball guru of the Egghead Forum.

  • grege345grege345 Posts: 1,342
    That is the furthest opening I have ever seen for 250 temp. Is your thermo calibrated by chance?
    -————————————————————————•———————————————•———————– Pennsylvania / poconos
  • shadowcastershadowcaster Posts: 515
    Welcome. I would do what others have posted. Something seems off to me as my Large will hold a temp +/- 10° all night long
    Pure Michigan
    Large BGE, Medium BGE, Weber Performer.
    If dogs don't go to heaven, when I die I want to go wherever they went
  • SmokinpigSmokinpig Posts: 138
    Not calibrated but I know it is close. If it is off it is reading low which means my vents are that open and I am not even at 250. When I take it apart this week I will pull the thermometer and calibrate it is a good suggestion.

    LBGE Atlanta, GA

    I bow to YEMTrey, the college basketball guru of the Egghead Forum.

  • pgprescottpgprescott Posts: 251
    First off, I don't think a chimney starter is a good choice for the egg. I would recommend an electric starter or those paraffin cubes. Next, clean out your egg completely. I mean disassemble the firebox and all. Thirdly, check your thermometer. Lastly, make sure to not dump dust or "shake" in the egg with your lump. Your bottom vent should be an eighth to quarter inch for 250 and should hold for hours easily. I do own a controller that I really only use on overnight cooks to avoid losing the fire. That's my 2 cents.
  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 3,632
    edited March 11
    Looking at the pictures, doesn't matter how wide open the bottom vent is, the air flow is limited by the daisy and you daisy isn't too out of whack for 250.  All things been equal, try a couple of scenarios:
    1) leave daisy opening as shown but reduce lower vent by 50% ... I'm guessing it'll still be 250
    2) open daisy petals fully and reduce lower vent by 50% ... I'm guessing it'll go over 250+

    Every egg has its sweet spot, play with the vents without food to get the hang of it. Good luck!

    edit: assuming you were directly in front of the egg when you photographed the DFMT, if you rotate DFMT so that the pivot screw is opposite the dome hinge (6 o'clock position), the DFMT swing top will not move each time you open the dome (unless it's stuck with grease!)
    Vaughan, ON, Canada

  • pgprescottpgprescott Posts: 251
    My large holds 250 with the top similar to what is shown, and the bottom at 1/4".
  • BrimoBrimo Posts: 45
    You might want to search "wiggle rods". Handy little tool you can make yourself or buy that can help get temps back up hold better at any temp you're trying to achieve. Use the one I made nearly every time I light the egg.
  • I use to have the same problem as far as having to open my vents way up in order to increase my temp. I agree with @canugghead as far as that I would troubleshoot starting with my lighting procedure. I wouldn't use the chimney, I'd try either the starter cubes or one of the map torches/garden torches or the like and use for 15-30 secs in 3 different spots and you should get a much more even burn and quicker start. Make sure you're letting it burn vents wide open and lid up for a good 15-20mins then close the lid and adjust the vents to a ballpark of where you want to be temp wise. Hope this helps and remember it's all about the additional practice!
    Demorest, Ga.    1MBGE
  • SmokinpigSmokinpig Posts: 138
    edited March 11

    I appreciate all the tips and I am sure some combination of all of them will get me moving in the right direction.  I had some time today so I took the egg apart. I had big anthills(they looked kinda like anthills) of ash between the outer wall and the firebox from where the firebox holes were dropping ash through. I also had a few holes in the firebox that were packed solid. Look likes I will need a wiggle rod handy. I also noticed that the firebox might need a little bit more of a turn to the left to line up better with the lower vent. I have reassembled and loaded it with some rockwood to play around with later this week to see if my results are different.  I still need to pull the thermometer and calibrate.

    LBGE Atlanta, GA

    I bow to YEMTrey, the college basketball guru of the Egghead Forum.

  • DMWDMW Posts: 3,088
    If you had solid ash between the firebox and egg, that would explain why your vents needed to be open so far. You may have to relearn your settings.
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 4,691
    Welcome aboard and enjoy the journey.  Sounds like you have hit upon a likely source of things to help with your temperature control issues.  Air-flow is the key as long as you have adequate fuel.  Good luck with the down-stream testing.
    Louisville
  • I second the recommendation for using a MAP torch. It's faster, easier, cooler, and cheaper than the Looftlighter. You can get a propane torch for about the same price as the cheaper electric which should still do the trick.
    Justin in Denton, TX
  • SmokinpigSmokinpig Posts: 138
    edited March 18

    I have been meaning to get back to this discussion. After I pulled the butt last week I snapped a pic of my burn pattern.  It seems that with my air flow issues I had a very uneven burn going. I am going to do another low and slow next weekend and will make some changes.

    Egg is cleaned out now, I will use rockwood lump, I might stick with my current method of lighting just to help the experiment and let me know how much these two changes help.  All in all loving the egg, have always missed Lexington BBQ since I moved from NC to GA. Now I can replicate it in the backyard so that is fantastic.

    IMG_0975.JPG
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    LBGE Atlanta, GA

    I bow to YEMTrey, the college basketball guru of the Egghead Forum.

  • bbqlearnerbbqlearner Posts: 584

    Agree with all comments made by others.

    - don't use chimney

    - put bigger chunks on bottom

    - use firestarter or other lighting tools with charcoal IN the egg

    - the vents shouldn't be open that much for 250 - if it does, there's definitely airflow issue

    - how much charcoal do you put in for overnight cook? Need to be at least slightly above or at  the firebox line (closer to the fire ring line)

    Just my opinion, even with uneven burning, if there's no airflow issue, it should slowly burn the rest (I would think). 

    Houston, TX - Buddy LBGE, Don SBGE, Tiny Mini & Shiny Momma Pitts n Spitts

  • SmokinpigSmokinpig Posts: 138
    Alright doing a 9.4 pound bone in butt tonight. Plan on putting in on around 7 or 8 for tomorrow's dinner.  Going to clean the egg again and run with rockwood and hickory chunks. I will also light it with starter sticks at 12-3-6-9 and see if I have better luck this go round.

    LBGE Atlanta, GA

    I bow to YEMTrey, the college basketball guru of the Egghead Forum.

  • SoCal_GrillerSoCal_Griller Posts: 396
    Brimo said:
    You might want to search "wiggle rods". Handy little tool you can make yourself or buy that can help get temps back up hold better at any temp you're trying to achieve. Use the one I made nearly every time I light the egg.
    +1
    Simi Valley, California
  • SmokinpigSmokinpig Posts: 138
    14 hours in and much better luck holding temp. I am just now having to open the vents a bit to hold 250 or more dome temp. I actually ending up running a little hot on this cook closer to 275-280 dome which I imagine is close to 250 grate. The butt is 9.4 pounds and internal temp is 182 so another hour or so until 195 and then ftc.

    LBGE Atlanta, GA

    I bow to YEMTrey, the college basketball guru of the Egghead Forum.

  • DeckhandDeckhand Posts: 315
    Haven't read all the posts but did you check to see that the firebox and the shell of the Egg are lined up correctly?   
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