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How do you set your vents for low & slow cooks?

I have my bottom vent about halfway open and my top about 90% closed and still can't get dome temp below 300. If I close my top any more, It'll be completely closed and I'll lose fire. How do you usually set yours?
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Comments

  • SardonicusSardonicus Posts: 483
    edited May 2014

    ?

    Soooo . . . it seems that the only option remaining is adjustment of the bottom vent, right? ~O)


    Best luck.



    "Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving cabs and barbecuing."     
     - George Burns



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  • AirwolfAirwolf Posts: 76
    I have the bottom vent open about the thickness of a credit card or two and the top vent daisy wheel less than half.
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  • tksmoketksmoke Posts: 740
    This totally depends on a number of factors - primarily the seal of your gasket (see dollar bill test) and the size of your BGE.  On my XL, the bottom vent is open about an eighth of an inch, and the top vent just a little more.  There are some excellent threads on controlling temperature with vents - check it out.  In reality, you can probably control the temperature completely with just the bottom vent.  Experiment!!
    Santa Paula, CA
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  • xiphoid007xiphoid007 Posts: 279
    The bottom vent is usually 1/8 to 1/4 inch open. The top is almost closed. This will typically do the job as long as the gill is clean and airflow is good.

    Once you're up to 300, it is very hard to get it to cool down.

    If you close the bottom almost the whole what down, it'll come down in 30-60min, but you may get a lot of white smoke for a while since you're choking the fire too much. I wouldn't put any mat on until the smoke changes to the thin blue smoke.
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  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 8,003
    Daisy petals and bottom bent both open about the width of a toothpick for my egg. 

    Grandpas Grub on the other forum posted this pic with them a bit more open...image

    Don't forget to calibrate your dome thermometer.
    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

    "Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screwtop jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don't deserve to eat garlic." Bourdain
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  • xiphoid007xiphoid007 Posts: 279
    Mat = meat.

    I gotta fire my proofreader. . .
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  • SkinnyVSkinnyV Posts: 2,490
    Spent a few hours extra last night trying to lock mine in. I overshot, shut it down, then tinkered.
    When I woke up it was at 250 with top open a slit and bottom 1/8th of an inch or so. Sometimes I wish I had a temp controller, I must have checked it 4 times before finally sleeping for 6 hours but it worked.
    Seattle, WA
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  • SkinnyVSkinnyV Posts: 2,490
    Pulled mine here's vent pics


    imageimageimage
    Seattle, WA
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  • Thanks fellas
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  • Skinny, what is that little grill your butt is sitting on?
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  • MaskedMarvelMaskedMarvel Posts: 1,253
    Daisy petals and bottom bent both open about the width of a toothpick for my egg. 

    Grandpas Grub on the other forum posted this pic with them a bit more open...image

    Don't forget to calibrate your dome thermometer.

    The pics were my setting before the hi q fire grate. After I'm as Carolina describes.
    Large BGE -- Greensboro!


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  • If the temperature is too high, there is too much air passing through the cooker.

    "Passing through" is the key.  Because it means you can control the temperature with either the top, bottom, or both.

    I would close your lower vent.  You are allowing too much in, and because of the stack effect, it will draw and take it. You can actually 'push' more air out of the top, even when it is closed down quite a bit, if the fire is drawing more than you want it too.

    We've all seen smoke billowing out almost what looks like almost under pressure.

    In the future, do not go above 300 to begin with.

    I control the egg from the bottom vent only, although I do keep the daisy wheel on top out of old habit, and as some sort of talisman against runaway temperatures, though that never actually happens to me anymore.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Copia ciborum subtilitas impeditur

    Seneca Falls, NY

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  • SkinnyVSkinnyV Posts: 2,490

    Skinny, what is that little grill your butt is sitting on?

    Mini woo
    Seattle, WA
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  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 13,810
    I use both vents for temps below 350.  The bottom is the "suction" vent, AKA "intake" and "carburator" and the top the "effluent" AKA "exhaust".   Much like a car engine, it's tougher to move air through the intake than the exhaust - note intake valves are larger than exhaust, even though much more volume flows through the exhaust. 

    That said, and I can see why it's confusing, the key is throttling the amount of air through the lump.  There isn't much of a pressure differential from the top and bottom vents, but hot air is less dense than cool and therefore "floats" or rises up giving us a directional flow in the egg.  The shape of the egg gives you a stack effect, encouraging that floating of hot air in the upwards direction.

    A side note, when I have used my DigiQ in the past, I can even run very low temps by completely closing the daisy wheel on top...there are enough leaks in the DFMT for the fan to power enough air through the egg.

    My philosophy on getting good smoke is to start a small fire. Small and hot, like a candle in an igloo.  As that fire grows, the lump lit grows and moves around the pile of fuel.  So you can, at very low dome temps (say under 225F) have it self-extinguish (people wake up to cold eggs).  For this reason I'll start cooking low to get smoke and work on that myoglobin oxidation (smoke ring).  Come the stall, my burning lump has spread out and I'll crank up the temp somewhat, power through the stall. 

    Of course there are many ways to do it, turbo (300-400F) or just sticking with a higher initial temp that's easier to maintain - the egg likes to settle in at 250-275 with good smoke.  Typically my lower vent is 1/10 to 1/2" open, and the daisy wheel 1/8 - 1/4" open.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

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  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 6,123
    @nolaegghead-most eggcellent post above.
    Louisville
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  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 8,003
    Nola, shortly after I got my DigiQ, I asked Kenny at BBQGuru where to set the DFMT. He said,  "Doesn't much matter." As you said... there are enough leaks. :)
    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

    "Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screwtop jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don't deserve to eat garlic." Bourdain
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  • SenecaTheYounger said:.

    I control the egg from the bottom vent only, although I do keep the daisy wheel on top out of old habit, and as some sort of talisman against runaway temperatures, though that never actually happens to me anymore.
    I believe that we can also gain some measure of control of the chamber humidity level using the top vent. Previously, I was choking the daisy wheel and noticed that when doing so a significant amount of water would drip out of the bottom vent during brisket or butt cooks. This time around, I purposely opened the top more and choked off the bottom a bit, and the dripping has nearly disappeared.



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  • SkinnyVSkinnyV Posts: 2,490
    If you start a small fire how do you get the bad VOC smoke off the unlit lump?
    Seattle, WA
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  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 13,810

    SkinnyV said:
    If you start a small fire how do you get the bad VOC smoke off the unlit lump?
    The boundary between where the lump is burning and where it is not is where the VOCs come from.  Once the lump is burning hot it continually "dries" the lump next to it, some of those organic compounds are consumed with in the fire and the others give you the charcoal smoke flavor.  It's just when you start it, you're fire isn't strong and the lump is flush with compounds that need to burn off to a certain equilibrium where you get good smoke.

    Don't think that the entire batch of lump in the egg, which can easily be 10 pounds or more in a large, will be "freed" from the VOCs.  If you extinguish and the next day light what was burning before, you'll get better smoke faster than if you stir it up and light some virgin lump.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

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