I've had my large BGE for two weeks now & I'm having fun trying to figure out some basic top vs. bottom vent settings that will give me repeatable stabilized temperatures (around 250, 350, 450). I'd like to master manual temperature control before I think about a Guru (same reason I'm teaching my kids how to drive on a stick instead of an automatic - it's a little jerky to start with, but worth it once you get it figured out).
I don't have any problems getting the temperature quickly up to the level I want with the top & bottom vents wide open, but after I pinch them back to stabilize the temp I haven't worked out whether it's better to fine tune the air throughput with the top or bottom vent (or both). 1/2" open at the top & bottom seems to get me around 350 - 400 F once things stabilize, then I tend to tune up or down with the top, but if that doesn't do it I start fiddling with both.
What settings work best for you? I know the answer is "It depends ..." (on charcoal brand, lump size, and amount, old to new charcoal ratio, weather, meat load, whether the burn is stabilized when you start adjusting the vents, etc.), but can anyone share some settings that have worked for them? (I've already picked up a few pointers from the temperature control article on the NW website).