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xl temperature control

woody's wood pitwoody's wood pit Posts: 237
edited March 2012 in EggHead Forum

I have been using my xl for almost a year and have a real problem with low and slow...open the lower vent approximately 1/8" and can keep it steady at 550 for pizza with the dmft off...with it on and cracked and 1/8" on the lower level it will run about 300...am i doing something wrong? 

I threw ribs on today to cook all afternoon, came out to check after an hour and the temp ws 400 steady...hit the Texas crutch to save the ribs and cut the bottom off completely finally dropped to 325 and they were ready after about 2 1/2 hours, let them rest for about 30 min.  then put them in the frig for tonite....tasted good but were certainly not my best effort...any ideas 

Rockwall Texas, just east of Dallas where the humidity and heat meet! Life is too short to get caught in the fast lane behind somebody slow!

XL, LG, Sm, Mini and Weber for drink holder

Comments

  • XLentEGGXLentEGG Posts: 436
    Here is what I do for low and slow. Light the fire in one spot. I use the center. Put the Platesetter in and run it wide open until the temp hits 200.I then put the dmft on and close everything to half. As it heats up again i alternate closing the top and bottom until I'm stable aT 225-230. I then yank the ps add wood put the ps back in , add drip pan, grid and meat.This is done in about a minute once you get used to doing the routine. You have to sneak up on the low and slow temps with an XL. Once it goes nuclear it is very hard to recover that low of a temp. I usually end up with the door about 1/8 inch and the dmft closed and daisey wheel cracked about halfway.
    More meat please !! :-)
  • cortguitarmancortguitarman Posts: 2,061
    Same thing happened to me when I did a brisket on Saturday. I have only had my XL for a little over a month, so I'm still learning how to control the temp. I'm going to try XLentegg's advice. I've always litmine in 3 spots, but lighting in one for low and slow makes sense.
    Mark Annville, PA
  • travisstricktravisstrick Posts: 5,002
    You are lighting too much lump at once. I have suffered through the same problem on my XL. 
    Be careful, man! I've got a beverage here.
  • mimaulermimauler Posts: 136

    Really need to know how much you are lighting and how you are lighting.  I have an XL and usually don't have that problem with the key word usually.  I agree that once it's really hot it's a bear to get back down.  I light in four places center and then three in a circle several inches out I use the BGE starters and cut them in half it seems to me that doing it that way lights smaller amounts of lump thereby keeping the temps down.  I let it go with top open and bottom vent open for 10 to 15 minutes after that time it's normally 250-300.  I've learned to keep my eye on it while lighting.  

  • For low and slow, you *need* some type of temp controller. (DIGI-q or Stoker).. Like others have said, I light in a single place, put in the plate setter and try to sneak up on the temp (235-250).. Once you go past, you are screwed. 

    The temperature controllers have fans and pit probes and they do a fantastic job of regulating the fire.  I'm able to light mine, get it to 235 ish and hold it there for 18-20 hours no problem. 

    Good luck..  
  • stevesailsstevesails Posts: 990

    Temp controllers are a nice thing to have , but not required, You can set the vents very small on an xl and it will maintain a 250 temp for a dozen hours.  for a low temp cook, you cant light the lump in too many places. just one place and let it come up to temp, with the vent set at about half an inch. and close it down as you get close.

    it can be done, I have done it often.

     

    XL   Walled Lake, MI

  •  

    Temp controllers are a nice thing to have , but not required, You can set the vents very small on an xl and it will maintain a 250 temp for a dozen hours.  for a low temp cook, you cant light the lump in too many places. just one place and let it come up to temp, with the vent set at about half an inch. and close it down as you get close.

    it can be done, I have done it often.

     

    What do you guys think is the main reason the XL regulates low tempertures differently then the other BGEs?  Are the holes in the fire grate too large to maintain 200-250?  Would love to know some thoughts.  I been thinking about getting an XL, but am now slightly concerned.

     "Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great, Here's to "Down Home," the Old North State!"

    Med & XL

  • On my XL I use an electric starter right in the middle and works very well for me. On slows and sears. Or start on 1 side for a indirect other than using the platesetter. At 250 the bottom vent is about 1/8-1/2 inch and same on the top with the daisy wheel closed. I havent cooked anything lower than 250 dome temp. I do not have a blower and do 10+ hrs easily.
    LET'S EAT
  • This is my XL as decribed above
    LET'S EAT
  • cortguitarmancortguitarman Posts: 2,061
    I don't think the XL regulates temps differently. It is just big and as others have said, once that big mother gets hot it has more mass to cool down than the other eggs. I've only.done one low & slow so far and botched it. 8 lb brisket cooked in 4 hours. It was delicious, but became lunch instead of dinner. I'd love to eventually get a controller, but between the egg, table, and eggcessories I've already spent about $2000 in a month. Also, I'd rather learn how to truly control my egg without gadgets. That way if the power goes out, I can still use the egg with confidence.
    Mark Annville, PA
  • Practice,Practice,Practice!!!!!!!!! Catch the temp on the way up is easier than cooling down. Start shuting down about 50 degrees from target point,Then adjust accordingly
    LET'S EAT
  • biznorkbiznork Posts: 112
    I smoked one brisket without a guru. Never again. So much better to set it and not have to worry about it.
  • thanks for all the advice...i'll bet i lit too much charcoal...use two paper towels folded like a fan with a little oil...great for  high temp cooks comes up fast and sets quickly...

    will try with lighting in one spot...have a butt to do with some pork chops this weekend...also need to practice on wings for Salado...

    this is what i like about this forum, have a problem, get an answer!!!

    Rockwall Texas, just east of Dallas where the humidity and heat meet! Life is too short to get caught in the fast lane behind somebody slow!

    XL, LG, Sm, Mini and Weber for drink holder

  • Woody, Here is 6lbs of Kickin Wings on my XL indirest with Platesetter at 350 dome, Sauced when done and put back on for bout 15-20 min. Perfect
    LET'S EAT
  • CowdogsCowdogs Posts: 491
     What do you guys think is the main reason the XL regulates low tempertures differently then the other BGEs?  Are the holes in the fire grate too large to maintain 200-250?  Would love to know some thoughts.  I been thinking about getting an XL, but am now slightly concerned.
    Th XL has a very large lower vent.  It's as well made as any of the BGE vents, which all leak a little air.  I think in the the case of the XL, the "little leak" is larger.  I have noticed that I need to shut it down to 1/32 of an inch to get dome temp of 225.  1/32 on an inch almost looks like it closed. 
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817

    I have been using my xl for almost a year and have a real problem with low and slow...open the lower vent approximately 1/8" and can keep it steady at 550 for pizza with the dmft off...with it on and cracked and 1/8" on the lower level it will run about 300...am i doing something wrong? 

    I threw ribs on today to cook all afternoon, came out to check after an hour and the temp ws 400 steady...hit the Texas crutch to save the ribs and cut the bottom off completely finally dropped to 325 and they were ready after about 2 1/2 hours, let them rest for about 30 min.  then put them in the frig for tonite....tasted good but were certainly not my best effort...any ideas 

    I haven't used the XL in a while but for a 250* cook you are looking at the lower vent open about the thickness of a credit card or less and the daisy almost completely shut. I always put it down to the greater interior volume of the XL.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • stevesailsstevesails Posts: 990

    having said that you dont need a temp controller, I found a new Abers on Craigslist at a great price,  I love it. set it for 250 and it stays close to that forever!

     

    XL   Walled Lake, MI

  • gte1gte1 Posts: 379

    I think the lighting thing is the key.  For high temp it does not seem to matter how you light, you will get it all going and up to temp eventually.  For low temp if you get too much lump burning at once, like Travis said, you are going to have a really hard time keeping the temp down.  I did it a few times before figuring it out, with help from this fourm actually.

    George

    George
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817

    George,

    I always light in three places with mapp. It doesn't make a difference in temp control. Allowing the fire to get more established yes.

    Steve

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,570
    edited March 2012
    my XL holds 250* with about a 1/4" opening and the holes half closed on the daisy wheel.  For low and slow cooks, I split a single wax cube in half and light two spots close to each other.  After the cube is completely burned, close the lid and let it start to heat up.  Once the grill gets to 200* I close the vent down to 1" and close the daisy wheel holes to half.  As it comes to 250* shut the vent down to around 1/4".
    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
  • RunamuckRunamuck Posts: 15
    I have my xl going right now with ribs and ham. Lit 3 spots with propane torch and left open for a few minutes. Put plate setter in, and opened top and bottom all the way. Doing this, my large would be about 200 when I come back 10 minutes or so later. The Xl is at 400; always heats way faster than my large. Now I've had the lower vent totally closed for an hour and a half and still won't go below 250. Top is closed with daisy wheel open, but bottom vent shut tight; I would say they must leak a little!
  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 10,282
    Runamuck said:
    I have my xl going right now with ribs and ham. Lit 3 spots with propane torch and left open for a few minutes. Put plate setter in, and opened top and bottom all the way. Doing this, my large would be about 200 when I come back 10 minutes or so later. The Xl is at 400; always heats way faster than my large. Now I've had the lower vent totally closed for an hour and a half and still won't go below 250. Top is closed with daisy wheel open, but bottom vent shut tight; I would say they must leak a little!
    I fire up 3-4 spots if I want to get to grilling temps faster on my XL. 
    I only do 1-2 for lower temps. 
    The lump area on the XL is massive compared to the Large. The platesetter is also much larger. Once you get the temps shooting past your target temp it’s difficult to bring the temps back down. Always good to check for air leaks between base and dome as well.
    I use my XL more than my large and I find my XL easier to dial in for low temps. 
    Thank you,
    Darian

    Galveston Texas
  • dstearndstearn Posts: 1,435
    I always use a temp controller for long low and slows. Flame boss 300 keeps the temp within a few degrees of the target temp. There are too many variables that can effect temperature such as wind and external temps.
  • cookingdude555cookingdude555 Posts: 2,780
    @Runamuck, its possible you just had too much lit.  Lighting in three places and leaving the lid open is going to have a big fire to contain when you come back.  I would probably still light the same, just out the platesetter in and close the lid sooner and watch the temp rise slower next time.  When I do long cooks at low temps on eggs (any size), I like to give a lot of time to get the cooker stable and a cleaner fire before putting the food on.  These things go forever on the fuel they have, so adding an hour to preheat isnt a problem.  Plus it allows one of the greatest things about the egg to happen, it soaks the ceramic with heat.  But like you said, you may have air infiltration at the gasket level too ..

    John - SLC, UT

    Several eggs ..

  • BigGreenKevBigGreenKev Posts: 78
    Just did 24 hours on my XL this weend (back to back cooks) and held at 270 like a champ.bottom was open 1/2" to 3/4" and top barely had anything open.

    I lit one or 2 spots but had it set like this from the start.  Like others have said, if you overshoot, best you can really hope for is maintaining where it is.  Very tough to reduce temp if it has been too high for very long.

    Temp controllers do make it a lot easier but aren't required.  My probe went bad so I didn't use it this weekend.
  • frazzdaddyfrazzdaddy Posts: 1,931
    I prefer my xl. No controller ,holds 225 all day. Bottom open width of a credit card with a low balance. Top same. Light in one place. Check for air leaks around the gasket.
    Xl bge ,LG bge, two 4' crusher cone fire pits. Weber Genisis gasser and 
    Two rusty Weber kettles. 

    Two Rivers Farm
    Moncure N.C.
  • Mark_B_GoodMark_B_Good Posts: 206
    For 225F on an XL, I've learned the following is important:

    1) Use a decent charcoal ... they aren't all the same.  I got a bag of the BGE Canadian Hardwood, and it runs hotter than the BGE Hickory Oak.  What I noticed is the hardwood was smaller pieces ... hickory oak has huge pieces in it. My engineering theory is smaller pieces = more surface area = more surface for oxygen = more heat evolution.

    2) Light fire in one small place ... do you create a little cavity around the place you light? I kind of tee-pee my lump around a block of lighter pad.  Keep the fire to center, may front bias ... the air moves the fire to the back of the BGE and tends to make it run hotter.

    3) I  have to have my bottom vent closed to around 1/32" to 1/16" to keep it at 225F ... no ways 1/8" or more would work to keep it that low.

    4) Top vent is crack open about 1/4"

    5) This one some will argue, but I always use a small aluminum pan filled with water on the grid ... not in the drip pan (so I can remove it easily if necessary). I know the BGE doesn't need much water, but that pan does help temper the temperature.
    Napoleon Prestige Pro 665, XL BGE, Lots of time for BBQ!
  • speed51133speed51133 Posts: 686
    For 225F on an XL, I've learned the following is important:

    1) Use a decent charcoal ... they aren't all the same.  I got a bag of the BGE Canadian Hardwood, and it runs hotter than the BGE Hickory Oak.  What I noticed is the hardwood was smaller pieces ... hickory oak has huge pieces in it. My engineering theory is smaller pieces = more surface area = more surface for oxygen = more heat evolution.

    2) Light fire in one small place ... do you create a little cavity around the place you light? I kind of tee-pee my lump around a block of lighter pad.  Keep the fire to center, may front bias ... the air moves the fire to the back of the BGE and tends to make it run hotter.

    3) I  have to have my bottom vent closed to around 1/32" to 1/16" to keep it at 225F ... no ways 1/8" or more would work to keep it that low.

    4) Top vent is crack open about 1/4"

    5) This one some will argue, but I always use a small aluminum pan filled with water on the grid ... not in the drip pan (so I can remove it easily if necessary). I know the BGE doesn't need much water, but that pan does help temper the temperature.
    all the same here, except for water on my xl
    XL BGE and Kamado Joe Jr.
  • RyanStlRyanStl Posts: 49
    It's definitely possible to maintain low 200s temp, but I have had problems with other vertical style smokers like my old UDS keeping that low and not fizzling out.  The guru really helps a ton because the fan kicking on stokes the coals.  Frankly, this year I've embraced hotter cooks, which take less time and better results for me.
  • EoinEoin Posts: 3,213
    My XL will happily maintain low temperatures. Light in one spot and set the vents low once the fire is going, but still small. It will take a while to reach temperature, but won't overshoot. Rush to get to temp and it will carry on heating up after you set tue vents for low. Also, don't panic about the temperature dropping after putting on the meat, if you open up to compensate, the temperature will rise later.

    Finally, check the vent guides aren't loose, that will allow extra air in. Tap with a mallet or use a wooden block and hammer and adjust until the vent is tight enough to give a good seal.
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