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New Egg -- Need Help & Ideas

DocmcgilDocmcgil Posts: 4
edited September 2012 in EggHead Forum

Hi everyone, I just had my large egg delivered this past week and I've been using a bag of charcoal just so I can play around with the temps a bit.  I'm trying to get it to hold at 225 to smoke a pork butt later this week, but to no avail.  My hope is to get her set at 225 and leave her over night.

I have the plate setter to use, but any tricks of the trade you care to share to help me out -- all are greatly apprciated.  I've played with the daisy wheel and bottom vent, can get 225, but doesn't stay there for sustained periods of time.  I thought I had it before going to bed last night, but I woke up to a cold egg.  Perhaps I really need to pile in the charcoal?  Also have some blocks of cherry and apple chips that I plan on soaking in water to give a bit more flavor.

All thoughts and ideas...tricks...are welcome.  Thanks!  I'm really looking forward to smoking a pork butt soon!


  • Welcome to the forum Doc. I am no eggs-spert, other will chime in I am sure. Here is what I do. If you are wanting to do a lo and slow. Clean out your egg, get rid of all the ash. Check and make sure there isn't a pile of ash between the fire box and the interior of the egg, Check all your air holes in the fire box as well. Now you'r ready to load up the lump. For a long cook you will need to LOAD er up with lump. Fill the egg up above the fire ring.
     LIght the egg. It might take a few minutes but you should see a fist size of lit coals. You can put in your plate setter and stabilize your temp. I settle in at about 240-250 for my PP. You may want to raise your temp just a little. Also you might want to check the grate holes after a while, sometimes small pieces of lump plug the holes in the grate and that restricts air flow. Use a wiggle rod, (coat hanger or something like it, form an L shape the small end is what you stick into the grate holes and wiggle the small lump out of the way. You do this through the bottom vent and then close it back to where it was. Do go gently, sometimes if you are to rough on the grate it is jarred and doesn't sit straight on the firebox. Or get a Hi Que grate, ( do a search) Do the wiggle rod thing before you head to bed, and then check it in the morning. My egg has chugged away for an16 hour smoke and there was still lump left over. Pul the butt when it hits an internal temp of 195-205. It should be perfect.
    Just keep on egging it will all start to make sense in a bit. Remember it is a journey, have fun.
    Hope this helps a bit.
    Large, small, and a mini
  • TjcoleyTjcoley Posts: 3,528
    For an overnight cook, start with a clean Egg, then load a few fist sized pieces of lump on the grate and the fill the fire box up to the bottom of the fire ring.  Mix in the wood chips/blocks throughout the lump, especially in the center. Two or three good size chunks or the equivalent in chips is fine.  No need to soak the wood.  Light one spot in the center on top of the lump, using whatever method you like (I use paper towel soaked in oil), If you are talking dome temp, 225 is too low, aim for 270 - 280.  Wait until the smoke smells good and temp is stable before adding the meat.  Platesetter, legs up, with a raised drip pan (use the little green feet, foil balls, pennies or whatever to raise the drip pan off the platesetter or the drippings will burn). Grid on top of legs then meat on grid.  Cook to an internal temp of 200 - 205.  Better to finish early than have everyone waiting until midnight to eat.  Every hunk of meat will take a different time to cook.  If you finish early, wrap in foil, and place in a pre warmed (pour in some hot water for 10 minutes then dry it out) cooler wrapped in towels. This is referred to as FTC - foil, towels, cooler.  It will keep for 4 hours or so this way.  Then take it out and pull.  Don't worry about exact temp on the Egg.  Each has a sweet spot it will like to settle in.  20 degrees one way or the other is no big difference. And make sure your dome probe is calibrated.  They can be off by 40 to 50 degrees some times.  Pull it out, place the tip in a pot of boiling water and make sure it reads 212 degrees (adjusted for altitude if necessary).  If not, use a pair of pliers to hold the nut on the back of the probe while turning the dial to get the right temp. There are a lot of different ways that will work, and it is not an exact science.  Relax and enjoy the ride. And read this forum - it's the best source of info you can find.  Once you start your cook, if you have questions, post them here and you'll usually have a number of answers pretty quickly.  And don't forget to post pics - if there are no pics the cook didn't happen.  Welcome. 
    It's not a science, it's an art. And it's flawed.
    - Camp Hill, PA
  • Thank you Smoke!  but to get that low sustained open to have the daisy wheel and lower vent?  Do you find one or the other has a great affect on the temp?  Are you able to get the temp set and walk away for 16 hours?  Thanks again!

  • Hillbilly-HightechHillbilly-Hightech Posts: 966
    edited September 2012
    250-275 dome is fine, no need to try to hold 225 w/out a remote fan.  

    As far as the chips, no need to soak.  Just scatter them throughout your lump vertically & horizontally.  

    Not everyone does this, but I light in 3 places (picture 8, 4, & 12 on a clock as looking down into the coal bed).  I give it a few minutes to make sure the lump is going well, then I stir to more evenly disperse the fire.  

    Use whatever rub is your favorite, put the butt in, do an indirect cook.  If you have a remote thermometer like a Maverick, use it.  Don't keep peeking on the cook, just leave the lid closed.  You'll hit at least one stall, maybe 2, but don't worry, just keep on keepin' on!!  

    Best of luck & be sure to take pics!!
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 8,347
    edited September 2012
    +1 on what smokesniffer says. 
    Also, once you have some fire, put in the setter, spacers(under the pan if you use them), drip pan and grid, close the bottom vent about 1/2 way. Now adjust with just the daisy until she stabilizes. Most new eggers seem to overshoot the target temp and then overcompensate with a shut down. My MBGE hold at 200 dome, 220 grid with daisy about 1/8" and bottom vent 1". Takes a bit to get the hang of it. Some folks put larger lump on the bottom to minimize small chunks getting in the vent holes. 
    Another life lesson from this forum, no need to soak wood. fire+wet wood = creosote;  fire+dry wood = smoke. The egg will not allow the wood to flare, unless you open the lid. 
    Delta B.C. - Move over coffee, this is job for alcohol!
  • TjcoleyTjcoley Posts: 3,528
    Docmcgil said:
    Thank you Smoke!  but to get that low sustained open to have the daisy wheel and lower vent?  Do you find one or the other has a great affect on the temp?  Are you able to get the temp set and walk away for 16 hours?  Thanks again!
    Lower vent = big change, Daisy wheel = fine tune.  However, it is all based on air flow.  Can't have more coming out the top than is going in the bottom.  There are some who don't use the daisy wheel and control with the bottom vent only.  For a low and slow overnight, I'm usually at bottom vent open about 1/8 inch, and Daisy Wheel holes open about the same - width of the temp probe.  This is after fire is established.  I've held this way for 27 hours and still had lump left. 

    It's not a science, it's an art. And it's flawed.
    - Camp Hill, PA
  • Thank you all for help and suggestions -- they are greatly appreciated.  I may make practice run before the real deal on Wednesday thru Thursday.  You've offered some valuable info regarding the chips and vent adjustments, and I'll be sure to post a pic or two.

    Here is a pic of my first cook -- 20 oz bone-in delmoninco -- was delicious!

  • Keep us in the loop, would like to hear how it turned out. Enjoy the cook. Nothing like driving the neighbours crazy for 16 hours with waves of sweet smelling smoke.  ;)
    Large, small, and a mini
  • A lot of people recomend lighting the fire in one place in the center for an overnight cook.  Had my fire go out that way once.  Burned straight down and burned out.  Now I light like normal - using a weed burned or paper towel X.  

    With a new egg look for smoke around the dome to base joint - you shouldn't have too much smoke there.  If you too, you might want to adjust the lid.  

    You might want to make sure the dome bolts are bent - we used to give that advice to all new eggers.  

    You might want to line up the metal lid pivot screws in line with the lit travel so your setting doesn't change when you open the lid.

    Your egg will probably settle into a temp around 240-270 and like it there.  Don't fight it too much, just get used to the cook time at that temp.

    225 is a bit low for an overnight.  If you want to prolong the time at 170 you might try to bring the temp down during the day, but for a first overnighter, I might try a little higher temp - 250-270 because there is less risk of it going out on you.  

    Good luck, 

  • pineypiney Posts: 1,304

    Welcome Doc, You will find this forum is very very helpful, that being said please ask questions some of these people are very knowageable. Also a boston butt is pretty well bulletproof, I coat mine in yellow mustard, apply favorite rub, cook indredt at 250-275 till internal temp is 195 or so,pull FTC, and enjoy! Good Luck, Gary  

    Lenoir, N.C.
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