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Temperature Fluxuation for Overnight Cooking (Pork Shoulder)


I've smoked several pork shoulder's on the egg.. ALWAYS phenomenal.  My challenge is that I see big temperature swings at night even after the egg is stable with the pork shoulder in it.  For example, last night I had the egg stable at 245.  I went to bed and my alarm went off because it dropped below 220.  I went outside and adjusted the daisy wheel a notch.. egg stabilized.  Then an hour later my alarm went off because the egg went past 275.

I've seen this consistently every time I do a long cook.  I can't figure it out. I find it unlikely to be the  charcoal.. but I suppose it is a possibility.  Is it possible that i need to give a slightly bigger air vent gap in the bottom vent and control more tightly via daisy wheel?  I've played with it a bit but it hasn't made a difference.  I understand that has charcoal burns down adjustments are needed.. but i should see such huge swings

I should add that on long cooks, I completely clean out the egg and start with fresh charcoal.

Any help would be appreciated!


  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,944
    The 55 degree rise in an hours is rather surprising, more so if it is happening frequently.

    In how many places do you start your fire, and where? Fires that fade away often are burning in only 1 spot, and at low temperatures, they seem to have trouble moving thru the lump.

    But I really don't know what is up with the temp rise. Its something I would expect from moving the bottom vent too much, not the daisy. My rule of thumb is "10s of degrees from the bottom, 1s of degrees w. the daisy."

    Is your gasket seal good? An ill seated dome can make temp control very difficult.

    Hope you figure this out.
  • How long was the shoulder in it before the temp dropped? Once you start making adjustments you are going to be chasing your tail. If you get the egg stabilised with the platesetter and all other gear in it except the meat and wait an hour or so before you put the meat on you should be OK. The temp will drop with the addition of the cold mass but will eventually recover. That is if you have no issues with ash etc.


    Caledon, ON


  • I see an draft system in your near future.



    from SANTA CLARA, CA

  • I was experiencing the same type of problem for L&S cooks.  Not 100% sure but I think it was due to sorting and using mostly large lump pieces.  Since that time, I have still put larger pieces on the grid, but make sure I have smaller pieces on top bridging any gaps.  I think it might have been due to the coals not transferring the heat well enough to adjacent lumps due to airflow/gaps between them.  Since changing from all large lump to assorted sizes, no problem.  So, OP do you sort or dump? 
    A poor widows son.
    See der Rabbits, Iowa
  • makismakis Posts: 81
    Wind speed changing?

  • I noticed the same thing on my first few overnight cooks. I started taking the ash tool through grid and place setter holes and pushing the coal that was on the sides down to the middle. Did this just before going to bed, haven't had the problem anymore. Only thing I can figure is the way I light my fire burns more in the middle, needed to get more coal to the fire.
    LBGE Knoxville, TN
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 26,701
    If the wind changes direction or speed, it can change the air flow into your lower damper.  A stoker system helps compensate for wind-related temperature fluctuations.
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  • TonyATonyA Posts: 582
    I don't really use the dome thermometer. But I look at it enough to say that dome temp can easily come off 20 to 25 degrees as the temperature in the egg normalizes. You were probably somewhere around 220 grate the whole time prior to the adjustment. Adjusting the wheel increases the draft and pushes higher temps into the dome again. Assuming 275 was the new high it probably all would have settled in around 250 to 255 in another couple hours. This is part of why people are always chasing their tails with temp. Don't worry too much. Meat temp is way more important than pit temp.
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