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Need help holding temp...getting frustrated...

I’m on my 5th or 6th cook and cannot hold temperature and it’s becoming increasingly frustrating. I’m reading through the forums and still can’t figure it out. 

Here is is what I’m doing for a 225 cook:
1. Lighting lump in center with propane torch. I let it get hot for 5-10 minutes 

2. After the 5-10 minutes I put the platesetter and grate in and close the dome with bottom vent and screen open and DW off

3. Once temp gets to 200-210 I put DW on with vents only open a sliver and close bottom vent to about 1/4 inch or less

*here the temp drops 15-30 degrees and I have to open DW vents and bottom vent to get temp to start moving forward until it reaches temp. 

4. Once the temp is where I want I close Dw and bottom vents again to a sliver. Temp will hold for 10 minutes then either start to slowly go down or slowly go up. If I let it go it will go either 10-15 degrees either way. Will never stay at a certain temp 

what at am I doing wrong??
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Comments

  • If you put the plate Setter in cold the temperature will drop for a while until the plate Setter warms up and then the temp will come back up to temperature if I were you I would just let it go until the plate Setter warms up and then it will settle in
  • Before you lit your fire did you check to see if your holes were clogged up that will also keep the temperature from being where you wanted to be
  • I let my egg go for an hour to let it settle and hold on the temp.  Otherwise all I end up doing is chasing temps
    Elkhorn, NE
    1 large egg
    28" Blackstone 
  • Ondeck33Ondeck33 Posts: 28
    Thanks for the reply. Yes I cleaned it beforehand. I put the platesetter in before I close the dome so it can heat up
  • bikesAndBBQbikesAndBBQ Posts: 162
    I think you need to let it stabilize more. If you want to get to 225, you need to have your dampers set way before you get to 210. I’d say around 185-195. Let it slowly come to temp. Also, 225 is not the end all be all. I typically smoke at 250-285. 
    Pittsburgh, PA. LBGE
  • Ondeck33Ondeck33 Posts: 28
    Yeah I think I’m going to start cooking in the 250 range lol. It’s just that when I start shutting down temp starts to drop and go down instead of slowly climbing unless that’s what it does before going back up 
  • JMCXLJMCXL Posts: 899
    Agree with comments above. My XL likes 240-270 hard for me to sit at 225. For most my cooks that works
    Northern New Jersey
    TBGE XL - Woo2, AR  TBGE L - Woo   TBGE MM - Woo  TBGE Medium

    Check out "Grilling With Papa J" YouTube Page for Fun, Interesting BGE Videos
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkiSaIDafraS4q36Gn6Saxw

    Follow me on Facebook 
    https://www.facebook.com/GrillingPapaJ/

  • johnnypjohnnyp Posts: 2,902
    So, you’re doing a lot of things right. But several of your tactics could use a little adjusting.

    First and foremost, don’t put too much stock in the 225 thing.  There aren’t any real benefits to cooking at 225 vs 250 or 275.  A lot of guys on here cook their butts and ribs Turbo style, which is over 300. Also, Don’t sweat plus/minus 20 degrees in either direction of your target temp. 

    Now, in regards to locking in at your desired temp, try not too hard to chase your temps. You mentioned that upon putting on the daisy wheel, you see a temp drop and you counter that by opening vents. Be patient and see what the egg does after 30 mins or so.  Then, use the bottom vent for larger temperature adjustments and the top vents for fine tuning. But no matter what, patience.  

    We’ve all been where you are.  You’ll get there. Egg on. 
    XL & MM BGE, 36" Blackstone - Newport News, VA
  • CornfedMACornfedMA Posts: 98
    johnnyp said:
    So, you’re doing a lot of things right. But several of your tactics could use a little adjusting.

    First and foremost, don’t put too much stock in the 225 thing.  There aren’t any real benefits to cooking at 225 vs 250 or 275.  A lot of guys on here cook their butts and ribs Turbo style, which is over 300. Also, Don’t sweat plus/minus 20 degrees in either direction of your target temp. 

    Now, in regards to locking in at your desired temp, try not too hard to chase your temps. You mentioned that upon putting on the daisy wheel, you see a temp drop and you counter that by opening vents. Be patient and see what the egg does after 30 mins or so.  Then, use the bottom vent for larger temperature adjustments and the top vents for fine tuning. But no matter what, patience.  

    We’ve all been where you are.  You’ll get there. Egg on. 
    This. 

    Making a temp adjustment is more like steering the Titanic, rather than say, a jet ski. When you make an adjustment, let it hang out for a bit to do it’s thing. When I was learning with my first XL, I had to remind myself to only make one adjustment at a time- either the DW or bottom vent. I rarely make changes to both at once.
  • YukonRonYukonRon Posts: 12,238
    I start the fire, load the PS, the grate, and give an hour to stabilize. Once I get it reasonable within the goal and it settles, I put the food on.
    Have an adult beverage while you wait, and it will be fine.
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emil Faber

    XL and MM
    Louisville, Kentucky
  • I let my egg go for an hour to let it settle and hold on the temp.  Otherwise all I end up doing is chasing temps
  • Ondeck33Ondeck33 Posts: 28
    So what I’m gathering is that if I’m going to cook at 250 I need to let the fire get going with the dome open then put the PS and grate in and shut it. Once it gets to say 200 to 220 (which I assume would be in only a minute or so) I need to first close vents half the way I want to avoid the big drop off then once temp gets even closer set the DW vents and the bottom vent open only a sliver and let stabilize for half hour to an hour. 
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,770
    @Ondeck33 - getting the BGE to any temp (stable) takes time as you have quite a mass of ceramic to heat up.  As mentioned above, key is to not overshoot your target temp-if you leave the dome open to initially get a good fire going ( I go with slightly smaller than a softball sized quantity in one spot for L&S) -set the lower vent and DMFT to about where you expect them to be when steady-state.  Then load the hardware and shut the dome. Watch temp temp and adjust as necessary-and don't sweat "dead-on" temps for the low&slow cooks. 270*F+/- 30* is close enough.  Just get the BGE stable (45- 60 mins) and then let it do the work.  You can spend the cook chasing temperature (remember the fire is responding to air flow changes so the feedback loop has quite a delay time).  Relax and enjoy the journey- 
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • You got the right idea I let my egg charcoal burn until the flame goes out and the charcoal is lit then put the plate Setter in and close the Dome with the vents open then when you get to about 220

    Start closing your vents to about a quarter of an inch and then let the egg sit there for a while until it settles in for about 30 minutes to an hour or at least 45 minutes and then put your meat on.

    That should put you at about 250-260 once it settles in and when you put your meat on the temperature will drop a little but don't mess with the vents just leave it and the temp will come back up gradually I hope this helps
  • jtcBoyntonjtcBoynton Posts: 2,103
    Adjust your thinking to realize that temp changes are not instantaneous.  After making a vent adjustment, the fire will increase or decrease the amount of heat it produces. The change in temp will be delayed by the time it takes the ceramic to heat up or cool down. 
    Southeast Florida - LBGE
    In cooking, often we implement steps for which we have no explanations other than ‘that’s what everybody else does’ or ‘that’s what I have been told.’  Dare to think for yourself.
     
  • cookingdude555cookingdude555 Posts: 1,506
    I light the lump in a few places, put your indirect stuff in (platesetter, etc.), then add a few wood chunks.  I let the egg stabilize for a while, I don't like to move the vents very often, this will kill the fire.  Stoking and choking the fire over and over makes for a crappy fire.  I have a wireless remote thermometer that I use when I cook low and slow on the egg.  I set my alarms for 200 on the low side, and 315 on the high side.  I don't care what it cooks at as long as it lets me sleep.  If it finishes early, it spends more time in the cooler until its time to eat.  Trying to get the egg to cruise at an exact temp gets you nothing but crazy thoughts about how you have to have an electric controller to "fix" the egg.

    John - SLC, UT

    2 XLs, Medium, MM, and Mini

  • bgebrentbgebrent Posts: 16,468
    For l&s cook light one place we’ll.   Let the fire breathe 10 minutes, then put in all the requisite pieces. Then cook. 
    Sandy Springs & Dawsonville Ga
  • blastingblasting Posts: 5,494

    You've been given solid advice by many members.

    I'll just add that, in the beginning, you want to creep towards your target temp.  As you gain familiarity with the egg you can drive it more aggressively without overshooting.  

    You'll be able to charge towards your temp, and you'll discover when to make adjustments in order level off at your your target temp without overshooting - kind of like stopping on a dime.  
    Phoenix 
  • WoodchunkWoodchunk Posts: 638
    edited February 3
    Ondeck33 said:
    I’m on my 5th or 6th cook and cannot hold temperature and it’s becoming increasingly frustrating. I’m reading through the forums and still can’t figure it out. 

    Here is is what I’m doing for a 225 cook:
    1. Lighting lump in center with propane torch. I let it get hot for 5-10 minutes 

    2. After the 5-10 minutes I put the platesetter and grate in and close the dome with bottom vent and screen open and DW off

    3. Once temp gets to 200-210 I put DW on with vents only open a sliver and close bottom vent to about 1/4 inch or less

    *here the temp drops 15-30 degrees and I have to open DW vents and bottom vent to get temp to start moving forward until it reaches temp. 

    4. Once the temp is where I want I close Dw and bottom vents again to a sliver. Temp will hold for 10 minutes then either start to slowly go down or slowly go up. If I let it go it will go either 10-15 degrees either way. Will never stay at a certain temp 

    what at am I doing wrong??
    1-ok
    2- put your chunks in and the PS when up to temp 225 or above
    3- add dw on leaving open and wait for temp to return to 225
    4- start closing bottom vent a little at a time till its at or above your 225 then adjust with dw

    sounds like you are choking down the fire to quick. Once the fire is hot and your settings are good for your temp the egg will take care of the cook for many hours.


  • Just to add some words of encouragement, once you get familiar with the egg, you’ll be able to lock in vent settings and temp better than a gas grill. Adhere to the advice given here. It’s rare I do a cook and don’t look for an old thread at some point during it to constantly learn new techniques
  • dshaffesdshaffes Posts: 18
    Lots of good advice.  I'll just say, stick with it and you'll learn your smoker.  You could also get a BBQ Guru if you really want to dial in your temps, especially helpful for overnight and long cooks.
  • Markarm4119Markarm4119 Posts: 303
    These guys all helped me when I started the BGE journey last year, so take their advice to heart ! Just 1 question from the peanut gallery : Is Your temp. Gauge accurate ?
    LBGE, and just enough knowledge and gadgets to be dangerous .
    Buford,Ga.
  • Ondeck33Ondeck33 Posts: 28
    It is not but I’m placing a probe on the grate for the temp readings. Thanks to you and everyone else for helping me out.
  • CmyachtieCmyachtie Posts: 72
    Just my 2cts..keep in mind that your dome temp and grate temps can be quite different, my DoME thermometer is calibrated and I find up to 100 degree difference, also depends on where the grade probe is located in the egg.
    MM, my not so large BGE
    cuisinart gasser :o
    Halifax, Canada
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,770
    edited February 3
    @Ondeck33 - Not sure how you know your dome thermo isn't accurate but that aside you can easily calibrate it.  Get some water boiling, insert your dome thermo.  It should read around 210*F (212 at sea level for the digital world).  If not there then adjust using the calibration nut on the back and recheck.  You may just be experiencing the dome to grate off-set.
    BTW- conventional wisdom here is that if a cooking temp is specified it is dome (as that is the one thermo all BGE's have) unless other-wise noted.  FWIW-
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • Maybe instead of just a sliver of gap on the dw, keep the holes open and control the air with the bottom vent.  For 250, my bottom vent can be open 1-2” on an xl.  Works for me.
  • LegumeLegume Posts: 8,206
    Have another bev, think less and more slowly.
    Austin, TX
  • DWFIIDWFII Posts: 182
    lousubcap said:
    BTW- conventional wisdom here is that if a cooking temp is specified it is dome (as that is the one thermo all BGE's have) unless other-wise noted.  FWIW-
    Serious question...not understanding the rationale--heat rises; with the DW all but closed, heat will "pile up" high in the dome; the therm is high in the dome where, presumably, the heat will be highest;  the meat is low in the dome where the food is cooked.

    Why would the dome temp be preferred over the grid temp anymore than putting a probe directly into the coals?




    Bespoke boot and shoemaker--45+ years
    Instagram
  • LegumeLegume Posts: 8,206
    Over time, dome and grid should equalize.  If you’re cooking on the coals, then you probably don’t care what the temp is - that will always be hotter.

    dont think about the top vent as backing up heat, think of it as limiting airflow.  If less gets out the top, less comes in below, which means less oxygen and less fire, less heat.
    Austin, TX
  • DWFIIDWFII Posts: 182
    Legume said:

    dont think about the top vent as backing up heat, think of it as limiting airflow.  If less gets out the top, less comes in below, which means less oxygen and less fire, less heat.
    That's an interesting POV...I hadn't thought of it that way.
    Bespoke boot and shoemaker--45+ years
    Instagram
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