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Bottom vent “vs” top

I’ve always used the bottom vent to control temperature and open the top up some to keep smoke moving. However, I’ve just seen the SMOBOT temperature controller and it uses the top to control air flow. Technically I suppose either will work but is there a chance of getting stale smoke? Does anyone actually use the top vent manually instead of the bottom?  

Comments

  • bikesAndBBQbikesAndBBQ Posts: 284
    It really doesn’t matter. Do what works for you and gets you the results you like. I control more with the top. 
    Pittsburgh, PA. LBGE
  • alaskanassasinalaskanassasin Posts: 2,023
    I set the bottom and forget it... not into bending over
    South of Columbus, Ohio.
  • rifrenchrifrench Posts: 274
    I use the SmokeWare top and on a L&S cook I control the temperature with the top vent, leaving the bottom vent open about 1/2 inch. With hot cooks 400* and above I leave the top cover off and control with the bottom vent.
     1 LBGE, 1 SBGE, 1 KBQ and a 26" Blackstone near Blackstone, Virginia
  • dharleydharley Posts: 377
    I use a SmokeWare cap. For L&S I set the bottom as wide as my thumb and dial in the temp with the top. I've never had 'stale' smoke as it can only make as much as it lets out. I don't think it matters which one you use, or if you adjust both. It's just about controlling air flow through the lump and wood. I could be wrong, I just do what works for me.
    LBGE, PSWOO, 36" Blackstone, MasterBuilt smoke box- Playing with fire in Three Rivers, MI

    My '23 & Me' said I'm 2/3 bacon and 1/3 Red Blooded American

    USMC Veteran

    Always do sober what you said you would drunk, that'll teach you to keep your mouth shut.  -EH
  • dharleydharley Posts: 377
    dharley said:
    I use a SmokeWare cap. For L&S I set the bottom as wide as my thumb and dial in the temp with the top. I've never had 'stale' smoke as it can only make as much as it lets out. I don't think it matters which one you use, or if you adjust both. It's just about controlling air flow through the lump and wood. I could be wrong, I just do what works for me.
    Also, for hot cooks (+400) I open the bottom all the way and use the cap to keep it from running away. Sometimes, in winter, when it's below zero, I have to put the daisy wheel back on to allow more airflow to get it hot.
    LBGE, PSWOO, 36" Blackstone, MasterBuilt smoke box- Playing with fire in Three Rivers, MI

    My '23 & Me' said I'm 2/3 bacon and 1/3 Red Blooded American

    USMC Veteran

    Always do sober what you said you would drunk, that'll teach you to keep your mouth shut.  -EH
  • BigGreenKevBigGreenKev Posts: 38
    I mainly use the top on an XL.  Sometimes I wonder if certain sizes do better with bottom vs top or if it is all just personal preference
  • BGEChicagoBGEChicago Posts: 570
    When I first bought my egg I also bought this book, it suggested leaving the bottom vent wide open and controlling the temp by the top only. This method has never failed me, no stale smoke, in addition much easier to control the temp with only one setting (the top). I plan on purchasing another XL this year, when I do I'll reach out to you folks to swap the new style top for the old one...

    Chicago, IL BGE XL BGE Mini Webber Charcoal / Elmhurst, IL
  • BeerMikeBeerMike Posts: 311
    I’ve always used the bottom vent to control temperature and open the top up some to keep smoke moving. However, I’ve just seen the SMOBOT temperature controller and it uses the top to control air flow. Technically I suppose either will work but is there a chance of getting stale smoke? Does anyone actually use the top vent manually instead of the bottom?  
    “Stale smoke”? That’s an interesting question.  When using to top to control the temperature, my guess is there is still plenty of air flow to keep the smoke moving.  I mainly use my daisy wheel cap for long cooks.  How long does it take for smoke to become stale?  Hmmmmmmm..... I may have to have a few brews and ponder that question.  😁
    I think it's time for another beer!  Beer drinking (legally) since 1984
    BGEing since 2003
    2 Large BGEs 
    Sold small BGE, 3rd and 4th large BGEs and XL BGE (at wife's "request"....sad face)
    Living the dream in Wisconsin
  • BotchBotch Posts: 8,440
    Since getting my Smobot I've just been leaving the bottom 3/4 open, no issues.
    Before that, I'd just leave the top off and control the temp with the bottom.  However, I'd add the daisy wheel with just the "petals" open, for anything 250 or lower.  I've always had the theory that, with nothing on the top, fresh air can move down into the egg and throw things off.  Yes, the hot air from the coals is moving upward, but not in a large volume at low temps, and I just think cool air can pass by the rising warm air, as the hot air moves out of the egg, maybe creating a negative pressure.
    This can be easily tested; one of these days I'll get a small fire going, close off the bottom completely, and time how long the fire takes to go out and the egg cool, then compare the same thing while closing off the top, too.  Ideally this would be done with two identical Eggs (which I don't have) with same lump load, and run at the same time (for similar outside temps, barometric pressure, and humidity).  Someday...
    _____________________________________________
     
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • YukonRonYukonRon Posts: 14,392
    300⁰F and above I remove the top entirely and only use the bottom vent. L&S, I use both.
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emil Faber

    XL and MM
    Louisville, Kentucky
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 14,110
    Don't remember the last time I used the DFMT. It's in my garage somewhere. Low and slow cooks are at 300-320° and I can maintain those temps (or higher) with the top wide open. Some guys open the bottom all the way and control with the top, others use both vents (which I did in the beginning and still do on the rare occasions I do a sub 300° cook). Don't think there is a wrong way, whatever floats your boat.

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!

                                                                …Unknown

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • jtcBoyntonjtcBoynton Posts: 2,496
    ..... Technically I suppose either will work... Yes either will work

    but is there a chance of getting stale smoke?....  No 

    Does anyone actually use the top vent manually instead of the bottom?    Yes - many people do.

    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.
     
  • WildmanWilsonWildmanWilson Posts: 57
    edited July 28
    BeerMike said:
    I’ve always used the bottom vent to control temperature and open the top up some to keep smoke moving. However, I’ve just seen the SMOBOT temperature controller and it uses the top to control air flow. Technically I suppose either will work but is there a chance of getting stale smoke? Does anyone actually use the top vent manually instead of the bottom?  
    “Stale smoke”? That’s an interesting question.  When using to top to control the temperature, my guess is there is still plenty of air flow to keep the smoke moving.  I mainly use my daisy wheel cap for long cooks.  How long does it take for smoke to become stale?  Hmmmmmmm..... I may have to have a few brews and ponder that question.  😁

    This talks about the issue I asked about. I'm not saying its gospel but he talks about the top being closed and building creosote and stale smoke.

    But maybe the Egg is small enough that its not much of an issue. I've just always heard not to close off the exhaust too much. I was surprised to see many of you using the exhaust to control the temp.
  • alaskanassasinalaskanassasin Posts: 2,023
    I guess when I saw that the daisy wheel was adjustable with a multitude of variations, and the bottom vent only slit back and forth, logically I deduced that bge intended for the top vent to be the method for making temperature adjustments.

     That said, the new cap only moves back and forth!

    South of Columbus, Ohio.
  • ChucktaggartChucktaggart Posts: 9
    edited July 28
    The bottom vent is a “mode”.  The top daisy wheel controls the temperature.  If you want 250ish or higher on an XL, then always have the bottom vent wide open and adjust the daisy wheel from mostly closed for lower level of 250 to melting steel at wide open.  If you are doing a slow cook or melting cheese, etc then you close the bottom vent to almost closed (like an inch) and then adjust the daisy wheel from almost closed for 150 to 250. I have never had to do anything with the bottom other than those settings. My wife bought me one of those air flow fans and I have never used it or needed it. 
  • dbCooperdbCooper Posts: 109
    As others have noted, multiple tools available for manually controlling temp, along with multiple methods of using those tools.

    For 400' and below the "Daisy" is my method, using settings that BGEChicago posted up above (give or take for fine tuning).

    Some that use the top vent for control have stated they have the bottom wide open.  Here in the Great Plains the wind blows more often than not, typically over 10 mph.  If from a direction that intersects the lower vent I've been of the opinion this could result in a "blower" affect.  I have no evidence of this, just speculating.  So, I keep the lower open with a setting I eyeball to be slightly larger than the top opening.

  • JMJJMJ Posts: 52
    When I first bought my egg I also bought this book, it suggested leaving the bottom vent wide open and controlling the temp by the top only. This method has never failed me, no stale smoke, in addition much easier to control the temp with only one setting (the top). I plan on purchasing another XL this year, when I do I'll reach out to you folks to swap the new style top for the old one...

    I have the same book, but my experience is that the settings it suggests tends to give higher temps than what it says it should. Do you have the same experience, @[email protected]  or is it just me? 
  • BGEChicagoBGEChicago Posts: 570
    edited July 29
    No, it seems pretty accurate for me, I have an XLBGE... no kick ash bucket or anything like that. Great recipes in this book!!
    Chicago, IL BGE XL BGE Mini Webber Charcoal / Elmhurst, IL
  • CornholioCornholio Posts: 535
    So where’s the “are you a top or bottom” poll?  =)
  • BeerMikeBeerMike Posts: 311
    BeerMike said:
    I’ve always used the bottom vent to control temperature and open the top up some to keep smoke moving. However, I’ve just seen the SMOBOT temperature controller and it uses the top to control air flow. Technically I suppose either will work but is there a chance of getting stale smoke? Does anyone actually use the top vent manually instead of the bottom?  
    “Stale smoke”? That’s an interesting question.  When using to top to control the temperature, my guess is there is still plenty of air flow to keep the smoke moving.  I mainly use my daisy wheel cap for long cooks.  How long does it take for smoke to become stale?  Hmmmmmmm..... I may have to have a few brews and ponder that question.  😁

    This talks about the issue I asked about. I'm not saying its gospel but he talks about the top being closed and building creosote and stale smoke.

    But maybe the Egg is small enough that its not much of an issue. I've just always heard not to close off the exhaust too much. I was surprised to see many of you using the exhaust to control the temp.
    This article discusses creosote and how to test for it.  Has anyone here ever tested the smoke from their BGE? 

    https://www.thespruceeats.com/why-do-i-get-a-bitter-flavor-on-smoked-meats-333609

    I think it's time for another beer!  Beer drinking (legally) since 1984
    BGEing since 2003
    2 Large BGEs 
    Sold small BGE, 3rd and 4th large BGEs and XL BGE (at wife's "request"....sad face)
    Living the dream in Wisconsin
  • bgebrentbgebrent Posts: 19,726
    Bottom vent runs the show.  Smokeware or Daisy releases the combustion products.  Wide open unless a 275 L &S.
    Sandy Springs & Dawsonville Ga
  • bgebrent said:
    Bottom vent runs the show.  Smokeware or Daisy releases the combustion products.  Wide open unless a 275 L &S.
    100% agree.  I only throttle top vent when I have a controller running a L&S, and then top is barely cracked.

    Land of OZ-Hays Kansas

    BGE XL++Flameboss 300 WiFi++Blackstone 36"++2 Weber Kettles

  • BeerMikeBeerMike Posts: 311
    bgebrent said:
    Bottom vent runs the show.  Smokeware or Daisy releases the combustion products.  Wide open unless a 275 L &S.
    100% agree.  I only throttle top vent when I have a controller running a L&S, and then top is barely cracked.
    Agreed!  I control the temp by adjusting the lower vent.  Like you guys, I only use Ms Daisy for L&S.  Well, unless my fire gets out of control because I was too busy drinking  beer or bourbon instead of watch the grill temp. 😁
    I think it's time for another beer!  Beer drinking (legally) since 1984
    BGEing since 2003
    2 Large BGEs 
    Sold small BGE, 3rd and 4th large BGEs and XL BGE (at wife's "request"....sad face)
    Living the dream in Wisconsin
  • ToxarchToxarch Posts: 1,838
    I set the lower vent. Top is wide open. The top moves when the lid is raised. The bottom vent will never move. 
    Aledo, Texas
    Large BGE
    KJ Jr.

    Exodus 12:9 KJV
    Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.

  • bradleya123bradleya123 Posts: 219
    I use the Flame Boss 200 so it's all about the top vent!! 
    Retired Navy, LBGE
    Pinehurst, NC

  • It would seem with the top restricted that it would hold moisture more as well. If you are looking for bark on a butt for instance, it would make it too moist to get as much. Its obvious both work for temp control but I was wondering about other affects when closing the top.
  • I have been using both top and bottom with success it depends what I'm cooking. I've  had the egg since May no real preference yet.




    XL BGE
    Malden, MA
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 20,071
    edited August 3
    Related to a comment above about the DFMT moving when the BGE is opened, here's a link for how to align it to prevent that from happening:
    http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramicfaq.htm#dwsetting  (It's #47 on the overall list.)  FWIW-

    Louisville;  "indeterminate Jim" here; L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
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