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Fire was dying during smoking

Hi all eggheads, 

I’m an egg newbie and so happy I found this forum. I have learnt so much here!

First time doing overnight smoke pork butt. I put the butt in around 11:00pm and was aiming around 250-275°F. I woke up around 7:00am and noticed the temp was dropping. I didn’t mess with it and hoped it would go back up. Until it dropped to 215, I thought it was out of charcoal so I opened it up and took the food/plate setter out. 

I found there was a hole in the middle of the charcoals and the fire was dying. Charcoals around the center were barely burnt. I gave a good stirred and opened the top and bottom wide open to let the temp to catch up. Then the temp stayed steadily for 4 more hours until I pulled the butt out at 200 IT. 

Have any of you experienced this? Is that normal or did I do something wrong? How to avoid this situation?

Thanks in advance. 

Answers

  • kl8tonkl8ton Posts: 3,118
    This happens once in a while. Your fire burned straight down.  Sometimes a fluke.  You can intentionally load your lump a certain way. I'm just a dump and light guy.  
    Large, Medium, MiniMax, & 22, and 36" Blackstone
    Grand Rapids MI
  • GregWGregW Posts: 2,353
    In all the years that I have cooked on an Egg, I have never mastered building a fire that could burn all night without intervention. The problem that I have noticed is the draft characteristics of the fire changes as the fire consumes the charcoal. This necessitates damper adjustments in order to maintain temperature.
    A solution to this is a automatic temperature control.  There are many models on the market. A popular brand is the BBQ Guru. It uses a temperature-controlled fan to maintain the airflow to the fire. In essence, it's doing the same thing as opening the damper wider to maintain the temperature.
    A lot of people will advise you to learn how to control the temp yourself before purchasing an automatic controller. They are correct in this.
    Temperature controllers vary in cost, but on the high end they can be pretty expensive, but a good night's sleep is worth the expense to me.
    Birmingham, AL
  • flexfusionflexfusion Posts: 225
    I suggest that everyone with an BGE could justify a SMOBOT.  Light the egg and forget it....that's if you have enough fuel.
    Auburn, Alabama
  • flexfusionflexfusion Posts: 225
    I suggest that everyone with an BGE could justify a SMOBOT.  Light the egg and forget it....that's if you have enough fuel.
    Auburn, Alabama
  • flexfusionflexfusion Posts: 225
    I suggest that everyone with an BGE could justify a SMOBOT.  Light the egg and forget it....that's if you have enough fuel.
    Auburn, Alabama
  • flexfusionflexfusion Posts: 225
    I suggest that everyone with an BGE could justify a SMOBOT.  Light the egg and forget it....that's if you have enough fuel.
    Auburn, Alabama
  • flexfusionflexfusion Posts: 225
    I suggest that everyone with an BGE could justify a SMOBOT.  Light the egg and forget it....that's if you have enough fuel.
    Auburn, Alabama
  • flexfusionflexfusion Posts: 225
    I suggest that everyone with an BGE could justify a SMOBOT.  Light the egg and forget it....that's if you have enough fuel.
    Auburn, Alabama
  • esk777esk777 Posts: 9
    kl8ton said:
    This happens once in a while. Your fire burned straight down.  Sometimes a fluke.  You can intentionally load your lump a certain way. I'm just a dump and light guy.  
    Thanks! Glad to know I’m not the only one or did something wrong 
  • esk777esk777 Posts: 9
    kl8ton said:
    This happens once in a while. Your fire burned straight down.  Sometimes a fluke.  You can intentionally load your lump a certain way. I'm just a dump and light guy.  
    Thanks! Glad to know I’m not the only one or did something wrong 
  • KiterToddKiterTodd Posts: 2,439
    edited March 30
    Could be an airflow issue also.  If you are using the stock BGE setup, that little cast iron plate where you put the lump can get easily clogged.  By either ash or if you dumped in lump that included a lot of small pieces and dust.
    Consider getting a Kick Ash Basket.  They work great and let a lot more ash drop down to maintain a good airflow.
    You can also make sure you get a more distributed light on the lump before you choke it down to a low and slow.  Don't let it rage, but get it going better. These days I also use the starter tabs... they're just so darn easy.  I break them in half, but one in the back of the grill, one in the front.  Light them both and you have two areas of lump started which will more quickly merge.
    In the end, don't worry about it. It's happened to all of us.  A temp controller will help with this situation, you don't need it, but it does eliminate the anxiety. I sleep better on overnight smokes now, knowing I don't have to babysit them.
    LBGE/Maryland
  • KiterToddKiterTodd Posts: 2,439
    edited March 30
    <duplicate>
    LBGE/Maryland
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