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Issue with Heat Control

New to the forum my name it Jay and I’ve owned my egg for a couple years but mainly used for grilling. I’ve tried to use it for smoking but have always had trouble getting my Egg to stay at a low temp and just put it on the traeger. I do all the steps to turn on the charcoal and when it hits about 200 I close both vents down to about 1/4” and it will creep up towards 375-400. Any suggestions? 

Answers

  • lousubcap
    lousubcap Posts: 31,909
    First up, welcome aboard and enjoy the journey.  Above all, have fun.
    As you know you are dealing with three factors here: fuel, ignition source and air flow.  Clearly you have the fuel and ignition taken care of so that leaves air flow.  
    For me to run my LBGE in the 250*F+/- range I have the bottom vent around 1/8" or less open.  Check for leaks around your gasket (search dollar bill test) and see if you have any gaps.  FWIW-
    Louisville; Rolling smoke in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer!  Seems I'm livin in a transitional period.
  • DoubleEgger
    DoubleEgger Posts: 17,042
    Try the bottom vent at the equivalent of one or two credit cards thick. If your vent screen is loose, you might be able to close it all the way and still get sufficient air flow for a low and slow. Barely crack open the top vent. I like to start controlling the fire once the temp is about 50-75 degrees below my target temp in an effort to prevent a temp overshoot. 
  • Ozzie_Isaac
    Ozzie_Isaac Posts: 18,817
    Try the bottom vent at the equivalent of one or two credit cards thick. If your vent screen is loose, you might be able to close it all the way and still get sufficient air flow for a low and slow. Barely crack open the top vent. I like to start controlling the fire once the temp is about 50-75 degrees below my target temp in an effort to prevent a temp overshoot. 
    This fella nailed it.  I use a dime thickness, but a credit card will work too.
    A bison’s level of aggressiveness, both physical and passive, is legendary. - NPS
  • Canugghead
    Canugghead Posts: 11,285

    Welcome!
    Lots of good advice ^^^
    I have a dumb question though... How do you turn on the charcoal? light the charcoal bed in one or two spots (my preferred method), or dump a whole chimneyful of red hot lumps in and lit up the whole bed so to speak?
    canuckland
  • DoubleEgger
    DoubleEgger Posts: 17,042

    Welcome!
    Lots of good advice ^^^
    I have a dumb question though... How do you turn on the charcoal? light the charcoal bed in one or two spots (my preferred method), or dump a whole chimneyful of red hot lumps in and lit up the whole bed so to speak?
    I use a torch normally. 90% rubbing alcohol on a paper towel works well too. The chimney method feels too much like a fire hazard where I egg. 
  • Canugghead
    Canugghead Posts: 11,285

    Welcome!
    Lots of good advice ^^^
    I have a dumb question though... How do you turn on the charcoal? light the charcoal bed in one or two spots (my preferred method), or dump a whole chimneyful of red hot lumps in and lit up the whole bed so to speak?
    I use a torch normally. 90% rubbing alcohol on a paper towel works well too. The chimney method feels too much like a fire hazard where I egg. 
    I should have been more clear. What I wanted to say was if you start with too big a fire it could be challenging to keep temp low without choking the fire.
    canuckland
  • RRP
    RRP Posts: 25,827
    Besides the smidgen opening of the bottom draft door check to see if that door wobbles any letting in air. If so take a slotted screwdriver and a small hammer and give the track a couple GENTLE whacks so the door still slides, but tight.
    Re-gasketing America one yard at a time.
  • fishlessman
    fishlessman Posts: 32,561
    the vents are way too open, close them down as mentioned.  start with a small fire, starting too large goes against what you are trying to do.  while low temps of 225 dome and under are workable with some cookers, 275 dome in a ceramic cooker does pretty much the same thing, i shoot for 250/275 and let it ride. the temp swings can be between 225 and 300 and wont make much difference in a ceramic low flow system. RRP mentioned a loose track, also check that the silicone sealing the lower vent to the base is intact, leaks down low are a problem
    fukahwee maine

    you can lead a fish to water but you can not make him drink it
  • DoubleEgger
    DoubleEgger Posts: 17,042

    Welcome!
    Lots of good advice ^^^
    I have a dumb question though... How do you turn on the charcoal? light the charcoal bed in one or two spots (my preferred method), or dump a whole chimneyful of red hot lumps in and lit up the whole bed so to speak?
    I use a torch normally. 90% rubbing alcohol on a paper towel works well too. The chimney method feels too much like a fire hazard where I egg. 
    I should have been more clear. What I wanted to say was if you start with too big a fire it could be challenging to keep temp low without choking the fire.
    Agree 100%. That’s why I don’t use a chimney along with the fire/burn hazard. 
  • Ozzie_Isaac
    Ozzie_Isaac Posts: 18,817
    A chimney of coals all burning makes a great way to sear a steak.
    A bison’s level of aggressiveness, both physical and passive, is legendary. - NPS
  • lousubcap
    lousubcap Posts: 31,909
    You can get a great caveman finish on a chimney of fired up lump charcoal.  Too easy and readily accessible. 
    Louisville; Rolling smoke in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer!  Seems I'm livin in a transitional period.
  • Canugghead
    Canugghead Posts: 11,285
    A chimney of coals all burning makes a great way to sear a steak.
    or stir fry with a small wok.
    canuckland
  • DoubleEgger
    DoubleEgger Posts: 17,042
    edited February 11
    For reference, here are some vent pics for my medium holding steady at 225F. Also, I haven’t had a gasket on it in years. 


  • bluebird66
    bluebird66 Posts: 2,703
    For reference, here are some vent pics for my medium holding steady at 225F. Also, I haven’t had a gasket on it in years. 



    That's about what my large looks like at that temp.
    Large Egg with adjustable rig, Kick Ash Basket and various Weber's
    Floyd Va

  • Mark_B_Good
    Mark_B_Good Posts: 1,500
    These units have heat momentum ... what's that?  It's kind of the same as speed momentum ... so think about a boat that's going 50 mph ... and you try and stop ... you aint stopping instantly, it takes time to slow down.  With heat momentum, just because you hit 200F and then SLAM the air in and out closed, the fire doesn't instantly stop.  It keeps going for a while until it is snuffed out due to lack of air.  Therefore, it's natural, if you hit 200F, and the burning keeps going, it will shoot over, and hit 350F to 400F. In fact, by closing, you're not allowing the heat to escape, so it can only get hotter.

    The way I do it is I start closing my air in and vent gradually as I GET TO my target temp, of say 225F or 275F. By the time I've hit the temperature, my vent and air inlet are at around what I'd expect them to be open to retain that temperature during the rest of the cook.
    Napoleon Prestige Pro 665, XL BGE, Lots of time for BBQ!
  • stlcharcoal
    stlcharcoal Posts: 4,679
    Late to the discussion and didn't read all, but a few quick thoughts.....

    -Light from the top for low and slow
    -Use a kick ash basket 
    -Don't use a water pan 
    -Check your dome alignment, check for cracks in base, and replace gasket with a rutland 
    -Calibrate your dome temp gauge
  • xfire_ATX
    xfire_ATX Posts: 1,107
    Two answers-

    I use a Chimney starter filled with lump from past cook.  I put an oil soaked Paper Towel in bottom.  I save these from when oiling a cast iron pan after using it.  I fill it fullish and when its about half lit I dump over mostly new coal right in the middle.

    For 350+ cooks I leave vent wide open nothing on top.  When it hits 350 or so I ratchet it down to maybe 1/2" until it hits temp I want, maybe ratchet down again.   I never put anything on the top.   This takes 30 min from light to use.

    For ~250 cooks I do the same but at egg reaching 200 I ratchet down to 1/2" and put daisy wheel on top with about 30% airflow and keep an eye on it.  I let this slowly get to 250-275 by continuing to adjust vents (as noted above).   I spend about an hour to slowly get here.   Once its settled in like this it will go without attention for as long as I need.
    XLBGE, LBGECharbroil Gas Grill, Weber Q2000, Old Weber Kettle, Yeti 65, Yeti Hopper 20, RTIC 20, RTIC 20 Soft Side - Too many drinkware vessels to mention.

    Not quite in Austin, TX City Limits
    Just Vote- What if you could choose "none of the above" on an election ballot? Millions of Americans do just that, in effect, by not voting.  The result in 2016: "Nobody" won more counties, more states, and more electoral votes than either candidate for president. 
  • Legume
    Legume Posts: 14,549
    These units have heat momentum ... what's that?  It's kind of the same as speed momentum ... so think about a boat that's going 50 mph ... and you try and stop ... you aint stopping instantly, it takes time to slow down.  With heat momentum, just because you hit 200F and then SLAM the air in and out closed, the fire doesn't instantly stop.  It keeps going for a while until it is snuffed out due to lack of air.  Therefore, it's natural, if you hit 200F, and the burning keeps going, it will shoot over, and hit 350F to 400F. In fact, by closing, you're not allowing the heat to escape, so it can only get hotter.

    The way I do it is I start closing my air in and vent gradually as I GET TO my target temp, of say 225F or 275F. By the time I've hit the temperature, my vent and air inlet are at around what I'd expect them to be open to retain that temperature during the rest of the cook.
    There are some great YouTube videos out there that show boats going 50 to 0 in an instant, but your point is taken.
  • Legume
    Legume Posts: 14,549
    If I'm setting up for smoking <250 (rare for me) and have fresh lump in the egg, I will usually get it lit in multiple places and let it ramp up quickly.  Often overshooting my target and then put the platesetter, etc. in there and shut down the bottom vent at that point to 1/4" ish. Adding cold ceramic to it takes the temp down, so you manage the vents as it starts to recover to your target and then I let it sit for a good hour, adjusting here and there while it burns off the nasties from the fresh lump.

    More often I'll smoke at 275-300 and I just hit the target temp on the way up and let it run.  Either way, I think at some point you need a decent fire to break in that new lump and if you tiptoe up to 225, you won't get rid of it unless you let it go for a few hours.
  • Mark_B_Good
    Mark_B_Good Posts: 1,500
    Legume said:
    These units have heat momentum ... what's that?  It's kind of the same as speed momentum ... so think about a boat that's going 50 mph ... and you try and stop ... you aint stopping instantly, it takes time to slow down.  With heat momentum, just because you hit 200F and then SLAM the air in and out closed, the fire doesn't instantly stop.  It keeps going for a while until it is snuffed out due to lack of air.  Therefore, it's natural, if you hit 200F, and the burning keeps going, it will shoot over, and hit 350F to 400F. In fact, by closing, you're not allowing the heat to escape, so it can only get hotter.

    The way I do it is I start closing my air in and vent gradually as I GET TO my target temp, of say 225F or 275F. By the time I've hit the temperature, my vent and air inlet are at around what I'd expect them to be open to retain that temperature during the rest of the cook.
    There are some great YouTube videos out there that show boats going 50 to 0 in an instant, but your point is taken.
    Not without hitting the props in reverse ... apparently, BGE doesnt have that option, unless you throw water on the fire. LOL.
    Napoleon Prestige Pro 665, XL BGE, Lots of time for BBQ!