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heavy white smoke with daisy wheel

Desert EggDesert Egg Posts: 12
edited 2:49PM in EggHead Forum
For some reason today my Egg was pouring lots of smoke out. When I opened it to see what was going on I recieved a not so nice flame(flashback?). Was doing ribs at 350 is all. Could the fire have simply been to much to start with(to much lump lit), so it was kinda smouldering? The ribs came out slightly bitter in my opinion. Guests thought they were fine.

How you guys cook with the daisy is beyond me. I fight with holding temps all the time when trying to use it. I don't have that problem when I just leave the top off and control temp with the draft door.[p] I think part of the problem might be the way I start the fire though. Normally I place a small piece of a starter log(1"x1") in the middle of the lump. After 10-15 minutes I'll have a small amount of coals lit. I then close the lid(top off & draft door open) and come back in 15-20 minutes. Temp is usually around 300-325 upon return. Adjust vent from quarter to halfway open and come back around 10 minutes later to make sure temp is holding.[p] I guess I just need more practice with the slide/daisy top. Could I be waiting to long before I put the daisy on? When I do use it , it seems as though the temp always drops(300* put it on and the temp starts falling 30* sometimes more) when I put it on. Then I'm stuck trying to get it back up. That's why I think it's kinda smuthering(?) the fire.[p] Any thoughts?



  • GfwGfw Posts: 1,598
    Desert Egg, Sorry about the ribs. The white smoke is part of the egg - check out the link below and click on "BGE at Work #1" - it took a lot of work to get the smoke in the video - just kidding about the smoke - when the temp is in the 350-500 range the BGE welcomes AIR- when you open the top, the AIR comes in and the fire ignites - I'm sure someone else will give you the proper terminology - you just have to kind of watch when you open the dome. [p]

    [ul][li]Gfw's BBQ Site[/ul]
  • Desert Egg, you've heard me talk about "experienced coals" before. I like to get my coals going and stable before trying to cook. This eliminates the bitter, or fresh coal, taste on the meat. Your flame up is due to the influx of oxygen into a hot egg that is full of raw, ready-to-go fuel,(unburned vaporized charcoal). Sometimes during startup with the dome closed and both vents open fully, I get a momentary poof of flame that comes out of both vents, but mostly the bottom. What causes this is that the fuel (coal) has started generating heat at a rapid rate, when suddenly the amount of flame and heat is using more oxygen than it can get. Flames die, but the solid fuel continues to vaporize producing heavy smoke. Then Mr. Egg gets a fresh lung full of air, and whoosh. When heavy smoke is present, especially in the first 10 minutes after getting the coals going,, DON'T open the dome. It will turn you into a hairless trembling mess. It will eventually equalize and everything will be fine. During heavy smoke conditions like that in the initial phase of startup, you can close the bottom vent to about half open, and remove the daisy wheel. It still could whoosh on you, but it will be less dramatic. The daisy wheel is a must to properly control your temps. If you remove your daisy wheel and close the bottom down to provide slow cooking, like for a butt,, your egg will draw air in through the top in an attempt to feed the fire oxygen. Plus without a daisy wheel to restrict the draft going out of the egg, you can't keep heat on the top of your meat very well. Good luck, smokum if ya gotum. :^)
  • Gfw, you knew I would. The firefighter coming out in me. But you said it right,, and probably easier to understand than mine.

  • Desert Egg,[p]Cat may be along in a few minutes, and she would tell you that you don't need anything but the bottom vent to control temps on the egg. Why bother if you don't need it?

  • Teslamania, can you hold the temp at 200 all day and night without a daisy? I hope so, cause sometimes I can't even accomplish it with one. Come on in here Cat.

  • King-O-Coals,[p]I use the daisy wheel. I know that Cat does not and she is quite an accomplished cook on the Egg. I try to cook at a temp higher than 200, and usually shoot for 250.

  • GrumpaGrumpa Posts: 861
    Teslamania,[p]Don't have to wait on Cat...I'll say if for her and myself, leave the daisy off. The egg cooks low and slow just fine without it. I rarely use mine anymore unless the wind is just kicking like crazy then I will put it on just to keep things under control while I sleep.

  • GrumpaGrumpa Posts: 861
    Teslamania,[p]I agree with your thinking. I try to stay between 230-250 and the loslo cooks and get great results. 200* is really too low.

  • CatCat Posts: 556
    Teslamania,[p]Yep, the fire is easily controllable with the lower vent door alone - as long as the fire isn't too big to start with. That's hard to correct, given the Egg's superior heat retention. [p]I start closing down the vent when the temp is 100 degrees below my target. The meat goes on shortly after that. A cooler start means a more manageable fire, and greater smoke penetration too. Works for me. [p]Cathy[p]

  • CatCat Posts: 556
    King-O-Coals,[p]I usually do low-and-slow cooks at 250-275 dome temp, which translates to 220-250 at the grill. For me that works best for butts, briskets & ribs.[p]Cathy
  • Cat, look folks,, I'm the King of Coals, I'm suppose to know these things. Yall need to let me know about the important stuff like this so I won't look like the Ding-a-ling of Coals. I'm trying your method next time. I had a load of coals die on me this weekend, probably due to my fine tuning of the daisy and the lower vent. Thanks for the tip.

  • Thanks for all the input. I've been trying to use the daisy becuase it seems like a lot of people use it. I thought maybe it allowed more heat to stay in the Egg so
    it would use less lump. Maybe the food would be juicier(?) or even a heavier smoke flavor.[p] Just trying different things out.

  • GrumpaGrumpa Posts: 861
    Desert Egg,[p]That is what makes the egg such a great cooker. There is no right way or wrong way. Each of us uses the way that works best for us and suits our individual tastes. Keep experimenting until you find the combo that best suits your needs.

  • GrumpaGrumpa Posts: 861
    Cat,[p]275* eh? You have been holding out again:~) I guess I'll have to shoot for that on the next one. Do you think it will shorten the time a little more?

  • Char-WoodyChar-Woody Posts: 2,642
    Desert Egg,[p]I would have to come see just what it is your mechanically doing. Usually if you have heavy smoke of a any color, white or grey the coals are not burning efficiently, or you have something alien to lump charcoal, or using briquetts, or a combination of lump charcoal and whole logs.[p]I never insert meats untill I have a fuel efficient heat source in the BGE. By fuel efficent, the whole pile does not need to be burning, just the center core of heated coals need to have a red hot burn. Smoldering cold charcoal may do that. I have had a nice center core burning and dumped in fresh cold charcoal on top, closed the dome and experience exactly what your describing, untill the upper fresh charcoal has vented itself and the fire is again draft and fuel efficient.[p]
    So its a wild card to try to figure it out. I have used the daisy so long I can preset it for the opening as well as the lower vent. put it on from either a hot start or a cold start and the BGE will tune itself to the settings..It works well in my BGE's both small and large. [p] I like Cats theory also, and for Cat and others it works. And if it works..why try to fix it.[p] IMHO tho, heat rises, and moisture laden heat will leave by the easiest exit. So if the top dome is open, and heat rises, and you lose moisture, to me it's elementary that you defeat the real intent of dome cooking by not using dome appliances. Exceptions are for high temperature steaks, burgers or searing.[p]This is just my opinion, and not meant to be a contradictory post and as Bob explained, you have to do what you yourself are comfortable with and how your cooks result.[p]Cheers..C~W[p]

  • CatCat Posts: 556
    Bob,[p]I go by grill temp more than dome temp - the relationship between them can vary with weather, long cooking time etc.
    The last pork butt I did took 13 hours; the last brisket (flat only) about 14.[p]Cathy

  • GrumpaGrumpa Posts: 861
    Cat,[p]Are you using a 2nd polder to measure your grill temp or have you found a better way to get there? Sorry to bug you with the questions but, I'm interested in this aspect.[p]Thanks[p]Bob

  • sprintersprinter Posts: 1,188
    Hey All,[p]Thought I'd jump in here and let you know my experience with cooking low and slow. When I first got the egg for christmas I was worried about low and slow cooking as I don't have a slide daisy top. I simply have the ceramic top that comes standard with the egg. I did my first brisket and if you remember, it was somewhat overdone. I didn't do it over firebricks, just direct over the heat. This weekend I did a load of beef jerkey and had some bricks on the grate with a drip pan etc. Perfect. Was a big hit at the super bowl get together. anyway, this all has a point.[p]I don't see where the slide daisy will add THAT MUCH to the BGE for low and slow. I cook with the bottom vent about 1/8th open or less, top lid canted on. I can keep the temp at 220-250 for about 10-12 hours, then my lump has all burned and I need to reload. I have a medium egg, maybe next time I'll fill the firebox a bit more to try and get 14 or so hours out of it but at these temps I think that 14 hours will give me about as long a cook time that I need to cook a brisket, butt, etc. Not sure what the additional 8 hours may ADD to the meat but if I can get it done in 12-14, that suits me fine.[p]Bottom line, I guess I agree with CAT, that the top could be left off (I dont but use only the ceramic top) and the bottom vent could (CAN) control the temp completely to whatever temp you need. I'm not sure about the 180-200 degree range, I've never tried to get it this low using this method. Others may add their experience and maybe this is where the slide daisy has its advantage?[p]Just my two pennies for what its worth. [p]Troy

  • CatCat Posts: 556
    Bob,[p]Yes, I use a 2nd Polder at grill level - probe pushed through a wine cork to keep it off the metal. [p]An engineer pal worked out a formula for the relationship between grill & dome temp (based on measurements I recorded over several cooks), but it's useful only as a rough estimate. I like knowing what temp the meat is actually cooking at...part of what makes Egging such an intriguing mix of art & science![p]Cathy[p]PS What's this about 'bugging'?? I'm happy to answer any questions you have.[p]
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,523
    I love reading about your methods.
    I use the daisy for everything but high temp, and enjoy the additional control I have. I guess since I learned that way, I feel most comfortable. And I have found I can hold a nice steady 400 with the daisy. I am intrigued by you capless folks, and hope to learn from y'all.[p]I really look forward to seeing you in action at the EggFest2000. It'll be fun to meet you, and observe an artist at work.[p]NB
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
    Instagram: @DizzyPigBBQ
  • CatCat Posts: 556
    Nature Boy,[p]I'm looking forward to meeting you too - and learning which of your inspired creations we get to watch you cook.[p]Cathy
  • Cat,
    I'm convinced. Infact, I'm even going to take the oven door off of my stove. I hate looking through that little speckeled glass anyway. :^)

  • CatCat Posts: 556
    King-O-Coals,[p]Hey, you could just break out the glass. ;-}[p]Cathy
  • Char-WoodyChar-Woody Posts: 2,642
    sprinter, Like I said, if it works for you it ain't broke so don't try to fix it..:-) I would much rather see you use a old brick or clay pot saucer for your tilted cap. Those ceramic tops are much too expensive to crash to the ground. I had to mend mine with epoxy. Lesson learned.
    Great to hear your success story...Cheers..C~W[p]

  • SpinSpin Posts: 1,375
    Char-Woody,[p]I too am a daisey wheel user and see no need to alter methods that work quite predictably for me. I respectfully submit to you that hot air does not rise. It is displaced (pushed up) by the thicker cool air. If the bottom vent restricts the entrance of this thicker air, the hot air inside the EGG cannot exit. The reverse of this would be like pulling a straw out of a glass of liquid with your finger over the end. The liquid doesn't fall out of the straw. I mean no disrespect and only offer this in the interest of learning how these amazing things called EGGs work.[p]I watched Cats cook at EGGtoberfest and was priviledged to sample the result. The rib I tasted was equal in moisture content to any ribs I've made. I did notice that there were small eddys of air occasionally moving in the top opening during the cook. I have used the EGG with the ceramic dome in place and can attest to the fact that it can breathe in and out the bottom vent alone. This is a low temp smoking and the fire wouldn't die until both openings were sealed. I see no reason why the reverse is not also true.[p]Maybe the difference of cap off vs restricted top opening is why my grill level temp readings are consistantly closer to the dome reading than the readings reported by Cat using the method she is so adept with.[p]Hey Cat, could it be that you prefer the open top method because it tends to avoid an anaerobic cooking atmosphere possible when cooking with the top opening restricted?[p]Spin
  • CatCat Posts: 556
    Spin,[p]My dome vs. grill temp measurements were done back when I was still cooking with the daisy top. I still see a difference (sizable, sometimes) with no top.[p]When I was using the daisy, I noticed smoke leaking even when its vents were fully closed. I think you'd really have to seal it up tight to cut off all air flow. [p]Cooking without a cap has just become a personal preference - my engineer friend challenged me to try it & I found I could control the fire fine with the lower vent alone. But I also had good results cooking with it. [p]Cathy[p]
  • SpinSpin Posts: 1,375
    Cat,[p]I tend to get into the intricacies of the hows and whys things work. Too many years of training and being a perfectionist I guess :-}.[p]It is a tribute to the cooker that it works so well and can be operated in so many differing ways.[p]Spin[p]

  • Desert Egg, now did we make that plain e-nuf for-ya? This thread now has at least 28 replys. You have heard theory, opinions, practical results, and a few head-scratchers. From novices, to,, well, even from some of them old people who first cooked on the egg for Moses after he came down from the mountain. That's what makes this a great source of information. I know it all sounds complicated, but if you read it all, mix you a tall cool one, and lay back and close your eyes,, it will be as clear as mud to you. But the difference between the egg commanments and those other 10, is,, ours are not carved in stone. Be flexible.

  • SpinSpin Posts: 1,375
    King-O-Coals,[p]I hear ya. Ask a question and then have the priviledge of viewing many possible answers. Wade through them and learn all the while. The only other question that gets as diverse a response is "how do I handle my divorce". Fortunately, all of the responses on this forum question will be much more useful :).[p]Spin

  • Spin,

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