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Hot zones & misc newbie ?'s

MACMAC Posts: 442
edited 10:01PM in EggHead Forum
I've only been egging for a few weeks now, but am wondering if I'm doing something wrong. I seem to get hot zones, just like a propane or regular charcoal grill. Should I be preheating the charcoal longer? of course I'm using lump charcoal.[p]
Some of the recipes I see on the forum use a drip pan. where does that go in the egg? Do you add another rack? How?[p]Also, what is the optimum temp for smoking?[p]Thanks,[p]Todd


  • Char-WoodyChar-Woody Posts: 2,642
    Mac, Hello Todd and welcome to the forum. We will try and answer your problem and what one won't think of, another will. First, when you say hot zones, what situation is it that leads you to believe that.
    Second, yes, for most new beginners its best to preheat your cooker. One mistake is to misread the dome thermometer when your starting up as it will read much higher due to flame than the dome actually is. Once you put the cap (daisy or others) on you will see the temperature drop and begin to stabilize.
    Allow the cooker to gain its temperature zone by adjusting the lower vent primarily by small amounts with the daisy or other wide open. Then you can fine tune the temp with the upper dome adjustments.
    Usually the temperature isn't critical within 10 degrees even with low and slow cooks. And even wider ranges are acceptable in higher degree cooks in the 300 to 400 range.
    The drip pans can go either under the grill or resting on the grill with another means of supporting your meat such as a second grill mounted on another support such as firebricks. Tanker Tim in England uses small flower pots inverted. (good idea Tanker T)
    Most of us have converted our use of drip pans to be placed on firebricks as it lowers the charring of the fatty liquids when water is added to the pan. With care, you can even make gravies with the fats if needed.
    Hope this helps...and others will be helping also...
    Good luck..C~W

  • GfwGfw Posts: 1,598
    Mac, Welcome... C~W gives EGGsellant advice. For pictures, check out the link.[p]
    [ul][li]Drip Pan[/ul]
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,523
    My experiences are that when cooking direct there are hot spots and cool spots. The hotter the fire, and the more coals you have burning, the fewer cool spots. When cooking direct between 300-400 degrees, all the coals are not burning at once, so there are definitely places on the grid where your food will cook faster (usually right over top of the hottest burning coals. Getting to know these areas you can plan to put the thicker pieces it the hotter areas. Or move pieces around while flippping to achieve even charring.[p]Cooking indirect is usually VERY even heating. Any food placed over the drip pan is going to get a more constant, and even cooking environment. Indiirect cooks are great for when you don't have time to tend to flipping, and moving meat around as you do when cooking direct. Gfws and TimMs site show pictures of drip pans at work.[p]Hope that helps.
    Good luck!
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
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  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    Gfw,[p]Actually, I prefer the lo & slow layout for pizza too. I just feel you need two layers(not necessarily touching) of ceramic to avoid burnt crust. While the Z pattern might work, I have always used the |__| pattern and it works fine for me. I don't use the bricks anymore since the setter works as well. The |__| pattern better matches the setter design too. What ever works, but in case some have problems - try a different pattern to see what works for you.[p]Tim
  • GfwGfw Posts: 1,598
    <p />Tim M, I totally agree - the pizza in the picture was done using the traditional |__| firebrick setup - I also left the bottom vent 100% open and regulated the heat with a broken firebrick - the results were about perfect. Next time I'll have to put a note on my Firebrick FAQ page.[p]

    [ul][li]Gfw's BBQ[/ul]
  • Mike OelrichMike Oelrich Posts: 544
    Mac,[p] Good tips so far. As far as the best temperature for smoking, for most stuff, that's around 200-220F. For special curcumstances (e.g., smoked cheese or cold-smoked salmon) the temperature can be as low as 70-90F but that's pretty tricky.[p]MikeO
  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    Gfw,[p]Wow, nice pie!!! Yea, now that is a good looking pie - a tiny black crust but I bet only a tiny bit. It looks perfect (needs green peppers).[p]Tim - drooling on my keyboard
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