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New to BGE

rclark1187rclark1187 Posts: 7
edited January 2012 in EggHead Forum
I have used my BGE twice. The first time was to smoke a 5lb chicken. I followed lighting instructions but could not get the BGE below 300. The second time I did not leave the lid open for 10 minutes during lighting and had trouble getting up to 230 for smoking a pork tenderloin. I thought that maybe I had too much charcoal going the first time. Both times smoking I used the plate setter. Can anyone shed any light on this. And "oh by the way", the chicken and the pork turned out great even with all the trouble.


  • To start the big green reactor I light about 3 spots in the center  with my "fatboy torch" (cheaper and easier than the starters). Close the dome and open the wheel all the way, by the time i have my steaks seasoned and veggies ready to go i am sitting on 600. I left the cap off all together twice and returned to find the big green reactor over 1200 and looking like jet engine (i pounded on my chest and put a really fast sear on some steak)

    For low and slow I fill the pit so I doubt you have too much... i light the very center (one spot) and when i have 6 to 8 coals glowing nicely i add the setter and close the lid. bottom open a quarter and dial open, as i get closer to the target temp i start closing the dial to about a quarter. To be absolutely honest I now have a digiQ, i light it, set the wheel to 1/4, digiq to 1/2 (bringing to a 1/4 when close to temp) and over the weekend held 220 - 225 for 18hours. the digiq has been flawless and effortless, before it would take about 20 - 30 mins to find teh sweet spot and have it stable.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,940
    Each way of starting changes what exactly to do. When I use starter cubes. I usually leave the dome open while they flame. But if I dump a chimney of burning lump, I close the dome right away.

    In both cases, I have the bottom vent wide open, and the daisy wheel completely off. No matter what method I use, I put the platesetter or other items in right away. As soon as the dome reaches 200, the daisy goes on, and I prepare to start shutting the bottom vent.

    Always close the vents before reaching the target temperature.
    Otherwise the temperature will go over, and it may take a
    long time to come back down. If you are aiming for a 250 dome, and the temperature goes to 400, expect it to take 15 minutes to come back down if the vents are shut enough right away. If the Egg sits at 400 for 15  inutes, expect and hour or so to get down to 300.

    It will take longer for the dome temperature to rise when using the platesetter. That item absorbs lots of heat.

    It is only a small waste of time and resources to just play with the fire. Get something that can be cooked fast or slow, like hot dogs, and mess with the vents just to see what happens. Watch how the temperature drops and rises each time the dome is opened. Try not cooking anything. Just leave the bottom wide open, and the daisy off. Note how long it takes to reach 250, but then note how very fast the temperature leaps from 400 to 1200+.

  •  Both comments are very helpful. Do you close the vents all the way and then gradually reopen or what. Also, when do you add your wood chips and can you add more later?


  • really depends on what i am doing... low and slow i will add the soaked chips/chunks as i build the fire because the fire will not have time to reach the wood before i put the meat on and i space the out so i get a long smoke. higher temps i will usually add the with the food or slightly before because of the shorter cook time.
  • ...and yes you can add more later. i have heard some say there is a certain point the food will not accept more smoke but i could not tell you what that point is. i used to over smoke stuff in metal tube but never with the bge.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    food will accept smoke forever and always.   it never stops accepting smoke if there is smoke in the cooking chamber.

    the smoke RING will stop forming when the meat at the surface (exterior) or the meat hits about 140.  the smoke ring is a flavorless coloring formed chemically, and that chemical reaction stops around 140.  flavor from smoke is independent of the smoke ring entirely.

    you could fully cook a butt, for example, and smoke it only during the few hours of a marathon 20 hour cook.  it will still taste smokey

    put chips or chunks in a column, mixed with lump, in the middle centered on the fire grate.  fires burn downward, not in wagonwheel spokes or spirals.  your cook will have smoke as long as there is wood where the fire is (middle, vertically)
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    edited January 2012
    Thank you stike.  Now I don't have to type it.  :)
    The Naked Whiz
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i wish i had a penny for every time i've typed that.  some myths won't die
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • that makes sense to me on the smoke (i have had something too smokey before and i added tons at the end), as i said i did not know and thanks for clarifying thats really helpful... and you are correct i add lump some chunks/chips, more lumps and more chunks for the long ones (2 to 3 levels). i did do an 18 hour one over the weekend and the outside of the lump never ignited....

    the bge cookbook says " soak wood chips (for at least 30 minutes) and wood chunks (for at least 2 hours) before adding them to the fire. A handful of wood chips, shown scattered in a spiral pattern on top of the coals, adds a distinctive smoky aroma and flavor to foods".

    ...back to agreeing with you vertical/layering is much more effective for the long ones and if i recall they actually mention that too/

  • btw that "myth" was repeated on pitmasters over the holiday marathon so if you are wondering why it keeps resurfacing 8) i didn't believe it but who am i to argue with the "big names" of bbq
  • tfoutchtfoutch Posts: 76
    There's that soaking thing again too, Stike!
    TFOUTCH Algood, Tennessee
  • please do share on the soaking thing... i never soaked until i joined this forum and bought the book...  heck my best steaks i have cooked were seared directly in a fire i built with hickory chunks but that's a different story and not relevant to low and slow. all these "myths" that have changed the way i do things, errr, time to delete the username and go back to what feels right...
  • tfoutchtfoutch Posts: 76

    The consensus seems to be that soaking is not necessary and is a waste of time.  That notwithstanding, you can also smoke with green wood without seasoning.  I concur with both, although I am far from an expert.

    Had a guy who owns a bar-b-q roadside stand with locally-famous stuff tell me the other day that he ONLY uses GREEN wood for smoking.

    No matter how long you soak, you can't make seasoned wood green again, so what's the point.

    I just use what I have, and it works for me.  Guess that's the way it should be. 

    TFOUTCH Algood, Tennessee
  • ChokeOnSmokeChokeOnSmoke Posts: 1,914
    edited January 2012
    The deal with soaking wood is that in the time you' d soak your wood, the water is only going to penetrate into the wood a fraction of a millimeter of a hair.  So seconds after your wood chunk hit the 1000+ lump, it might as well been been completely dry wood.  In other words, soaking doesn't do anything for the situation.
    Packerland, Wisconsin

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