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Visual Guide to Vent Settings

Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
edited 12:58AM in EggHead Forum
Please, Calibrate your dome thermometer, if you don't know how, ask.

There are many ways to reach any given temperature and any method is fine. I use the lower vent for course temperature control and the DFMT to fine tune the final temperature.

Hopefully the following will give new users a head start in learning to control and stabilize their egg.

The following are settings on my Large. My medium, small and mini settings will vary a little.

A stable clean burn can be seen by looking at the dome pictures below. You want a clear or light blue smoke coming out of the egg.





I need to open the lower vent to go higher. 450°



  • Ross in VenturaRoss in Ventura Posts: 7,233
    Thanks Kent for the post it well help the new Eggers

  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    Hopefully it will be a starting place for some of the new eggers.

  • civil eggineercivil eggineer Posts: 1,547
    Nice post and will prove valuable to a lot of newbees.
    Alternatively, you can get a case of beer on ice and do a little testing yourself.
  • Egg-N-TinoEgg-N-Tino Posts: 157
    Is it just me, or did GG put the wrong temperature on the 2nd set of pictures :ohmy: ?

    Is 300 the new 350 :woohoo:
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    You are correct, hope I didn't delete the original pictures. Settings are correct just the picture of the thermometer is wrong. oooops!

    Thanks, GG
  • Spring ChickenSpring Chicken Posts: 10,247
    Thanks Kent,

    That sure would have helped me during my first ten years of Egg'n.

    Spring "Always Learning" Chicken
    Spring Texas USA
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817

    Again, great idea. I wonder if it would be worth doing that for every size of egg? I'm not too good at putting presentations together but I would be happy to take the pics on any size you don't have and forward them to you.



    Caledon, ON


  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,935
    Very good post. Should be put in the cookbook as "Recipe for temperatures."

    Corresponds closely to what I experience on my mediums. For 250, the vents are usually a little more tightly closed, for 450, a bit wider open.
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    I am not sure if there is that much difference for the other size eggs.

    If you want to take the pictures, I will be happy to put it together.

  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    :laugh: I think you had a typo... more like 10 minutes.

    Loved the Alaska pictures.

  • thegrillsterthegrillster Posts: 348
    A question I have is when I want to smoke something is it better to have the daisy wheel closed down as much as possible and adjust the temp with the bottom vent open more?

    Even though the temps might be the same would there be more smoking with the top closed down more?
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    For 350° and under my lower vent setting is more closed that how it appears in the photo's. Visually about 1/2 of how it appears. Neverthelss, it's only a starting point.

  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    Great question thegrillster. There are going to be a lot of different opinions and techniques.

    I am not sure what other people do but if a want a less smokey flavor in the food I try to leave the top dome more open. More smoke flavor in the food, I close down the DFMT as much as possible while keeping my desired cook temperature.

    Keep in mind if an egg has a good gasket seal, one can leave the bottom vent entirely open and regulate most any cook temperature by adjusting the DFMT only.

    For the newer folk, using the DFMT to regulate the cook temperature is fine, except if the setting change some some reason, one could have a run-away temperature or even kill the fire should the DFMT adjustment close down. In most cases I would suggest to use the lower vent to course regulate and the DFMT to 'fine tune' the cook temperature.

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,972
    open the lower vent, take the daisy off, wait 1.5 hours, thats 1200 plus :)
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    an interesting thing to point out might be that if the lower vent setting never needed to change, then the daisy is what was "in charge" until you opened the daisy enough that the lower vent became the limiting factor.

    for what it's worth, out of habit i have learned the settings for both the upper and lower vents for each of your temps. for 250, my lower vent is shut much more than yours, for example.

    i know you know this, but many nebies don't: you can control the temps with either the upper daisy or the lower vent, or you can pretend (like i do!) that you are using both. in truth, one of them is always "in charge" unless you have them perfectly balanced, which isn't required
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    lots of folks think that, but air in will always equal air out. if your temp is steady, then shutting the daisy will slow the fire.

    you can choke the fire (it takes a while) by leaving the bottom open and the top shut, or vice versa. not a good way to do it, but it will prove that you can't really effectively "let in" more air than you let out
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i just have yet to understand how you could "hold back" the smoke or let it out more without changing the amount of air moving through the egg.

    if i'm hunky dorey for an hour at 250, but think i am getting more smoke that i want, what do i do to maintain the 250 temp yet magically let the smoke out faster?

    the closest thing to a logical explanation is that some are hoping that leaving the daisy on will cause more turbulence, and that the smoke will hang out longer before leaving. like it makes an extra loop or something before being exhausted, and increases contact with the food. but. the volume of the egg is fixed. there's never more smoke in there than what will fill it. and there's virtually never a case where more flow is coming in than there is going out. and vice versa. you can't shut the bottom vent completely and then open the top and watch it continue to exhaust the smoke at a good clip
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    Good points in the post. I think folks will come to that realization after using the egg for a while.

    "for what it's worth, out of habit i have learned the settings for both the upper and lower vents for each of your temps. for 250, my lower vent is shut much more than yours, for example."

    When I finished putting the pictures together (I am slow at that stuff) I noticed the width of the lower vent in the pictures. That isn't really what I wanted to show. Thinking back it seemed to me the vent was about 1/8" open, but it sure doesn't look that way in the pictures.

    At some point in time I will retake the pictures with the lower vent open 1/16" to 1/8". The DFMT settings will be about the same as they show now.

  • Spring ChickenSpring Chicken Posts: 10,247
    I learned while doing ABT's direct that once the Egg temperature is stable I can close the bottom vent completely and cook with minimal flare-up. Any needed air comes in through the top vent. Any smoke flavor is absorbed early on.

    Back when I had a serious low spot and high spot on my Bottom rim I could shut the bottom vent completely and put the rain cap on and continue cooking untl the lump ran out. Burned up a lot of lump that way. Fixed now.

    Spring "Taking My Lumps" Chicken
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    From cook to cook the amount of smoke might depend more on how much flavor wood is in the egg and/or how much of it is smoldering.

    I seem to get less smoke flavor if I leave off the daisy or open it all the way and close down the lower vent to control the lump burn. I am thinking the non restricted exit of the air/smoke will have a less infusion of smoke into the meat. Restricting the air/smoke exit from the dome lets the smoke linger longer around the food.

    Not sure how or if this could be tested. Nevertheless, makes me think I have some control in the matter.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    how long is your egg at ABT temps before you shut it down? my point is that if i have my egg at 400 for a while, i can shut the lower vent and it stays warm simply from the heat of the ceramics and the dying coals.

    aps in the rim are one thing. but i have shut the lower vent and forgot to put the daisy on, and come out the next day to cook expecting an empty egg, and the thing had gone out. plenty of lump left.

    you might just be cooking with the radiant heat of the dome and the dying coals.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    I wonder how much back flow could travel down to the lump through the upper vent only?

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    it's a good start. i'm just offering that it implies the lower vent needs to be more open, when in all those first pics, my experience tells me it's really the daisy that is limiting your draft. meaning, if i walked up to you egg at 250, set like that in the photos, kicking the bottom vent wide open wouldn't change your temp
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    but... but but but.

    you can't keep more air/smoke in than is coming in.

    it's basically a fluid. shutting the daisy to keep 100% of the smoke in means all the air that was coming in suddenly stops and backs up, like people running into an already full elevator.

    more or less smoke is another discussion. that's a whole other variable.

    all i am saying is that if you had two identical eggs with two identical fires with identical outputs of smoke, you can't say "i like more smoke flavor on mine" and go up and shut the lid and expect both to cook the same way for another hour. you will slow the fire.

    there's no logical way to let out smoke faster without letting in more air to make up for it. and then, temps rise. the dome is always full of air, and can't be made a vacuum (by letting out more than is coming in and lowering the pressure) and it can't be pressurized by shutting the top and having air continue to pack into the egg.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    I am in agreement with you. I am not really with as far wide open as the lower vent is showing.

    I wasn't going to but now I think I will retake pictures and more closed lower vent settings.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    shutting the lower vent and leaving the top open choked my fire out. you might get a little, but you can't hold 400 for a couple hours. i think he was cooking the ABTs over 1200 degree dying coals and with the heat from the dome.

    cooking or not, when you shut down an egg that was at 400 for an hour, it will stay there for a long while even with both vents shut. long enough to cook ABTs anyway.

    a good test.... get a nice smokey fire going so that smoke is pouring out the top vent. now. shut the bottom vent. the amount of smoke coming out will slow significantly even with the daisy off (unless the egg's not airtight). you might get some inflow as the dying fire is trying to find oxygen.

    i just know that my fire actually went out under these conditions (bottom shut, top open). maybe took longer. i dunno. i didn't realize i'd left the top off til the next day.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Spring ChickenSpring Chicken Posts: 10,247
    No, it's actually buring the coals. I've gone back many hours later and added new lump and it was able to catch right up. But that was also back when I had the bad leak around the gasket.

    Air to a fire is like roaches to a house: they will both find a way to get in if it is even remotely possible.

    When I cooked ABT's indirect I didn't worry so much about the bottom vent and they cooked in about the same time but with only one flip. Direct with the bottom vent closed, also called for only one or two flips and maybe a rotation.

    Now you've got me want'n an ABT dang-nabbit.

    Spring "Nang-Dabbit" Chicken
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    it's a weird thing to wrap yer head around.

    if a guy was able to perfectly match the upper and lower vent settings so that each was open only as much as it needed to be, he could then open EITHER of them fully and not affect his temp. the obvious further point to that is that he could quit bothering with trying to match them both and just use one of them (like many do). i think flashback bob doesn't mess with the daisy over 250 or so. just takes it off.

    my own habit was to think i needed them both "matched". then i decided i'd just use my foot on the bottom for gross adjustments while starting up, and use the daisy as a finer visual guide for tweaking by five or ten degrees.

    not trying to hijack this thread, just trying to point out some counterintuitive stuff.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    well.. both you and GG have countered my description of things, but then ultimately admitted you had leaking eggs. hahaha

    my whole blah-blah-blah assumes an airtight egg, which i have.

    all bets are off if you have a big gap or something short circuiting the system
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • EggZonaEggZona Posts: 108
    Interesting and valuable info. My bottom is always open more than shown for the same temps. And thinking about it, in the AZ dry climate, I would think mine would be closed more?

    Anyway, lately I close both the bottom vent and the Daisy wheel all the way and I plug in my DQ2......

    All my temp problems where solved! (LOL)
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