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Hot spots when cooking direct

DeckhandDeckhand Posts: 318
edited 10:09PM in EggHead Forum
Having trouble getting even heat across the coals when cooking direct. Made sure the firebox was aligned, air holes open and all ash removed. Removed firebox and did a complete clean a week ago. Just wondering what others do to get even heat. Don't expect completely even heat given all the variables from cook to cook but I'd like to get closer.


  • NibbleMeThisNibbleMeThis Posts: 2,293
    A few tips I have learned

    - Make sure all of the cast iron grate holes are clear and free of obstruction.

    - Allow plenty of time for preheating. If my cook target temp is 450, I don't put food on as soon as it hits 450, I let it go at least 10-15 minutes at the temp first.

    I notice that my temps tend to be less even if I mix fresh coal with used coal but don't stir it together well. (One side with the old coal is ashy and cloggy while the fresh side has better airflow.)

    Just some ideas.
    Knoxville, TN
    Nibble Me This
  • JeffersonianJeffersonian Posts: 4,244
    Yeah, it's pretty common. Most Eggs have a hot spot around 1:00 on the grid. On indirect cooks, you can put one of the platesetter's legs there and block most of the effect. On direct cooks, you can even the effect out by rotating your grid 90 degrees every few minutes to give each piece of food on it an equal exposure to the high and low temp areas.
  • DeckhandDeckhand Posts: 318
    I've got the one O'clock hotspot and I was using new and old coal but I put the new coal on the bottom and spread the old stuff across it. Probably could have waited longer before putting the burgers on... only waited about 20-25 min because the smoke was clear.

    Oh yeah, how about when searing?.. can't really rotate the grid during and 90 second cook.
  • Michael BMichael B Posts: 986
    Deckhand wrote:
    Oh yeah, how about when searing?.. can't really rotate the grid during and 90 second cook.
    So don't use the grid.
  • PhilsGrillPhilsGrill Posts: 2,256
    Once the fire is started, use the ash tool to move the coals around to even things out. Works fine.
  • JeffersonianJeffersonian Posts: 4,244
    Oh yeah, how about when searing?.. can't really rotate the grid during and 90 second cook.

    As Michael B suggested, you can sear directly on the coals (aka "caveman" method). I personally haven't done that, but what I do do is keep track of the steaks that were seared in the hotter areas of the grid. Then, when I go for the dwell after resting the steaks, I'll put those steaks in the cooler part of the grid while putting the less-seared ones in the hot spot. This tends to even things out in the finished product.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,020
    raising the grill helps alot, that and when cooking direct you dont use as much lump so dont fill it as much. now having it hotter in one area isnt all that bad,thicker cuts, bigger pieces i cook over the hot spot, turkeys face the leggs toward it as they can take more heat, thicker end of a brisket goes over the hot spot etc
  • Michael BMichael B Posts: 986
    If you don't like the full caveman method, you can approximate it by placing a small cooking grate on the coals. That will give you 1/4 inch +- space between the meat and the coals, and let you use a spatula instead of tongs.
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