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BBQ guru WSM 22.5

Chasec5308

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hey guys i just recently purchased a BBQ GURU DYNA Q. I decided to try it out today on a 14 lb brisket. I got my WSM set up for minion method using 10 lit kingsford coals surrounded by a basket full of unlit coals. I set my bbq guru pit temp at 225 degrees with all vents closed except the top dome vent and the bbq guru fan vent which is about 50% open. Despite me only using a few lit coals and all vents closed , my current pit temp is 296 degrees and headed toward 300. Thats way hotter than i wanted to cook my brisket at. What did i do wrong? I have no water in the water pan, as it is covered in tin foil. Any advice on getting the pit temp down? Thanks yall.
 

JCAP

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I’ve only used my guru on the WSM once. My temps rose as well which I think is due to how much of the fan damper is left open. 50% might be too much. Also if the WSM is in direct sunlight then boom it’s off higher than I wanted initially!

You could add water to bring the temp down a bit. Spritz put some coals with a squirt bottle maybe. Good luck!
 

Chasec5308

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Thanks for the replies. My smoker isnt in direct sunlight. I have it under my porch currently, but it is still very hot and humid here in south ms. Its 90 degrees but feels like 100. That may be hindering me. I closed off the guru fan vent to 90% and my pit temp is currently 335 degrees. I guess im going to wait it out and let it drop to closer to 300 and put the brisket on.
 

hawtsauc3

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This happened with my party q on my ribs. It was just a chunk of wood burning up. Just turned off the guru and fans until the temp dropped 30 degrees and it was fine after that
 

Chasec5308

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I’m glad I’m not the only one this has happened to. I ended up adding some water to the water pan, removing the lid for a few minutes and cutting off the guru fan for a bit and the temps dropped so now it’s plugging along around 220 degrees 👍🏻
 

JLeonard

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Welcome from North Mississippi! Seems like you may have figured out your problems.
Jim
 

gmc2003

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Sorry I can't offer much advice on the guru. I run my WSM naturally aspirated. However I can welcome to the site. Glad to have ya join the fun.

Chris
 

noboundaries

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Closing down the fan to 20-25% open from the very start will help with the issue. The fan can overstoke the fire if the slide is left full open.
 

yankee2bbq

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Closing down the fan to 20-25% open from the very start will help with the issue. The fan can overstoke the fire if the slide is left full open.
I agree with the above statement. The fan damper is open to much. Also, I turn on my bbq guru when my temps are within 25-40 degrees of my sent point. Then I close off all bottom vents turn on guru, set the temp. Lastly I always keep the lid vent wide open.
 

Chasec5308

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Thanks you guys! i am going to try that next go around! since ive gotten the temp where i need them its been rock solid. Its gonna be a learning experience but its been fun thus far.
 

SlowmotionQue

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hey guys i just recently purchased a BBQ GURU DYNA Q. I decided to try it out today on a 14 lb brisket. I got my WSM set up for minion method using 10 lit kingsford coals surrounded by a basket full of unlit coals. I set my bbq guru pit temp at 225 degrees with all vents closed except the top dome vent and the bbq guru fan vent which is about 50% open. Despite me only using a few lit coals and all vents closed , my current pit temp is 296 degrees and headed toward 300. Thats way hotter than i wanted to cook my brisket at. What did i do wrong? I have no water in the water pan, as it is covered in tin foil. Any advice on getting the pit temp down? Thanks yall.

Using the following methods, of my cookers, only my PID controlled Rec Tec RT 590 is capable of running tighter and more consistent temperatures than my WSM.

My Rec Tec can hold temps for as long as it has pellets in it to within plus or minus 5 degrees of it's set point.

I have gotten to plus or minus 10 degrees or less of my target temperature in my 22in WSM using the following steps with the BBQ Guru for brisket cooks lasting in excess of 12 hrs.

Your problem is likely with your top vent being open as opposed to the damper vent in your fan being wide open.

You need to shut the side vents as in the BBQ Guru instructions. But run the fan with the fan damper wide open.

But you need to close that top vent down to about 1/2 to 1/4 open. Or you can adjust it in 1/3rds.

The top vent has the most influence on your temperatures.

I have a BBQ Guru Cyber Q and for the few years I had it, ran into a similar problem that you are describing. Runaway temperatures.

A friend of mine has the Thermaworks Billows. Strangely enough, the instructions for the Billows are what changed things for me and my BBQ Guru.

Unlike BBQ Guru, where they tell you to shut down the side vents and leave the top vent wide open, Thermoworks recommends for the Billows that you shut down the side vents and then shut down the top vent to just a crack, and adjust that top vent in order to dial in your temp control.

They do not have you run the top vent wide open.

My advice. Get your fire started with a few coals. Say about 1/3 or 1/2 chimney. Pour those on top of your unlit coals.

I run play sand in my bowl, and cover the sand with foil. But you can run water. Either will help you with your temperature control because the fire has to heat up either the sand or the water as well as the smoker. The contents of the bowl act as a heat sink. But for a long cook, you may end up having to add more water to it. This is why I have switched over to sand.

But I would not run an empty water pan. Just me.

Put your center section on ASAP after putting the lit coals onto the unlit ones

Start with that side vents shut down like BBQ Guru tells you. Open the fan's damper to full.

Put your lid on immediately afterward. And then shut down that top vent to half to 2/3 way. You want to just see "crescents" when you look down at the top vent.

Let the fan blow as hard and for however long it wants to on the way to reaching your target temp.

If your temps aren't dialing in, right where you want them, or to about plus or minus 10 degrees, then adjust that top vent in 1/3 increments opening it or closing it as needed until your temps settle in.

This will keep your WSM temps under control with the Guru better than running that top vent wide open.

For some proof of what I'm talking about when I say that the top vent on the WSM has a lot of influence on your overall temps, take a look at this device.


Notice which vent it attaches to for temp management. It attaches to the top vent.

Also, I mentioned the Thermoworks Billows. Here are the instructions for it.


Notice they call for only a 1/8 opening of the top vent to start with, after shutting all of the side vents.

Your problem is that top vent being wide open while you're running the Guru, is letting your temps run away. But that is what the Guru instructions say to do. Opening the top vent all the way open, invites just what you are describing, and what I have experienced. The Guru instructions, IMO, leave some to be desired.

For further proof, among my cookers is a 22in WSM. I have it "tricked out" somewhat. Mods done to it include felt gaskets to minimize air leaks at the lid and the fire door. Cajun Bandit stainless steel door and hinge. Cajun Bandit over sized fire ring.

I have bored another hole into the left side of the mid section of it and attached a second rubber grommet into it for another set of temperature probes.

I have bored two holes into the bottom section of it and installed the BBQ Guru Weber adapters directly into the bottom bowl as opposed to using the attachments by securing them to the vents.

This allows me to just use the vents if I don't want to use the BBQ Guru.

I have two holes perpendicular to one another, because I have now started to run two fans with the BBQ Guru. I get a more even burn of the fuel in the bottom section with fans blowing perpendicular to each other as opposed to one fan blowing air in one direction.

In other words, with one fan, I tend to get ignition of my coals in a straight path about 12 inches or so wide from the fan port and directly across the fire ring.

With the perpendicular fans, I get a more even burn of my fuel across the front to back and the left to right aspects of my fire ring.

I do not use briquettes. I use either Jealous Devil Lump Charcoal, or Kamado Joe Big Block charcoal and I fill the fire ring completely.

I have included images of my setup and also images to show you how tight I can get the temps on my WSM using the "Top Vent Method" that I described earlier. This was a 15hr brisket cook of a 17lb brisket. The Guru was set at 230°F and I never saw a anything below 221° nor anything above 240°. For the most part it stayed in the 225-230 range for the cook. For this cook, I was running my two fans. And I always run them with the dampers in them set to wide open.

I have found that when I was running one fan, it was imperative to not let the coals get too cool. Especially back when I was running briquettes.

This causes the fan to end up working hard and blowing harder and longer in an attempt to stoke the fire.

Because briquettes tend to generate considerably more ash than a quality lump charcoal, this resulted in blowing ash inside the cooker, some of which can settle on food.

This led me to running the damper on the fans wide open. I believe that it tends to cut down on ash because the lit coals stay hotter. I want every puff of that fan to count.

The top vent is shut down to about 1/3 open. All of the bottom vents are shut.

There are 3 probes in this brisket from the Guru and another one from my Thermoworks Smoke, and the Smoke's grate probe is being checked against the Guru's grate probe. They show about a 5.5° discrepancy.

I strongly believe that your issue, is first your top vent. Secondly, your water pan either needs sand or water in it.



Caq6q1Gl.jpg
tQgOr16l.jpg


***********************************************************************************************************************

For more information on the influence of your top vent, or exhaust vent, Harry Soo offers the following:

"Of the three components I mentioned: intake, fuel choice and amount, and the exhaust, the most effective component to maintain constant temperature is not the intake nor the fuel. It’s the exhaust. Many beginners I come across are not aware of that. All seasoned pitmasters know how to intuitively draft their pit using “clean” smoke to color and flavor their barbecue meats. The draft refers to the vacuum effect when you open or close the exhaust vent of your pit.

When you open the exhaust vent on the WSM, you allow hot air to leave the pit and this creates a vacuum suction to draw air in from the bottom intakes. Thus, by skillfully manipulating the top vent, you can control your WSM like a pro. Many beginners constantly fiddle with their intake dampers in hopes to maintain a constant temperature with less success"


In short, don't fool with the bottom dampers ie the damper in your fan to control your temps. Your bottom dampers are already shut and the only air getting in at the bottom is coming from your fan and it's blowing through a single hole of one of your dampers.

Your fan will stop blowing or reduce blowing when your target temp is being approached. This is the equivalent on having a shut or partially shut damper. Your fan will handle the air coming in from the bottom, be the damper in the fan wide open or not.

Control the temp in your WSM with that top vent.
 
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noboundaries

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Yes, you can absolutely control the temp with the top vent. I've done it many times, but only with TBS. I find that the smallest adjustments to the top vent can make fine tuning adjustment to chamber temp. I'd be concerned about stale smoke at 1/4 to 1/2 open top vent if meat is loaded or TBS has not been been achieved.
 

SmokinAl

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I do what most people don’t do, that is put water in my water pan. I’ve had a WSM/DigiQ DX2 for 8 or 9 years. It always holds a steady temp. But as said above only open the slide on the fan about 25%.
Good luck, you’ll get the hang of it.
Al
 

SlowmotionQue

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hey guys i just recently purchased a BBQ GURU DYNA Q. I decided to try it out today on a 14 lb brisket. I got my WSM set up for minion method using 10 lit kingsford coals surrounded by a basket full of unlit coals. I set my bbq guru pit temp at 225 degrees with all vents closed except the top dome vent and the bbq guru fan vent which is about 50% open. Despite me only using a few lit coals and all vents closed , my current pit temp is 296 degrees and headed toward 300. Thats way hotter than i wanted to cook my brisket at. What did i do wrong? I have no water in the water pan, as it is covered in tin foil. Any advice on getting the pit temp down? Thanks yall.
Yes, you can absolutely control the temp with the top vent. I've done it many times, but only with TBS. I find that the smallest adjustments to the top vent can make fine tuning adjustment to chamber temp. I'd be concerned about stale smoke at 1/4 to 1/2 open top vent if meat is loaded or TBS has not been been achieved.
I do what most people don’t do, that is put water in my water pan. I’ve had a WSM/DigiQ DX2 for 8 or 9 years. It always holds a steady temp. But as said above only open the slide on the fan about 25%.
Good luck, you’ll get the hang of it.
Al
First, let me say that shutting the damper down on his fan, may help him.

However it may not.

In the event that it does not, well then I am advocating that he use a cleaner, hotter burning charcoal, use water or sand in his pan. Finally, I'm advocating that he run his Guru fan with it's damper wide open and shut down his top vent some, as opposed to shutting the damper on his fan down and leaving his top vent wide open.

As long as the fan doesn't blow, and it won't if his temps are where they are supposed to be to begin with, then he may as well leave the damper on the fan wide open, so that when it does blow, he gets maximum benefit from that burst of air.

The reason why I advocated controlling his temp using his top vent as opposed to effectively limiting air at the bottom of the pit by shutting down the fan damper, is stated in the article by Harry Soo. I have also tried it and know that it works. Of all the dampers in the WSM, the top vent/damper is the most effective means of controlling temps.

I bought my BBQ Guru Cyber Q in 2014 or 2015.

Originally using it in my already owned 18 in WSM, purchased in 2014. I added the 22in WSM to my stable in 2016.

With both cookers, and following the BBQ Guru instructions to the letter, they struggled to maintain anything that could be considered stable temperatures or stable beyond what I could get by just controlling the vents and skipping the Cyber Q unit altogether.

I also have a Kamado Joe Classic I and using the Guru Cyber Q with it, gave me similar results. Temperatures that were inconsistent with anything which could be taken for stable.

If I was going to stay up all night playing with vents and such, with or without the Guru, well then I may as well get my stick burner back that I had sold years earlier and go back to it.

Finally, I put the BBQ Guru Cyber Q away for good. Or so I thought.

I'll say now, the frustrations with the BBQ Guru for overnight cooks, led to me getting little to no sleep. Using it or not using it, I was still managing my temps or attempting to, throughout the night and early morning. This led me to purchase my first pellet grill. My Rec Tec RT590.

As mentioned before, holding temps all night in a PID controlled Rec Tec was a no brainer.

So the RT 590 got the briskets and pork shoulders. The overnight cooks. The WSMs got the ribs and other short smokes. The Guru and the spare fan that I had bought for it, gathered dust.

And then someone told me about the Thermoworks Billows instructions.

It is worth mentioning right here, that the Billows fan, has no damper adjustment on it like the Guru fan does.

This is another reason why I know and have seen that the damper on the Guru fan can be run wide open.

The Billows fan is also a 46 CFM fan. The Guru fan is nowhere close to that. The BBQ Guru Pit Bull fan runs at 25 CFM wide open. The Billows fan runs at 100% when it runs. The Guru fan runs at a percentage based upon what it calculates is needed.

So if one can close the top damper down 2/3rds of the way on a WSM with a fan running wide open at 46 CFM through one vent hole, with all of the other bottom vents closed, and not worry about stale smoke, well then why could one not do the same thing with one running at 25 CFM?

This speaks to and takes me to the the stale smoke issue or concern. TBS, or as thin and as blue on a WSM as you can get it, is crucial.

I stopped burning briquettes in my WSMs a long time ago. And of course never burned them in my Kamado.

I learned that WSMs and Kamados burn "dirty" in comparison to well run stick burners.

I am 100% with the gentleman on the TBS, (thin blue smoke). So how to burn a cleaner fire in my WSM???? I picked up a few tips, again from Harry Soo's writings and started building my fire in my WSMs differently.

And I also started experimenting with higher quality lump charcoals. I don't mean Royal Oak, Cowboy and others made from scrap woods. Briquets have binders in them. I can definitely taste the difference using say Kingsford Blue Bag vs lump charcoal. Lump burns hotter and it burns cleaner. I wanted a charcoal which would tend to burn cleaner than some of the cheap stuff that I had used in the past.

I usually use either Jealous Devil or Kamado Joe Big Block. It's pricey. But unlike briquettes, the leftover lump after a cook can be re lit and re used. So little to none of it was wasted. So in the end, the cost is comparable because none gets wasted. Briquettes which are not completely burned out, are usually discarded.

KJ Big Block is made from Guayacan, Guayaibi, and White Quebracho woods. These woods are very dense/hard and burn clean, long, and hot. Jealous Devil is made from Quebracho Blanco wood.

Because it burns hot, less of it has to be actually ignited at any given time, in order for it to give the heat I need. Also, because it burns hot, it burns very clean.

Anyway, how I build my fire in my WSM and how I have been building it for years now in effort to get a cleaner burn.

This is my way. I am not saying it's the right way, or the only way. But it works for me to get the cleanest burning fire that I can get in my WSM. This is a pic showing my preferred method. Unfortunately it was taken when I was still burning Royal Oak. It gave me a much cleaner fire than briquettes. But Royal Oak is made from scrap woods. The better lump charcoals that I mentioned before, are not.

I put my smoke wood down first, in this case, split hickory logs, but I do chunks the same way. I put my charcoal over top of it and put my few hot coals in an indention in the center.

PGzwNj5l.jpg
CzU8fH7l.jpg


And then a friend of mine, shared the instructions for the Thermoworks Billows.

They involved shutting down that top vent some.

Whether you agree or disagree with my approach, is not important to me. The above are only my opinions based upon what I have personally seen and put together with what I have read from one of the most respected people in BBQ.

But my goal here is two fold.

1. Help this gentleman get his temperatures under control in his WSM using his BBQ Guru.

2. Show how I get a cleaner burning fire in my WSM.

I am almost certain, that were I relying on my top vent/ and not running as clean a fire as I could, then my food would get dirty smoke were I using the technique that I describe.

In short, you should always run as clean a fire as you can, and that is even more important if you are going to be using your vents to control temperatures. Especially your top vent.
 
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noboundaries

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Great long post. Solid technique. And like you, I've moved away from chunks and load splits at the bottom of the cold pile. Much cleaner burn even with briqs.
 

SlowmotionQue

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Thanks.

I feel that just as important as saying "that" you do something, is stating just "why" you do it.

From there, the reader can decide:

1. If it makes sense/is logical.

2. If it is practical for them or applies to them.

If it fails the first test, well then no need to consider the other.

However if it passes the first test, then the second is the next hurdle.

For completeness sake though, the subject of just where the original poster's grate temp probe was located when he got his high readings, is of importance and cannot be overlooked in helping him to remedy his problem.

Again, the following is simply my way. One can take it or leave it. I'm not offended. I don't represent it as the right way or the only way.

I go underside center of the top or cooking grate for my grate temp probe placement.

I use the Weber grates with the removable center sections in the 22in WSM and my 22in Kettle for placement of the Vortex or to make it easy to add water to the WSM's water pan back when I was using water in the pan.

Why the underside of the grate?

This keeps the probe out of the way of food. In the case of the BBQ Guru, I'll either clip it to the underside of the grate at the center, or in the pic below, I have it clipped to the Thermoworks Smoke grate probe, which has it's own grate clip, as sometimes I run the two and compare grate temp readings between them. Barring that, I'll simply wrap the wire in such a way as to let the Guru grate probe hang from the top grate at the grates's center and as close to the grate as I can get it.

The images below depict what I am referring to.

Why the center of the grate? The WSM tends to allow unblocked heat to run up the sides of the barrel beyond the edges of the water pan. The center of the grate, if your water pan is in place, gives a more representative grate temp for this reason.

If you place your grate temp probe at the outer aspect of the grate, with your pan in place, well then all of the heat coming up from the sides of the cooker and up past the water pan, is going to hit that probe and not give you an accurate reading of what's going on over your water pan which is where your food is centered.

Below is my 22in WSM ready to go with the BBQ Guru probes, and my Thermoworks probes. The probes are marked with a piece of cork to identify them, Probe 1,2,3,4. The water pan has play sand in it and the sand is covered with aluminum foil.

Zg3tKqbl.jpg
ZXm6o8Sl.jpg
Crn2EiMl.jpg
sm6Usnml.jpg
CHKjpaSl.jpg
 
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Chasec5308

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Thanks everyone for the outstanding info y’all have given me. It has helped immensely!
 

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