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Egg temp control issues

metalmonkey

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Joined Mar 17, 2014
I got my egg this summer and I am doing my second pork butt and I just can't seem to get the temp to stay under 250. It seems to slowly escalate over the first couple hours. I have the intake close to about 1/4" and the vent about the same. What am I doing wrong and why does it continue to build temp? Do I need to open the top more to let heat escape a little faster? I like the egg so far especially for grilling but I am struggling to learn the adjustments.
 

bradger

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Joined Aug 12, 2019
Is your smoker portable, if so you could try to keep it in a well shaded area. that way it wont pick up any additional solar heat.
 

daveomak

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What do the directions, that came with the BGE, tell you on controlling temperature..
 

metalmonkey

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Joined Mar 17, 2014
Badger that's not really a thing for me being in the upper 40s in the shade of my back porch in NE Ohio but good idea. Dave they don't have good explanations on that. They give general guidelines but not very detailed info. I went YouTube researching and found a guy that actually said that the bottom opening will have to be open the width of a quarter (about 1/16") to keep the 220 to 230 temp. So thanks for all the input though!
 

SlowmotionQue

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Check some of the YouTube videos on how to set up an Egg for low and slow cooks.

Oops, looks like you already did that.

Check the Kamado Joe YouTube videos for how they set up the KJ for low and slow. I'd bet that the same techniques are applicable.

The recommendation for the KJ is to open the bottom vent about the width of your index finger and turn the daisy wheel to where the holes in it are about halfway open, at a given point when you are trying to reach your target temp.

If you only open the bottom vent the width of a quarter, I'd be afraid of either snuffing the fire completely out, or getting a lot of acrid white smoke from smoldering partially lit coals and or wood chunks.

I have a Kamado Joe. But no doubt, some of what applies to it, likely applies to your Egg as well.

The "problem", as I see it, with ceramic Kamados is that they are very efficient. Very insulated. This means that over time, you get a heat buildup inside of them because they are ceramic. And because they are so well "sealed". So IMO, they are too efficient for the casual or occasional user to consistently dial in for low and slow.

They lose very little heat through their skin, unlike metal cookers, and the good Kamados have less air leaks. You close the lid on your Egg, and you don't see even so much as a peep of smoke coming from around the lid if it's gaskets are good.

When that heat builds up inside, and at the same time the coals are still burning and in turn igniting other surrounding coals that were unlit, well then the rate at which the old coals burn out, vs the new coals igniting, and the already trapped heat dissipating, all become a delicate balancing act.

If heat isn't lost, as fast as it's gained, well then it's easy to see how it builds up inside the Kamado, and the temps rise. And you end up exactly with what you are witnessing.

Knowing what I know now, and seeing what I've seen in my own KJ, which is very similar to your Egg, I'm doubtful that you'll be able to get it to "hold" for any significant length of time to much lower than 250° at the dome.

I've never seen better than about 240° and that wasn't for longer than about an hour, maybe two.

I got my egg this summer and I am doing my second pork butt and I just can't seem to get the temp to stay under 250.
If you're seeing that in a ceramic Kamado, and can get it to lock in at the 250° range, be happy.
 
Last edited:

retfr8flyr

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How large of a fire are you originally starting with in your egg? For low and slow you need to start a very small fire. I have a KJ Big Joe and I only start one small section in the middle, for low and slow. The larger your initial fire, the harder it is to get low temps to stabilize. Try filling up the fire box with your lump and whatever wood you are going to add. Take a single cotton ball and dip it in alcohol, put in in the center of your pile and put some lump pieces bridged over the top of it. Start the single cotton ball, with the bottom vent fully open and the top up, until the fire is going well. Close the lid with the vent fully open and let the temps get to around 180°, then close the bottom vent until it's only open about 1/4 inch and close the top vent until the holes are only open about 1/8th. Leave the vents alone until the temp stabilizes. It should stabilize around 225° with these settings and a small fire started. Make any necessary vent changes to get it to stabilize at your desired temp, just remember to wait about 15 minutes after a vent change before you try another change. If you don't wait for things to stabilize, after a change, you will end up chasing your temp.

When doing low and slow I like to let my grill cook for about an hour before I put the meat on. This allows the grill to heat soak and it's much easier to control the temps, after the meat is added. After you put your meat on don't make any vent change for about 20 minutes, if it was stable before you put on the meat it will return to that temp after the meat starts heating up. Don't get caught up in shooting for a specific temp. The meat doesn't really care if the grill is 220°, or 245° it will cook just as well.
 

noboundaries

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I had three former friends, one with a BGE and two with Kamado type smokers. None of them could control their temps. Here were their issues.
1. They insisted on using lump. The BGE guy believed his warranty would be voided if he used briquettes.
2. They all were too impatient, unwilling to wait up to an hour or two to allow their smokers to slowly temp stabilize.
3. If my suggestions were vastly different than how they were trained (BGE guy) or what their instructions said, they were unwilling to adapt fully.

There's a lot of mass in a BGE/Kamado smoker. For low n slow, patience is essential.

Heat - Fuel - Air. The insulated, heavy mass BGE/Kamado smokers will retain a LOT of available heat. If you feed it too much to quickly, forget about low n slow.

The one BGE guy had a hard time keeping his under 500F because he always overfed hot charcoal to the cold pile. All I heard was "but, but, but" when I tried to help him. He eventually gave up on his BGE and bought a gas grill. Wazoo (I have no clue how Wazoo appeared on this page, but it cracked me up so I left it!)
 

metalmonkey

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Joined Mar 17, 2014
I did take the time to mess with it albeit slowly so it could adjust. And my temps were not crazy and I didn't start with a giant pile of red charcoal. I was having trouble with it creeping from 250 up to 300 and I wanted to be in the 220 230 range. I did get it to lock in at 230 for the rest of the day. I use lump and it's not that it will void warranty to use briquettes but they claim the chemical binders will impregnate the ceramic and you will taste it in the food, same thing for lighter fluid. The thing has to be so close to closed completely that I didn't realize it would stay lit that close to closed. And there is no gauge at all imagine trying to evenly close the airflow on a round hole sideways which is the outlet adjustment. The inlet adjustment is much more rectangular but still it's all by patience, experience, and probably a little luck. Thanks for all the different input though. Gotta keep working with it. I didn't spend $1,300 to give up in 6 months on it.
 

noboundaries

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I use lump and it's not that it will void warranty to use briquettes but they claim the chemical binders will impregnate the ceramic and you will taste it in the food, same thing for lighter fluid
Finally! Thank you. I always wondered about his claim.

KBB would absolutely cause issues with their chemical binders. RO uses a vegetable binder, so I don't know. B&B claims 100% natural and no chemical binders. I know Ace Hardware sells it, and it can be ordered online from their website, delivered to your local Ace with no shipping costs. Just sharing in case you ever want to try briquettes.
 

dr k

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I use Kingsford std. blue bag briquettes. Less than ten lit dropped in the middle of 20 unlit = 24 hours hassle free as low as 200*f. My Akorn is porcelain painted steel with wood stove insulation in the body/lid that is warm to the touch so it's doing it's job and easy to move, being light weight. The large ash pan is removable and gasketed like the lid so it snuffs out coals like a Weber kettle. It accomadates the larger ash content from Briquettes and I don't loose as much unburnt coals though the grates vs lump. I've had it eight years and it's been everything I expected it to be (no rust.) When I first got it I used RTV 700f silicone around the rectangle smoker bottom opening and screwed the bottom vent slide assembly back on so air comes in at the setting you choose or if fully closed just the ends of the slide that can't be sealed otherwise it won't slide. I have a 17" coal grate on the platter setter height for grilling and put a 15" pizza stone/drip pan on it for bbqing and smoking and use the bottom charcoal grill grate. If something ever happens to it I'll definitely spend $248.00 again for this 22" kamado.
 

johnnyb54

Meat Mopper
198
51
Joined Mar 16, 2015
I got my egg this summer and I am doing my second pork butt and I just can't seem to get the temp to stay under 250. It seems to slowly escalate over the first couple hours. I have the intake close to about 1/4" and the vent about the same. What am I doing wrong and why does it continue to build temp? Do I need to open the top more to let heat escape a little faster? I like the egg so far especially for grilling but I am struggling to learn the adjustments.
I been using a BGE for 15 years and yes you absolutely can hold 225-250 temps for overnight and longer cooks. Each Egg is its own beast so you will need to learn its characteristics. I have 2 large and 1 small Egg and all 3 are different. They are close but still different enough to screw up a cook if I didn’t know their quarks. They way I start my fires for an overnight or long cook is I clean out my Egg and then fill the firebox all they way to the top. Yes I go practically all the way to the top of the fire ring with lump coal and mix in whatever wood chunks I want with the cook throughout the lump. I light the lump in 1 spot, dead center of the lump. I open my top and bottom dampers about 1/3 open. I close the lid and let it burn for 15-20 minutes to make sure I have a good fire. Once that’s done I put my plate setter on top of the fire ring legs up and put the grate on. I monitor the dome temp until the egg reaches about 150-175. Once the dome temp reaches the 150-175 mark I close my bottom damper to about an 1/8th inch open and my top damper 1/4inch open. I monitor the rise or fall of the dome temp and adjust the top damper accordingly until I almost reach the temp I’m looking for. If I see the dome stalls out at 215 I open the top damper a little. If I see the dome temp start to climb over the temp I want I slowly close the top damper a little until it stops climbing. Once I achieve the temp I’m looking for I let I sit for an hour making sure the dome temp Is rock solid. I’ve done hundreds of pulled porks, ribs and briskets maintaining my temps for 12-24 hrs. depending on what I’m cooking. The most important thing to remember is once you locked in your temp DO NOT make any adjustments when you put your meat in. When you put the meat into the Egg the dome temp will drop because of the mass of the meat. Eventually the dome will return to the temp wanted once the surface area of the meat heats up. If you start to chase your dome temp while cooking you will be battling it for a long time. If after 2-3 hrs. you see a rise or fall in temp just make a small adjustment to the top damper and wait at least an hour before trying to make another change. The ceramics in the Egg take a long time to heat or cool so it’s important that you always wait before making any other changes.
 

metalmonkey

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Joined Mar 17, 2014
Oh believe me one of those or a similar make/model is on my list already. However I am one to force myself to learn things the hard way so I can appreciate the easy way. Also I like to know the harder process in case there is a time the more convenient and easy methods cannot be used. You never know what it can teach you to know more than one way to do things.
 

pugsbrew

Meat Mopper
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Joined Dec 11, 2015
Oh believe me one of those or a similar make/model is on my list already. However I am one to force myself to learn things the hard way so I can appreciate the easy way. Also I like to know the harder process in case there is a time the more convenient and easy methods cannot be used. You never know what it can teach you to know more than one way to do things.
Yep, I understand. I could get the temp set, but the wind would change, or whatever, and the temps would climb. I guess it depends on where your set-up is located. I do overnight cooks, so the electronic controls work for me. Good smoking.
 

Alphonse

Fire Starter
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Joined Dec 1, 2019
I am a couple of months late to this thread but thought I would offer a suggestion or two. I have an Egg, a Grill Dome and my son has a Primo that I restored. All three are highly reliant on having a good gasket seal. I have replaced the gaskets on all three.

My Egg's gasket was crap out of the box. Poorly installed, maladjusted and poor quality When I finally replaced it, the Egg was a totally different pit. So first off, check your gasket and its fit.

Secondly, stay with the lump. Charcoal briquettes are not for Kamados. Yes, you could use them but they are full of sawdust, binders and fillers. Just check the amount of ash they produce as compared to a bed of good lump. There is a huge difference in BTU/lb content between the two as well. Lump, hands down, is a better fuel for a Kamado. It has more energy content, burns longer, and produces waaaay less ash. Ash plugs up the grates on an Egg.

Learning how to run your Egg manually is a good thing. Do that and then spring for a PID controll system. But learning how to do it manually first is truly worth the effort.

There are three basic factors that control the temperature in the Egg.
  1. size of the fire
  2. combustion air flow
  3. exhaust opening
Work on all three. Others have already mentioned these. Don't overbuild the fire from the beginning. Start small and go up from there.

From a system's perspective the combustion air has the most control authority. It is controlled by the bottom vent and the exhaust opening. The draft created by the exhaust vent works in tandem with bottom air inlet. Start small and throttle up with both. The kamado is a big heat sink and will retain heat so if you overrun the temperature it will take time for it to settle back down to the set point you are looking for.

Eggs are great machines and made very well but do confirm your gasket is sealing and in good shape. Otherwise you will not be able to control it well manually or with a controller.

Ultimately, a good control system (Guru or FireBoard for example) will be a gamechanger for you and make life mighty easy. But again, learning how to do it manually is a very good thing.
 

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