When cooking on the Big Green Egg, outside of the seasoning or marinade, time and temperature is basically the key to any successful cook. The Big Green Egg Vent Settings are what’s needed to dial the Big Green Egg into the perfect temperature you are looking to cook at. The BGE is also extremely good at holding the set temperature especially if you are doing a low and slow cook. For example, the lump charcoal can hold a 250 degree temperature for up to 24 hours making the BGE the perfect smoker for a delicious low and slow cook.
Big Green Egg Vent Settings
The Big Green Egg vent settings are simply in place to control the airflow which in return monitors the temperature of the BGE. There are two vents on the BGE that assist in this.
The Purpose of the Upper Vent
The upper vent is more of a minor temperature control which is used when you are usually trying to dial in a temperature less than 10 degrees. The upper vent setting consists of a cast iron vent which has a dual function. The dual variable daisy wheel allows for accurate temperature control. If you are within a few degrees you just need to adjust the top daisy wheel and if you are within 5-10 degrees you can adjust the lower daisy wheel. Being cast iron, this vent can withstand a large range of temperatures that can easily withstand a 200 to 1000 degree cook (although, if you are cooking above 550 degrees this vent usually isn’t required due to maximizing the air flow).
Upper Vent – Proper Storage
One additional tip with the upper vent is to always store it in the egg. The cast iron will tend to seize and wear out if you don’t. So once you are done cooking simply follow this procedure:
- Get a heat resistant glove
- Pull it off
- Set it on the grate
- Close the lid
- Set the ceramic damper top cap on to choke the rest of the coals out.
This process will allow the upper vent to cool slowly with the coals and keep it operational for a long time.
Another upper vent option is a SmokeWare cap. This works similar to a daisy wheel but one feature it has is that it can deflect rain. If you aren’t cooking under an overhang or roof this will keep the water off your meat.
The Purpose of the Lower Vent (Draft Door)
The lower vent on the Big Green Egg is more of a major temperature control and this is used when you are looking to adjust your temperature more than 10 degrees at a time. Please reference images below for approximate damper locations vs temperatures.
Vent Settings with the Conv”egg”tor
The conv”egg”tor will change your vent settings due to taking a normal grilling atmosphere and inserting an air flow deflection. The deflection allows it to become an indirect cook which more or less changes it to become a convention style oven. The Conv”egg”tor will help assist the BGE’s upper dome with circulating the hot air in a circular motion similar to a true convection oven all while preventing the flames from directly heating the cook.
Vent Settings for Different Cooks
Grilling (Burgers, Steaks, Chicken, Shrimp…)
Big Green Egg vent settings for grilling is by far the easiest to set up. Since you are usually cooking direct heat anywhere from 500 degrees for burgers, chicken…to 800 for searing steaks you can simply set the top cast iron daisy wheel aside and let the egg blaze. If you are searing steaks just simply leave the bottom vent completely open to achieve the 700-800 degree temperature. If you are going more for a burger or chicken cook close the bottom vent about ¼ of the way to achieve the 500 degrees in which you can fine tune with the top cap if necessary.
Indirect Cooking (Fish…)
Big Green Egg vent settings for indirect cooking requires a little more finesse. Since you are usually cooking around 225-400 degrees for this method you will need to utilize both of the vent settings. For this temperature range you will want your bottom vent opened up to about ½ an inch to an inch. From there you should be able to use the top vent to fine tune the temp in which you will get better at with practice.
Smoking (Ribs, Brisket…)
Big Green Egg vent settings for smoking your cooks is pretty much the same as indirect cooking. However, when smoking it is usually always best to go low and slow in which your bottom vent is about a ¼ of an inch open and the top is almost closed off. This setting should get you a good solid temperature of 250 ish degrees which is perfect for any smoking cook. Once this is mastered don’t forget to explore the world of adding different types of wood for flavor, for example Mesquite, Apple, Hickory, Maple…woods.
Baking (Pizza, Flatbread…)
Big Green Egg vent settings for baking is a lot like grilling and searing a steak. The only exception is the utilization of the conveggtor to deflect the heat which makes the BGE an outdoor convection oven. One thing to be careful of is to not put the conveggtor or pizza stone on while it is blazing or you may crack it. Once the coals are lit and the BGE is heating up add the convector so it heats up with the BGE to prevent it from cracking.
The Big Green Egg vent settings allow the BGE to be one of the most versatile grills on the market which explains why the kamado style grill has been around for so long. While it can be tricky to cook with it starting out it is well worth the patience to learn as it produces some of the juiciest, most flavor filled meats one could ever ask for. Even once this is achieved, different types of woods can be added to ramp up the flavor even more. The basics to cooking on the egg is simply getting the vent settings dialed in to achieve the proper temperature vs time. Once this is achieved the options are endless on the Big Green Egg.