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1AL6

Holding 225?

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Hello. A little advice would be appreciated…please and thank you. So far I’ve completed 3 cooks on my new 23” at 225 degrees (and a few others at higher temps).  I have found it very easy to start the cooker and dial in to 225.  It holds rock solid for hours. But when I crack open the lid to add other food, rotate something, spray with apple cider, etc, the KK drops temp and then comes back up higher after the lid is closed.  Usually to about 235.  The next time I open the lid to do whatever, then close it back up, my temps go up another 10 degrees or so.  Ideally you don’t open the lid but sometimes it’s unavoidable.  So what say the experts here?  How can I keep things closer to 225?  For reference, I am using up some royal oak lump I’ve had around - they are smallish size pieces. Not optimal I know.  Thanks. 

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1 hour ago, 5698k said:

Don’t worry about a 10° swing.. it’s insignificant.


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Agree. Except after 4 or 5 opens, that’s 40-50 degrees. But maybe you’re right.  Maybe I shouldn’t bother anyway. 

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I’m sorry, I didn’t read your post thoroughly. You’re right, the temp shouldn’t climb an additional 10° every time you open it. For 225°, your top vent should barely off the seat. Is it moving slightly when you open? When you light your fire, do you allow the temp to come up slowly? It’s possible the fire is somewhat choked as opposed to having the right lit coal/airflow combination.


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1 hour ago, 5698k said:

I’m sorry, I didn’t read your post thoroughly. You’re right, the temp shouldn’t climb an additional 10° every time you open it. For 225°, your top vent should barely off the seat. Is it moving slightly when you open? When you light your fire, do you allow the temp to come up slowly? It’s possible the fire is somewhat choked as opposed to having the right lit coal/airflow combination.


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Those are good points. I’ve been about a 1/4 turn on top.  I’ll try a little less. But maybe I’m choking out the fire a bit more than I should - I’ll try giving it more time to get heated up. Thanks for the tip. 

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I agree with Robert that a large part of the issue is too much top vent. A 1/4 turn on my 23KK would be 275 or more. Try 1/8 turn or even less and see if it helps.

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Jumping on the pile here, but that's too open on the top vent for 225F. It should be barely off the seat. Toss a small chunk of wood on the fire right after you get it lit. When it starts to smoke, then adjust the top hat to where the smoke is just barely coming out. That's the 225F sweet spot - at least on my 23". YMMV 

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When you open the lid you get a huge rush of oxygen to the coals which stokes the fire. Two things that you can do to minimize the effect you explain is first completely close off the bottom vent before opening the lid (remember to open it again once closing the lid). Second try to open the lid for as short of a period as possible.

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There's competing effects going on here when you open the lid - one is that you are letting out a bunch of hot air, which will drop the dome thermometer reading a lot - just the reading, not the actual temperature of the KK. Next there's the inrush of a lot of ambient air (oxygen) to make up for the lost hot air (remember hot air rises!) This should only cause a short spike in the combustion process with that brief (assuming it's brief) opening of the lid. If the KK is heat soaked, the effect of this spike in the long run should not be noticeable (or barely so) and the temperature should settle back down to where the top vent says it should be. If you leave the lid open too long, or open it frequently with short intervals in between, you will introduce enough oxygen to cause the combustion to increase - you are short-circuiting the top vent setting at that point, and the dome temperature will go up to match the new combustion air flow. Eventually it should come back down to where the top vent setting is, but that could take a while and if the KK wasn't heat soaked, it might not come back down much at all and stay at its new equilibrium. 

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When you open the lid there is a big inflow of oxygen in to the KK. If there is a large quantity of charcoal burning, and you feed that large quantity with O2, your temp will go up some. For a low temp cook, be sure to only light a small amount of charcoal to start. Lighting a large amount of charcoal and trying to keep the temps down with small vent settings won't work. 

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