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Questions for the experienced keggers


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So far, I've only done 1 cook on the keg, my first kamado. A small spatchcock turkey that was ok but not great. I'm more interested in low and slow for butts and briskets. I noticed a fair amount of leaks around the ash drawer and gasket. My lump charcoal was still smouldering quite a while after I closed both vents. 

1 - Has anyone found a way to seal it up better?

2 - How long can it go on a full load of lump?

3 - Any advice on fire / temperature management would be appreciated.

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I decided to do a test burn today prior to cooking a pork butt tomorrow. I'm shooting for 250 give or take 25, here's how that's going.

Set up with a large mound of charcoal that I lit in 1 spot on top. Put the heat diffuser in and main grill on low position after fire was going. Put the swing rack in with a temp probe attached to it.

9:05, Lit fire and opened both vents to full open. Once temp hit 50, closed bottom to 3.

9:30, temp went to 150 and closed the top to 2

9:35, temp went to 180 and closed both to 1

9:40, temp dropped so I opened bottom to 2

9:50, temp hung around 200 so opened top to 2

10:05, temp went to 275 so closed the bottom to 1.5

10:12, temp went to 300  so closed top to 1

10:30, temp went to 330 so closed bottom to 1

10:50, temp went to 343 so closed bottom to 0.5

11:30, temp went to 360 so closed bottom to zero

12:00, temp went to 375 ????

12:15, temp at 378

Top is at 1 and bottom is closed. 





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Hey Spaggy, it does take a while for the temperature to settle... my suggestion is that you had too many changes in a short time - 5-10 mins between closing to 1, temp dropping at 9:40 and then opening up to 2 again.


Once I get to 50 below target, I close top to 1 and bottom almost fully (just a crack showing, can’t remember number). Then I am just moving the dials by millimetres every 20 mins or so..


Big steel keg forum has some great info, but as per my previous post is is closing down soon... So I copied some key points (sorry if that has broken any site rules):

Starting a fire:
***Important:  The keg is extremely efficient at heat retention.  This means that getting the keg up to temp is VERY quick.  Once it gets to a temp its harder to bring down.  You will want to set a target about 50* less than where you want it to settle at and slowly bring it to that temp.***

  • Low and slow vent setup (225* - 275*):
    • Be sure to have a way to deflect direct contact of the flame with the food.  A diffuser in place works the best but so can tin foil.
    • Close lid and keep bottom vent at 2 and top vent at 3.  DO NOT allow temp to rise above 175*.  Once it hits 175* back the vents down about 1/2 to full notch each respectively.  
    • Temp should begin to close in on 250* slowly.  At around 225* begin creeping the vents down a little to slow the rise.  The end result is usually vents sitting at 1 or under for bottom vent and 2-1 at the top.
         *For the bottom vent the typical opening is about the width of 1/4 - 1/2.  Top vent typically would be between setting 1 1/2 and 2.
    • Allow it to run with no food at the stabilized heat a minimum of 30 min and upwards of an hour.  This will help in heating up the Keg entirely and account for wind gusts, etc. which may require tweaking of the vent.

you also mentioned this is a new keg... might take time for the gasket to settle in:


What to look out for during seasoning process.  

  • Leaks are possible just simply due to the mass production of any grill.  
  • Typically around the lower or upper vents and also around the lid gasket is where you will see leaks. 
  • High heat silicone will seal up the leaks at the bottom vent.
  • Seasoning and running the keg will help with the top vent. 
  • The gasket may require a break in period.  It may leak a little but over time it should diminish.


if after 5-10 cooks your still not happy consider sealing the vents...

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This is my last low and slow pork (from my Meater probe)... No temperature controller, no mods or sealant, just dumb luck!! You can see I opened the lid once to wrap it (stall had me worried at 3pm that I was a bit behind schedule).. Otherwise I never disturbed it and temperature held perfectly..


Was a small shoulder - Just under 7 hours and I would have had coals left... I’m sure I have done an 11 hour cook before..



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I used red RTV to seal around the bottom vent. I also used a hammer to tap the lower vent channels tighter, the vent door is too loose. Lastly, I bought Rutland 5/8 woodstove rope gasket, laid a bead of the red RTV on the lower half of the open chamber, and stuck the rope gasket to it and closed the lid. This sealed all leaks around the gasket.


I can hold 225 for 24+ hours.

Start slow like others said. Once dialed in, I find I have the bottom vent open just enough that you could slide a pencil in. If there were fractional markers, I'd say 1/4.

Top vent around 1-1/4.


If you need to open the lid to check anything or probe the meat, burp the lid first, and then work fast and close the lid, or you're screwed with an overshoot for an hour.

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When setting up for low/slow, I set up like this:


1) Give the ash basket a shake and make sure bottom has some space for air.

2) Place 5-6 golf-ball sized wood chunks spaced out around bottom of pit - like the numbers on a clock.  Not too close to the middle, but maybe one small piece in the middle as well.

3) Stack lump charcoal all over the top of the wood chunks.

4) Using torch, light a very small area in the top/middle of the pile of lump.

5) Place on my deflection plate (ceramic pizza stone covered in foil) and grills etc.

6) Bottom vent with just a small opening - about pencil sized like Walrus mentioned.

7) Place top vent at about a 4.  Wait, wait, wait....usually over 1 hour.  If I rush this part, it never goes well for me.

8) Once it get's closer to my desired temp, I drop the top vent to 2.5...maybe 2.25....temperature will rise just slightly more and then coast.... 

9) QUICKLY drop in my brisket, butt etc....and open the lid as rarely as possible.


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Thanks for all the great advice. I think I've found my biggest problem. The new version of the Keg 5000 has an ash drawer and bottom vent as one unit.  it leaks air terribly around the whole setup. I sealed it up with electrical tape as a test and found it much more manageable. Shame on Broil King for putting out this poor design.

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