Primo Grill 101: Starting Fire and Holding Temperature

Someone asked us recently:
What is the best method for getting my new Primo grill to hold the 200F – sub 200F range?
This was an issue I struggled with and I found there are a lot of options. Best way to manage temp on a Primo grill is to buy a BBQ Guru. I love my Digi Q, but I started with a Pit Master and both are just the best.  Best bet is to use the nice little configurator to find the right unit for you and that makes your Primo grill a full on smoker. I have been able to hold temps for over 16 hours and do some major cooks.

Assuming you want to go low and slow and stay below say 250F, here is how I do it with my Primo grill. The biggest difference with smoking on a Weber kettle is that you do not want to use lighter fluid with it as the fluid could season the Primo in a negative way. Always clean out the charcoal box before each use. I use a Shop Vac after removing unused coals in a steel bucket and reusing them for my next fire. I use hardwood charcoal and stack big pieces on the bottom for best air flow and then put smaller pieces on top after you clean out the grill from all previous cooks. Throw on some wood chunk around the spot where you are going to light the charcoal. The coals will burn out and then fire up the smoke as it comes up to temperature.

To start the actual fire,  you can use Weber fire starters or a propane torch and start a small part of the coals and once that gets going, load up the grill with the drip pan racks, your D plates, grill grates and put the food on. Then close the vent at the bottom down to about 50%to start to ramp up the temp until it holds steady at 200F or so. You need to make sure that the top and bottom vents are controlled so you ease into the temp. Go over by too much and it is hard to cool it down, but not impossible, just takes some time.

This is why I love the BBQ Guru. Life is too short to worry about temperature control when you have technology like that! With the BBQ Guru, I do all of the above accept for the temperature venting, I just install the fan, open the top vent to the half moon, set the temperature on the BBQ Guru and check back in 10 minutes to make sure the temp is ramping up properly.

For all Primo Grill Users I highly recommend that you register for the Primo Grill Forum and look through the postings. The users of the Primo Grill Forum are amazing cooks and have incredible wisdom that they share freely.  Many are true Pit masters who love Primo grills and will guide you through any issue you are having. There is already tons of info on how to learn quickly and answer almost any question you have! Primo is an awesome ceramic smoker and grill so please contact us if you have any questions. We always love to help out a fellow Primo owner!

4 thoughts on “Primo Grill 101: Starting Fire and Holding Temperature

  1. Jonathan Folkerts

    Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such information much. I was looking for this particular information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

  2. Tammie Gurley

    OMG….LOVE my newly purchased BBQ Guru Digi Q. I had smoked pork butts 3 times before getting my new “toy” and had to restart the fire at least 2-3 times EACH time I cooked. The 4th time I used my new Digi Q, and it worked GREAT!! When I looked during the cooking time throughout the evening/night, it was ALWAYS in the correct zone of temperature. When I “tried” taking the pork butts (2) off the grill (they were FALLING apart) I said to myself, “I think I just learned how to CHEAT at smoking these butts!” WOOHOO..can’t wait to CHEAT again!!

  3. Adrian Klingel

    Mine’s coming Tuesday. So sick of having to restart the fire. What a mess. These things are not very easy to cook on, that’s for sure. 3 times I have used it now, and it either gets too hot or the fire goes out. Ruined hundreds of dollars of meat already.

  4. jfb Post author

    Need to master the fire controls! Check out a BBQ Guru it changed my life on the Primo, set it and forget it, cooks perfectly on briskets and pork butts, you can get 10-14 hours low and slow on a single load of charcoal, good luck!

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