Controlling the Pit Temperature on the PG1000:
This grill comes equipped with a controller board which lets you digitally “dial in” the temp you want for your cook. This controller is very simple, an up arrow, a down arrow, and a digital readout. For many these are all the controls you will ever need. However, there are more advanced settings you can adjust in order to further refine the temperature control.
The grill has settings called LHt and HHt which allows you to adjust the amount of time the auger runs, and thus the rate pellets are fed into the firepot. These are accessed by pressing and holding both the up and down arrows for 5 seconds to get to the LHt setting, and for 10 seconds to get to the HHt setting.
LHt and HHt Settings:
So what do these settings mean? The controller breaks the auger control down into 15 second intervals and the LHt and HHt control how many seconds the auger is on per 15 seconds.
LHt – is the number of seconds the auger runs when the pit temperature probe is reading at or above the set temperature
HHt – is the number of seconds the auger runs when the pit temperature probe is reading below the set temp
Thus the LHt is a “pilot” light of sorts, it controls the rate pellets are fed to keep the fire going and maintain a temperature. On the other hand, the HHt controls how fast the fire is stoked to get the grill back to temp when it falls below the set temps.
When adjusting the LHt and HHt, the readout on the display is in ½ second intervals and the decimal point is omitted. For example, if the HHt is set at 150 (the maximum) that means an “on time” of 15.0 seconds per 15 second cycle, and thus a continuous feed of pellets until the set temp is reached. If the setting was 75 that would mean the auger would run for 7.5 seconds per 15 seconds when the pit is below the set temp. The same is true for the LHt. An LHt setting of 10 would mean that the auger runs 1.0 second per 15 seconds when the pit temp is at or above the set temp.
The closer the LHt and HHt settings are the less temp swings the grill will have. In other words, an LHt/HHt setting of 10/30 will produce less “overshoot” of the set point than a setting of 10/100. There are many people who leave the grill at the factory setting of 10/100 (mine was 15/100) however, tighter temp control can be achieved by bringing the HHt closer to the LHt.
So where is the chart for the best LHt/HHt settings? I will provide some examples, however there are many variables which can affect the LHt and HHt settings so there is not a hard and fast setting for each set temp. Since ambient temperature, direct sunlight, pellet brand, pellet wood, etc. can all affect temperature regulation; the PG1000 gives you the ability to adjust for these factors by tweaking the LHt/HHt settings.
Theories on LHt/HHt settings:
There are three schools of thought. 1) Keep the LHt low, 2) Set the LHt high, 3) Forget it - Leave it at factory settings and call it good
1)This theory says the LHt is the “pilot light” for the grill and should keep the fire going and be able to keep the temp near the set point when the grill is heated up. The HHt is then set near the LHt so that if it falls below the set temp the HHt kicks in and slowly increases the temp back to the set point with minimal overshoot.
2)This theory says the LHt can be used to maintain just above the set temp with the HHt kicking in rarely if the temp happens to fall below the set temp
3)This theory says FORGET IT… I’m setting at 10/100 and calling it good. Temp swings are not important and my average temp over time will be on target
All of these have merit. #1 is probably the most accepted way to manage LHt and HHt as it allows neither setting to drive the temp. In #2 the LHt is the dominant setting. If it is causing the set temp to be above the set point, there is nothing keeping it in check to bring it back down. To use a car analogy the “idle” can be set to fast, not allowing it to run slower. #3 is a great way to go and works for many, but those of us who are “Type A” temperature watchers may not be able to handle watching the temperature swings.
To achieve maximum temperature: Set temp=600, LHt=anything, HHt=150. This will run the auger continuously until the pit reaches 600 degrees. This setting is very useful when you are grilling with the hood up and desire the hottest fire you can get. (For example while searing steaks). It is also a great way to go to get a very hot fire when heating a pizza stone on the indirect side to cook a pizza.
To cook 275-450: you really can’t go wrong. This pit seems to love these temperatures. I would recommend an LHt=10 and HHt=30-80 depending on the temp. If you notice the HHt is running a lot to maintain temps, turn up the LHt until the HHt is only occasionally kicking in.
To cook low and slow: Set temp=225. LHt=10, HHt=30. This will generally keep the temp around the set point while reducing overshoot.
To cook lower: Set temp 180-190. LHt=10 (or maybe 5 depending on weather) HHt=20. I might suggest completely removing the flue cap to help dump as much heat as possible.
Adjusting the LHt too low can cause the fire to burn out. The “too low” number may be different for different pellets and weather conditions. I have rarely had any problem running at an LHt of 10, but have had fire outs at LHt=5 and watch it very closely if I run that lean. – Solution – Bump up the LHt by 5 or 10
Adjusting the LHt too high can cause the pit to run higher than the set temp without a means to drop lower. Basically this can set the baseline too high. – Solution – turn the LHt down.
Adjusting the HHt too low can lead to the inability to reach the set temp. For example if the HHt is set at 15 or 20 it may be hard to reach a temperature of 350. If set low it can also increase the time it takes the pit to reach the set temp as the pellets are flowing at a low rate. However, though it may take longer to get to the set temp, the overshoot will be minimized. Solution – Be patient or increase the HHt.
Adjusting the HHt too high will increase your overshoot and thus increase your temp swings. However as mentioned above there are times a high or max HHt is a good thing depending on how/what you are cooking. Solution – Reduce temp swings by setting the HHt closer to the LHt.
These settings may seem complicated while reading this; however once you spend a little time with the grill in front of you it will make more sense. Take good notes and always note the ambient temp, weather conditions, pellets used, meat cooked etc. Eventually it will be second nature and will be very easy to make adjustments “on the fly” as you see how temps are running with a given pellet type or weather condition.
It doesn’t have to be perfect; this grill will cook some of the finest food you’ve ever made... temp swings or not.