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Start your fires

johannjohann Posts: 111
edited 2:02PM in EggHead Forum
I have a large and small bge in a custom built cedar table on my deck. I usually start them with a chimney starter in the large bge, or on the platesetter and then dump the coals into whichever one I'm using. Though there have been, mishaps. where a stray coal with hit the table or deck.

What do you all do when starting the eggs with chimney starters? I'm kinda thinking about tiling over the table to mitigate the risk.

Anyone else have this issue or am I just not careful enough?


  • NC-CDNNC-CDN Posts: 703
    I light my lump in the egg with a starter cube. A few minutes later and I am egging. Never have any issues with coals dropping on my table or deck.

    If you use this other method I think tiling it would be a great idea. I want to tile mine (at least I am going to use the concrete board) to minimize any chance of a fire by a coal dropping out of the lower vent. You can also buy those pads that go beneath your grill and that would help protect your deck.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    put the starter in the open egg right on the grate

    lift grate, dump the coals, shut the egg
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • boston_stokerboston_stoker Posts: 794
    I use a chimney too. I have a few scorch marks too. I don't worry about it.
  • johannjohann Posts: 111
    Let me clarify

    I'm not worried about the scorch marks

    My -boss- might eventually comment. I'm trying to be pre-emptive.
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    I don't...

    By the time I get the chimney going with paper etc, I can do the same in the egg and have as quick a start of the lump.

    I personally like using alcohol or oil/paper towel or weed burner.

  • Your egg acts like a large chimney starter. So cut out the middle man. I used chimney when I first got the egg but found that lighting in the egg is much easier. I currently use paper towel/oil (always have around the house) but there are many methods.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    not sure why the starter isn't lit in the egg to begin with...

    it should never then need be transported anywhere, over anything in danger of being scorched
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • KailasKailas Posts: 146
    I use an electric starter. I load my coals and stick my starter in there and in a few minutes it's well lit.
  • fishonfishon Posts: 24
    I roll up a napkin or paper towel, pour some vegetable oil into it then place it in the egg and light. Works great.
  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,699
    I used a chimney for a few times when I got my egg but it took too much work and was dangerous handling it with the high heat and lit charcoal.

    I start my charcoal using 91% alcohol purchased at Walmart. I use a pencil to poke a tiny hole in the seal and then squirt a little alcohol in 4 places in a circle about 4 inches in from the outside rim of the charcoal. Then a little squirt in the center. Wait a few seconds then toss in a match.

    Alcohol burns clean and quickly starts the charcoal. It is very safe as long as you stand back a little when dropping in the match. The warmer the day, the more it evaporates before lighting and can cause a flash. In the winter, it doesn't evaporate and I actually have to hold the match at the squirt points.
    Large BGE
    Barry, Lancaster, PA
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 12,614
    I used a chimney starter once, right after I got my first egg. Didn't care for it so haven't used it since. As others have said, the egg IS a chimney starter - and temp is much easier to control. I have tried several methods (MAPP, cubes, oil on paper towel and alcohol) and find all of them better than a chimney.

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!


    Central Connecticut 

  • loco_engrloco_engr Posts: 3,673
    Dang, guess that means you wouldn't be interested in a used once chimney starter then? :woohoo:
  • ScottborasjrScottborasjr Posts: 3,492
    I use oil and paper towel unless the weather is a problem, then I use a starter cube. Only been at it for a few months though. ;)
    I raise my kids, cook and golf.  When work gets in the way I'm pissed, I'm pissed off 48 weeks a year.
    Inbetween Iowa and Colorado, not close to anything remotely entertaining outside of football season. 
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 12,614
    Just curious... what difference does the weather make?

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!


    Central Connecticut 

  • jaydub58jaydub58 Posts: 2,123
    For tomorrow night's whole chicken cook, I'm going to try the alcohol method for the first time (carefully).
    I have been using an electric, but can always learn something new (I hope).

    John in the Willamette Valley of Oregon
  • Clay QClay Q Posts: 4,435
    I use a coal shuttle or what is called a coal hod to hold my chimney starter in a safe place while it's starting leftover lump.
  • Mike in AbitaMike in Abita Posts: 3,302
    You can always get some smaller mesh to line the bottom of the chimney. I used to use a chimney and found some hardware cloth that has 1/4" squares in it. Smaller opening might make for less chance of embers falling out the bottom.

    I have since switched to a MAPP torch for my lighting needs and now the chimney is regulated to bird house duty.
  • GulfcoastguyGulfcoastguy Posts: 1,392
    I do the same thing, electric starter.
  • Egg JujuEgg Juju Posts: 658
    BGE starter blocks are falling off a log easy, safe, clean, cheap, and quick. My chimney has been in the shed with my bullet since the day before I got my egg last year. If I ever sell the bullet... the chimney will go too. :)
    Large and Small BGE *
  • I use cubes or starter bricks. I either build a pyramid or build a charcoal jenga tower. Either way the piece of starter is in the middle. Usually I only use a quarter to half of the cube/brick.

    I used to leave the egg open because I figured more oxygen the better, but I noticed that if I leave it closed and have the bottom vent wide open and daisy off it heats up much quicker.

    I have been meaning to try the alcohol method, but have not went down that road yet.

    As for weather - if it is windy out it is harder to light the cube/brick and if it is cold - the lighter I have is very fussy.
  • jaydub58jaydub58 Posts: 2,123
    I tried the alcohol method, using a plastic catheter syringe to shoot some of the alcohol down into the lump.
    Nice hot start in 10-12 minutes.
    I think I'm hooked!

    John in the Willamette Valley of Oregon
  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,699
    I used to use a syringe,but I think my current way is easier and just as effective.

    I carefully use a sharp pencil to poke a small hole in the seal under the cap. I then turn the bottle upside down and gently squeeze to squirt the alcohol where I want it.
    Large BGE
    Barry, Lancaster, PA
  • JerzeeJerzee Posts: 84
    I understand your concerns. I too was not worried about scorch marks on the table until one too many beers and WHOOSH! My life was forever altered.

    I used to have a soft luxurious coat of fur that my wife loved to run her fingers through. Sure, the occasional sparrow would peck and claw at me during lazy shirtless summer weekends, thinking I was material for their nests, but I assure you the pros far outweighed the cons. Here is a picture of me pre-eggccident.


    As I was saying, moving coals from one egg to the other with no safety precautions and being very very dropped coal and my wood cart (which I had just liberally wiped with conditioning oil I think I was supposed to let dry first) was set ablaze. I tried stomping it out but a drunkenly placed foot wrapped in a Birkenstock is not a sufficient fire retardant. Long story short: up my leg and bye bye human pelt! Here's me post-eggccident:


    Needless to say, I'm now much much more careful. Here's my preferred method of lighting my egg:


    Sure, I have to start as soon as I get home @ 4:00 and the egg finally gets lit and up to temp by 8, but we have a fresh meal every night. What's better, since wifey has usually gorged herself on snacks waiting for dinner to be done and never finishes her meal, I have plenty of leftovers for lunch! :)

    This post was in no way serious. I just like writing silly things from time to time. I am not actually a sasquatch. I do however like beer and fire but have never burned myself or anyone else I am aware of.
  • JerzeeJerzee Posts: 84
    Really, I just use a weed torch. up and running in less than 5 minutes.
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