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Depressed Newbie Egghead

brentseebrentsee Posts: 99
edited April 2012 in EggHead Forum

Had large egg 3 weeks now..  first weekend was a flop, made chicken wings (threw them out.. burnt them), roasted a chicken next day not long enough (finished in oven).  next weekend made ribs - they were awesome, made steak it was awesome.  easter, decided to cook turkey, bought 18 lb bird and this time green egg charcoal.  preheated egg for approx 1 hour, put turkey on and could not get egg above 300 degrees.  it was 28 above farenheight out side with fairly strong wind.  left the lower vent wide open, then 1/2 closed, then 3/4 closed, it would not rise.  after 5-1/2 hours company is getting hungry so we put it in the oven and ruined it... we ordered kfc chicken instead.  what am i doing wrong?  i seem to have no problem keeping the egg at 250 for slow cook but i can't cook at higher temp. 

 

 

Comments

  • ChokeOnSmokeChokeOnSmoke Posts: 1,905
    edited April 2012
    If you can't get temps up, almost always it's clogged holes in the charcoal grate.  Make sure they're not clogged and you'll be able to get it to 1,000 degrees no problem.  Outdoor temperature makes no difference -- I frequently cook when outdoor temperatures are well below zero.

    To avoid burning chicken wings, simply cook them indirect for approx 45-60 minutes at about 375-400.  Perfect every time.

    Get a good instant read thermometer and cook everything (that can be measured with a thermometer) to temp, not time or "how it looks".  You'll instantly become a good cook.
    Packerland, Wisconsin

  • Doc_EggertonDoc_Eggerton Posts: 5,148
    It happens to all of us.  For special cooks I will empty the lump, take care of any clogs and ash, and then reload with sufficient big pieces to ensure air flow.

    XLBGE X 2, LBGE (gave this one to my daughter), MBGE and lots of toys

  • twlangantwlangan Posts: 299
    I just bought a large too. One of the first things I noticed after my first cook yesterday was ash and smaller chunks of charcoal sitting in three of the 5 holes around the fire ring. Cleaned them out and noticed there was a very thin ridge of ceramic around the back sides of the three holes. Took a pair of needle nose pliers (screwdriver would work too) and poked that ridge out. The ridge was preventing ash from falling through the hole. Those holes are critical for air supply to the coals when you are cooking.
  • RBC EggRBC Egg Posts: 1

    Don't get depressed. Once you get the hang of it, you will love it. It makes saturday afternoons the best time of the week.

  • brentseebrentsee Posts: 99
    Thanks everybody, i'm a die hard.. i will keep trying.  RBC you're right it is fun
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,644
    edited April 2012
    Also be sure your vent hole and your firebox hole are aligned. As to the wings, this is a 6 year BGE cook (they only look like they were on for 6 years). Wings also my friend.
    Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • Step off the ledge! You will be fine. One thing I noticed in your post is that you kept closing the vent further because it was cold outside. The egg is all fuel and airflow. The colder it is outside, the MORE your vents will need to be OPEN. i lived in WI for the first 4 years I had my egg and cooked at 0 degrees outside temp all the time. More airflow equals hotter fire no matter what the temp is outside. We need to get you set up with how to build a reliable fire and how to understand the airflow principles that govern the egg. There are a lot of ways to set your fire up and once we get you there, you'll be golden.

    A few questions: 


    1) How much charcoal are you using?
    2) How do you light it and how long do you let it burn before trying to cook?
    3) can you confirm that your airflow is unimpeded by ash, small coals, setup issues?


    Let's start there and we'll find the issues. This is totally fixable and you'll be back on track in no time

    PS- Mickey, those are some dank looking wings, brother 

    :)

    We'll get you fixed up @brentsee- don't sweat it
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • Doc_EggertonDoc_Eggerton Posts: 5,148
    I missed in the first read that this was a Large.  My large has been a lot more trouble for regulating temperature than my XL ever was.  I recently got a Hi-Que grid which has helped a lot.

    XLBGE X 2, LBGE (gave this one to my daughter), MBGE and lots of toys

  • I missed in the first read that this was a Large.  My large has been a lot more trouble for regulating temperature than my XL ever was.  I recently got a Hi-Que grid which has helped a lot.
    My large is money on keeping regulated and it's all stock equip. We'll make it work
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • Let he who has not offered up a burnt scraffice for friends when under pressure cast the first stone!!!

    Mickey, love your wings!

    Rockwall Texas, just east of Dallas where the humidity and heat meet! Life is too short to get caught in the fast lane behind somebody slow!

    XL, LG, Sm, Mini and Weber for drink holder

  • brentseebrentsee Posts: 99

    I put about a 1 foot square cardboard box full of bge charcoal in, left it where it fell, lit with 2 lighter cubes, left the lid open for few minutes then closed lid, lower vent wide open and top off.  after 15 min i put the plate setter in and the top on with the wheel closed and the small vents open (lower vent wide open).  It got to 375 in about 40 min, so i put the turkey on.  temp dropped lots, and within 40 min it got to 300 degrees, it wouldn't go above so i started adjusting the lower.  Then I opened the lid and the fire would get going better so i would close it again and temp would only rise to 300 - 315.  As i'm writing this comment i'm thinking that I should of placed the charcoal better rather than just dumping it in, because the fire was not real even.  This was the first time using bge charcoal - (I couldn't find it here till now) I was using natural hardwood lump from canadian tire.
    The turkey cook just didn't make sense because when i do a slow cook at 250 degrees the lower vent is only open 1/4 inch.

    I don't know for sure maybe the vents were somewhat plugged

     

  • cortguitarmancortguitarman Posts: 2,061
    If you left the top vent on without adjusting it, that could be your problem. If you want to raise those temps higher, you have to open the top vent too, or take it off depending on what you want to get your temps up to. When I got my egg, I thought I had to use the DFMT at all times. I learned from this forum that this is not the case. With high temp cooks, like pizza, you can leave the top off. When grilling at 450-500, I usually have the top on with the small vents open and the entire top half way open. This draws more air through the egg allowing you to get those high temps.

    Think of it this way, bottom vent = course adjustment. Top vent = fine/minute adjustment.

    Temp control is frustrating at first, but when you get the hang of it, you'll wonder why you had so much trouble with it. I've had my egg for 3 months and I'm just now really understanding the fine temp adjustments.
    Mark Annville, PA
  • Doc_EggertonDoc_Eggerton Posts: 5,148

    Let he who has not offered up a burnt scraffice for friends when under pressure cast the first stone!!!

    Mickey, love your wings!

    My sin is usually underdone.

    XLBGE X 2, LBGE (gave this one to my daughter), MBGE and lots of toys

  • Doc_EggertonDoc_Eggerton Posts: 5,148
    You also have to understand that there is a time-cost to getting ready to cook.  I leave the dome up until a good glowing beach head is established, then close the dome and have to bottom wide open.  I leave the daisy wheel off until I hit around 400 degrees.  You have to watch it if you are doing that because the lump does a critical mass thing, you're crawling up toward 400 slowly, you glance away and then you wonder why the temp dropped to 100 before you realize it has gone full circle and you're over 1000!  At a relatively medium heat you will have flames coming out the chimney. Once you get to the target, or higher temp you can start controlling but you are not ready to cook.  You need to get the dome warmed up and the lump active that it will re-heat quickly to your target once you put the food in.  I call this heat soaking.  You have plenty of cook time, so don't worry about burning up the lump.  The Egg does not work like you old metal grill and briquettes.   It appears to be a common newbie error to rush to the cook.  Also, understand that ash, plugged air holes, and the density of the lump affect air flow, and burning.  Densely packed, small pieces of lump will restrict air flow.

    XLBGE X 2, LBGE (gave this one to my daughter), MBGE and lots of toys

  • BrownieBrownie Posts: 1,023
    The one thing that sold me on the price of the egg was the ability to be able to smoke foods year round. I live in PA where the weather can be exactly the way you describe. Our town is in a valley that is filled with fields, (not much trees) where it is almost always breezy if not straight out windy. In my experiences cold alone is no problem, you will burn more charcoal. Wind can be a problem causing your temp to fluctuate as it will not only force more air through your egg, but also rob it of heat. I like to use my gas grill to block wind. With those two things to consider, it does make your cook require extra baby sitting and more fuel. Assuming your fire box was cleaned, did you have enough charcoal in the fire box. A wonderful thing about the egg is you control the heat so fill that box when its cold or windy. If you don't have one I recommend purchasing a digital thermometer like a Maverick ET-732. It will tell you what your egg is doing, grate temp, and tell you what you meat temp is.
    Hang in there.! This forum has been a wonderful place of knowledge for me!
    Good luck.
  • mikey5874mikey5874 Posts: 86
    Almost same problem here starting out, I clean (shop vac) mine up about every three cooks now and no problems, when those air holes get clogged you will not get to temp. BGE is a great cooking tool, but needs to be cleaned like any other grill. (one reason I clean mine with shop vac is to get between the fire box and shell on the the bottom, a lot of ash collects there and restricts the air holes. I sure can feel your depression after spending so much money and have problems like this, but about everyone has run into these kinds of problems. Good luck in the future, cause you will get past some of these bumps and have some wonderful meals....like meatloaf??? Awe Man.......
     
  • brentseebrentsee Posts: 99

    wow you guys are a lot of help..  Thanks, i'm realizing alot of things i did wrong

    I'm going to try chicken today

     


  • I put about a 1 foot square cardboard box full of bge charcoal in, left it where it fell, lit with 2 lighter cubes, left the lid open for few minutes then closed lid, lower vent wide open and top off.  after 15 min i put the plate setter in and the top on with the wheel closed and the small vents open (lower vent wide open).  It got to 375 in about 40 min, so i put the turkey on.  temp dropped lots, and within 40 min it got to 300 degrees, it wouldn't go above so i started adjusting the lower.  Then I opened the lid and the fire would get going better so i would close it again and temp would only rise to 300 - 315.  As i'm writing this comment i'm thinking that I should of placed the charcoal better rather than just dumping it in, because the fire was not real even.  This was the first time using bge charcoal - (I couldn't find it here till now) I was using natural hardwood lump from canadian tire.
    The turkey cook just didn't make sense because when i do a slow cook at 250 degrees the lower vent is only open 1/4 inch.

    I don't know for sure maybe the vents were somewhat plugged

     

    If you are going to dump the lump, make sure you aren't close to the bottom of the bag where all the shake and small pieces are. Plenty of guys dump and light with no issues but as a newbie, try finding some larger pieces of lump to anchor your fire. Place them in by hand and make sure they have plenty of airspace around them. avoid anything smaller than a deck of cards for your next few cooks and see if that helps. make sure your firebox intake is lined up with your lower vent and give it a good clean out before your next cook. I like to get my fire going strong and then choke down for low and slow cooks. I find this helps it burn much more even and on long cooks, it keeps the fire lit (for me- lots of ways to do this so find one that you like and stick with it). You are going to nail that chicken cook today and all will be well!
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • twlangantwlangan Posts: 299
    As an Egg noob, I have found this thread very informative. I did my 2nd cook yesterday and posted about a quandary I had with my thermometer:


    After reading this, I am now wondering if my needle made a full circle and went up to 200F on the second trip up without my realizing it. I thought I was keeping a pretty close eye on it, but I suppose it is possible it did this without my noticing it. Either way, I am going to pull the thermometer and calibrate it again just to ensure it is still working correctly.

    One other thing I found yesterday - I was aiming for a 250F dome temp and seemed to have trouble at first keeping the temp down. At first, I had the daisy wheel thing on, but the cap slid all the way open and was trying to control the temp with the bottom vent. It was rather breezy. I had the bottom vent almost entirely closed (only open about 1/16") until I started to think about my extensive experience burning wood in an indoor boiler using natural draft. I would control the fire using the bottom ash door which made the boiler work pretty much just like the Egg. I remembered that I could really get a roaring fire going on windy days when the chimney was creating a strong draft. I then closed the cap and cracked the daisy wheel about 25% to cut down the draft - and then was able to open the bottom vent a bit more. Even then, I wondered if I would have been able to keep it down to 200F if I had been trying to do a low and slow smoke. I had a cheap electric smoker that I had to keep all breeze/wind off of to maintain temp and was looking forward to using the Egg since it is so well insulated. Now I am starting to wonder if I need to keep the wind away from the Egg while smoking to keep the draft down. I think some windy day, I will light it and experiment with keeping a low temp to verify whether I can control it without having to set up an elaborate cardboard windbreak. Prior to this, I assumed the daisy wheel thing was more for smoking and keeping smoke in the Egg longer - now I am seeing it can be vital to controlling draft/temp too. There is definitely an art to learn to controlling these things.
  • As an Egg noob, I have found this thread very informative. I did my 2nd cook yesterday and posted about a quandary I had with my thermometer:


    After reading this, I am now wondering if my needle made a full circle and went up to 200F on the second trip up without my realizing it. I thought I was keeping a pretty close eye on it, but I suppose it is possible it did this without my noticing it. Either way, I am going to pull the thermometer and calibrate it again just to ensure it is still working correctly.

    One other thing I found yesterday - I was aiming for a 250F dome temp and seemed to have trouble at first keeping the temp down. At first, I had the daisy wheel thing on, but the cap slid all the way open and was trying to control the temp with the bottom vent. It was rather breezy. I had the bottom vent almost entirely closed (only open about 1/16") until I started to think about my extensive experience burning wood in an indoor boiler using natural draft. I would control the fire using the bottom ash door which made the boiler work pretty much just like the Egg. I remembered that I could really get a roaring fire going on windy days when the chimney was creating a strong draft. I then closed the cap and cracked the daisy wheel about 25% to cut down the draft - and then was able to open the bottom vent a bit more. Even then, I wondered if I would have been able to keep it down to 200F if I had been trying to do a low and slow smoke. I had a cheap electric smoker that I had to keep all breeze/wind off of to maintain temp and was looking forward to using the Egg since it is so well insulated. Now I am starting to wonder if I need to keep the wind away from the Egg while smoking to keep the draft down. I think some windy day, I will light it and experiment with keeping a low temp to verify whether I can control it without having to set up an elaborate cardboard windbreak. Prior to this, I assumed the daisy wheel thing was more for smoking and keeping smoke in the Egg longer - now I am seeing it can be vital to controlling draft/temp too. There is definitely an art to learn to controlling these things.
    You can control them in the wind. it's harder if the wind is blowing right in your vent, but even then you can adjust for it. Every cook is different (outside temp, wind, rain etc) but generally, once you lock it in under whatever conditions you are cooking under, it will stabilize at any temp. just takes a little practice and some burnt meat to get it down. 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • brentseebrentsee Posts: 99

    Wow you guys - alot of strong info here, very helpful.  I followed all these suggestions, lit the egg an hour ago approx and it's purring like a kitten.  I had it to 800 in no time and toned it down to 300 and it's holding steady. Would like it a little lower as want to slow cook the chicken today so i choked it off a bit more and went to the garage to pour a drink. 

    Thanks a whole bunch!!

    Cheers

     

  • Wow you guys - alot of strong info here, very helpful.  I followed all these suggestions, lit the egg an hour ago approx and it's purring like a kitten.  I had it to 800 in no time and toned it down to 300 and it's holding steady. Would like it a little lower as want to slow cook the chicken today so i choked it off a bit more and went to the garage to pour a drink. 

    Thanks a whole bunch!!

    Cheers

     

    I've found that drinking always helps the cook run smoother :)

    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • cortguitarmancortguitarman Posts: 2,061
    +1 on cen tex's comment.
    Mark Annville, PA
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