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adding fresh coal over used coal . . best practice?

NDGNDG Posts: 872
edited April 2012 in EggHead Forum
I had a pizza night gone bad as I could not get the temp over 400 with a FULL egg of charcoal. I believe i found the root cause . . . putting new charcoal (wicked good) over used charcoal (r.o. steakhouse) and consequently, clogged my air holes with old ash so, less oxy = low temp. I dont believe the brand of charcoal is a big factor, but I am sure some of the experts here want detail.  I feel as thought I am doing something wrong, SO my question is:
  • What are best practices to add fresh coals to used coals (burned and grey) ???? 
Typically, I will take my ash tool and stir around the used coal, then pour new coal on top, then clean ash from bottom vent and ignite my hybrid mixture. I did the same thing for my pizza and my result was a 2 hour struggle to get over 400 . .  failure. I even took off the hot stone and hot platewarmer to "stir" the active coals, but still did not work. The next day I found that 3 of my air vent holes were clogged with ash so I assume I am doing something wrong.

Columbus, Ohio

Comments

  • This is airflow. Any time you are doing a long cook or need super high temps, clean out your egg. Take everything out and clean behind the box and make sure the air holes are clear. I  don't use used lump on these cooks either (you can but it's so cheap and I'm a fire freak). When I built a fire with all fresh lump and clean it out, I can get to 1000+ within 20 minutes of lighting. i  will use old lump on regular grill/quick smokes but not on anything blast furnace hot or long and slow.



  • NDGNDG Posts: 872

    Ok, guess I am not a "fire freak" but instead a "frugal S.O.B".  For discussion purpose, lets say you have a good amount of used coal in your egg from an old cook, and your setting up a new cook for a few burgers.  Do you ever add new fresh charcoal to the used charcoal already in the egg, mix and light?  If so . . . what are the best practices to do so?

    Columbus, Ohio
  • ChubbsChubbs Posts: 3,595
    edited April 2012
    I always stir the old charcoal thoroughly to get the ash off. Then top with the new. Before I light, I check the vent holes through the bottom vent to see if clogged with ash. If so, I poke the holes with a hanger to knock the ash through. Then, I light. For lighting, I make sure I have a few pieces of larger lump around the top. I drizzle olive oil on 1 paper towel, roll it up (it should not be dripping with oil), then twist it. Light the ends and carefully place some larger pieces of lump over the flames like building a campfire. Wait a few minutes for it to ignite then close the dome and set my vents. Works for me.
    Columbia, SC --- LBGE 2011 -- MINI BGE 2013
  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 781
    I have had it that it would not rise to the target temp all I did was give the coal a good stir and all of a sudden the temperature rise quickly, I also go topless when I do high temp cooks (leave the daisy wheel vent on the shelf)

    Gerhard
  • Hillbilly-HightechHillbilly-Hightech Posts: 966
    edited April 2012
    I do pretty much the same exact thing as Chubbs, except I light my lump using a torch. 

    But aside from that, same thing:
    1. Stir old lump to allow ash to fall through
    2. ensure holes and bottom vent are unobstructed, suck up ash w/ shop-vac if necessary
    3. add new lump
    4. stir again
    5. check holes & bottom vent once more
    6. grab torch, and light in 3 places, walk away for a few minutes (ie, to prep food & grab beer)
    7. come back, stir lump to distribute burning coals, while drinking beer
    8. add in necessary accessories - ie, cooking grid, platesetter, etc.
    9. close dome & start adjusting vents for appropriate temp
    10. when dome temp = cooking temp and when smoke = good smoke, add food
    11. drink beer
    12. enjoy!! 
    :D
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • Ok, guess I am not a "fire freak" but instead a "frugal S.O.B".  For discussion purpose, lets say you have a good amount of used coal in your egg from an old cook, and your setting up a new cook for a few burgers.  Do you ever add new fresh charcoal to the used charcoal already in the egg, mix and light?  If so . . . what are the best practices to do so?


    I use it for stuff like that ll the time. You can just add new lump over the old. I am just a freak about low and slow and long cooks like pizza where I need it blast furnace hot for a long period of time. Best practice = dump and light for stuff like that.

     


  • I have had it that it would not rise to the target temp all I did was give the coal a good stir and all of a sudden the temperature rise quickly, I also go topless when I do high temp cooks (leave the daisy wheel vent on the shelf)


    Gerhard


    Yep- all good. I stir when I have old lump and it does not get up to temp the way I like. Works fine.

     


  • BrownieBrownie Posts: 1,022
    I like to knock the ash loose. Remove the used coals. Brush collected ash in firebox through grate. Clean out my air holes. Remove ash from bottom if needed. Add new larger lump at bottom before returning the previously used coals. This has been working great for me, it's a bit time consuming but I take pride in Egg time and have not had temp control issues since I began this routine.
  • BotchBotch Posts: 2,586
    Hmm, I guess I do one thing different from most others; I stir the old lump, light it only, and once its glowing dump new lump on top of it.
    My logic (?) is that I want to drive the volatiles off the new lump (the "bad smoke") as soon as possible, and figure having the hot coals beneath the new stuff will do it quickest.  I've not done timed experiments trying both ways, may be a future project.
    I did have occasional problems getting my temps up high, but getting a High-Que grate eliminated that problem.  My eyesight sucks anymore, and I could not see if the vent holes were clogged until the coals were glowing, but with the High-Ques I don't have to worry about it anymore.  
    _____________________________________________
     
    I Know Why The Egged Bird Sings.
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • NDGNDG Posts: 872
    Good stuff, I am away from my egg but CHUBS, your telling me you can see the air holes by looking up the bottom vent even when coal is loaded? The old upkirt move works? and do you use the hanger to poke air holes from the bottom or the top vent?
    Columbus, Ohio
  • tgklemantgkleman Posts: 194
    I will typically pull out the old lump, clean out the egg, and then take large new pieces on the bottom, and intermix with the used lump.  the small pieces go on the sides, with care taken not to block air holes.  The really small pieces of used lump go into the trash.

    I used to just pour new lump on top of old, but that stopped when I was required to fire up my leaf blower to get the egg to temperature for a pizza cook.  Pretty embarrassing...
  • NDGNDG Posts: 872
    Tgkleman, your pizza failure (due to poor coal setup) sounds very similar to mine, and is why I started this post! I did not think of a leaf blower but instead brought my preheated stone down to the oven at 500 - FAIL !
    Columbus, Ohio
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,257
    I have 2 big foil turkey roasters. I put used lump in those. When I want a fire that is not too hot, and doesn't need quite as long to burn clean, like for weekday evenings for burgers, brats, etc, out come the used lump.

    I do stir, clean, and dump more in pretty often, but never for long burns (over 4 hours) or high heat.
  • DOCEDDOCED Posts: 69
    Early on I switched out the stock grate with the HiQue grate and have never looked back.OK for lo and slow too.
  • xraypat23xraypat23 Posts: 421
    I clean my egg almost after every use, i'm a little neurotic. But here's how my process goes.

    Open egg
    Stir old coals till theres no ash or little pieces
    Glove up and put old coals in paper grocery bag
    Remove coal grate and break out the shop van, thoroughly clean out the bottom and vac out the air holes
    reinstall grate
    Fill with new coal, i like to hand place a couple really large pieces in the bottom(I'm not a lump sorter, but I do put aside the giant chunks)
    Then dump new coal almost to the top of fire ring
    Add in the old coals on top
    Light with weed burner for a 300+ degree fire, light with BGE electric for a low temp cook
    Let the coals burn for a few minutes bottom draft door open and top open
    Install whatever eggsessories I'm using for that cook
    close the lid, let it ride for a couple more minutes wide open than choke down the top and bottom

    I enjoy my bbq time, even if it's just for a little while. If I do a high heat cook, i.e. steaks or a spatchcocked chicken, I'll just snuff the fire, stir those coals and relight. I probably get 4-6 short cooks, or 1 long and 1 short cook out of a load of coal in my large.
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 14,443

    Ok, guess I am not a "fire freak" but instead a "frugal S.O.B".  For discussion purpose, lets say you have a good amount of used coal in your egg from an old cook, and your setting up a new cook for a few burgers.  Do you ever add new fresh charcoal to the used charcoal already in the egg, mix and light?  If so . . . what are the best practices to do so?

    That is why I have turbo grates on all eggs. I just dump on top of old and blast with starter. Oh, I will use ash tool to pull out ash under the turbo grate. Not into work.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini.... 5th Salado EggFest is March 14, 2015

  • NDGNDG Posts: 872
    Can you post more info or a link to learn more about this turbo grate? Thanks.
    Columbus, Ohio
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 14,443
    edited April 2012
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini.... 5th Salado EggFest is March 14, 2015

  • MO_EgginMO_Eggin Posts: 122
    I stir the old lump, then using the ash tool try to push that off to one side, dump new lump over the whole firebox and fire it up.
    LBGE, St. Louis, MO
  • eggoeggo Posts: 408
    @Mickey  -  Do you find more ash using the turbo grate? Looks like there would be more ash fall through with the larger opening. Not that it would be a bad thing, not blocking the air flow. Just asking.
    Eggo in N. MS
  • I have the "turbo" grate as well (it's also known as the "High-Que" Grate, as that is the company that makes/sells them). 

    I believe there is more ash, and yes, the smaller pieces of lump will fall through that didn't fall through the OEM grate.  But for me, that's more than an adequate trade-off, as the increased amount of airflow is more than worth it. 
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • eggoeggo Posts: 408
    The little buggers aren't cheap but I'm about ready to order one.
    Eggo in N. MS
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 14,443
    @Mickey  -  Do you find more ash using the turbo grate? Looks like there would be more ash fall through with the larger opening. Not that it would be a bad thing, not blocking the air flow. Just asking.
    Yes on ash, but  no big deal. Just use the ash tool.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini.... 5th Salado EggFest is March 14, 2015

  • tazcrashtazcrash Posts: 1,768
    edited April 2012
    The little buggers aren't cheap but I'm about ready to order one.
    If you want a quick, cheap, semi-disposable solution:
    The charcoal grate from a weber smokey joe (the small portable one), can be used if you have a local weber dealer, BUT......
    IT WILL WARP! I've used mine for about a dozen cook, and need to flip it before this weekends eggings.  
    Still assembling my amazon list.
    Bx - > NJ ->TX!!! 
    All to get cheaper brisket! 
  • gtk10583gtk10583 Posts: 77
    I like to knock the ash loose. Remove the used coals. Brush collected ash in firebox through grate. Clean out my air holes. Remove ash from bottom if needed. Add new larger lump at bottom before returning the previously used coals. This has been working great for me, it's a bit time consuming but I take pride in Egg time and have not had temp control issues since I began this routine.
    This is exactly what I do if I need high temps for pizza.  Otherwise, for a medium temp cook (e.g. 350-400F) I just stir lose ash and add fresh lump on top.
  • Get the HighQue grate! Works great.
    2 Large Eggs and no chickens. How's that work? :)
  • BotchBotch Posts: 2,586
    @Mickey  -  Do you find more ash using the turbo grate? Looks like there would be more ash fall through with the larger opening. Not that it would be a bad thing, not blocking the air flow. Just asking.
    There really shouldn't be any more ash with or without a High-Que, burned lump is burned lump.  The ash may fall through quicker, but that means less ash above the grate.  
    I worried a bit about unburned lump falling through and onto the bottom of the Egg, but it burns there too and the heat goes up regardless.  I do keep an eye on the vent screen, don't know if that'd burn through if a large piece of lump bounced over against it and burned there...
    _____________________________________________
     
    I Know Why The Egged Bird Sings.
     
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • gte1gte1 Posts: 375
    I like to knock the ash loose. Remove the used coals. Brush collected ash in firebox through grate. Clean out my air holes. Remove ash from bottom if needed. Add new larger lump at bottom before returning the previously used coals. This has been working great for me, it's a bit time consuming but I take pride in Egg time and have not had temp control issues since I began this routine.



    Do exactly the same. Place old lump in chimney, clean all air holes remove ash if necessary, place new lump then old lump. Light 'er up. No problem ever with reaching any temp.

    George
    George
  • tazcrashtazcrash Posts: 1,768
    FWIW this is what the Weber grate looks like after a while.
    Sorry for the not great.pics, but u get the idea. I flipped it tonight with a firebox clean.
    2012-04-20_22-28-46_41.jpg
    3264 x 1840 - 840K
    2012-04-20_22-29-03_110.jpg
    3264 x 1840 - 813K
    Bx - > NJ ->TX!!! 
    All to get cheaper brisket! 
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