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I stir every time before adding new lump. just to get the ash and small pieces through the grate. Haven't noticed the pieces falling apart. Using Wicked Good.
I just use my BGE long grill cleaner and stur up the old lump until I can see the fire grate.
Then I pour the fresh lump on top of the hichory chunks I've placed on the old lump, and light'er up.
after stirring the used lump, what do you all use to clear the dust from your nostrils?