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Complete gut and clean?

I've had my XL since September of last year.  It's been almost a year, and all the cleaning I've done is to clean the grid with a wire brush and scrape the plate setter to get rid of some drippings.

I know that there are differences of opinion about doing cleaning burns to incinerate any drippings and/or other leftovers on the ceramics, and I think I come down on the side of preferring not to clean burn in favor of defining what's in there as "seasoning" unless it's globs, which of course are removed.

My question is regarding a cleaning involving removing the fire ring and getting built up ash removed from the outside ring where I can't remove it with the ash tool.  When I clean the ash from the bottom of the EGG through the bottom vent, I can always grab about an inch and a half of ash from between the fire ring and the outside shell of the EGG.  That makes me wonder how much more is in that area that I can't get with the ash tool?  How often should I be taking my EGG apart and cleaning all the ash out completely?  Is it worth the danger of breaking the fire ring?  I see so many posts on here regarding broken fire rings, that I'm scared to remove the damned thing just to do routine cleaning if it's not necessary.

My EGG still cooks great.  I'm not having any issues with airflow, and I can easily maintain a constant temp thanks to my CyberQ.  Do I need to rip this thing apart and clean out excess ash outside the fire ring if things are going fine?  Should I stick by the old adage that I shouldn't fix what's not broke?



  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,920
    If it's cooking good... Why change?
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,501
    Sure would rethink the wire brush thing. Tinfoil works just fine and will not poke a hole in your guts.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • RRPRRP Posts: 21,297
    edited August 2013

    imageSuit yourself but I gut clean my eggs at least once a year. Granted you can get much of the ash out through the vent, but you will be surprised at the build up behind those holes in the fire box. Eventually they will clog so only the air coming in the front will be feeding the flames. Notice the build up of ash when I removed my firebox. 

    L, M, S, Mini
    Dunlap, IL
    Re-gasketing AMERICA one yard at a time...

  • BayaradBayarad Posts: 308
    I never liked the ash tool for removal just use it to stir the old lump and get the ash to drop. Bought and dedicated a small ShopVac just pull the guts out and vacuum away all the ash! Easy Peasy!
  • rsmith193rsmith193 Posts: 219
    I pull everything o ut and clean about once a month when I go to comps. Helps keep from breaking while traveling.
  • minniemohminniemoh Posts: 2,072
    My father-in-law uses a small shop vac so he doesn't have to take his apart. He just uses a small hose in through the lower vent. Seems to work pretty well for him. I usually just take mine apart every 3-4 months.
    L x2, M, S, Mini and a Blackstone 36. She says I have enough now....
    eggAddict from MN!
  • With Mickey using foil to clean grate. Usually do a mini clean burn after we do pizzas. Temp is already high ...just leave bottom vent opened and top off an let it rip.
    Large, small and mini SW Austin
  • CharlesmaneriCharlesmaneri Posts: 1,295
    I usually take my Large apart after every 4th or 5th cook and clean it out with a shop vacI found that if I don't the holes in the firebox get clogged and then I have trouble getting temp 
    2 Large Eggs and a Mini 2 Pit Bulls and a Pork shoulder or butt nearby and 100% SICILIAN
    Long Island N.Y.
  • yzziyzzi Posts: 1,793
    I only tear down if I'm doing a slow and slow and I haven't done it for a while. A couple times a year will probably keep most ash at bay. Haven't tried the shop vac yet, but I imagine if I snaked a hose a third of the way along each side that I'd never do a tear down again.
    Dunedin, FL
  • AcnAcn Posts: 2,234
    I think a lot depends on what kind of grate you've got. When I had the factory grate even stirring with the ash tool would leave me with blocked holes and ash buildup on it. Since I've upgraded I haven't had nearly the same problem, so like yzzi I really only do it before a low and slow, when I like to start with an empty firebox so I can layer my lump a bit more and spread smoke wood throughout.


    Pikesville, MD

  • AcnAcn Posts: 2,234
    edited August 2013
    Edit: double post, deleted.


    Pikesville, MD

  • Well, September marks my true 1 year anniversary with the EGG, so I decided to give this a try.  I was surprised at how little ash really had accumulated between the shell and the fire pit, but the holes definitely had some substantial clogging.  There was also some buildup of drippings on the walls of the fire ring, also. 

    After removing the fire rings from the EGG, I vacuumed the shell.  There's a good coating of smoke on the wall of the shell that I left as seasoning.  As for the fire rings, I very carefully cleaned them in the yard with a wire brush to get rid of the stray drippings and hardened ash.

    In the end, this wasn't as big of a project as I had been thinking, but you do need to be careful of the rings.  I'd forgotten how fragile those things feel. 

  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,920
    How many times a week do you cook?
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • RRP said:

    imageSuit yourself but I gut clean my eggs at least once a year. Granted you can get much of the ash out through the vent, but you will be surprised at the build up behind those holes in the fire box. Eventually they will clog so only the air coming in the front will be feeding the flames. Notice the build up of ash when I removed my firebox. 

    Exactly what I do; once per year or so I remove the internals and clean remove the ash.  The ceramics are more robust than you might imagine.  Just be gentle!! 

  • I take my large apart all the way probably every 5th cook or so.  It takes no more than 5 minutes with a small shop vac and i like it clean. 
    "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are."
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 7,608
    I usually take mine apart and clean it right before multiple pizza cooks or overnighters. No real reason, just what I like to do. While doing that and everything is out, I usually take one of my gloves and just run my hand around the inner shell of the egg and knock off any loose accumulation.

    Rowlett, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings


  • dlk7dlk7 Posts: 1,049

    I took the guts out of my XL after the first month - hardly any ash and I always push anything caught in the side holes through after each cook.  I waited 3 months before I removed the guts again and still hardly anything to clean out.  Now I take out the guts once a year and still have no airflow issues.  My buddy's large needs cleaned out every month.  I think the XL's very large fire grate area design keeps a lot of ash from getting through the side holes.

    Two XL BGEs - So Happy!!!!

    Waunakee, WI

  • I clean my egg after every bag of charcoal.  I simply remove the fire ring and fire box and sweep it with a hand broom. Any globs of spooge I simply scrape off.  To remove the fire ring, I push it all the way to one side so I can get my fingers under the opposite edge.   I lift the one side while working my fingers in the crack to the other side until I can lift it out safely.  I then work my middle fingers into opposite vent holes of the fire box and carefully lift it out. I install it the same way. Be sure to have a soft place to set the fragile components like on the grass or old towel or piece of cardboard.   They may leave a soot/grease stain if you set on your deck.  It takes about 10 minutes at the most and I am guaranteed maximum performance through my next bag of charcoal.   <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

  • FearlessTheEggNoobFearlessTheEggNoob Posts: 675
    edited September 2013
    I went cheapskate. I use a two foot piece of #3 rebar that I had laying around as a lump stirrer.

    After a few cooks I don some gloves and take the guts out and use an old 1gal Arizona Ice Tea jug that I cut the bottom off as a scoop. Dump the ashes around the hedges. I read somewhere that ash makes decent fertilizer. It all works just fine on my large so I decided against a BGE Ash Tool, BGE Ash Pan, and a Dust Buster vac.
    one who's bite is better than his bark
  • Judy MayberryJudy Mayberry Posts: 1,959
    edited September 2013
    Nobody's mentioned how to handle cracked fireboxes. I've had a cracked firebox for 8 or 9 years. I ordered a new one under warranty when it first happened and the unopened box is still in the garage.

    The Large firebox is in about 3 or 4 pieces. After a while the grease and soot bonded the pieces together! Once or twice a year I VERY delicately lift out the whole thing, fingers in the vent opening with one hand, from the inside, and I don't remember where the other hand goes. Even if it came apart, the pieces go together like a puzzle and fit nice and tight.

    The very same thing applies to my Small Egg. Been cracked forever, a spare in an unopened box in the garage, and no trouble at all. I've never done a hi-temp clean-out, either. The Egg doesn't care.
    Judy in San Diego
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