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Help!

edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
This may be kinda long.[p]When I first started posting on this board, my nickname was "BGE Rookie", because I knew nothing. Well, 6 months later, I think I know a few things, I'm no Tim M, Nature Boy, Elder Ward, JJ, Char-Woody,Cat, etc (I know I left some out) but I thought I knew a little. However the events of the last few weeks have me scratching my head.[p]It started when I had a fire go out Christmas Eve while I was doing pulled pork. I blamed that one on possibly closing the bottom vent a little too much when I went to bed. When I inspected the lump, the fire had burned only on one side. This was using the Elder Ward lump building method I have used 5-6 times with previous uninterrupted success.[p]Next comes ribs using JJ's method. It took forever for the fire to build. It wasn't even cold that day, but the EGG was staying at 180 or so for 30-45 minutes. Once again the lump burned unevenly.[p]Today, I put on 2 8 lb Butts for my Big Tennessee Titans party. (I realize they are probably playing for the right to lose to St. Louis in the Super Bowl)
The game is at 11:30 CST on Sunday, I started the fire at 9:10 this morning, it once again took forever to build heat. After 45 minutes the dome temp was barely 150. This time at least it is cold outside. Anyway, I now have the bottom vent open 2". Temp is barely 200. I normally have to fight having the temp rise when the bottom vent is barely 1/8" open. I'm certain that the lump is not burning well or even. I can't go to bed tonight with confidence that the fire won't go out. I am planning on adding lump this evening to prevent a disaster and wil also be checking the temp periodically all night. [p]Any ideas on what is causing this? Here is some more info that may provide a clue:[p]I'm not using BGE lump, but it does come from Royal Oak who makes the Lump for BGE at the same facility. It appears to be the same stuff.[p]My firebox has a couple of cracks in it, but I doubt this is the cause.[p]Any advice on what to do today and tonight and for the future will be greatly appreciated. And one more thing:[p]GO TITANS!!

Comments

  • GfwGfw Posts: 1,598
    Irish Smoker, I had a similiar problem a month or so ago - since then I make sure that big pieces of lump are over the little holes of the fire grate and no more problems - even if I have leftover coal - I try to start with fresh large pieces over the grate and then throw the rest on top - good luck![p]
  • Irish Smoker, was your bag of lumps in Misquite in a woven polyvinyl bag? Guru and I had some problems with that brand (it's Royal Oak too) during Christmas. It smells good but it dosn't seem to support combustion as evenly as other coals..
  • CatCat Posts: 556
    Irish Smoker,[p]
    You didn't mention how you have the exhaust vent covered. If you haven't, try starting the fire with no cap on at all. You need the draw it provides to get enough airflow.[p]That's good lump, so you have no problem there. It doesn't sound like you have ash or small pieces of charcoal clogging the grate.[p]The only other thing I can think of: if you started a fire using Elder's method, you probably pulled out the firebox. When you replaced it, did you make sure the hole in the firebox is aligned with the BGE's lower vent? This makes an enormous difference in airflow. [p]Hope this helps -[p]Cathy

  • GfwGfw Posts: 1,598
    Cat, great point about the firebox - I never move my fire box so I wouldn't have thought of that one.

  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,298
    Irish Smoker,
    I have not read the other reponses to your post yet, but if you have checked for clogs, and everything is clean and flowing, perhaps you have some bad lump. Either moist, or just bad.[p]Just a guess.
    Good Luck.[p]

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  • CatCat Posts: 556
    Gfw,[p]I found out the hard way. I'd cleaned out the Egg in preparation for a pork butt. Lit the Egg at 4 am, went upstairs to get the butt, Polder, etc., and when I got back to the Egg 15 minutes later the dome temp was at 300![p]Now I hang around until the temp climbs to 150, and start closing down the vents. [p]This is how we learn...[p]Cathy
  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    grate1.jpg
    <p />Irish Smoker,
    I think Cat has nailed the problem or at least I agree with her. Sounds like a clogged hole or two in the grate. Many of us have switched to a metal grate because it has many more holes than the ceramic grate. That said, you have only two options when the fire is problematic getting up to temp. Other than rebuilding the whole darn thing over you can only open Humptey up and try to get the temp up. This will require the bottom vent wide open and daisy top open or off if its really a tough one to get up to temp. Eventually the pieces in the grate will burn and drop away allowing air to flow. Watch for high temps if that happens. You other option is to place a fire cube under the grate. This has saved me twice - I removed the meat while the cube was burning. It burnt the pieces clogging the grate I guess because I got A nice fire each time.[p]Tim


  • Thanks for the suggestions. It's definitely not the firebox hole, as I always check for that, the lump shouldn't be moist, but that's possible. I leave the cap off until I'm ready to regulate. I think the small pieces of lump could be clogging some holes in the grate, It was clean as a whistle when I started, but could be getting clogged. [p]Any other ideas to salvage this effort, other than just addding a bunch of lump this evening?

  • GfwGfw Posts: 1,598
    Irish Smoker, I actually leave my bag of charcoal out on my deck before I put it in the BGE and have not experienced any problems. If the coal is in the grill, it will lose moisture real fast, even at low temps.[p]Why not take it appart - at least down to the fire box (remove the grid) - use the ash tool to make sure that the holes in the fire grate aren't blocked, add a little lump if you need it and keep going as planned. [p]If you start getting close to eating time and the internal temp is still low then start bringing the temp up.[p]Gfw

  • Tim M,
    I have seen and read about several of you using the cast iron or steele grate. I asked the old egg store here in atlanta and they did not recommend. Concern was the expansion differences between the iron and the ceramics and the possible effects to the egg.[p]What experiences or effects has you had and how long have you used it?

  • MarkMark Posts: 295
    Guru of Grease,
    I used a homemade grate similar to the one in the picture,when it was made consideration was taken to let the expantion happen above the hole, not in the hole, so not to put presure on the ceramic.
    The one in the picture look's to be about perfect, where do get them.
    Mark

  • Mark, you can find the cast iron trivet (grate) at www.grayandholt.com/newlodge.htm. About 8 bucks, a great price for much improved performance. There were several threads on this issue in the later 1999 archives. Some good info there. Hoping to help.[p]RJH

  • JimWJimW Posts: 450
    Irish Smoker,
    A couple of months ago I had some problems with the EGG getting up to temp. I think I accidentally on purpose put in too much of the very small lump stuff that you get near the bottom of the bag. If your EGG is clean and the vents are not clogged in any way, it's probably an airflow problem.

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