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My BGE let me down tonight......

Mr BeerMr Beer Posts: 121
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
Was looking forward to cooking up a nice sirloin steak tonight. Not my normal cut of beef but the butcher had them on sale and it looked good. Tried to fire up humpty tonight. [p]Problem #1 - the lower vent was frozen shut. Never had that happen before. Have had the lid freeze shut about 30 times but never the vent. BTW- the lid was not frozen tonight only the vent. Got the vent open and proceded to get ready to start the fire. Raked the old lump so that the holes in the fire grate were clear and added new lump. Cleaned out much of the ash - leaving some since I find the egg cooks better with a little ash on the bottom. Added some fresh lump - nice large pieces. Then placed a piece of fire starter in the middle under a couple of pieces of lump. This led to problem #2.[p]Problem #2 - with the lower vent wide open and the cap completely off of the egg I could not get the temperature above 250 degrees. The lump was burning very bright red but the temperature would not come up. I could almost place my hand onto the red burning lump before it even felt remotely hot. After 60 minutes I gave up. Didn't want to ruin a good piece of steak by cooking it that cold so I just tried to close up the egg. When I went to close it up I found that the lower vent had frozen shut again (while the lump was burning nonetheless).[p]Problem #3 - what to eat for dinner?[p]Mr Beer

Comments

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    Mr Beer,
    My guesses are:[p]Wet lump, clogged ceramic grate, no new lump in firebox.[p]Tim

  • Mr BeerMr Beer Posts: 121
    Tim M,
    The wet lump may be right. The fire box was fairly full from my last cook last week. The egg was closed with the rain cap on.[p]I did add new lump to the fire box - always do.[p]I did rake thru the old limp prior to adding the new lump and made sure that the holes in the grate were clear.[p]Mr Beer

  • MickeyTMickeyT Posts: 607
    Mr Beer,
    This happened to me this past weekend. My conclusion is moist lump....:>( Damp morning but 14" of snow on the ground. Makes for a hard fire start. 7 cubes and some paper to do mine. Fire it hot, you can always close it down.[p]Mick

  • MopMop Posts: 496
    Mr Beer, Last week I could not get my temp up either....
    The cause turned out to be a thin piece of firestarter between the lid and base on the felt gasket.....check all around to make sure it`s clean.....The lid must be sitting flat all the way around![p]If your vents and air holes are open the only thing it could be is bad lump or your thermometer is faulty....Lump I would think!...[p]Mop[p]

  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,283
    Howdy Mr Beer,
    The other folks are probably right about your lump. That has happened to me once before , and it was from moist lump. Sat there for an hour smoking heavily while the lump dried, then WHOOSH, the smoke cleared up and the dome temp soared from 250 to 500 in a couple minutes. [p]just a thought. Sorry about dinner. Hope you had some hamburger helper around.
    NB

    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • Mr BeerMr Beer Posts: 121
    Nature Boy,
    I'll have to go with the wet lump theory. It's strange however. I didn't have any problem getting the fire going and the lump that was burning (which was a sizable amount) was glowing bright red. I generally don't use the thermometer when I cook steaks. I've gotten used to being able to tell when the fire is steak ready. I could put my hand on the cooking grill even though the fire looked like it was red hot - really strange. Maybe I'll let it burn out and start fresh.[p]Thanks y'all[p]Mr Beer

  • ChefRDChefRD Posts: 438
    Mr Beer,
    I'm pretty sure they're right about your lump being damp cause that takes a 'long' time to catch on and fire up like it should. Case in point, my egg sat for ~6 days (one of the longest in its history) and Sunday I was gonna use it. I noticed under the foot of snow that I had left the daisy top on from the last cook and it was set at about 1/2 open. I don't recall ever doing that before, but it was too late to worry.
    The top was frozen, but with brute force I opened it, the slider bottom was frozen and I briefly used my propane torch to thaw it. (careful not to overheat it, as the temp was in the low teens) After stirring the lump with my gloved hand I noticed a lot of damp "mud like" ashes above the fire grate but I kept stirring and then added fresh lump to refill to the top of the rire ring.
    After lighting it took at least a half hour to reach 250* and all the while it was smoking like crazy with what appeared to be an 8 inch bed of hot coals. After close to an hour the temp was at 400* and still pouring out white smoke but I started cooking anyway and the end results were very good.
    Lesson Learned: If you expect precipitation, Always install the rain cap, or be prepared to wait a while for it to get hot, or, remove old lump and start over with fresh since you forgot. :)
    Hope this helps,
    ChefRD.
    p.s. for summer tonite, go back and look, its probably hot now! ;)[p]

  • Mr BeerMr Beer Posts: 121
    ChefRD,
    Didn't make much smoke that I could see. It was dark out but after the first 10 minutes the amount of smoke looked normal. It is quite possible that the lump was wet. We've gotten 19 inches of snow in the past week plus it rained all day Saturday. I did have the rain cap on the egg - which is not normal for me. I usually forget to take miss daisey off unless I cook a steak then I use the rain cap for the dwell time part of the cook. This is the first time that the vent has frozen which makes me believe that water may have gotten into the egg.[p]Thanks all for your input,[p]Mr Beer

  • ChefRDChefRD Posts: 438
    Mr Beer,
    No problem, glad to help, this was also the first time my lower vent has frozen shut, after three mi. winters.
    later,
    ChefRD

  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,283
    Mr Beer,
    The time I described, when it sat at 250 forever, you could see bright red glowing from the bottom vent, yet the lump on top was not hot..as you described....until it caught.[p]I guess you can chalk this up as a first time you haven't even been able to complete a cook! Hope you have plenty of Guinness...or Sierra Nevada or something.[p]Happy Holidays
    nb

    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • Mr Beer,[p]About the vent freezing up....I had that happen to me some time ago. I use a product call "Corrosion Block" on the slider. Also, ashes collect in the slot which can cause a problem. So, keep it clean and put some type of anti-corrosive/anti rust additive in the slot every now and then and you should be good to go. Havn't had a problem since.[p]Cheers...CaptainBBQ
  • Mr Beer,[p]About the vent freezing up....I had that happen to me some time ago. I use a product call "Corrosion Block" on the slider. Also, ashes collect in the slot which can cause a problem. So, keep it clean and put some type of anti-corrosive/anti rust additive in the slot every now and then and you should be good to go. Havn't had a problem since.[p]Cheers...CaptainBBQ
  • Mr Beer, for about eight bucks you can buy a Char Broil 4184835 cylindrical vinyl cover from Home Depot/Base, Sears, etc that fully covers the large unit nicely. However, if your egg is installed in a table it might be difficult. My unit is mounted on a small furniture dolly for moving around the patio, and the elastic opening of the cover just goes over the dolly for a tight weather-proof fit.

  • Mr BeerMr Beer Posts: 121
    George,
    Unfortunately my egg is in a table so the cover you describe won't fit. I have however covered it in the past with one of those blue tarps. Still freezes shut. I have found that it is not the buildup of snow that causes things to freeze but the moisture left in the egg especially on the gaskets that cause it to freeze shut.[p]Thanks for the suggestion,[p]Mr Beer

  • Mr Beer, over time the draft vent on my clay Kamado pot would plug up with grease and become unusable. I then would clean it out with solvent. Eventually the darn thing rusted to the point that it was totally unusable so I just cut the whole thing out and made a plug out of wood. Darn thing works pretty good. Unless the BGE vents are made of stainless steel I suspect you may see a similar evolution. I also have to periodically replace the seal at the lid. Seal becomes saturated with grease and welds shut as the pot cools. I used to use fireplace door sealing rope like you would buy at a hardware store. Eventually found some fire barrier stuff from a nuclear plant near here was selling off that works even better. I just strip it out and replace when the lid starts to stick after use.
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