Big Green Egg - EGGhead Forum - The Ultimate Cooking Experience...
Welcome to the EGGhead Forum - a great place to visit and packed with tips and EGGspert advice! You can also join the conversation and get more information and amazing kamado recipes by following Big Green Egg at:

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Youtube  |  Vimeo
Share your photos by tagging us and using the hashtag #EGGhead4Life.


In Atlanta? Come visit Big Green Egg headquarters, including our retail showroom, the History of the EGG Museum and Culinary Center!  3786 DeKalb Technology Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30340.

Small Problems

nikkignikkig Posts: 514
edited 4:55AM in EggHead Forum
We have had our small now for a couple of months. We can not get the temp up past 400 degres. I have checked the thermometer, it is accurate. The firebox is aligned with the vent hole. The lump is fresh, and not damp. I light it with a MAPP torch. Anyone have any ideas what could be wrong?[p]~nikki
«1

Comments

  • RRPRRP Posts: 20,250
    nikkig, you know Tim says the same thing about his small and I don't understand that either. I regularly sear at 750 to 800. The only thing I have altered is I replaced the fire grate with a metal floor drain so I get better air flow than the original equipment. The other thing is since the high temp consumes mucho lump I fill to a level above the firebox. Also I light from underneath. That is with vent wide open and no cap restriction I light a Weber cube just inside the vent and then nudge it to the center. That creates an updraft that feeds upon it self and burns hot and fast and I never need more than that one cube to do the trick. Hope that helps.

    L, M, S, Mini
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    nikkig,[p]If you figure out why your does that - let me know. I can't get mine past about 500 without a nice breeze blowing in the vent, then it goes way up! RRP said he fills his firebox full, I have never done that - you might give it a try and see if that helps. I have used mesh steel grates, ceramic grates and the new steel grate but getting the small guy past 600 is almost never going to happen, and to get it that high requires a breeze. I fill my firebox about 3/4 full each time and I lite it from under the grate, maybe I'll fill it up next time and see what that does. Let me know if you figure it out.[p]Tim
  • BordelloBordello Posts: 5,926
    nikkig,
    I have had the same problem with Miss Mini, I changed my lump and the temp. soared. That is just a thought. I'm still having trouble at times, but can only get a few brands of lump.[p]New Bob

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    RRP,
    Firebox full huh? I never have tried that. [p]Tim

  • RRPRRP Posts: 20,250
    Tim M,
    An idea just came to mind because of a parallel situation - bare with me. In preparation for cooking my turkey and using all fresh lump I completly cleaned my large even removing the fire ring and fire box. I was amazed at the amount of ash that was there that had fallen through the holes in the firebox. I mean it was solid and nearly to the bottom of the holes. Now, I fought the temp all four hours I was cooking the next day. I could coax the temp to 325, but it wouldn't stay ther and kept reverting to 285. I even re-calibrated my dome therm and it was ok and since the Polders were both showing a steady incline in temp of the bird I gave up getting to 325 after the fourth bout with it.
    Moral to the story?...I normally have no trouble reaching and keeping my large at 550 for pizza so why the struggle to achieve 325? Could it have to do with cleaning out all that ash around the holes? Could that be a similiar problem with your small? That it's too clean???

    L, M, S, Mini
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • nikkignikkig Posts: 514
    RRP,
    Thnaks for the info. At first we thought it was because we had the ceramic grate. I have since gotten the metal grate from BGE, and that hasn't helped. I don't fill my firbox completely full, or light from the bottom. I will try that next time and see if that helps.[p]~nikki

  • nikkignikkig Posts: 514
    Tim M,
    I'm not real impressed with my small egg. The hinge is absolutely horrible, and I can't get it hot. I am going to try filling it more, and lighting from underneath (if I can find starter cubes this time of year). Maybe one of those tricks will work.[p]~nikki

  • nikkignikkig Posts: 514
    New Bob,
    I only have access to two brands of lump, BGE and Real Flavor from Walmart. Right now we are using Real Flavor. I have no problem with it in my large, so I would think it would be good in the small. Maybe the next bag I buy will be BGE, and I'll see if that works. [p]~nikki

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    nikkig,[p]I can tell you the starters from under the grate won't make it hotter - they just speed up the process. I love my small - I still use it 70-80% of the time. The hinge - well all the Bge Eggs had it when I bought my 1st one. It works.[p]Tim
  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    RRP,[p]Naaaa, I have cleaned and vacuumed my cookers (waiste of time and energy) - that doesn't help a bit and it just subjects the cracked fireboxes to something that WILL do damage. Air flow from ash behind the firebox is not a problem unless you cook 20 hrs a day - every day - and I don't think any of us do that. Unless the ash builds up to cover a hole - no problem. I have cleaned my small out and it makes no difference. I have never filled the firebox full - never thought I needed to do that since I don't do that on the others unless going for an all-nighter. I have always wanted to get my jig saw out and make the vent larger![p]Tim
  • RRPRRP Posts: 20,250
    Tim M, I don't know what to say, but I love my small and like you use it more times than my other two combined. As for the hinge - yeah that had been a problem for me and actually I'm on hinge #3. The original busted loose at the rivets - I called and talked to Ed Fisher himself who sent the replacement free (I paid S & H of course) and that hinge also busted during first use! The next one came pronto , but this time they paid S & H. No problems since. When the new spring hinge becomes available I'll upgrade just for the heck of it.

    L, M, S, Mini
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • BlueSmokeBlueSmoke Posts: 1,678
    nikkig,
    I can echo the hinge complaints of all the posts. As far as temp goes, I have no problem getting "to infinity and beyond." Full firebox, preferably big chunks (for better airflow). 9 times out of 10 there's at least one chunk of wood already in the firebox. Lit with MAPP.
    Now that I write it, could your problem be the size of your lump? Too much too small??? Jes' guessin'
    Ken

  • ShelbyShelby Posts: 803
    nikkig,
    Check a large Sears store in the hardware/grill section, if they still have any out in your area. If not, let me know, I can get some to you.

  • ShelbyShelby Posts: 803
    nikkig,
    Not having a small, but seriously considering adding one in the near future, I've got a question or 2.
    First, how critical is getting above 400? Seems to me with the grill much closer to the fire, searing would still occur even at the lower temps...right or wrong?
    Second, is it anymore difficult to control temps with the small and what's the longest cook you would consider doing on a small?
    Lastly, Tim, since you use yours 70-80% of the time, what are you cooking on it mostly? Just curious...trying to figure out if I want to add the small or not. Was considering a mini at one time but have given that thought up.
    Thanks!

  • QBabeQBabe Posts: 2,275
    Shelby,[p]We just got our small in September and LOVE it! It does take a bit longer to get up to temperature, since the vent hole is much smaller than the large is, but so far, I've done 230° - 600° without problems. The 230° cook was pork butt that went about 12 hrs (filled the firebox and into the fire ring, and had lump left over) and the 600° cook was 1 1/2 inch Delmonico steak (though, once the steak went on, it didn't go back up to 600° but hovered at the 500° range). In addition to the pulled pork and the steak, we've done spatchcock chicken, pork tenderloin, salmon, burgers & dogs, smoked sausage, shrimp, baked beans, and hot german potatoe salad on it. And, for Thanksgiving, I did a 4lb boneless leg of lamb on it that got RAVE reviews (I'll be posting about that recipe shortly).[p]One of the BEST things about the small (aside from the fact that it'll do everything the large can) is it's portability. We first decided on getting one because we like to go camping and decided we HAD to have one to take with us when we head out to the woods. That worked like a champ, but it has now gone with us to a family dinner and looks like future dinners will likely include the small egg as the newest member of the family! [p]Like nikkig, I'm not crazy about the hinge either, but when the upgrade comes out, I plan to get it. My main complaint with it is that due to the design of it, it only opens so far and it makes it more difficult to get things in and out of. But, since my first one did NOT have that hinge, it could just be that I was used to a different style. But, it wasn't enough to dissuade me from getting the small. [p]As far as controlling temps, I've had no real problems there either. The pork butt cooks have held steady at the lower end of the spectrum, and at the upper end, the cook was direct and fast, and over with before you could tell if it would sit there for any length of time. [p]Nikkig, this may sound dumb, but how long are you waiting to see if your dome will go higher than 400°? I know mine always takes longer than I expect, and with the steaks we did the other night, it seemed like forever before it was up there (maybe 40 minutes or so?), but at 600°, the flames were beginning to come out the top of the egg![p]Shelby, hope this helps in your decision making - I would whole-heartedly recommend the small as a second egg. [p]Mornin' irish coffee's to ya,
    QBabe
    :~)[p]

  • nikkignikkig Posts: 514
    Shelby,
    none in Sears, or Walmart, Lowes. I think where I got my egg has some. I will check next week.[p]~nikki

  • nikkignikkig Posts: 514
    Shelby,
    I tried to do a london broil last night. It wasn't even hot enough to sear. On the large I cook them 4 minutes per side, then dwell a couple. The small last night, I cooked for about 10 minutes a side, and it was barely at 145 degrees internal. It works great for stuff that doesn't have to be seared. We have done hot dogs, sausage, burgers, red beans, steaks (couldn't sear those either) and london broil.
    Controlling temps isn't a problem yet, since I can't hardly get it to 400. When we did the beans we had no problems keeping it low. I would definatley do a low and slow on it. Will probably do a brisket in a couple days.
    I dunno, as soon as we figure out how to get it up to temp, I'll probably use it more than the large. But for now, Mr. Large gets the most attention.[p]~nikki

  • nikkignikkig Posts: 514
    BlueSmoke,
    Thanks for the suggestion. I haven't really paid much attention to the size of the lump, I know last night it was smaller peices because it ws the bottom of the box.
    On a side note, I did our Thanksgiving turkey coated with olive oil, and a heavy dusting of Red Rooster. That was one mighty tasty bird! Even the in-laws were impressed. [p]~nikki

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    Shelby,[p]I use mine for steaks and often need longer cooking times because the temp doesn't hit 700°. Often I can swing the small into the wind and get higher temps. I also do a lot of chicken breasts and 350° is easy to get and perfect for chicken. Doing pork tenderloins needs only 350-375° too.[p]Tim
  • PujPuj Posts: 615
    nikkig,[p]I've read all of the posts in the thread and so the only thing that I'll echos is that I have no problems getting the small to 700°F, and have maxed out at 800° when I push it. I'd pay attention to the size of lump, and the quantity of lump. Don't skimp, give the fire plenty of lump to burn.[p]I can't think of anything else that hasn't been said a couple of times in the thread. Hope it works because the small is a grilling machine.[p]Puj

  • YBYB Posts: 3,861
    Puj,
    I don't have any trouble getting to 800 degrees in the small or mini egg.I have had the mini above 1000 degrees many times. Marc how did you like the game yesterday.
    Larry

  • PujPuj Posts: 615
    YB,[p]Yes, the mini can attain some mighty high temps. [p]Anywho, the Dawgs may have had their best effort of the year yesterday. It was fun to watch.[p]Arkansas will be tough, and it should be a good game. Kind of ironic that both Georgia and Arkansas made it to the championship game on their last offensive play of the year in a conference game. I'll be far, far away from the Dome Saturday and I won't be there, but I'll have it on the tube. Enjoy the game.[p]Puj

  • BlueSmokeBlueSmoke Posts: 1,678
    nikkig,
    Thanks for the compliment. (I had dinner with my sister: an "exotic" bird - she made one of the few dry Butterballs in existence.)
    Hope you get a handle on that temp thing: the small is just too darned handy to use only low.
    Ken

  • BlueSmokeBlueSmoke Posts: 1,678
    QBabe,
    Amen! On my last "steak sear" I had the gauge at 600º, flames coming out the top. Yeah, probably 30 mins. from lighting.
    I need to get one of those 8" pizza stones so I can do "low and slow" in a more organized manner. Right now, it's "think I'll try..." and most often just a split firebrick on top of the coals.[p]Shelby, I can only second QBabe's recommendation. It has become my "everyday" cooker.
    Ken

  • ShelbyShelby Posts: 803
    nikkig,
    I know you know about red beans and rice...and you cooked red beans on the egg? How?

  • nikkignikkig Posts: 514
    Shelby,
    Personally, I don't eat beans. That falls into the veggie category that I avoid. We used RhumAndJerk's recipe in the recipe section. Rick said they turned out very good, although he has never had real red beans and rice to compare them to. I'm sure almost any recipe could be adapted for the egg. [p]~nikki

    [ul][li]Louisiana Red Beans and Rice [/ul]
  • CornfedCornfed Posts: 1,324
    Puj,[p]I also have no problems getting the Small and Mini eggs to insane temps. I'm not sure what the issue could be, as it seems the usual suspects have all been mentioned. I guess I'd add that I usually load the Eggs really high with charcoal. Also, I always use some new charcoal with the old stuff. Finally, when going to high temps, I like to light from under the grid.[p]Good luck,
    Cornfed

  • RRPRRP Posts: 20,250
    nikkig,
    I've already posted several comments and ideas on the board so I won't beat it to death, however I'm amazed that you and Tim are having that problem. The reason I bought the small was its ability to nuke with less lump consumption than my large. I want to toss out one more idea that I don't think anyone else has suggested...are you giving it enough time to get rip roaring hot? You mention using a MAPP which is fine and probably using a Weber cube won't make any difference, but are you expecting too much too soon? Permit me to make a simple suggestion - start it with a full load of lump and walk away from it left totally open top and bottom and if in 35 to 40 minutes you're not able the heat horseshoes in that little green hearth then I'll admit you have a problem!

    L, M, S, Mini
    Ron
    Dunlap, IL
  • CornfedCornfed Posts: 1,324
    RRP,[p]This might sound weird, but sometimes I'll get stuck on the way up to nuke temps (700+). By stuck, though, I mean stuck at 600ish, not in the 400 range. In any case, one way I've been able to become unstuck is to take off the grill and simply stir or otherwise agitate the lit coals. No real science here, maybe just moving around the coals adds that last bit of needed oxygen to let things rip.[p]In any case, usually after a good agitation, I'm lapping the thermomter within 5-10 minutes.[p]If that doesn't work, perhaps some evil incantations will help.[p]Later,
    Cornfed

  • nikkignikkig Posts: 514
    RRP,
    I've been giving it 20-25 minutes. I think I figured out I wasn't filling the firebox enough. Just did some steaks, filled the firebox full, and in 20 minutes it was 600. Maybe on those days when it does seem slow to light, I will give it a little longer.[p]~nikki

Sign In or Register to comment.
Click here for Forum Use Guidelines.