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SamIamSamIam Posts: 20
edited 12:17AM in EggHead Forum
We just bought a bge and are wondering if we need to refresh the coals each time even if it looks like there are enough?
Question 2: Does anyone leave the damper on the bottom open all the time?? we've been told a few ways to do it??? whats best???


  • Spring ChickenSpring Chicken Posts: 10,227
    Welcome to a new (but ancient) way of cooking. You did good. There will probably be a bunch of fellow Eggheads jump in with advice but in answer to your question, no, you do not have to change the lump every time. In fact that is one of the beauties of the Egg. When you finish cooking, close the bottom vent completely and place your ceramic rain cap back on top. That will close off the oxygen and quickly snuff out your coals. They will be saved for next time. Just stir them around a bit to open up the grate, add a few more lumps of charcoal, light and you are back in business.
    As for the bottom vent. I leave mine closed all the time when I'm not cooking. It helps to keeps moisture and bugs out. Moisture makes for difficult burning. Bugs make for unpleasent flavor.
    My final suggestion is to read this Forum often, ask questions and practice what you learn. We all started out not knowing how to cook on ceramic. Before long you will be expanding your skills to a whole new level.[p]Spring Chicken
    Spring Texas USA

  • Mike in MNMike in MN Posts: 546
    If you were wondering if you cook with the bottom damper all the way open....You can. If you are cooking something with high heat, it should be left wide open, and control the flames and temp with the daisey wheel.[p]On a lower temp cook, it should be "stopped down" to whatever works. To maintain 225 or so, the bottom vent is only open about 1/8-1/4 inch, but still use the daisey wheel to adjust the temp. I use the top vent for most of the temp control. If the air can't flow through, it can't increase the temp. So, by choking it off on the top, it seems to help manage the temp better. [p]If the bottom is closed, and the top is open, you can still get a lot of (burning) heat generated. The air flows from the top into the egg, and still allows plenty of combustion to take place. [p]Pay particular attention to the flashback that WILL happen when things are "right." [p]Like Spring Chicken noted, you don't have to add lump every time. In fact, "used" coals are less apt to flashback, and they seem to be easier to start. If you aren't cooking something requiring high heat, or a long cook, it isn't necessary to add lump every time.[p]Mike in MN

  • Spring ChickenSpring Chicken Posts: 10,227
    Spring Chicken,
    What was I thinking? Of course you meant "while cooking" instead of "while storing" it. I must have been into my pre-vacation stuper. I find it easier to use the bottom slide door in conjunction with my daisy wheel cap. Sometimes it is only slightly open (long cooks) and sometimes it is partially to full open for other cooks. A lot depends on whether or not I am trying to smoke or just bake the food, or sear it, etc. Even a small crack in the bottom vent will create a draft if there is any kind of opening at the top. Generally speaking, the bigger the openings, the hotter the fire. A good balance between the two will assure you a controlled heat and that's the secret to ceramic cooking.[p]You will get the hang of it in pretty short order.[p]Spring Chicken

  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    <p />SamIAm,
    Since flashback was mentioned, it is probably a wise thing to read my webpage on flashback. It should become immediately obvious why you should be careful.[p]TNW

    [ul][li]The Naked Whiz's Page on Flashback[/ul]
    The Naked Whiz
  • CRCR Posts: 175
    SamIAm, for most of my cooking I just stir the remaining coals, to let the ash drop to the bottom of the Egg, and then just add enough additional to replace what was used. I usually have my firebox about 2/3 full to start. [p]If you want very high temps then you will need mostly new lump with a lot of larger pieces. Same if you want to do an extended cook of 10 hours or more, you will ned mostly fresh lump. But, for most of the mid-range cooking like 325° to 450° used lump seems to work fine.[p]As far as the lower vent goes, like some of the others, I usually have my lower vent about 1.2 to 3/4 open and control with the daisy-wheel. For low and slow I will close the lower vent down to about 1/8 inch.[p]Have fun with your new Egg, cooking on them is a blast.

  • SamIamSamIam Posts: 20
    Thank you for all of the great tips and tricks of the trade. We look forward to more experimentation!!

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