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Used Lump, Small Pieces and High Temperatures

Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
edited 5:44PM in EggHead Forum
I always end up with smaller pieces of lump from previous cooks. What to do… I decided to do a cook and a test with that left over lump only.

I did not want to fill the fire box full of lump but I wanted to achieve a high dome temperature.

Most pieces were thumb size or smaller. I stirred down all the ash and made sure the air holes in the fire grate and firebox was clear of any small pieces. Lit the lump left and right of center with oil and paper towel. I closed the dome right after lighting. DFMT off and bottom vent & screen wide open.

The egg had the usual up temperature spike - 750° then the fall back down to 250°. 7.5 minutes and back up to 300°.

Closed the screen and then closed the slider to about about 3/8" open. DFMT slider closed and petals open about 1/2 open. Put in some Jack Daniels smoking chips in. In went the adjustable rig and the grid. Opened the petals to about 3/4 and the large settled in at 340°.

Cooking in 11 minutes from ignition. Not bad at all for pretty small pieces of lump. I cooked the chicken and at it was time to see what those small pieces of left over lump could do.

Took off the DFMT and fully opened the screen and slider and here are the results...

7 minutes later.




The dome was open while taking pictures and you can see the lump flaming up due to the air from the open dome.


Don't toss the small used stuff away.



  • Thanks for the test! I had been tossing that stuff.

    I'll try a burger tonight with the old lump.

  • Sooner EggSooner Egg Posts: 578
    I don't toss it unless it has turned to ash :P
  • Dan in StLDan in StL Posts: 247
    GG - good post. You may be giving the Whiz a run for his money!

    Unless I'm doing an overnight cook, I always keep the old lump in there. Even then I save off the old stuff and reuse it another time.
  • thegrillsterthegrillster Posts: 348
    I take it out when I am reloading and then throw it back in on top of the electric starter.

    It catches quickly and I think gives a better start to the new lump.
  • BordelloBordello Posts: 5,926
    Good post and I'm sure some of us do throw out the small stuff at some point. A great test and appreciate ya taking the time to do it.

  • FSUScotsmanFSUScotsman Posts: 754
    As a frugal Scotsman I throw out nothing!! When the stuff gets too small I empty it into a bowl, load new lump and then put the small stuff right back on top.

    Lump is a terrible thing to waste.
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    The critical point is to make sure the air holes are completely clear.

    When I use smaller pieces of used or new lump some of the times I use a wiggle rod to clear those air holes.

    One can make a wiggle rod or several members offer them for sale.

    Those members that make wiggle rods, email me I would like to make sure I have you referenced in my 'links' post. Wayne, I have yours.

  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    No, Doug's site The Naked Whiz is unparalleled and his information is a must for all. Folks are really missing out if they don't visit Doug's site as well as many others in my post below.

    The posts I put up once in awhile are intended to help out the newer members and newer eggers.

  • MaineggMainegg Posts: 7,787
    I got a fryer basket that is round wt my local restaurant supple and it fits the top of an old calm steamer perfect. I dump my ash in there when I am cleaning out the bottom and if I am cleaning out the firebox to reload for a long cook. I also dump the bottom of the bag of lump in there to loose the dust and tiny stuff if there is any. works great. just the tiny stuff falls though and that is just to small to deal with. usually I set the basket contents aside to use in the mini LOL
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    a good use for small stuff is in lo-and-slo overnights.

    i used to build the fire with big chunks on the bottom, medium next, etc. etc. then on the very top spread out chips and all that. actually worked well. good way to get rid of it and the fire had plenty of chances to connect and move around.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Well, this didn't turn out so well for me. I ran out of lump, and with the cast iron grid I had in there, it was difficult to add more.

    Finally did, and got dinner done quite late.

    Next time, back to normal: clean out the Egg, toss the tiny pieces, vacuum the bottom, and mix the old with enough (and there's the biggie) new lump to last the cook.

  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    You ran out of lump, what size egg and what were you cooking? How much lump did you have in your egg?

    I clean out the lump and ash when I do overnight cooks. Other than that, I only clean the ash out of my large every 5 or so cooks. I only clean out behind the fire box maybe once every 12 to 18 months.

    On my mini I clean out about every 3 or 4 cooks and it is easier to remove everything than try cleaning out with the toy ash tool.

    As for the Cast Iron Grate take a look at thirdeye's tools. He has a great grid lifter and it works great on the cast iron grid.

    You can see it at this link. Playing with Fire and Smoke - ThirdHand and ThirdFinger

    Scroll down about 1/4 the page. I have the ThirdHand and use it all the time. It was well worth the price.

  • James MBJames MB Posts: 349
    I prefer used lump because it doesn't taste so coaly, probably says more about the lump we get here.
    Have to be very careful building the fire with it inthe Medium if thepieces are very small. I seem to eventually end up with a firebox half full of hazelnut / acorn size pieces which is good on top of larger bits but not underneath.
    Bits below that size I tend to dig into the garden when I happen to clear them out.
    Nice test GG, thanks for sharing.
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    When I get to those small sizes I often have to use a wiggle rod to clear the air holes in the fire grate.

  • For a short or medium length cook (less than 6 hours), I put on a pair of leather BBQ gloves and lift as much of the used lump as I can out into a plastic dishpan, rubbing it between my hands to leave the ash in the Egg. Then I remove the grate so the ash and the really small stuff that remains falls down into the bottom of the firebox. I scoop that out into a plastic coffee can with the ash tool, dump it onto a spackle bucket and replace the grate. I estimate how much new lump I will need along with the used lump I removed and pour the screened* new lump from the charcoal caddy into the bottom of the firebox. I pour the used lump in the dishpan on top of that, stick two or three pieces of BGE starter squares (I cut them into thirds) down into the lump and I'm ready to go. With practice, the whole process takes three or four minutes.

    For longer cooks I do exactly the same thing except I use all new lump for the cook and put the used lump aside for the next short cook.

    * I screen the new lump when I transfer it from the bag to the charcoal caddy to remove the dust and anything that falls through the 1/2" squares in the mesh.
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