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Coal saving...

Ms.Ms. Posts: 145
edited 10:22AM in EggHead Forum
This has certainly been discussed before, but I can't seem to find any thread about it...

I read somewhere that you can buy a bag of coal and it will last you for months on the Egg...

So far, this has not been the case for me. A bag will last me for up to five cookings, not much more.

A few things that might help you help me:

- I own a Large Egg.
- I don't have those "dividers" to do indirect grilling, so it's sometimes hard to have an indirect fire...
- I gave up on the gasket after burning a second one, but there is almost no smoke coming out from the sides, and given that I'm able to maintain my egg at 130 F without any problems, I don't think I'm losing that much through this.

I have tried different sorts of charcoal lumps, from Royal Oak (American) to BGE, to Kamado Joe and settled for Maple Leaf, a local brand. I get great temperatures, high or low, but boy, do I burn a lot of coal!

Any of you can help? :)

Comments

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 20,485
    maple leaf is one of the best lumps out there, i would stick with that. anyone getting months out of a bag of lump cooks just hotdogs once or twice a week :laugh: if it was just used as a quick grill like a habatchi you might get alot of cooks out of it but we dont use the egg just as a grill, it replaces the oven, does low and slows, high temp pizzas, we dont get those 4 months from a bag of lump. one thing ive found is that raised grid direct cooks use alot less lump than indirect cooks, for alot of things you can just cook raised grid direct at a lower temp and it works just fine and you will get more cooks per bag than what your getting now.
  •  
    If I load the lump to the top of the fire box I too get about 5 cooks before having to reload.

    A couple of thing that you could look at.

    Take a piece of gasket (or aluminum foil) and line the ceramic cap or put some foil over the top vent before putting the ceramic cap on. Hopefully this will help with a quicker shut down.
    gasket4.jpg

    If you are doing a cook over 300° dome whatever you use to light make sure you light the lump quickly - light in multiple spots. Lighting in one spot will take longer to get to temperature and will use up more lump trying to get to the cook temperature.

    Opening the egg during a cook will tend to use more lump.

    GG
  • NC-CDNNC-CDN Posts: 703
    My bags do many many cooks. Depends on what kind and all that as to how many. I shut it down when finished and when I go to cook another day I have all the leftover lump that I just stir up to have the ash drop, then add a little bit more. Just depends what I'm doing. I may add a touch more to get it nice and hot, but if doing chicken or hotdogs I may not go as high and need less. If doing a low and slow I load up a bit more.

    Just make sure you shut the EGG down when done. How long do you let it crank before cooking? I cook pretty much as soon as I hit my target temp. Less waste. If you do alot of really hot cooks then I could see how you would burn up the lump a bit quicker as the lump is engulfed in flame.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,401
    Well, yes, some promotional material from BGE a few years ago did say you could cook with just a few handfuls of lump. And it was true, I did it a few times. A couple handfuls of lump will cook burgers direct on a lower grill setting.

    I have mediums, so I am lighting up less lump with each cook than you. I usually average 9 cooks out of an 8.8 lb bag of Cowboy. Royal Oak last just a tad longer. Depends a bit on how much big lump there is to start with, meaning when will the leftovers get so small as to clog up the air holes, and get thrown away.

    I pop on the ceramic top, and close the bottom right away. At current prices, I figure I'm spending about .75/cook.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 20,485
    do you get 4 months from one bag of lump, i think thats part of the advertising hype of the egg. if that were the case i would still be on my first pallet of lump :laugh:
  • Ms.Ms. Posts: 145
    As for shutting the Egg down, we do that, and it does go down quite fast...

    The fiancé likes to get it to high temp before lowering to desired temp, because it burns cleaner, he says. Maybe we ought to rethink that, and just wait until it is smoke free, at a lower temperature... Hum. We'll see.

    Thanks.
  • Ms.Ms. Posts: 145
    Thanks for the sealing tip!

    And as for opening the Egg during a cook... I really have some talking to do with the fiancé! :laugh:
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 20,485
    no need to go hotter then drop temps , just burn it at your desired cooking temp til it smells good, maple leaf really does smell good compared to most lumps
  • The "one bag lasts for months" line is nonsense. Your experience doesn't sound too out of line.
    The Naked Whiz
  • Isabelle,

    Maple Leaf is one of the best brands out there. I don't have gaskets either and I am in the habit of getting the egg hot and then adjusting down (especially when I have to use another kind of lump). The fire snuffs quicker if you have gaskets. With that said I use two 8kg bags a week, maybe half a bag more than I would if I did everything by the book.

    Steve

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • I know it may not make economic sense to say this (buying a smaller egg to save coal), but I find that many of my cooks fit on a smaller egg instead of the large. If you can find a deal on a mini/small/medium egg, you use a lot less lump cooking. This of course depends on what you are cooking. I am cooking smaller meals most of the time (me, wife, 3 kids), and I can usually fit all I am cooking on a 13" grid surface.

    But what you are saying seems to be normal when considering the large. It is 140 lbs, and to heat that all up takes more fuel than BGE advertises. Luckily the efficiency comes in when retaining that heat.

    John - SLC, UT

     Webers, Eggs, Bubba Keg, Smokin-It #3, Blackstones

  • thebtlsthebtls Posts: 2,300
    I cook an average of 2 times per week, generally high heat and open lid. I use 6-8+ pounds of lump a week on average for two plus years under these conditions.

    On the other hand, if the cost of lump was an issue I would still be cooking with Propane. That reminds me, I need to go to Mendards for more lump.

    Keep On Eggin'
    Visit my blog, dedicated to my Big Green Egg Recipies at http://www.bigtsbge.blogspot.com You can also follow my posts on FaceBook under the name Keep On Eggin' or the link http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Keep-On-Eggin/198049930216241
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 10,842
    Ms. wrote:
    And as for opening the Egg during a cook... I really have some talking to do with the fiancé! :laugh:

    If he refuses, I say DUMP him! :lol:

    I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead. Not sick, not wounded... dead.

                                                      Woody Allen

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • Tony,

    I cook an average of over six days a week, so it pretty much matches.

    Steve

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • cookingdude555,

    You are right about the smaller sizes. I have every size but I always gravitate to the large.

    Steve

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • One thing I don't see mentioned is bag size. Yes, I am new but I am also a stickler for details. So far I have tried 5 kinds of lump charcoal which has come in 5 different bag sizes.

    Wicked Good W.W.- 24 lb.
    Royal Oak (Blue) - 10 Lb.
    Natures grilling Hardwood blend - 10 lb yet much smaller bag than R.O.
    Natures Grilling Mesquite - 10 lb. and again a different size bag as this stuff was really dense.
    Maple Leaf - 17.6 lb (8 kg)

    Since 2 bags of one could easily be 1 bag of another, statements like "2 bags per week" become less relavent.
  • Ms.Ms. Posts: 145
    Well, here, all brands sell for 8 kg bags (16 pounds or so). So when I say a bag, I mean an 8 kg (16 pounds) bag...
  • Ms.Ms. Posts: 145
    Mmm... been thinking about buying me a small since I started egging. I work at home, and there is nothing like an egged salmon or trout for lunch, but because I'm all alone, I didn't dare flare up the Large...

    Now you've given me just one more argument in favor of a small, and that one may be a winner: spend to save! :P
  • How does your coal usage vary from yoru differnet cooks? Do you do any really hot cooks, or mostly like fish and stuff. It might make a difference. For fish what temp are you looking for? Maybe heating just to that temperature will help. Also, do you do any lower temperature cooks? If so, what kind, and are they longer cooks? Your post is great as I am still trying to figure out the same things as you are. maybe a smaller egg is the answer.

    Sorry for lots of questions!!!!
  • Isabelle,
    What types of cooks do you usually do in a week and how many times do you light the BGE?
    I've found RO orange works best, since I can get 10#s for $6.50ish US dollars and it lights quickly, burns as the vents are set, and cools off evenly with top ceramic cap placed on as soon as bottom vent closed. Besides, it beats the other (bad or expensive) alternatives where I live ;)
    I light in several places (half the parafin cube or cubes) if I want to get up to temp pronto and need an even distribution of fire....one whole or half in the middle if gonna use a plate setter--depending on the estimated length of the cook.
    I "salvage" used lump and mix with fresh after a few cooks...unless I want a raging flame, where I use fresh, but just above the vent holes for steak and such...
    I do clean the ash from the bottom and sides via the ash tool prior to most every cook; also, clean out the EGG at least once a month--removing fire box and ring...use the wiggle rod (thirdeye's blog) after loading and a couple times during cooks if not a "short and sweet" cook B)
    don't keep more than 3 bags on hand...usually use that much a month cooking 4-5 times a week :kiss:
  • Ms.Ms. Posts: 145
    I cook about 5 to 6 times a week, and my cookings range from lasagna, to steaks, to whole chicken, to duck, to bagels, to smoking salmon, quiche... Very varied in times and temps, as you can see!
  • I may go thru one 18-20lb bag/month, but usually it's more because i cook more often. If I only cook on weekends, probably 1 bag will last a month.

    If your second Egg is going to be used primarily for just the entree course of a meal for 1 or 2 people, you might even consider a mini.

    I did not expect it, but I wind up cooking just the meat portion of many meals during the cold weather months and weeknights on the Mini. (2 adults and 2 girls) I also bring it on vacation and again, cook meat for the 4 of us (4 tenderloin steaks, 4 hamburgers, 4 chicken thighs, etc.)

    IMG_3493.jpg
    1.1/2 lb salmon filet, double decker cook, 350-400, 10 minutes.
  • Ms. wrote:
    This has certainly been discussed before, but I can't seem to find any thread about it...

    I read somewhere that you can buy a bag of coal and it will last you for months on the Egg...

    So far, this has not been the case for me. A bag will last me for up to five cookings, not much more.

    A few things that might help you help me:

    - I own a Large Egg.
    - I don't have those "dividers" to do indirect grilling, so it's sometimes hard to have an indirect fire...
    - I gave up on the gasket after burning a second one, but there is almost no smoke coming out from the sides, and given that I'm able to maintain my egg at 130 F without any problems, I don't think I'm losing that much through this.

    I have tried different sorts of charcoal lumps, from Royal Oak (American) to BGE, to Kamado Joe and settled for Maple Leaf, a local brand. I get great temperatures, high or low, but boy, do I burn a lot of coal!

    Any of you can help? :)
    One very interesting to share. I will always apply. Thank you offline
  • Ms.Ms. Posts: 145
    That's interesting. I really would have thought the mini to be just too small, but looking at your pictures and reading your post has made me reconsider...

    Something to think about until spring!
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