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Very strange

AchateAchate Posts: 39
edited 11:11PM in EggHead Forum
Ok, I've had my egg for 8 months to a year, and have cooked many many things on it. I've done simple short seers at 700 degrees + and I've done 14 hour overnight pulled pork.

Tonight I wanted to cook some amazing marinaded rib eyes (a German recipe called - Speissbraten). Except for the 24 hour marinade, all it required was cooking rib eyes. I wanted to T-rex them, and use the egg for whatit does best.

I lit the egg (MAP torch in three to four places) and layered a lot of beechwood chips. I used lump about full to the top of the fire box, and it had been fired before. I waited more than 2 hours, and every 20-30 minutes added more chips, just to enjoy the smell of the smoke. Outside it was a clear cold day about 48 degrees, with almost no wind.

No matter what I could do, I couldn't get the egg over 400 degrees, and barely even to that. I wanted to seer them at 700+ but could NOT get them even close. I had the bottom grate open full, and nothing on top - no daisy wheel, nothing.

I ended up cooking them at 375, and just waited while they cooked. They came out great, after waiting way too log, but still were juicy and amazing. After eating I stirred the remaining lump, and decided to burn it all off to clean the egg entirely out. It's been burning open, no top, and full open grate with the egg closed, ever since dinner, and has never topped 400 degrees.

WHAT is going on?


    Hi Achate,

    If that had been my egg I would have looked for an air flow problem. The egg is pretty simple in that it requires 3 basics. Lump, oxygen and heat. You loose one and you loose your ability to create more heat. You know you had lump and heat to get started. Air flow can be restricted at the charcoal grate or in the charcoal itself. Most people use a wiggle rod to try and clear the charcoal grate and the lump.

    A contributing factor could have been the wood chips. Smoke wood will burn fast and create a lot of ash compared to the lump. If you had added a lot of chips the chips could have themselves slowed the flow of air. I like chunks as they burn longer and impede the air flow less. The brand of lump can also be a factor as the Naked Whiz's data base points out. Lighting the lump for a second cook on it should not have been a factor unless the previous burn had contributed to the amount of ash in the egg as well. Another culprit that many of us try to avoid is the very bottom of the bag of lump, it can contain a lot of dust that can ruin a perfectly good cook.

    I use a Turbo Grate, you can see it sticking up in the bottom of my medium egg in this photo.

    This is how it looked 22 1/2 hours earlier when I put two Boston Butts on.

    Not only do I think it promotes good air flow but each time I light my egg with used lump in it, which is much of the time, I will rap the top of the turbo grate sideways with the end of my ash tool about 4-5 times. This will knock a lot of the built up ash down to the bottom of the egg and out of the way. If there is a lot of ash I will grab the top of the turbo grate and carefully shake it. It is easy to shake it too hard and you get your lump below it in the bottom of the egg which is bad for air flow as well. After a few days of doing this I will check the bottom vent to see if I need to clean it out. Good air flow down there helps. A lot of people do not use a turbo grate, it is just a personal preference. :)


  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,186
    My money would be like Blair said: the holes plugged up...
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • JPFJPF Posts: 591
    I agree with the above about it's a air flow problem. Could you please post the marinade recipe. Thanks Jon
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 20,921
    i need to remove the firebox at about 8 months and clean behind it, ash builds up behind it.
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    Every time my egg stalls like that I reach for the wiggle rod and carefully poke up through the holes in the lump grate from the bottom draft. You can make one or get one from
  • I made my own wiggle rod out of a $4 steak hook I got from a local hardware store. Just bend the hook straight and its perfect for a large egg.

    As others have said, you probably had airflow problems. I find when I have old charcoal on the bottom small pieces can clog the holes.
  • AchateAchate Posts: 39
    After reading all you thoughts, I'm certain the lower grate was plugged up with ash. So last night I never extinguished the fire, I just let it burn-up all the lump completely. This morning there was nothing left but ash. I could see the grate much better, and see a lot of plugged holes.

    Thank you for the wiggle rod idea, I've never used one and obviously it would have helped last night! This was the longest run on the egg without a cleaning. For the last month or so, I just kept adding more lump to top it off before cooking. Although I stirred every time, I simply couldn't get down to the grate.

    Lesson learned!
  • AchateAchate Posts: 39
    German Spiesbratten from Idar-Oberstein:

    The traditional way to make it is with rib eyes, or pork loin. I always use rib eyes.
    Slice 4-5 large strong onions into small thin slices (I use a mandolin).

    Meanwhile coat the steaks with - sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and paprika.

    Layer in a large tupperware the onions, steaks, onions, steaks, etc. You want the steaks completely packed into onions. Seal tight and put in fridge for 24 hours.

    When you take them out the next day, the meat will have darkened significantly from all the onion juice soaked into them. And they will smell amazing!

    Cook however you would normally cook them (T-rex!) or just straight cook them over a 400 degree fire.

    To be authentic, you MUST cook them over beechwood, or at least a very generous amount of beechwood chips.


    (PS - Fry up some of the onions as a side dish, but really use them all the next day to make French Onion Soup! So good!)
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    A wiggle rod has helped me on many occasions. There have been times I would force air in from the bottom vent. You can try a hair dryer...

    One more thing. In the past when my my lump was burning but like you my air flow was not good I would carefully take my wiggle rod and poke up where the holes are in the lump grate. Try not to push or pull very much because you could wind up moving the lump grate so much that you leave a big crack for the lump to fall down in the bottom.

    One more thing use caution when using the wiggle rod because I have had the egg shoot flames out the bottom when it's been sitting there a while starving for air and I had the rod in the hole in the grate and then all of a sudden the limp gets air and sort of a back draft happens. Stikes gunna kill me for that long sentence. :laugh:

    Anyway if you like the hair on your hands wear gloves and a shirt with sleeves. ;)
  • Are you from there, I lived in Rehweiler next to Glan Munchweiler off of the A62 for 3 years (06-09) while stationed in Germany.
  • Achate,

    You say they came out great at 375*. Many of us use that or close as a grill temp for steaks and prefer it to hotter cooks.



    Caledon, ON


  • RipnemRipnem Posts: 5,511
    And then some will fling one on at a thousand :laugh:
  • Or a little higher B) Honestly though, most of the steaks I do are under 400.


    Caledon, ON


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