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What did I do wrong

SueinNCSueinNC Posts: 14
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
This is my third cook. I have a large BGE. I started at 10:30 am enough lump to come to the top of the fire box. Lit and one hour later put a storebought uncooked pizza 450 steady. No problems. Let fire die down to about 250, and cruise until needed later in the afternoon. At 2:30 added a little lump.
At 3:00 and 350 degrees did two batches of 20 wings temp pretty steady. Daisy 1/4 open and bottom vent about 2 inches open.(Husband says they are the best wings ever) :)
4:30 The main course a total of 5 spachcocked chickens.Goal 350 degrees 40-60 min per batch of chickens. I made no adjustments since the wings and whole chickens were to cook at the same temp. I started with 3 chickens, feet to the center. The grill never came back up to temp. The Chickens had been on the counter for about 90 minutes so they were not refigerator cold.
The grill stayed 250-300 while I cooked the chickens very slowly. Eventually both the daisy and the bottom vent were completely open. I stuck a coathanger up the holes of the fire box (i want an wiggler thingy) several times. I even took the first three chickens off the grill picked up the grate and moved the coals closer together and then reassembled the whole thing.
Flavors were great but with 30 people for dinner I really didn't need a slow cook.

I look forward to your critique.

Comments

  • Mike in AbitaMike in Abita Posts: 3,302
    Sounds like you had too much ash clogging the fire grate. Once you opened it up a little things tried to come back at which point you had used up most of your fuel. How much fuel was left at the end of the wing cook?
  • Did you clean out the ash from your first two cooks?

    If you filled the egg with charcoal to the top of the fire box, you should have had more than enough to cook for the day.

    When I am having trouble getting the temp to come up and I know there is enough charcoal, I remove the daisy wheel completely. If you were cooking 5 spatchcocked chickens at one time, the chicken itself could have been blocking alot of the airflow.

    It will take some practice to figure it out, but I applaud you on cooking for 30 people on only your 3rd cook. Good for you!
  • BobSBobS Posts: 2,485
    It is pretty hard to tell what happened without being there and actually looking at the egg, but there are only too things that keep an Egg from getting hot -- not enought air (ash grate blocked) or not enough lump.

    Based on your description it sounds like you started with enough lump to do what you wanted to do, but at the end you say "even took the first three chickens off the grill picked up the grate and moved the coals closer together" and that clearly suggests to me that you were running out of lump. What kept you from adding more at that point?

    In the first paragraph you say that after the pizza, you added a little lump but how much did you have at that point? Did you give it a good stir and then fill up to the top of the fire box?

    You also say that for the wings, cooked at 300, the Daisy was 1/4 open and bottom vent about 2 inches open, but that should be enough air to get well over 400. Just to confirm -- was the slider open 1/4 or just the small holes?
  • MaineggMainegg Posts: 7,787
    "At 3:00 and 350 degrees did two batches of 20 wings temp pretty steady. Daisy 1/4 open and bottom vent about 2 inches open.(Husband says they are the best wings ever)"
    congrats on the great wings :) but if you had the daisy 1/4 open and the bottom draft open 2 inches and only getting 350 then you were running out of lump. it does take a bit of practice and you could have shut it down between cooks to save and it would fire up quick as it would still be pretty hot. also like others have said 5 chickens is a pretty solid mass and the temp is going to be off due to a full egg. but if a good supply of lump it would come back.
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
     
    As stated above, it is pretty hard to know what was going on without being there.

    You started early with some high temp cooks, then added lump and more cooking. Possibly you should have added more lump before the final cook.

    Adding lump and stirring will often disrupt the critical air flow up through the lump and that loss of air flow through the lump can cause a real fight with getting the egg back to temperature.

    For the most part coat hangers don't do well for the 'wiggle thingy' :) (Wiggle Rod).

    If you must use a coat hanger, open the hanger, bend in half, twist the two lengths to get more strength then bend the end up for clearing the grate.

    If your egg was clean under the fire grate you really wouldn't have had to worry about whatever ash that might have fallen through during that day even with several 're-loads' of lump.

    When you can't get temperature, check for fuel level and then as important air flow. Those are really the only two variables that could cause problems.

    GG
  • SueinNCSueinNC Posts: 14
    I was concerned about having a bad smell/taste if I added lump while the chickens were on the grill I did 3 at a time. Three initially and then later 2 more. The grate at the bottom had the screen over it at 2 inches and I finally open the daisy all the way. I have about 1/3 of my lump left this morning. I need a wiggle rod and an ash tool. I did have a nice 1/4 inch smoke ring on the meat though.
  • SueinNCSueinNC Posts: 14
    I agree that 5 chickens would of been alot I barely got 3 five lb. chickens on the grill. Then I did the others.
  • SueinNCSueinNC Posts: 14
    Thanks everyone for all your help. I am thinking that the primary problem was ash in the bottom as I had 1/3 of my lump left over. This forum is fantastic I have learned so much this week. You all are a wealth of information thanks so much :cheer: :cheer: :cheer:
  • No problem to add more natural lump coal during the cooking process. Since their are no chemical additives it won't add any ill flavor to the meat. Nothing to burn off.
  • No problem to add more natural lump coal during the cooking process. Since their are no chemical additives it won't add any ill flavor to the meat. Nothing to burn off.
  • RicklesssRicklesss Posts: 391
    Sue, e-mail me your address, if you would like me to send you a nice stainless steel "wiggler" with a wooden handle I made last year for a friend.
    He sold his egg and didn't need it....oh well, his loss!
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