I have done 5-6 cooks as a newbie, but have to admit that getting the fire started and up to temp has been my biggest frustration, other than trying to convince my wife that the egg was a great idea with the issues I am having getting the fire going and stabilized within an hour. Today made me have to ask if maybe I started off with some not well kept lump. It is actually what my dealer sold me with the egg so I would like to think it is a pretty good choice but it only gets a recommended on Naked Whiz's site. Up until today I was using 3 Rutland starter cubes and had to leave the lid up and bottom vent and screen wide open for at least a half an hour to make sure I would keep the fire going. Again trying to get this to where my wife can use it, I purchased the electric starter and when I tried to start it this afternoon with it. Well I put it down in fresh coal mixed with some old, pyramided up just like the instructions said and after 8 mins. (max. per instructions) all I was getting was a little smoke and could feel the heat off of the cherry red lighter. Back to the starter cubes. Just can't believe that this is so hard to get going. Glad I am nearly out of this bag of lump and ready to try something else. Is it possible to get a bad bag of lump? Sorry for the long post but could use some help in getting this to where my wife wants to even try using it. Food has been great though so thats one plus. Open to any suggestions.