Big Green Egg - EGGhead Forum - The Ultimate Cooking Experience...
Spreading the love this Valentine’s Day with your EGG? Virginia Willis’ three course menu is perfect for a date night! February is also National Chocolate Lover’s Month, so don’t feel guilty if you’ve been cooking a little more dessert than usual on your EGG. If you’re looking for something a little more savory than chocolate, try some Roasted Chicken Flatbread or Pork Tenderloin with Honey Mustard.

Big Green Egg headquarters has moved - come visit our new showroom and check out the History of the EGG Museum and the Culinary Center too!  3786 DeKalb Technology Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30340.

Bad bag of lump???

BrimoBrimo Posts: 51
edited 9:19PM in EggHead Forum
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.


  • WessBWessB Posts: 6,937
    The first thing that comes to mind is to ask is the opening in the firebox lined up with the lower vent???? Only other idea would be ash and small pieces clogging up the charcoal grate...a thermometer calibration might reveal something as well......but "yes" it could very well be some damp lump...
  • BrimoBrimo Posts: 51
    Thanks for the input Wes, but the hole is lined up perfectly and I have been cleaning the firebox, grate, and ash pit every other cook, which I had done before I started today. Started with large pieces on bottom and worked progressively smaller as I built up. Really stumped me when the electric lighter didn't get it started.
  • Hey there:] Could be bad lump like you think or as stated ash blocking the holes. The best lump to light easy I have found is Ozark Oak.I'm in Houston and it's not gonna be much more humid than here. I have used just about every method to light the egg and the one that seems to work best is th 91 % alkeeehol. One jiggerful slowly in the middle and a a half in the back and the front, be sure to let i run down -the lower stuff is what will get the fire going. The mapp torch works well too but I saw where they can blow up or blow your head off or something like that :S

  • BrimoBrimo Posts: 51
    Thanks Doc, sounds like the mapp torch could be a bad idea if I want my wife to start using the egg. Now wait a minute, :evil:
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    Like Wess said make sure your fire box is lined up.

    I know when ever I have what I think may be air flow problems I turn to my home made wiggle rod.

    Here is where you can buy a wiggle rod if you want to.

    Scroll down about half way.


    What it's good for it stirring the used lump that is in the fire box from the last cook. That in turn knocks off the ash on the previously burned lump. Then I will move the lump around and make sure the holes in the fire box aren't plugged with a small piece of lump or ash.

    Now I will carefully place the wiggle rod in through the bottom draft and poke up through the holes in the lump grate. Make sure you don't move the lump grate so much that some lump can fall in the bottom of the egg or you will get upset.


    The holes in the lump grate flare put the flare side down like in the third pic.



  • Cmon baby light my fire :whistle:
  • BrimoBrimo Posts: 51
    I can see where this could be a good tool to have.
  • BrimoBrimo Posts: 51
    Better quit while were ahead.
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    I must tell you there have been times when I waited for the egg to heat up and then took the wiggle rod to it in the bottom hole. Not very often maybe once or twice in a couple of years I would poke up and the air will rush in and blow fire out the bottom and then start drawing air properly. Just saying stay off to the side and don't let little children stand around especially when the screen is wide open. If this don't solve your problem and you know you have a fire in there carefuly take a hair dryer to the bottom vent. Now listen don't walk away from your egg when having trouble like this because at any time you egg may catch and heat up past 700F dome in a heart beat. Just be careful. :unsure: ;)
  • BrimoBrimo Posts: 51
    Got it.
  • I use to use the electric starter but I always left it in more like 12+ mins. It did eventually fail and I bought a loft lighter. I got 8 months of using the electric 3-4 times a week and always worked great.
    What kind of lump are you using?
  • BrimoBrimo Posts: 51
    This was Wicked Good, Weekend Warrior. Going to try Royal Oak Lump next.
  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 5,174
    Randy, you got lots of good advice, just want to share my experience with the electric starter since you mentioned this...
    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.
    I used to light with starter cubes or oil-n-paper-towel but now my go to method is electric starter. The 8-min is just a rough guideline, it'll take more or less time depending on if the lumps are fresh or leftover from previous cook. Make sure the heating element is not visible by spreading a layer of lumps evenly over it, wait till you see the lumps around it glowing red and small flame starts 'leaping'. I watch it like a hawk to ensure it doesn't get too hot and melt the plastic handle. Yes, it could take ten minutes or longer. Give that a try again, good luck.
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    I have been using Royal Oak (RO) for nearly 3 years. You will love RO as long as it's from the US. Lots of folks here on this forum love Wicked Good Weekend Warrior (WG). I started using WG this Spring and find as many has said it's hard to light. This is part of the reason why you may be having some trouble getting your egg up to temp. It just takes more time. What I have done is use WG with RO on top and light the RO and that in turn gets the WG going good. I love the WG because the bags have large pieces of lump in it and it burns for a long time. I find WG is a great lump to use in the BGE and so far I have never found rocks or other debris in the bags. RO will have rocks and other foreign objects but, still a very good lump to use. I think you will be fine just a learning curve. The RO will work better for you and in time you may want to go back to WG. ;)
  • BrimoBrimo Posts: 51
    I agree with you 2Fat, the WG WW is loaded with lots of large to x-large peices. Bottom line is I am trying to get something easier to lite to keep my fellow cooking partner (the wife) interested in learning to use the egg. She does not have near the patience that I have. Thanks to you and everyone else for their input.
  • BrimoBrimo Posts: 51
    Thanks Gary, I will definitely do that.
  • srq2625srq2625 Posts: 262
    Wicked Good Weekend Warrior is noted to be hard starting (see:, expecially when compared to something like Cowboy (see:

    There are lots of ways to start a fire. I use one of two methods, depending on whether it's a hot cook or a low-n-slow.

    For the Low-N-Slow cooks, I drizzle a bit of EVOO or corn oil on a couple of twisted paper towls. Place these on a top of a parital (3/4) pile of the WGWW charcoal. Build up a small and loose stack of charcoal on top of the towels. Set a match to three spots on each towel. I let things go for about 10 or 15 mintues, then add the rest of my charcoal and wait for some of it to catch, then close the dome (with vents open). When the dome thermometer starts getting close to the 250°F mark, I start shutting down the vents.

    For the hotter cooks, I use something like Cowboy and a Weber charcoal chimney. I put about 3/4 of the needed charcoal in the Egg, fill up the chimney and start it. When I have a rip-roaring fire in the chimney, I carefully (that stuff's hot!) dump the load into the Egg and sprinking some unlit on top of that. About five mintues later I close the dome with the vents open. I start shutting the vents down when the dome thermometer starts approaching the desired temp.

    Some people close the dome right after they throw the match in (or do whatever they do to get the fire started). Others wait a while. And some, like me, like to split the difference. There are lots of ways to get the fire started: oil/paper towel (or napkin), starter cubes, torches of one persuasion or another, alcohol (90% isopropol, not the more common 70%) ... and the list goes on. As with most things, you gotta find what works for you and what you find comfortable.
  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    "Recommended" on my website is a very very good rating. Usually it means that there was only one factor that kept it from being Highly Recommended.
    The Naked Whiz
  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    Actually, Weekend Warrior is rated Average when it comes to starting. However, yes, Cowboy original lump was indeed very very easy to start.
    The Naked Whiz
  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,436
    I use the 91% alcohol to start my lump. I buyi at Walmart in the pharmacy department. Make sure to get the 91% variety, not the 70%. I use a pencil to poke a small hole in the seal and squirt a little in a few places and light. Burns clean and starts the lump quickly.

    A wiggle rod is very helpful. I always use it after filling the BGE and then later if the fire doesn't get hot enough.

    When lighting, I assume you leave the top vent off and the bottom vent wide open with no screen?

    I use Royal Oak (Walmart, be sure to get 'made in USA') for my normal cooks and mix it with Wicked ZGood for long cooks.
    Barry Lancaster, PA
  • Brimo

    Might just be the lump. I got my large about a year ago and started with the BGE lump and had lots of the same problems you mentioned. After that bag was done, I switched to Royal Oak after seeing so many positives about it on this board.

    Ever since I haven't had any problems starting it up, reaching temp, etc. I use one BGE firestarter and that's all I need.
  • WessBWessB Posts: 6,937
    Must have been your dealers handling of the lump.....BGE lump is made and packaged by Royal Oak in Georgia....It's the exact same thing you're buying when you buy Royal Oak made in America..
  • PFSmithPFSmith Posts: 34
    I thought I had some damp Royal Oak last night - the bag had been out when drizzle started a couple of weeks ago and I quickly ran out and stashed it in my charcoal bin (a big plastic trash can with locking lid).

    The fire lit easily enough with some fire starters tucked in the lump, but it really struggled to get above 300. I finally hit it with my weed torch and the fire heated up but just a bit.

    I was perplexed. Then on a whim, I reached in with my ash tool and raked out the bottom of the Egg. I had not realized how much ash was in there just from my past couple of cooks.

    As soon as I cleaned out the ash, the temp shot up - quickly - to just over 500, which was about right for the amount of coal I was using.

    Moral of story? You need heat, airflow and charcoal to make a fire. If it's not starting, start working through the checklist. If you are applying heat to the coals, and they're not getting hot, you can (1) apply more heat, (2) make sure the coals are getting good air flow, and if those don't work (3) get a fresh bag of coals!

Sign In or Register to comment.