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I am curious, what do you cook at 650? that often?
About every 3rd cook I take my shop vac and clean out the ash....take the used lump out and clean the firebox. I put fresh lump,in, then replace the used.....I've never had a problem lighting or reaching temps of 750+ .
I cook pizza @ 650 all the time (like a commercial pizza oven) with mine. Mine won't hit 650 with daisy wheel on even if opened all the way. I take the wheel completely off and the grill will go to 1000 (ask my first gasket).