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Can't sustain heat in BGE

kopackopac Posts: 6
edited March 2012 in EggHead Forum

I am a newbie to EggHead-dom; I just bought the medium Egg last week and have been slowly conditioning it with low temp cooks all week. Sunday I tried to cook steaks and although I got the internal temperature up to 600 degrees, I could not get it to go any higher.  When I opened the lid to throw on two ribeyes, the temp dropped back to about 525 degrees and in the first "2 minute sear" it never recovered back to 600 degrees.  By the time I flipped them the second time the temperature hovered around 450.  The final 3 to 4 minute cook was done at about 450 with the temperature never going back up to 600 degrees.  Even fanning the lower grate didn't help (top grate was wide open). There was plenty of charcoal, heaped about 1 - 2 inches over the fire ring holes, but they were not blocked.  I followed instructions in the book to the letter but never reached a high sustainable temperature.

Help!  I keep hearing everyone can cook at 600-750, but don't know how they do it (and keep the temperature from dropping down)!

Does the type of lump charcoal matter?  I'm using Trader Joes lump.  SOS--I don't want to have buyers remorse!

 

 

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Comments

  • 1st-Do the boil test on your dome therm.212 degrees boiling.The more you cook on your egg the more you will love it,NO REMORSE!!!!!!!!!!

    LET'S EAT
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 15,696
    did you remove the daisy from the dome, take it completely off. a full egg with no ash buildup with the daisy on the ground and bottom vent wide open will eventually hit 1200 degrees if you wait long enough
  • stevesailsstevesails Posts: 935

    Were the coals still red hot? when you open dome the temp will drop, you just let all the hot air out, You then added a cold mass which could also affect the inside dome temp. 

    after you cooked the steaks, did you leave the cap off and the lower vent open to see if the temp went back to 600? how long was the dome temp at 600? If you want that 600 dome temp to last, you need to let the insides of the dome heat up. and then it will recover faster.

     

     

    XL   Walled Lake, MI

  • kopackopac Posts: 6

    Flamethrower, thanks for tip. I'll try it tonight.

    How do you keep temperature up or get it back once you open the lid?  I only opened lid for 20 seconds to put steaks on, and less than that to turn them?

  • kopackopac Posts: 6

    Fishlessman, I did not take the daisy off, just opened it all up. I'll try that next time too. Had no ash buildup.

    Stevesails, bottom coals were getting white but coals on top were red hot. I let it heat up for about 10 minutes, was that too long?  I'm not sure inside of dome had been at 600 for too long before I threw on the steaks.

    When I read that people are cooking ribs and prime rib for 2 to 3 hours, are they adding charcoal during that time?

  • Hi54puttyHi54putty Posts: 1,321
    The longest cook i have done was for 14 hours and I still had at least half of my (Wicked Good) charcoal left. I actually cooked on it twice more before adding any. Take the daisy wheel off. I don't use it unless I am cooking under 300 degrees.
  • stevesailsstevesails Posts: 935
    edited March 2012

    I have an XL, and only done a couple of those high heat cooks.  I would thnk  that 10 minutes was not long enough.  the coals are still hot, that is what you are doing the searing with.

     

    I bet the steaks came out great.

    I cook mine with a reverse sear. cook indirect at 400 till internal is 115 to 120, then put over the coals direct for 3 minutes a side.  I use the half moon raised grid for this with a half moon piece of ceramic.

     

    IMAG0002.jpg
    342 x 204 - 25K
    XL   Walled Lake, MI

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Fill it more. Up to the ring
    Ignore the dip in temp when you open the lid. The thermometer cooled, not the fire.

    On a medium or small, big steaks can start to limit air flow, and the temp will drop a bit. Plus, the thermo isnt getting jetted by the direct heat of the lump. But, the steaks ARE.

    Your lump is around 1200, 1500, even hotter. The dome thermometer temp when you are grilling direct is merely an indication of how much 1200 degree lump you are burning.

    Also, make sure you stir your lump and drop the ash, maybe clean a little from the lower vent to make sure it is wide open. Dont need to scrupulously clean it each time
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 15,696
    if its the same book i got with my egg the old rule was to light my egg with it after removing and mailing the warranty card.
    :)) filling the egg with lump, fill it up into the ring, later on you can use less but fill it up until you get used to how much certian cooks burn. not taking the daisy off is the most common mistake for not getting high temps so take it off when thats the goal. when you open the dome you dump hot air and it seems the temps have dropped, what actually happens is you add fresh air, the flow thru the lower vent increases and your fire is now even bigger, it just takes a while for the dome gage to come back to temp, dont worry about it.
  • kopackopac Posts: 6

    I LOVE this forum! Thanks everyone for your suggestions and tips.  This has been helpful.  Especially that last tip fishlessman!  I must have skipped over that instruction.

    By the way, the steaks came out great, but I was worried when I couldn't cook them as the instruction book said I should.

  • cortguitarmancortguitarman Posts: 1,945
    Wait until you try your first pizza at 600+ degrees! They are amazing, and fun.
    Mark Annville, PA
  • @SteveSails - Hopefully you are not throwing cold steak onto a hot grill.  First thing I have always found is to let my steaks warm up to room temp prior to cooking.  
  • stevesailsstevesails Posts: 935

    oh yes, i leave them on the conter,  much the the chagrin of my wife.

    chicken must be cooked nearly dry, and pork, cant be pink.

    XL   Walled Lake, MI

  • kopackopac Posts: 6

    I definitely had them at room temp.  Sounds like I did a few things wrong, To summarize what I have learned:

    Throw away/burn crappy green manual that came with BGE.

    Take off daisy altogether

    Add more charcoal

    Let dome heat up a bit longer.

    Test thermometer

    If all else fails, cook pizza

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,171
    +2 on taking off the daisy. I'm a little surprised you got the Egg as hot as you did with it on.

    If you are cooking direct, most of the heat hitting the food is IR, not hot gasses. The dome therm is registering the average gas temperature there, not what the bottom of meat at the lower position is getting. A few inches from the lump, it should be around 1800, if not higher.  When you have flames coming off clean burning lump, the hot spots are around 2500 because carbon monoxide is burning.

    Watch how blackened the meat is getting, not the dome. If the fire really is not going well, it just means you need a few 10s of seconds longer.
  • bigguy136bigguy136 Posts: 821
    And if everything else doesn't work, leaf blower in the lower vent for 30 seconds. I like to get all vent holes opened and the leaf blower will open everything up. As with anytime you are 600°+, watch when you open the lid for a flare-up/ eyebrow trimming.

    Big Lake, Minnesota

    Large BGE, Stokers, Adjustable Rig

  • njlnjl Posts: 749
    Leaf blower is probably overkill.  Just forcing some air into the bottom vent will make a difference.  i.e. a 12V DC fan (like from a desktop PC) mounted in a suitable sized project box, hung against the lower vent is how I cheat when I'm having trouble getting the egg lit or up to temp.  With a leaf blower, I'd be worried about ash and lots of hot embers blowing out the top.
  • RoseydaveRoseydave Posts: 5
    edited March 2012

    Make sure the fire grate is not installed upside down.  The larger tapered side of the hole in the grate should be on the bottom of the grate.  If the tapered hole is up the hole plugs with chunks of charcoal and ash (called blinding in perforated metal jargon) and dosen't allow air flow.  With the taper facing down..when the small chunk of coal gets through the top of the hole it falls into the ash pit and doesn't blind the hole. Installed correctly its much easier to maintain high temps.

    No need to overfill the charcoal.

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    No need to overfill, but he was underfilled
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • When I load charcoal I put quite a bit in..just so I don't have to refill as often (lazy or efficient:)...but I get 700 degree's even when its not filled with good air flow.

  • ronthorontho Posts: 108
    Leaf blower is probably overkill.  Just forcing some air into the bottom vent will make a difference.  i.e. a 12V DC fan (like from a desktop PC) mounted in a suitable sized project box, hung against the lower vent is how I cheat when I'm having trouble getting the egg lit or up to temp.  With a leaf blower, I'd be worried about ash and lots of hot embers blowing out the top.
    I use a hampster on a wheel with 4 playing cards conneced. Smoked hampster isnt too bad and keeps the heat up!
    :D
  • Is that a little ham?  ...thought that was a hamette
  • ronthorontho Posts: 108
    Not sure, tastes like chicken
  • Roseydave 8:38PM Quote

    Posts: 3

    Make sure the fire grate is not installed upside down. The larger tapered side of the hole in the grate should be on the bottom of the grate. If the tapered hole is up the hole plugs with chunks of charcoal and ash (called blinding in perforated metal jargon) and dosen't allow air flow. With the taper facing down..when the small chunk of coal gets through the top of the hole it falls into the ash pit and doesn't blind the hole. Installed correctly its much easier to maintain high temps.

    Wished someone would have told me this when I got my egg. The dealer had assembled my egg and mine was upside down. I recently looked at it and through a little simple logic, flipped it thinking exactly what you said, a funnel shape will plug with ash and small pieces of lump. Thank you for confirming what I thought. I have had no problems with heat or sustaining a long cook since flipping mine.
    "I'm to drunk to taste this chicken!" - Colonel Sanders.
    Memphis, TN
  • I supply perforated metal to aggregate mines...same issue with blinding in industrial equipment if its installed upside down. Basic physics.  Surprised the BGE folks don't say it in their instructions.

     

  • It made all the difference on my low and slow cooks
    "I'm to drunk to taste this chicken!" - Colonel Sanders.
    Memphis, TN
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Taper up or down makes no difference. That's done for ease of casting. The size of lump which plugs the hole is the same whther the taper is up or down.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • RoseydaveRoseydave Posts: 5
    edited March 2012

    Try it you will be surprised. 

    Like packing trash into a funnel...if the tapered hole is installed wrong side up it will "blind" the hole...ash and coal packed into the hole solid..and that will prevent air flow. This even happens with a straight sided cylindrical hole. Turn the fire grate upside down..tapered holes on the bottom ..it makes a difference... you'll  be surprised.  A conical (tapered) hole..is used to prevent blinding.

    (It is not rocket science - basic knowledge in industry..if you want a more technical explanation google aggregate screen plate.)

  • I think the key is you said you let the BGE heat up for 10 minutes. I don't think you really had internal temp at 600 after 10 minutes. You just had flames licking your thermometer.
  • tazcrashtazcrash Posts: 1,747
    FWIW Last night I noticed my dome got up to 500, but when I checked my Polder Grill Surface thermometer, it was a couple hundred degrees lower. I needed to leave things be longer, but being a newbie I was paranoid about getting the temp too hot on the first few cooks. 

    Bx - > NJ ->TX!!! 
    All to get cheaper brisket! 
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