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Going through lump fast

robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,783
edited June 2012 in EggHead Forum
Over the past few attempts to cook on the egg I have been going through allot of lump.  I cooked ribs for 4 hours ~ 250-275. Lump was gone at 4 hours and I had to move the ribs to the gaser to finish.  Same with a turbo butt I did a month back.

Yesterday I cooked chicken wings (While they came our great).  I cooked the wings at 300-350 for ~1.5 hours and I went through a whole fire box full of new Royal Oak lump and 4 decent (smaller than a baseball) pieces of apple chunks.  I had to remove the big adjustable rig and add more lump to finish the cook.

Yesterday was ~1/2 bag of the Royal Oak. I had 2 levels of small (buffalo style size) wings/legs in the rig. ~20 per level.

I have tested the done thermometer in boiling water and it is right on just over 200. 

When I cook I hand pile the lump in the firebox up to the fire ring. 
Making sure there is room for air to flow around the lump.  I have the
big adjustable rig with the ceramic oval stone as the indirect
deflector.  I have that on the lowest setting. I also have the high-que grate on the bottom.  I light the lump with a Mapp torch and 3 spots.  I leave the Egg wide open to make sure I have a fire started.  Once I see that and get some white smoke I then close the Egg with the lower vent wide open and the DW to the side and open.  I see allot of white (not a good smell) smoke come out of the top as the temp slowly rises.  Yesterdays target was 350.  So as the temp hit 275-300 I started closing the lower vent to ~1 inch open.  This got me a 300 degree reading after ~1/2 hour and only the sweet (good smell) smoke coming out.

My thoughts are if the dome thermometer was way off and I was cooking with a higher temp then the food would be hotter/done faster.  I tested the chicken legs and they were only at 140-150 after almost 2 hours.  That does not make sense if the temps was higher than 350.  Even the ribs a few weeks ago were not over done after 4 hours at 275 and I was out of lump.  yesterdays total burn time form lighting to prior to reloading was 2 1/2 hours for a full firebox.  Something does not seem right or I am missing something or the heat is going elsewhere.  At this rate I would never be able to do an overnight cook of a brisket/butt.

Any ideas?  Anyone in NY want to come over and show me what I am doing wrong or show what I am supposed to do?

_______________________________________________________________
LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,


Garnerville, NY
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Comments

  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 6,422
    edited June 2012
    I have read your post a couple of times and cannot come up with anything that should contribute to the high lump usage.  One thing to consider, do you see the same rate of lump consumption when cooking direct as well?  And your post implies this is a new issue-if nothing has changed then even more confusing.  Wish I had something to offer here.
    Louisville
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  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,783
    Only did 2 direct cooks (Spatchcock chicken).  Only burned for 1.5 hours and there was some lump left but not allot.  Did a flank steak that I burned lump for ~1-2 hours.

    You may be on to something though.  I first time I did ribs (first cook) I use the plate setter.  These past few cooks I have been using the Big Adjustable Rig stone instead.  The Rig's stone does take up more space (blocking air flow) than the plate setter.  I have the Rig's stone on the bottom of the rig (the bottom bars then the oval metal ring than the drip pan.  Is that too low maybe and blocking the heat too much?


    BTW - I will say one thing the new bad of Royal Oak has allot of nice large pieces of lump compared to the BGE bad that was mostly golf ball sized pieces.

    _______________________________________________________________
    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,


    Garnerville, NY
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  • FxLynchFxLynch Posts: 433
    The only thing I could suggest is that you might be letting the coals burn too long before closing the Egg.  It's a shot in the dark, but it's all I can think of.  After you light it, how long are you letting it burn before closing the lid?  I"m thinking maybe you are getting too many of the coals going.  For indirects I only light in the center and let it burn maybe 10 min then close the lid and let it come up to temp.

    Good luck finding an answer to the problem, it has to be something since you should be able to many hours on a full firebox.

    Frank
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  • gte1gte1 Posts: 376
    I agree for low temp oooks light only one place. I have noticed personally that for higher temp indirect cooks the AR with oval stone burns more lump than plate setter.

    George
    George
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  • gumbo_billgumbo_bill Posts: 35
    Possibly if you have a big air leak,  and you think you shut off the airflow when the cook is over, the air leak could burn up the rest of your lump when you thought the bge was off.  Why not check the temp 3 or 4 hours after cook is complete and see if it has cooled down?
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  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,783
    After a cook I have seen the Egg still around 200 about an hour afterwards but would need to check longer.

    I know there is no lump because the heat drops and there is no more lump in the firebox.  I have to reload it to finish the cook after ~2.5 hours.

    I never see smoke coming from around the gaskets.  I do however see smoke coming out the bottom air intake once in a while.

    Also yesterdays cook at 300-350 I had the bottom vent about an inch open and I had to keep the top DW open allot.  If I closed it the temps would drop out.  I am thinking I have the AR stone too low and choking the airflow.  Could the heat be coming out the bottom vent instead?

    When lighting I have the lid opened for 10 minutes max.  It does take ~30 minutes to come up to temp with the AR stone in.  and it is very slow to increase the temps.

    _______________________________________________________________
    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,


    Garnerville, NY
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  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 6,422
    Hopefully someone with the AR rig (not me) will come along and shed some insights-BTW-what size BGE?
    Louisville
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  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,783
    large

    _______________________________________________________________
    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,


    Garnerville, NY
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  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,517
    I'm stumped. Nothing you have reported fits anything I have experienced.

    Cowboy lump used to burn fast and hot, but nothing like what you describe.  Has it all been from bag of RO? I suppose there is some remote chance that it was a bag of the worst lump ever.

    Is it possible the Hi-Q grate is making the lump burn faster? Not likely. It should ensure a hot fire, but only if the bottom vent is open wide enough. Sounds like your vent settings are in the standard range.

    AR stone absorbing a lot of heat? Possible, but the times you are having to get to cooking temperature are only a tiny bit longer than using the standard platesetter. You might be loosing 1/2 hour of burn time, but 8, 10, 12...

    A combination of the above. Hmm, only way to find out is go back to base. Use the standard grate, and cook without a ceramic deflector. Just a sheet pan or pie plate. See what that does.


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  • rickHPrickHP Posts: 49



    Also yesterdays cook at 300-350 I had the bottom vent about an inch open and I had to keep the top DW open allot.  If I closed it the temps would drop out.  I am thinking I have the AR stone too low and choking the airflow.  Could the heat be coming out the bottom vent instead?

    I don't know the answer to this question, but for comparison, I did a long cook yesterday on my large egg at about 300 dome temp with the BGE platesetter, and I was keeping the bottom vent about 1/4-1/2 inch open and the DW almost closed.

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  • spotco2spotco2 Posts: 61
    It sounds like you're choking the circulation of the heat with the stone.

    If I've got 2 or 3 chunks of woods in my large I will get a lot of smoke coming out the bottom vent as well as any other place that's leaking air, so that's not a big worry. It's actually a sign that air is circulating around the firebox and dome like it should.

    Do you have a plate setter? If so, then try it instead of your stone for your next cook. I use mine with the adjustable rig and everything fits fine.

    For comparison on cooks (and why we all have to figure out how to adjust our own heat) I cooked 20 lbs of baby backs Saturday, indirect with fresh red bag Royal Oak lump. Filled the firebox up, lit a paper towel in the center, let it flame for about a minute and started stacking lump on it. After about another minute, inserted plate setter and rack, closed lid and left bottom vent & DW open for about 10 minutes to get up to 200°. Close bottom vent down to about 1" and DW almost completely shut. Regulated out to about 225°. After 4 hours bumped up to 350° for about 30 minutes by opening the bottom vent to about 1.5" and DW a little more.

    My lump lasted about 6 hours before I had to pull the plate setter and reload to continue cooking the second batch.

    So, it does sounds like you are consuming lump quickly or at least quicker than some. I never light more than the center for indirect cooks.
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  • AirwolfAirwolf Posts: 76
    I must be doing something wrong, I did a brisket on Saturday.  Started lighting the egg about 9am, put the brisket on at 9:45am and pulled the brisket off at 9:45pm.  So about 12 hours on that, I also had plenty lump left over to run the egg at about 500 degrees yesterday for a little over an hour.  Have not had a chance to see how much lump is left in there, but I am sure I would have enough to do burgers or something.

    For my low-n-slow, I filed the outside edges of the firebox up to the crack between it and the fire ring, I then mound it up slightly in the center.
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  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 6,422
    @ Airwolf-nothing wrong-that's the beauty of the BGE-you can load it up with lump and "set and forget" for low&slows-I have LBGE and have easily gone 22+ hrs on one load with several hours left and that's a short cook for some around here. TNW did a 48 hour one-load test run a while back. 
    Louisville
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  • spotco2spotco2 Posts: 61
    What lump are y'all using?
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  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,783
    I was using the BGE lump.  And this weekend I switched to the Royal Oak Red (They supposedly make the BGE lump).  The only difference I see is the Royal oak has much larger pieces compared to the BGE bag.

    _______________________________________________________________
    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,


    Garnerville, NY
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  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,783
    Spotco - The AR will fin inside the BGE plate setter?

    _______________________________________________________________
    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,


    Garnerville, NY
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  • AirwolfAirwolf Posts: 76
    I am using Royal Oak as well. 

    @lousubcap I know I am not doing anything wrong, I was more commenting on how the original  poster was saying they cannot seem to go more than four hours on a load.


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  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,783
    If the DW is wide open and the bottom is opened a little would that stall the fire or affect the dome temp to be not as hot?  Theory is the heat is escaping?  When I tried closing the DW the temp drops fast.

    _______________________________________________________________
    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,


    Garnerville, NY
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  • Hi54puttyHi54putty Posts: 1,572
    I would vote for big air leak.
    XL,L,S 
    Winston-Salem, NC 
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  • AirwolfAirwolf Posts: 76
    I was running into an 'issue' yesterday where I could not get temps over about 300 with the bottom vent open almost all the way and the daisy wheel on, but open all the way.  Once I took the DW off the temps started climbing, so I just left it off and adjusted with the bottom vent only. ::shrugs::  Was able to get it settled at 500 dome temp for baking potatoes using a plate setter legs up with the grate.  I was aiming for a grate temp of 450 or so, that is why I took the dome to 500.  Taters turned out great!


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  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,783
    I would vote for big air leak.
    If there was a big air leak wouldn't there be smoke coming out of it?  Where would it leak from?  There is no visible smoke coming out of the gaskets.  The gasket still looks good and not burned up yet.

    _______________________________________________________________
    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,


    Garnerville, NY
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  • Hi54puttyHi54putty Posts: 1,572
    Good questions and I don't know the answer. I have a new Small, used a lot of charcoal on a butt and couldn't figure out why. I did steaks the next night and when I tried to put the hot fire out, smoke started pouring out from everywhere. Wasn't sealing all the way around but I couldn't tell with the low and slow.

    Just an idea. May be completely unrelated. I have never had any kind of problem like that with my Large.
    XL,L,S 
    Winston-Salem, NC 
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  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,347
    hard to think the problem is an air leak.  more airflow = more heat = hotter temps.  If he can hold temps steady, the source of the air is irrelevant.  If the coal disappeared after he shut it down, an air leak would be the prime suspect. 

    What size is the stone you are using?  There should be at least a couple inches between the stone and the egg all the way around.  If the stone is too big the heat may draft past the food and out the top.  Try using the stone up higher in the egg to increase the space..
    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
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  • uncledaveuncledave Posts: 87
    when you say you are hand placing the lump and leaving room for air flow are you building a pyramid. You need to cover the vent holes in the fire ring with lump. Just dump the bag in a fill the hole egg up to the top of the fire ring.
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  • uncledaveuncledave Posts: 87
    when you say you are hand placing the lump and leaving room for air flow are you building a pyramid. You need to cover the vent holes in the fire ring with lump. Just dump the bag in and fill the whole egg up to the top of the fire ring.

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  • twlangantwlangan Posts: 293
    FWIW, I started using a Hi Que grate a few weeks ago and I seem to burn through lump a fair amount quicker than I did with the stock grate. I mostly bought it for pizza cooks - wanted to get the temp up quicker - which it does. But my very first cook with it was a low and slow pork butt and I sure seemed to burn up the lump quick. I know I could not get the 18-20 hrs that some on here have gotten on low and slows. I am using Royal Oak as well. Obviously, we see more small pieces of lump falling through the wire grate, but not enough to account for the extra that I am using. I have left the Hi Que in. Thought about replacing it with stock grate for anything other than pizzas, but I do pizzas fairly often and to be honest, I'm too lazy to dig all my old lump out to switch the grate!  LOL!!

    On the plus side, it sure is nice not having any issues with ash build-up choking down the air flow. I rarely stir my old lump anymore since it just seems to break it up causing more to fall through the grate. I just add new on top the old and light it. The ash works its way down and falls through like magic.
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  • It has to be the start up fire and then leaving the lid open for so long.

     

    Test your system...try lighting in one area, adding your wood then closing the lid.. leave bottom vent open about 1.5 to 2" with dmft open... let bge come up to near cooking temp...then begin to close off lower air vent til stabilized...adjust top vent to exact temp...after cooking close bottom vent and put green cap on top...when cool check to see how much lump is left...

    what your describing sounds like what happens to me when I'm doing an open lid cook...Lots of air means lots of lump will burn quickly...let us know what happens

    Rockwall Texas, just east of Dallas where the humidity and heat meet! Life is too short to get caught in the fast lane behind somebody slow!

    XL, LG, Sm, Mini and Weber for drink holder

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  • by adding wood I was talking about pecan or whatever you use for smoke...

    Rockwall Texas, just east of Dallas where the humidity and heat meet! Life is too short to get caught in the fast lane behind somebody slow!

    XL, LG, Sm, Mini and Weber for drink holder

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  • GarlicGarlic Posts: 40
    @robnybbq, could you post pictures of your setup before you light it?
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  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,783
    I will post pics next time.  I am planning to cook some salmon Thursday night.  Wont be indirect but I can still run the same lighting procedure.

    My thoughts are still if the fire was burning more(more air) than the temps should be allot hotter and the small wings I just tried to cook should have been scorched and reduced to burnt offerings.

    I wish I had a separate probe to measure the dome temp as maybe the dome thermometer does not work right after 200 degrees.  I am still debating on which to get as I may just get a CyberQ and call it a day.  But if I cant keep the lump going then whats the point of doing a low and slow so there would be no need for the CyberQ.

    I leave that lid open for 10 minutes max and there is hardly any fire going.  it takes at least 30 minutes to get the Egg up to 300 degrees (which is another issue I have for weeknight cooks).  I have only seen it hit 400 once.  From a few pictures of others low and slow configurations they have the bottom vent open ~1/8 inch and the dmft almost closed.  If I did that (tired) the fire will go out.

    When I am doing the indirect and I have the dmft 1/2 open and the holes wide open.  If I close the dmft and just leave the holes open the fire will choke - even with a 1 inch bottom opening.

    When I load the Egg I fill the whole firebox with lump.  Larger lump on the bottom adn all around mixed with some smoking chunks.  Then smaller pieces of lump to fill in all around.

    I switched to the high-que grate as the original lump (BGE bag) had all golf ball sized pieces that would burn up and plug the OEM grate.  I had to make a wiggle stick to clear them out after a few hours.  I can put that back in to see if the larger lump in the Royal Oak bag makes a difference.

    The stone is the 13x17 oval that is sitting basically right on top of the fire ring.  There is gaps on both sides but maybe not enough?  I emailed CGS to see what they say about this as I am guessing on how its supposed to be setup.

    I looked last night and there is lump leftover inside the egg now form after the reload to finish the cook (30 minutes) and then I shut the bottom vent and the green cap on top.  If there was an air leak there would be no lump left - right?

    _______________________________________________________________
    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,


    Garnerville, NY
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