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Saving Charcoal From Burning Away

Doug0935Doug0935 Posts: 4
edited September 2012 in EggHead Forum
I purchased my first BGE in July and I opted for the Extra Large Egg. As much as I love the Egg, I find I'm going through an awful amount of charcoal. Steaks for example only take about 12 mins or so to cook and then I sadly watch my charcoal burn away even though I have closed off the damper and put the ceramic lid on the chimney. Has anyone any suggestions on how I can save this valuable resource that is not exactly cheap. 

Thanks for any and all input

Doug

Comments

  • JWBurnsJWBurns Posts: 334
    On smaller cooks get the lump reducing rings or angle brackets from CGS

    http://www.ceramicgrillstore.com/
  • Wow simple solution. Thanks for the help Sir.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,258
    get a small, get or make a lump reducer, (on my large i some times put a grate under the fire ring, lump on the grate, another grate on top of the ring for the steaks or burgers). another option is to put a smaller grate right on the lump and sear on that
  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 6,084
    edited September 2012
    Ah, the classic problem - You have a big honkin' 6.2 liter V8 truck to pull the boat and family off to Vacation nirvana, but it uses so much gas to run to the store for a bag of lump. 
    Well for the truck there is no real solution, but for your XLBGE there are some things you can do as noted by fishlessman and JWBurns. 

    If you are going to cook for only 12 minutes or so, build a smaller fire, no need to top her up only to try and snuff it out. My MBGE is pretty fuel efficient, being the compact of the family (assuming the mini is the "smart-car" and the small is the sub-compact), but I've learned I can cook burgers or a steak, chop or chicken breast with about a third to a quarter of a lump load. I start to lose fire about the time I'm ready to eat. 
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 12,251
    You'll definitely save on lump if you use the lump reducing rings.  It shouldn't, however, make any difference on how much burns after putting the cap on and closing the damper.  The fire keeps burning until the oxygen is used up, no relationship to the amount of lump that's in there.  Maybe because you're watching it (opening it up to see if it's still burning).  Until the lump cools down, it'll relight if you open up the lid.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • tazcrashtazcrash Posts: 1,847
    You'll definitely save on lump if you use the lump reducing rings.  It shouldn't, however, make any difference on how much burns after putting the cap on and closing the damper.  The fire keeps burning until the oxygen is used up, no relationship to the amount of lump that's in there.  Maybe because you're watching it (opening it up to see if it's still burning).  Until the lump cools down, it'll relight if you open up the lid.
    +1 or maybe your lid isn't sitting as flush as it could.
    Bx - > NJ ->TX!!! 
    All to get cheaper brisket! 
  • DonWWDonWW Posts: 258
    I have an XL and following a 1 hour spatchcock chicken on Saturday and 15 minute steaks on Sunday, I still have a substantial amount of lump left over.  Easily enough for two more small cooks.  +1 with Nola, make sure that you have a tight fit with your dome.  Either check for leaking smoke during your next cook, or do the dollar bill trick (lay it on the gasket, close the lid and pull: it should have resistance).
    XL BGE.  Dallas, Texas.
  • I have a LBGE and have noticed an increase in my consumption of lump.  I attribute this to my gasket being fried letting air in and extending the time to extinguish the fire.
    Simi Valley, California
  • dlk7dlk7 Posts: 983

    There are a couple of things that may cause the higher lump use.  I only light enough lump to cover the amount of grate space needed.  If just doing one or two steaks, I light in one spot and it won't spread out very much - kinda works like a reducing ring.  By using lowering your grate closer to the lump you don't have to burn as hot at the dome level because the lump is much hotter at 1 inch away from your cook than 5 or 6 inches.

    Two XL BGEs - So Happy!!!!

    Waunakee, WI

  • SmokeyPittSmokeyPitt Posts: 5,137



    DonWW said:
    I have an XL and following a 1 hour spatchcock chicken on Saturday and 15 minute steaks on Sunday, I still have a substantial amount of lump left over.  Easily enough for two more small cooks.  +1 with Nola, make sure that you have a tight fit with your dome.  Either check for leaking smoke during your next cook, or do the dollar bill trick (lay it on the gasket, close the lid and pull: it should have resistance).

    +2...also with the dollar bill test (this probably goes without saying)...test in several places.  Chances are it will have plenty of resistance in one spot but be loose in another (the dome is not level when closed).   If this is the case- loosen the bands on the bolts and re-tighten trying to make sure you keep the bands straight.  An extra set of hands really helps for this ;)



    Which came first the chicken or the egg?  I egged the chicken and then I ate his leg wing. 
    2014 Wing King's Apprentice
  • Who assembled the egg?

    My actuary says I'm dead.
  • Yeah, dude, you have air getting in as you don;t have a good seal either on the gasket , mating between the lid & base or with the vent below.  I can cook well over a month on one bag.  When I close the lid at the end of a cook, there is no change on my lump.  The egg stays hot but that's because of how wonderfully it holds it's heat....but the lump isn't still burning away.
    I love my egg.
  • My Egg was assembled by the Dealer and I have done the dollar test and the gasket is fine, so the only place it can be getting air is from the chimney. Now its pretty obvious that the ceramic stack stopper is anything but air tight.

    Doug
  • Doug0935 said:
    My Egg was assembled by the Dealer and I have done the dollar test and the gasket is fine, so the only place it can be getting air is from the chimney. Now its pretty obvious that the ceramic stack stopper is anything but air tight.

    Doug
    some folks have applied leftover gasket material to the neck of the lid or rain cap or daisy wheel.  Usually they have done this because their rain cap or daisy wheel fits loosely and they were afraid of it falling off when they open the lid. 

    If you're that concerned about the air, you can do something like that.  I've seen where folks have applied the gasket material around the circumference of the neck, as well as others who have applied it to the top edge of the neck, so I think either way would work, depending on the fit of your setup. 

    HTH,
    HH
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • Doug0935 said:
    My Egg was assembled by the Dealer and I have done the dollar test and the gasket is fine, so the only place it can be getting air is from the chimney. Now its pretty obvious that the ceramic stack stopper is anything but air tight.

    Doug
    Oh great, another place for a gasket that will burn out..... or maybe you have finally found a use for those wool felt BGE gaskets....
    Maybe we could get @nolaegghead to run a test with his leaf blower starter, get some smoke going and see if he force air around the ceramic cap, or maybe just see how much vertical he could get.  
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 12,251
    Doug0935 said:
    My Egg was assembled by the Dealer and I have done the dollar test and the gasket is fine, so the only place it can be getting air is from the chimney. Now its pretty obvious that the ceramic stack stopper is anything but air tight.

    Doug
    Oh great, another place for a gasket that will burn out..... or maybe you have finally found a use for those wool felt BGE gaskets....
    Maybe we could get @nolaegghead to run a test with his leaf blower starter, get some smoke going and see if he force air around the ceramic cap, or maybe just see how much vertical he could get.  
    Hahahaha....I have a one-handed leaf blower.  The other wields a beer.

    Throw in some wet wood chips on the hot coals right before you snuff the fire.  If it's still burning, you should be able to see where the smoke is leaking out. 

    I'm not totally convinced that you really need a tight fit on the lid and top to snuff it.  Lots of people here report no problems snuffing the fire with no gaskets and gaps, and even leaving the bottom damper open (I've done that). 

    It might be you're using your charcoal during the cook and it's snuffing fine.  (egg stays hot for hours).

    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr., smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • An air leak can burn up your charcoal when you shut down the egg.  Do the dollar bill test to see if you have air leaks
  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,271
    I don't fill the egg when doing steaks and quick cooks unless I'm going to need all of the grate.  I'll light no more than 2 chimneys worth of coals and spread them over half the grill.  I cook over that half.  If you fill the egg and bring all that coal up to searing temp, you will burn through a lot more lump.  You can buy the reducing ring, use a piece of angle iron, or simply push the hot coals to one side with the ash tool. 

    The only time I completely fill the egg is for cooks of 8 hrs or more.  The next time I cook, I most likely won't need to add lump and continue to burn the left over coals. 


    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
  • bigphilbigphil Posts: 1,380
    i just got my XL on saturday and dumped a bag of RO in it and about a pound of what was left in another bag so i'll say just about ten pounds total i've cooked on it every night since saturday and still have plenty of lump to cook tomorrow night am sure . all my cooks this week hd the egg going at least a hour each night average 
    Large Big Green Egg , XL Big Green Egg . BBQ Guru, Weber Kettle, Weber Q grill for road trips.
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