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Problems getting XL BGE to peak temps

For several years I had a medium BGE that I thoroughly enjoyed. I particularly liked searing steaks at very high temps, ~800 degrees. Last summer I sold my medium and bought a XL BGE. I'm having trouble getting it to these same high temps. I typically pile up the BGE charcoal in the center, and start it with my electric starter, but it gets nowhere close to 800 degrees. Even if has been completely cleaned out with the lower vent wide open and the upper vent wide open. I'm wondering, does the XL just require a lot more fuel (charcoal) to achieve these high searing temps?

Comments

  • C'mon, somebody help me out with this one...
  • YEMTreyYEMTrey Posts: 1,438
    I have an XL, and while I've not tried to get it to those temps yet, I have accidentally gotten it to 650/700 easily.
    I'm sure others will chime in with experience.
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    "Ain't nobody gonna find ya, unless you get yourself lost."
  • Max232Max232 Posts: 76
    edited January 2013

    I am a new xl owner also, i also have had a medium for the past year. i have only had the xl to 600 so far, but it does take alot of lump in that thing! from what iv'e read about them they have a ton of airflow, shouldn't be a problem getting to that temp, try more lump.

    Stereo egging w/ xl and med eggs! BBQ guru

     http://www.facebook.com/BeerGutsAndPorkButtsBbq

     

  • doubledouble Posts: 1,214
    I have no problem getting my XL up that high. I pretty much always have a full firebox though.
    Lynnwood WA
  • Yes, I think that's probably the issue.  I just need more fuel...

    The firebox on the XL BGE is really large (the whole thing is enormous), and it seems like a bit of a waste to light so much charcoal when you're just cooking a couple of steaks.  I know you can relight charcoal that hasn't completely burned, but it's never as good as the fresh stuff.

    Any other thoughts?  
  • doubledouble Posts: 1,214
    Always seems to relight fine for me. Maybe the type of lump? When I clean mine out I try to place some large pieces of lump on the bottom first then dump it in on top of that. The hope being to keep the air gaps open as much as possible.
    Lynnwood WA
  • tgklemantgkleman Posts: 194
    A big issue for any size egg is the airflow through the charcoal pile.  You will have a much better chance of getting to 800 ish temps if you use the biggest chunks of charcoal in the bag.  In my experience, a pile of small pieces of charcoal just will not get the egg to high temps.
  • TonyATonyA Posts: 542
    Think of it like this.. You wouldn't expect the same wood burning stove using the same amount of fuel to heat a 200 sqft room the same as a 700 sqft room. However, it's going to be about the same temperature right at the source.  

    What am i really saying. and while I am not speaking from experience.. I have to think you don't need the dome thermo of the xl to be 800 to sear steaks in the same manner as the medium. 
  • R2Egg2QR2Egg2Q Posts: 1,567
    If you are often only cooking a couple of steaks and want to save on lump you might consider getting a spider from the Ceramic Grill Store and a CI grid (one that would fit a Med or Large). Build a smaller pile of lump in the center and get the grid down closer to the lump for those nuclear temps.
    XL, Large, Small, Mini Eggs
    Bay Area, CA
  • StoaterStoater Posts: 292
    I have been up to 1000 on a few occassions where I forgot to check it no problem, its either your fuel, vents clogged or not enough fuel, fill it up to the first ring and you should be fine.
  • Max232Max232 Posts: 76
    edited January 2013

     

    USAFA90 said:
    Yes, I think that's probably the issue.  I just need more fuel...

    The firebox on the XL BGE is really large (the whole thing is enormous), and it seems like a bit of a waste to light so much charcoal when you're just cooking a couple of steaks.  I know you can relight charcoal that hasn't completely burned, but it's never as good as the fresh stuff.

    Any other thoughts?  


    Check out  these at cgs, i made some similar for mine.

    http://www.ceramicgrillstore.com/anglebrackets.html

    Stereo egging w/ xl and med eggs! BBQ guru

     http://www.facebook.com/BeerGutsAndPorkButtsBbq

     

  • StoaterStoater Posts: 292
    I light it using bog roll and peanut oil in 6 or 7 spots too.
  • StoaterStoater Posts: 292
    I have a lump reducing ring from the above link which works great but with that in place you probably won't get over 600.
  • Max232 said:

     

    USAFA90 said:
    Yes, I think that's probably the issue.  I just need more fuel...

    The firebox on the XL BGE is really large (the whole thing is enormous), and it seems like a bit of a waste to light so much charcoal when you're just cooking a couple of steaks.  I know you can relight charcoal that hasn't completely burned, but it's never as good as the fresh stuff.

    Any other thoughts?  


    Check out  these at cgs, i made some similar for mine.

    http://www.ceramicgrillstore.com/anglebrackets.html

    Yes, that looks like exactly what I need.  Something that will section off the bottom of the XL's firebox.  I'm going to try the other recommendations (larger pieces, more air flow, etc.), too.  I'll post my results the next time I sear steaks.  Thanks to all.
  • BigWaderBigWader Posts: 490

    agree with @r2egg2q that for searing steaks a good fire and searing close it won't really matter what your dome temp is. 

    On www.amazingribs.com under the ceramic grill reviews he only gives the Primo Oval top marks because it ships from factory with the ability to have 2 zone cooking.  Those angle brackets are pretty nice, but I would look at the hardward store for some expanded metal to make my own and have airflow available from the side as well as underneath.

     

    Large BGE

     

  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 8,689
    edited January 2013

    R2Egg2Q said:
    If you are often only cooking a couple of steaks and want to save on lump you might consider getting a spider from the Ceramic Grill Store and a CI grid (one that would fit a Med or Large). Build a smaller pile of lump in the center and get the grid down closer to the lump for those nuclear temps.
    Like this and what @stoater said. Use less lump and get a smaller grate on top of the fire box. You could use a weber grid if you don't want to spend the money on CI. You can even go caveman-style and stick the steak right on the coals.

  • YEMTreyYEMTrey Posts: 1,438
    Funny story:

    I had smoked some baby back ribs on the XL, about 5-6 hours or so.  Next time I wanted to smoke a 7lb pork shoulder, but my Egg was frozen shut.  So I started a fire in the ash box to try and get it warmed up to open and setup.  It was 15 degrees outside at the time, so I wasn't babysitting the fire.  Came back out and the XL was roaring at 650 degrees.  Too hot to take grid, setter out and check how much lump was left.  Got the temp down a bit and put the pork shoulder on.  Cooked on that same lump for another 9 hours.
    I was afraid the entire cook that I was going to run out of lump, or that since it was lit from the bottom that it would die out.  No problems what so ever.  The XL is so big, and allows for so much air flow, there were no problems at all.
    An XL Egg and Wicked Good lump is a beautiful combination.
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    "Ain't nobody gonna find ya, unless you get yourself lost."
  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,112
    edited January 2013
    I have not tried to get mine that hot, but to get it really hot, the coals need to be lit all over. 

    When I'm searing, I'm open dome as I don't want the ceramics to get too hot for the finishing of the steaks.  My coals are glowing red and producing plenty of heat to sear.   I haven't used a medium, but when I switched from my weber kettle, I did notice that the BGE grid was further away from the coals than I was use to. I now use the spider and a CI grid to close that gap. My suggestion is that you consider getting a spider so that you sear closer to the coals on the XL.
    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
  • Thanks everyone for the good advice.  I think I've got it now...  Have a nice weekend.
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