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Temperature Control Problems.

So, I used my Egg some last summer, and everything seemed to work great, even cooking a Thanksgiving Turkey.  This year, though, I'm having problems getting the temperature up.  First time I tried to vertical roast a chicken, I couldn't get the temperature up above about 250.  This last Saturday, I was using the Egg to bake potatoes and grill pork chops because the power went down for three days.  Got the Egg up to 400 with much stirring of the lump charcoal, but then I put the plate setter it and we couldn't get it past 370/380, and that was an hour and a half after the plate setter went in (and the plate setter was warm enough that, when we took it out and put it in my Dad's Webber to grill the chops right over the coals, it was smoking.)  Now, I've heard that every time someone has problems getting the Egg to temp or keeping it there, the problem is airflow.  The plate setter seems to be messing with the airflow more this year than last, for some reason.  In case it makes a difference, I use Wicked Good natural lump charcoal, recommended for its neutral flavor (as opposed to the oak/hickory blend of BGE charcoal.)  A few theories floating around the house. . . that maybe small lumps of charcoal are caught in the bottom of the Egg and impeding airflow is the most popular.  Anyway, need some advice on how to get my fires hotter.  I'd really like to try pizzas this summer.

Comments

  • ThatgrimguyThatgrimguy Posts: 1,438
    edited June 2013
    I would start by dropping your thermometer into boiling water and make sure it's reading about 212. 

    If it's not a thermo problem, remove all the ash, and coal and take the firebox out and make sure there is nothing clogging any openings. Then try again.
    Biloxi, MS
    XL / Small

    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt
  • YEMTreyYEMTrey Posts: 2,559
    So, you haven't used this Egg in several months?  Is it left uncovered?  Is this lump left over from last season as well?
    XL and a Mini Max Egg in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • RV10FlyerRV10Flyer Posts: 135
    Also make sure your fire is well established before closing the lid or adding the plate setter.  I had the same problem when I used a single starter cube in the middle and did not let the fire spread enough.  I've had the oposite problem as well.  I got distracted and my fire went nuclear when I wanted 350.  With a little practice you can dial it in with ease.


    North Texas

    XL BGE

  • ErikModiErikModi Posts: 26
    Yeah, the lump is left from last season, but it's been covered the entire time (Minnesota winters are harsh, but not THAT harsh.)  Thanks for the tip about checking the Egg's thermometer, I'll look into that.
  • TexanOfTheNorthTexanOfTheNorth Posts: 3,910
    ErikModi said:
    Yeah, the lump is left from last season, but it's been covered the entire time (Minnesota winters are harsh, but not THAT harsh.)  Thanks for the tip about checking the Egg's thermometer, I'll look into that.
    Probably got damp. Get a new bag(s) of lump.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, "spa-Peggy" is kind of like spaghetti. I'm not sure what Peggy does different, if anything. But it's the one dish she's kind of made her own.
    ____________________
    Aurora, Ontario, Canada
  • jlsmjlsm Posts: 860
    Also, have you taken it completely apart to clean it well? You might have small pieces stuck in the holes or ash between the egg and fire box. I also highly recommend the HighQue grate. 
    *******
    Owner of a large and a beloved mini in Philadelphia
  • ErikModiErikModi Posts: 26
    HighQue grate?  Never heard of that.

    The charcoal seems dry, and it certainly burns.  It has been pretty rainy, but the gasket itself is still dry, so I'm not sure how much moisture has gotten into the charcoal itself.
  • boatbumboatbum Posts: 1,273

    Damp lump usually dry's out in the heat.  Have had damp lump, put some dry in with it and it all worked.

    I would look towards airflow.   Remove the charcoal, clean out the firebox completely.   Make sure all of the holes in the firebox have no obstructions.

    Clean out the ash underneath just in case there is a pile or huge build up.   Note if I am doing a long cook, I typically do this every time.  If it is a short hotter cook, I just stir the existing charcoal to knock the ash off and through before lighting.

    Your theory of small chunks in the holes obstructing airflow is probably it.

    That should be it...

    Cookin in Texas
  • SmokeyPittSmokeyPitt Posts: 7,082
    All great tips so far.  I would definitely give it a cleaning if it has been sitting.  I also recommend the High-que upgrade:


    For $30 it makes the egg much more forgiving with ash build up, damp lump, etc. 


    Which came first the chicken or the egg?  I egged the chicken and then I ate his leg. 

  • pkaboo1pkaboo1 Posts: 112

    Small stuf at the bottom.

    take the EGG apart, clean it out, small stuff may clog up the air holes

    Wet lump may also be the problem.

    Snellville,Ga.
  • KennyLeeKennyLee Posts: 700
    Whenever I've had temp issues, it was because I hadn't given the Egg a thorough cleaning, and by that I mean pulling everything out and getting after the inside with a shop vac and putting everything back in with fresh lump/wood chunks and ensuring the grate is completely clear of ash or small pieces.  I now do it at least every 2nd or 3rd cook and always before a longer cook with no issues.  I'm betting that is your culprit.

    LBGE

    Cedar table w/granite top

    Ceramic Grillworks two-tier swing rack

    Perpetual cooler of ice-cold beer

  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    Yes damp lump will burn, and like damp charcoal will burn too, but very slowly and not produce much heat.  Now this is going to break the bank!!   Empty ALL your lump and dump it in the garbage.  While you are cleaning out the old damp lump, clean your fire grate and ash compartment.  Install the clear and cleaned fire grate, and start with a new store bought bag of lump -- ANY lump manufacturer -- but fresh out of the store.  Fill up your egg to the top of the fire grate and light it....   Damp lump cannot be identified by it's look or feel -- it absorbs moisture and just will never burn right.  Don't try to use it -- throw it away.  Remember ---  air(oxygen) and fuel(lump) and a heat source is all you need for a hot fire.  When any one of them are missing -- your egg is shuting down(decreasing in temperature).
  • ErikModiErikModi Posts: 26
    Okay.  I do always remove whatever ash is in the bottom before lighting it up, but I haven't pulled the charcoal out and cleaned it since my first cookout.  Guess that's on the plan for as soon as the weather dries up.
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    Lump gets moisture in it from condensation,.  Condensation occurs when something cold is placed in a warm surrounding.  Think how many times the lump in your egg, and in storage too, has been subjected to large changes in temperature.  And the moisture is going to collect in the center of the lump.  Lump stored outside for a winter season - even though it has been kept covered will collect moisture.
  • RV10FlyerRV10Flyer Posts: 135

    I left a half used bag of RO lump on the porch last week.  Of course it rained that night.  The next day I picked up the bag and the bottom fell out due to the paper bag being wet.  The lump and a gush of water poured out onto the concrete.  I grabbed a small shovel, threw the lump into the Egg, and put the weed burner to it.  To my surprise, it fired up and worked fine for cooking brats and burgers.  :-O


    North Texas

    XL BGE

  • ErikModiErikModi Posts: 26
    I'm still unable to get my temperature to go up.  I've been managing to get it up to 500/515, but as soon as I close the lid, it starts dropping again.  What am I doing wrong?
  • dlk7dlk7 Posts: 1,008

    When you pulled the firebox and fire ring out of your egg, was there a lot of buildup behind them?  When you put them backin did you relocate the firebox with the opening centered with the front screen?  Is your screen clear?  If you open the bottom vent and the pull the screen out of the way so it is a straigh pass through does that make a difference?

    Two XL BGEs - So Happy!!!!

    Waunakee, WI

  • Very strange. if I just forget to put the chimney wheel on quickly enough I will be 700+ before I know it.  I would try different lumps. 
  • ErikModiErikModi Posts: 26
    I'm using Wicked Good, which I've had recommended to me.  I didn't completely take the Egg apart to clean it, just scooped out the charcoal to get the lumps out of the holes.  Do I need to take it apart?
  • KennyLeeKennyLee Posts: 700
    edited July 2013
    If your insides are clean (and by that I mean like my post prior where you pull the insides out...inner ceramic, fire ring, charcoal grate.....and shop vac it good which takes just a couple minutes) with no ash buildup and your opening is oriented toward the front in line with the screen/opening on the outside, the only other thing I can say is the lump's no good.

    LBGE

    Cedar table w/granite top

    Ceramic Grillworks two-tier swing rack

    Perpetual cooler of ice-cold beer

  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 2,739

    Do you have the screen closed on the bottom?  For me to get nuclear temps with a platesetter in the bottom vent has to be wide open.  Just by shutting the screen is slows airflow significantly.

    Also, after I put my lump in, I clear a spot at the front of the firebox to make sure at least two of the holes in the grate are wide open such that no burning lump will fall into them and obstruct airflow.  Prior to doing this I occasionally had issues similar to what you are describing.  I have never had it happen when I make sure the airflow has little to no resistance. 

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • minniemohminniemoh Posts: 1,368
    @ErikModi  Is it a new, fresh bag of lump (the Wicked Good you're using)? I live in MN too and have started keeping my lump in the house rather than the garage. Seems to light a lot faster and burn hotter. The humidity here right now can dampen a bag in a few hours if left open and outside.

    If you don't go through lump fast enough you should egg more! That's easy to fix! :)


    L x2, M, S, and Mini. She says I have enough now....
    eggAddict from MN!
  • Mattman3969Mattman3969 Posts: 5,015
    ErikModi said:

    I'm still una
    ble to get my temperature to go up.  I've been managing to get it up to 500/515, but as soon as I close the lid, it starts dropping again.  What am I doing wrong?

    How are you measuring your temp with the lid open? Not a smart arse question I promise. How are you lighting, cubes or other means? Are you putting the PlateSetter in when you close the dome?
    When I start a fire I will use 2 starter cubes placed at 9&3 and walk away. Come back in 15-20 mins ( once the cube flames are gone) and close the dome. If I am not using the PS I can be @ 500 in 15-20mins If I am using the PS it will take that long to get to 350 and about 30 mins more to get the stabilized.



    -----------------------------------------


    2008 -Large BGE. 2013- Small BGE and 2015 - Mini. Henderson, Ky.
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