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NEW- NEWBIE Questions -2 Low, Low, Low

Hey all -  First time NEW EGG & charcoal user here.  Been doing alot of reading so I don't ask alot of the same quetions but I have problems.

1st burn - I followed all instructions to the T and had trouble keeping the tems down low (didn't want anything over 350 till my gaskets cured) which I thought was normal. Did a cedar plank salmon that came out fab. Ever since then I have been having trouble reaching any decent temperatures.

Using BGE Lump & firestarters- doing everything I have read here, rings are lined-up, bottom door & top are open, ash cleaned out, fresh lump to the ring top.. can't get it right.  I have had to rely on using a fireplace bellows from under to try & get the fire cranking which honestly, is a pain in the ass.  Anyway -  after a very frustrating weekend trying to cook pizzas that resulted in a less than wonderful outcome, I keep thinking it's an air flow problem.  Got a flashlight & looked in the bootom door -  loads of tiny lumb bits jammed in the air flow holes of the grate.  A coat hanger cleared them and then I could finally see nice glowing red fire inside. BUT -I still could not get over 450 - this process is taking way too long to get up to heat & cook.

Long story short -  if I follow what everyone says & add NEW lump to what did not burn last time & stir it up using my fancy EGG rake to get the ashes falling out all should have been well.  Now I am reading that I need to empty & clean out all the box to get all the little pieces everytime I use it? Really? Also ,I have been keeping my bag of BGE Lump on a covered porch- is it also possible that the bag is getting damp and that is an addittional reason why I can't get higer than 300-350??  Do you guys keep it in some type of container? 

And finally- how long should it take once I have shut the bottom door & put my top to kill the fire to cool down???  Is my lump still going or just it just take a while to come down?

Thanks in advance & hope you an help.... I have begun to 2nd guess my purchase and have been looking like a grilling chump to the wife   : - )

 

Comments

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 15,817
    you mentioned the top is open, is it open and on the egg, if it is, take it completly off the egg. most things you mentioned do affect temps but if the daisy is on the egg it will keep temps low, maybe under 450 on my egg, take it off and it goes up to 900/1200. fastest way to get my egg hot is with an oil soaked napkin lit and slid thru the lower vent, its faster than my 500,000 BTU weedburner
  • Sorry to hear you're having so many problems.  

    My suggestion: purchase an electric starter.  I had one from the get-go and have *never* had a problem starting the fire.  The only time I had trouble getting my egg up to temp, it was clearly clogged.  

    My process is to first stir things up a bit with any leftover lump to get the small pieces to fall through to the bottom.  Then I clean out the ash in the bottom.  After that I clear a place for the fire-starter, bury it with the old lump, then add any new lump I need.  I leave the starter in there anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on how quickly I'm trying to get it up to temp. Provided your airflow is good, you shouldn't have any problem getting up to temp.  Once in a blue moon I clean the whole thing out.  

    As for damp lump, I doubt that's your problem.  We have plenty of moisture down here, and I don't store mine in anything special - just the bag.  

    You should see a good drop in the temp with the cool down within half an hour.  The lump is still going to burn for a little, using whatever remaining oxygen is in the egg.  But the egg is pretty close to airtight, so with everything closed up, it doesn't take long for that to disappear and the lump to stop burning.  The reason the temp just doesn't drop away completely is because the egg is a pretty good insulator for heat.  So it just takes awhile for the whole thing to cool, even after the fire is completely out.  

    The wife will come around once she sees just how much fun you're having cooking meals.  No doubt about it.    
    If the world is something you accept rather than interpret, then you're susceptible to the influence of charismatic idiots.

    Durham, NC
  • Ive always electric starter too and it seems to work great. 7 minutes and im rolling. I leave everything wide open ti it hits target temp and then start adjusting. Only problems ive really ever had was trying to adjust temp by moving the daisy AND lower vent at same time. Now i just leave lower door open a little and fine tune with daisy wheel. Obviously you can do it opposite that or even not use daisy at all but if you try and fine tune both at same time you are in for a long cook.
  • tgklemantgkleman Posts: 194
    When I encounter that problem, it is usually too many small (less than the size of a golf ball) pieces of lump, and I don't get a good air flow through the pile.  Get rid of the small stuff, use large pieces and it should get hot quick >600F
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,194
    +1 on what fishlessman said. I rarely can break 450 w. the daisy on.

    Right now, I have just started my 4th cook (ribs) w/o doing anything but stirring, pulling ash out of the bottom vent, and adding fresh. If I was doing an overnighter, I'd remove all the old lump, and take out the grate. Remove all ash, and reload w. all fresh.

    Every 4 - 6 months, I take out the everything, and remove the ash that has built up around the outside of the fire box.

    Damp lump isn't much of a problem. Mine sits in an unheated garage. My Eggs often sit out uncovered, and sometimes, after a few weeks of showers, they absorb so much moisture that it can take a long while to come up to heat.

    I've restarted lump at least 10 minutes after I closed the top and bottom, just by re-opening the vents. If you put the ceramic rain cap on, that damps the fire faster. The Egg ceramics will hold heat a long time. The dome temp will read high long after the fire is out.

    Don't 2nd guess. I started cooking better food right away w. the Egg, but it took me about 6 months to hit my stride.
  • dlk7dlk7 Posts: 974
    Agree with everyone above about removing the daisy wheel completely.  If you want to clean out the fire grate holes less often, get a High-que grate - helps with airflow and doesn't trap small pieces. Not available for an XL though.

    Two XL BGEs - So Happy!!!!

    Rudderville, TN

  • yzziyzzi Posts: 1,335
    edited August 2013
    Just a little learning curve, so don't get discouraged. You're going to get 10 opinions on how to light your egg from 5 different people here, so just try a couple ways and once you find one that works, stick with it.

    I now use a looftlighter for starting lump, but before I was using oil-soaked paper towel. For that I would stir up the lump, and make sure to poke my finger through all the 5 or so holes in the fire box. Once I had my lump stirred and added an additional I would take my ash tool and shake the fire grate a little to free up the holes as best I could. Then take daisy wheel off, open bottom vent all the way and light some lump with the paper towel. Use 2 or 3 pieces at different spots to get it going faster for high-heat cooks if you wanted. I always left the top open while the paper towel was burning, but once it died down and the lump was lit I closed the lid with all vents open all the way. I'd leave and come back and check 10 minutes later and it would be around 250. Once it hits about 300 it'll climb quickly and I adjust the vents once I start getting close to target temp.

    High-q grates are nice since they allow a lot of air flow. I now use a looftlighter to light a few spots. Once I do that I just close the lid and let it climb.

    Maybe something to try is putting big pieces of lump on the bottom and then filling it up. That works great for me.
    Dunedin, FL
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 10,752
    Agree with @yzzi. Several ways. I use a Wagner heat gun. I start to adjust the vents 50 degrees shy of my mark. You said you pour and stir... Stir and pour. I use a glove I get the ash out, pull the lump over and put new in the bottom and then do the other side. You'll get it. If you just got the egg I'd wait on the pizzas. Try some indirect cooks.. Easier to control.

    My first few cooks were abysmal and I second guessed also.. It'll come.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • clintmillerclintmiller Posts: 29
    edited August 2013
    I second (or third) the recommendations for the high-que grate. I cooked without the high-que for my first year with the Egg and just started using it about a month ago. I used to have problems where lots of tiny pebble-sized pieces of lump from my last cook would collect at the bottom of my firebox. Then, when I'd stir the lump before my next cook to get rid of the ash, all those little pebbly pieces would either get stuck in the holes in the iron grate, or they'd still be left at the bottom of the firebox and mess up my airflow for my next cook. Every few weeks, I had to go in and pick out the good pieces of lump one by one. Then, I'd shovel out all the pebbly stuff and put the good lump back in. It worked, and I had no problems hitting high temperatures (with the daisy wheel completely removed) or holding low temperatures for ridiculously long times. It was just a pain in the neck to setup for each cook.

    Now with the high-que grate (which I bought on Amazon for not very much $), those little pebbly pieces of lump just fall down through the grate along with the ash, and there is nothing to get clogged. I just do a quick stir of the lump from my last cook to knock the ash off and light it. Super easy and quick!

    Also, now that I have the high-que grate, I just light it by taking a sheet of newspaper, balling it up, shoving it in through the screen vent at the bottom, and lighting it (underneath the high-que grate and the lump). It lights up really fast that way (< 5 minutes to get a pretty good fire going). I typically use our weekly neighborhood newspaper to start it up. It's delivered free every week. For years, I've been picking it up off the driveway and putting it straight into the trash can. Now I have a good use for it. :-)
  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 1,582

    I also had trouble getting my XL up above 350 when I first got it.  At this point, after I pour in the lump I just clear a spot at the front of the firebox so that at least 1 hole in my charcoal grate is completely unobstructed.  I've had no problems since. 

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

    San Antonio, TX

  • Hmmmm - thanks everyone for your excellent advice - 

    I am pretty surprised that BGE folks would have made what looks like a design flaw with the small holes.  Or it;s just another way for us to buy more bags of lump off of them ; - )                I am looking at the  high-que grate on AMAZON right now & it seems like it solves what looks like a common problem.  Going to clean all the little stuff out & do as yzzi suggested and put the large lump on the bottom & see if that makes a difference.

    Cheers!

     

  • henapplehenapple Posts: 10,752
    I'd say it's like the tires on my truck. Did Ford put good, workable tires on? Yes. Are there better running and looking tires on the aftermarket? Yes.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • CookinbobCookinbob Posts: 1,148
    I'll weigh in with one more method of lighting.  I use a chimney (Weber to be exact), put in either a small or large amount of lump depending on the size of a fire I want.  2 sheets of newspaper is enough to get it going, I then pour and distribute on top of the lump.  If I start with a good amount in the chimney, I can be to 700 deg in just a few minutes.  Like others, bottom vent is wide open for high heat, and the daisy wheel is off until up to temp..  Note, if you are using the plate setter, it will take longer to get up to temp.

    My BGE is an XL, so the base grate is large with many holes.  Before starting a fire, I stir the old lump, move it around, and clear any partially plugged holes.  If I am planning a long cook, I will take some care in placing larger pieces of lump on the bottom, then fill with the rest. After this step, I clean out the bottom of the egg, then light the fire.

    BTW, BGE is not my favorite lump - too many small pieces and dust in what I have bought.  I buy Wegmans which is made by Royal Oak, and have been pleased both price and performance
    XLBGE, Small BGE, Homebrew and Guitars
    Rochester, NY
  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,091
    I use a chimney too.  I set it on top of the side burner (grate removed) of my gas grill.  No newspaper ash mess to clean up.  I'll do 2 chimneys if I'm getting ready to sear a lot of steaks and want glowing coals across the whole bottom.
    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
  • yzziyzzi Posts: 1,335
    I've had better success soaking one sheet of newspaper in oil that having to use multiple. Less ash that way as well.
    Dunedin, FL
  • bbqlearnerbbqlearner Posts: 596

    I used large most often and usually, lighted it up using fire nuggets. Agree with others that if you start the fire with leaving the daisywheel completely off, you should not have any issue with temps. I usually even leave my dome open for at least 15 min before closing it but I would leave the daisywheel completely off until I'm closer to getting blue smoke (from white).

    Normally, I just stir the lump charcoal so that the smaller ones fall through the holes. And as needed, I just added a bit more charcoal to it. Would only clean it all after a few cooks (5+ usually). Never had issue so far.

    Houston, TX - Buddy LBGE, Don SBGE, Tiny Mini & Shiny Momma Pitts n Spitts

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