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We hope everyone enjoyed their Fourth of July weekend and is excited for more warm weather grilling! This week, we’ll be making these two burgers: Stuffed Portobello Mushroom and Caribbean Chicken, and also eating lots of these Ice Cream Sandwiches in honor of National Ice Cream Month! It's time to think about getting out to one of the many #EGGfests around the country - see a list here

I want to love this but...

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Comments

  • MklineMkline Posts: 175
    stew be patient. it does take awhile to get a good understanding of this thing.

    but, as other eluded to make sure that the firebox opening on the bottom is aligned with the grate opening. it sounds to me as this is an airflow issue and not really a lump issue. 
  • stew when you cleaned your Egg with the shop vac did you take out the fire box and vacuum the ash that is under the fire box or just vacuum the inside of the fire box because there could be a build up of ash their that is preventing proper air flow 
    2 Large Eggs and a Mini 2 Pit Bulls and a Pork shoulder or butt nearby and 100% SICILIAN
    Long Island N.Y.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,155
    I've no experience w. an XL, but I think 2 of your issues may be size related.

    "11 hours total and I had used a large 17lbs bag of lump" around 350+.

    That doesn't sound so bad in terms of time at temperature. I'd be pretty happy if I could get 11 hours above 350 on my mediums. But then again, I would be doing that w 4 - 5 pounds of lump.

    Cooking times seem to me to drop almost exponentially w. increased temp. For me, 24 hours at 250 dome can be done w. about the same amount of lump as 4 hours at 500F.

    "Last few time I did the same routine but found that as soon as I opened the lid I lost temp and couldn't get it back. Temp would drop to 300 or less with the vent more than 1/2 open (3-4") and the daisy wheel fully opened. Aaaugh."

    Assuming your dome therm is properly calibrated, all that heavy ceramic is not pre-heated enough. Open the dome, away goes the hot air. Then the air must be reheated without the boost of the fire starter, and the hundred of pounds of ceramic are still absorbing the heat.

    As the Egg is used, and the ceramic goes dark, it absorbs more heat before it re-radiates it than when it was the clean cream color.

    Note that direct cooks work much differently than indirect. And also, the distance of the food from the coals in a direct cook makes a huge difference. In an indirect cook (as with the 'setter in place) the food is cooking mostly from hot air. In a direct cook, the IR from the lump exposes the meat to far more heat than a propane flame. That level of heat drops off rapidly as the food is raised away from the burning lump.

    I've had steak searing cooks where, because the lump was turning to ash so rapidly, it was blocking the air flow, after the first few steaks. Dome temp would not regain 450F. But the steaks placed just above the lump still burst into flame. Depending on how and what you are cooking, the dome temp is only a vague indicator if cooking direct.
  • I don't know if the XL has been changed but the lower vent on the old ones is massive. The grate is like a foot in diameter and full of 3/4" holes. The top vent is bigger too. No way a little ash is going to clog it.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,080

    I don't know if the XL has been changed but the lower vent on the old ones is massive. The grate is like a foot in diameter and full of 3/4" holes. The top vent is bigger too. No way a little ash is going to clog it.
    The top vent is the same or very close.  Based upon a quick look, the DW and ceramic caps are identical to my medium. 

    I agree the fire grate is massive.  However it can clog where the fire was started and be open in another part. That situation does not provide efficient airflow to the fire.  I make sure there are a couple fully open holes in the area where I'm starting my fire.  The likelihood of it dying for lack of air is pretty remote as the fire moves from there.  I worry much more on my medium.
    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 15,653
    every cook my vent settings seem to be different so dont get hung up on those settings, use them as a guide and make adjustments for them, eventually it all falls into place and you never think of it again. there is one thing that ive seen happen to a couple newbies that can cause problems and since i dont have an xl it might not even be a problem. its the lower fire grate, bevel side of the holes goes down, if its up it traps ash and small pieces and clogs the firegrate quicker
  • Ragtop99 said:

    I don't know if the XL has been changed but the lower vent on the old ones is massive. The grate is like a foot in diameter and full of 3/4" holes. The top vent is bigger too. No way a little ash is going to clog it.
    The top vent is the same or very close.  Based upon a quick look, the DW and ceramic caps are identical to my medium. 

    I agree the fire grate is massive.  However it can clog where the fire was started and be open in another part. That situation does not provide efficient airflow to the fire.  I make sure there are a couple fully open holes in the area where I'm starting my fire.  The likelihood of it dying for lack of air is pretty remote as the fire moves from there.  I worry much more on my medium.
    I waited til I got home and measured and you are right about the top vent. Must be an optical illusion due to the dome geometry on the old style XL. All I really know is that I struggle to keep the temps down on the XL

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • Cooking right now, I set it up by stirring the old lump around, added some new Royal Oak, there were some big lumps I had to break up (size of my open hand), 2 fire starter bricks. Had a good flame up to he rim in 2 locations then closed the lid, vent open and DW off. Shot up to 500. Let that go for a few minutes then put in the plate setter legs up.  Fiddled for about 20-35 minutes to get the temp to hold between 350-370.  That's with the DW on and open, bottom vent and grill fully open.  Slowly creeped up to 400.

    The fire box is lined up with the vent opening.  Must be that the plate setter really takes away the air flow but it still seems harder and harder to keep temp vs when I first had the Egg.  That or this lump is crap or wet somehow.

    Next cook I'm getting rid of the plate setter and try that.  
  • Dude, the temp is the temp once it's dialed in. Plate setter, drip pan, pizza stone and cold meat will all make it drop. It will come back to whatever temp you have set.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 4,613
    At the risk of the obvious, don't over-think this.  The BGE is an air-flow driven machine (given you have adequate fuel).  However you choose, once you get either a good amount of lump burning (about softballed sized or so for low&slow) or most of the lump bed going for hot&fast (each achieved for me with the bottom vent full open and the dome open) then, install the indirect toys if that's the cook style, shut the dome, slide the bottom vent to around 1/2" open and watch the calibrated dome thermo.  When you get to around 30-50*F of your target install the DFMT (about 1/4" open) and adjust the lower vent to around the temp you want.  For low&slow +/- 20*F is close and the same holds for hot&fast.  Time for a few adult beverages.  YMMV-
    Louisville
  • Mattman3969Mattman3969 Posts: 2,209
    edited September 2013
    I would guess with you having "flames to the rim" in two locations that your fire starters were not totally burned up yet and that is where your 500 spike came from. Try starting just like you did, go have at least one adult beverage then when your initial flame has died down an you have glowing ember shut your dome. Once you get within 50* of target start fine tuning your dampers I totally agree with LS, you don't have a temp until everything is stabilized. It can take 20-30 mins to recoup after you put a cold PS in, same thing after you add a big chunk of meat.

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


    Large BGE. Small BGE Henderson, Ky
  • I have a XL and getting and holding a Hot temp is the hardest thing for me, it's hard getting it to 500/550 dome to make pizza in. Is the top vent used to hold heat in, smoke in or used to lower temp such as close it up to lower temp? I know closing the lower vent will slow the lump from burning and lower the temp but I am still not sure how to use the top vent.
  • It's used in combination with the bottom vent to control the flow of air which in turn controls the temperature.  Most beginners are constantly fiddling with the settings which results in going over and under your target temperature.

    Gerhard
  • biznorkbiznork Posts: 110
    When I'm cooking over 300 I don't even use the top.
  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,080
    I have a XL and getting and holding a Hot temp is the hardest thing for me, it's hard getting it to 500/550 dome to make pizza in. Is the top vent used to hold heat in, smoke in or used to lower temp such as close it up to lower temp? I know closing the lower vent will slow the lump from burning and lower the temp but I am still not sure how to use the top vent.
    For the fire to burn it has to have airflow.  You can reduce airflow two ways.  (1) restrict the airflow into the egg by constricting the bottom vent, or (2) limit the amount of air exiting the egg by closing down the DW openings.  Both locations can do the job.  Some people like the to rely primarily on the bottom vent, some use both, and few mainly rely on the DW. 

    For most cooks in the 300 - 450* temp range, I get the bottom vent in the general area and control more precisely with the DW.  For low and slow I'm careful with how I set both.  Above 450* is only bottom vent.
    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
  • sumoconnellsumoconnell Posts: 783
    edited September 2013
    It sounds like the coals aren't yet going when you close the lid - like @Grillmagic indicates, let the starter burn out and have a nice fire going before you close the lid.  Either way, you'll get to temp, it's just a matter if time.  

    On lump - as @little_steven* said fire needs 3 things: airflow, fuel and hockey.  If you break up the lump, you'll inhibit airflow through the coals.  

    You'll get there man..

    *edit: @travisstrick said this, but then the joke is ruined, so I'm leaving.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Austin, Texas.  I'm the guy holding a beer.
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 10,159
    Stew, drink, relax, read, learn, drink, cook, post pics, drink, eat....
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • I'm going to try @henapple's method.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Austin, Texas.  I'm the guy holding a beer.
  •  

    I'm going to try @henapple's method.


    I am brand new to this but hard to disagree with that...sound logic

     

    Love the sig too henapple

    Albion, PA
  • Novice question here, should I always start with a full load of lump? I have a hard time getting the temp to 500/550 here is what I have done in the past, half load of lump with a electric starter for 10 minutes then stir the coals and center them (bottom vent wide open and no DW) for another 3/4 minutes before I close the lid to which I can get to 450/500 in about 25/30 minutes to which install the platesetter  and close the lid again then it's a very long time to get to temp/upwards of 50/60 minutes, do I need a leaf blower... My family and I love the BGE but it's a crap shoot getting this thing dialed in.
  • @Grillmagic you don't have to start with a full load of lump. I often use a half load piled to one side of my XL. That gives me a direct and indirect zone. I use the angle L brackets from ceramicgrillstore. It does take longer to get to temp but it saves lump. Old lump will get to temp faster than new.

    For the OP it sounds like you are not letting the fire starters burn up completely before closing the dome. Also, I noticed in your procedure that you are only lighting in one spot. I light my XL in 3 spots unless I'm doing a low and slow.
    Mark Annville, PA
  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,080
    edited September 2013
    @Grillmagic:  I rarely run a full load of lump.  However if you really want to crank the grill up over 600* for searing steaks, I find it easier when the firebox is at least half full and I start the fire in several locations.  In fact I'll get two chimneys of coals going and spread them around after the fire is shooting out of the top of the chimneys.
    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
  • My egg is 4 years old. I don't own an oven or microwave. Evrything is cooked on my egg. All the suggestions here are valid. The only one I didn't see is that depending on the wind/ air temp (season ) I spin my egg accordingly to make sure it is getting the draft I need for the type of cooking I am doing. I have it in a table with casters. Also, I use a click torch to start it and light it in many places so that the burn begins evenly. I never use starters of any kind. That all being said I believe it comes down to the charcoal. I purchase Quebec hardwood by the skid and have had one bad bag in 4 years. Last week was it. I could not get it past 250. Emptied the egg and started over with a new bag and voila! 600 degrees in no time . My only disappointment is not buying the XL.
  • Ragtop99 said:
    I have a XL and getting and holding a Hot temp is the hardest thing for me, it's hard getting it to 500/550 dome to make pizza in. Is the top vent used to hold heat in, smoke in or used to lower temp such as close it up to lower temp? I know closing the lower vent will slow the lump from burning and lower the temp but I am still not sure how to use the top vent.
    For the fire to burn it has to have airflow.  You can reduce airflow two ways.  (1) restrict the airflow into the egg by constricting the bottom vent, or (2) limit the amount of air exiting the egg by closing down the DW openings.  Both locations can do the job.  Some people like the to rely primarily on the bottom vent, some use both, and few mainly rely on the DW. 

    For most cooks in the 300 - 450* temp range, I get the bottom vent in the general area and control more precisely with the DW.  For low and slow I'm careful with how I set both.  Above 450* is only bottom vent.
    Are you saying that you do not use the DW on cooks over 450?
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 10,159
    Several guys, @mickey never use it. I've done a few under 400 cooks without it... In some ways it's easier. Air in, air out...
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 13,479
    henapple said:
    Several guys, @mickey never use it. I've done a few under 400 cooks without it... In some ways it's easier. Air in, air out...

    I can't tell you where mine are now. Don't use them at all. Cooked Sunday on all three Eggs; sausage on one, spatchcocked chickens on another and pork butts on the third. NO Topper to be found.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini.... 5th Salado EggFest is March 14, 2015

  • henapplehenapple Posts: 10,159
    @mickey likes it topless.... But his man boobsare gross.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
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