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New Owner w/ Fire Going Out

After ages of wanting one I finally invested in a large egg and have had it for three weeks and done 3 seperate low and slow pork butts. Everytime I have filled with BGE Lump to top of the firebowl and used a BGE starter tab in the middle to get it going. I have no trouble getting it started and pegging it at 250. I have kept an eye on it for 4-6hrs before going to bed and it looked perfect, however each time I have woken up to a cold egg. When I open it up the fire looks like it burned straight down in a column to the grate, leaving a huge ring of unspent fuel?  I have made sure the grate is clean and ash is cleaned out (its not that much since it has only been used 3x). I reached out to BGE Customer support to see what I was doing wrong only to be told that it is a common problem and the solution was a $350 BBQ Guru or get up every 3hrs to re-light? After shelling out $1000 bucks for a smoker not keen on dropping hundreds more just to get it to work as advertised. Is there anything I can do besides babysitting it all night or dropping more cash? SHould I be lighting it different? should I spread the few lit coals out so the whole bowl catches?

 

 

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Comments

  • MrossMross Posts: 316
    I fill the box and light three different places towards the sides. I have never had a fire burn out like you describe. The other item to look at is what charcoal you are using. Some charcoals just seem to burn better, longer or hotter than others.
    Duncan, SC
  • BYS1981BYS1981 Posts: 1,650
    First off, no you do not need to spend $350 or reload, that's a bunch of BS.

    What l brand of lump are you using? That matters, for low and slow I use kamado Joe lump. I fill to the very top of the firebox. Make sure the vent settings are good too.
  • Chris_WangChris_Wang Posts: 1,253
    edited January 27
    It sounds like a lot more work than it actually is, but hand-placing the lump from largest on the bottom to smallest on the top works really well. Not only does it guarantee good airflow since the small pieces don't clog the air holes, it also allows the small fire to spread evenly.

    If you don't want to hand-fill it, I would suggest splitting one cube into two pieces and lighting the egg towards the back and towards the front.

    Ball Ground, GA

    ATL Sports Homer

     

  • BDono33BDono33 Posts: 4
    Thanks MRoss Do you use three of the starter tabs or a propane touch to light in different spots? I have been using the BGE brand lump that I bought with the Egg. I will do some research to see what brand peopple recommend that I get get locally.
  • MrossMross Posts: 316
    I use a torch. BGE lump is pretty good unless it has been mishandled and lots of busted up pieces. You can search this site for charcoal recommendations and get plenty of information
    Duncan, SC
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,736
    edited January 27
    This happens sometimes. As Mross said light in three or more places. Just break your starter into three pieces

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • BDono33BDono33 Posts: 4
    Ok, Going to try different charcoal brand and hand stack this weekend. I may also invest in a wireless thermometer that alrms when falling below a set-point as a fail safe. Thanks for all the fast responses!
  • DIADDIAD Posts: 155
    Hello!  I also am new.  I did an overnight pork butt and had no issues with fire burning out.  I did load the firebox by hand as described in this link.  Largest pieces on the bottom to smaller on top and I topped that with the older stuff that I removed to clean everything.  I used BGE brand lump because it came with my egg.  I did have an electronic thermometer that I programmed to alert me if the grid temp reached 240 or 260. 

    http://www.nakedwhiz.com/elder.htm

    I hope that this helps. 
    Chester, MD
  • Chris_WangChris_Wang Posts: 1,253
    Sorry, I was typing my post while @Mross was posting. Lighting the egg in multiple locations is a good way to eliminate a "straight to hell" burn.

    Ball Ground, GA

    ATL Sports Homer

     

  • jscarfojscarfo Posts: 379
    I use wicked weekend warrior and never had that problem
  • zlegmanzlegman Posts: 1
    I just bought my egg in November.  Other than roasting a chicken, I've only grilled with it until this weekend when I did my first low and slow butt.  My fire went out also but I started early in the morning and babysat it all day.  When the meat stalled at 160, the fire temp started to go down.  I opened up the air flow, but it didn't help.  I had to add fuel and it took a little to get back to temp.  I used the few coals still warm to restart it and it took a while.  I lost at least an hour of cook time, and the meat had cooled down to 153 before my cook temp was back up.  I had picked up a small bag of lump from Fresh Market, their brand, because I had been there.  I light my fire with a chimney, and maybe I had too many lit before I started cooking, maybe I didn't have enough, Maybe the type, maybe a little of all of it.  I think next time I'll cut it in two.  I like the rub and bark, and this will yield more as well as speed up cook time.  
  • jscarfojscarfo Posts: 379
    I use wicked weekend warrior and never had that problem
  • BDono33BDono33 Posts: 4

    Everyone here has been very helpful, unlike Duane the customer support rep from BGE who in addition to telling me to throw money at the problem is now inferring that I must not have skills..by telling me ..."It's does require some skill when setting the top and bottom drafts"

     

  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 5,509
    @BDono33-unrelated but welcome aboard.  And you have caught on quickly-just post a question and you will get many answers.  Sometimes they will converge and other times they will diverge and all will work.  Enjoy the journey. 
    Louisville
  • revolver1revolver1 Posts: 320
    No need to go "low and slow" for pork butt/shoulder.  350 indirect will take about 5 hours +/- for 8-9 lb. butt.  Results are the same.  RRP came up with this.  Go to YouTube and watch/search for Lighting a Big Green Egg.  I let mine go up to 400 + before bringing the temp down to 250/275 range.  Works for me.  It's a huge learning curve and the forums and YouTube can be a huge help. In a few months it will be routine and you'll love it.  
    Dan, Columbia,Mo.
  • boatbumboatbum Posts: 1,273

    Lite it up - take it to 300 - 350.   Let it go for a while.   Play with your vents, see how they affect heat.

    One of the most difficult things is to light an egg, take it to 240 ( and not over), then hold it there.  We realize that Egg's heat up faster than they cool down.

    After you have been at 300 for 45 minutes -- THEN put a cold plate setter in.   Add your food, and close your bottom vent a hair or two.   The plate setter and cold food will drop your temp, and will get you cooking at a lower temp.   ( not sure if all this made sense).

    I would get a few cooks at 300+ under your belt, then start cranking the temp down.   Butts are fine at 300, as are ribs & chicken.

     

    I light mine in the back - in two places.  

     

    Cookin in Texas
  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,194
    I used to carefully load my lump until I realized it made no difference.  Now I just give it a stir and dump new charcoal on top.  I clean out the ash every 3 or 4 cooks. I do light my charcoal in 3 places and have never had a fire go out in 5 years.  Load it up to the top of the fire ring if you are doing a low and slow.

    Make sure the opening in the fire box is lined up with the bottom vents. Calibrate your thermometer to make sure it is reading accurately.  A remote reading thermometer is a good investment.
    Barry Lancaster, PA
  • cam05210cam05210 Posts: 54

    I also did my first long cook this weekend (9lbs boston butt)..I have the LBGE and loaded the lump to the top of the ring with BGE lump and did larger pieces on bottom and filled up to rim after that.  Had my Wireless Thermometer attached for food and grate temp.  Started my fire @ 9:30PM Sat Night...food went on @ 10:30pm...was woken @ 3am b/c temp had gone to 210 so a quick bump and it was back to 250-275 in mere minutes.  Bumped it again around 6:30AM and went to golf course @ 8:30am...wife called around 1PM and the temps were going down quickly..got home and I had burned through all the lump in approximately 15 1/2hrs..

    I pulled the butt out, put a couple handfuls of lump in and got it started again in about 15mins and had the temp back @ 285-295 (bumped up to speed the process) took about another hour to get food temp to 195 when I pulled.  Funny thing is when I grabbed the butt with the tongs to take off the egg, it literally fell apart into 2 pieces...so tender...

    After this experience though...I'll go turbo next time to shorten the time...although it was pretty fun going through a long cook like this..

  • EggNorthEggNorth Posts: 461
    Welcome to the BGE world!.   As for large lumps of charcoal, I though I'd mention that I keep a separate bag just for large pieces and fill as I go.  Sometimes I go through a few bags without finding a large piece, but I seem to have a nice stock when needed. 
    Cambridge, Ontario - Canada
    1 Large.  Nikon D60
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 7,396
    Shiff said:
    I used to carefully load my lump until I realized it made no difference.  Now I just give it a stir and dump new charcoal on top.  I clean out the ash every 3 or 4 cooks. I do light my charcoal in 3 places and have never had a fire go out in 5 years.  Load it up to the top of the fire ring if you are doing a low and slow.

    Make sure the opening in the fire box is lined up with the bottom vents. Calibrate your thermometer to make sure it is reading accurately.  A remote reading thermometer is a good investment.
    Amen to that. All of it (except I'm only at 4 years :) ). The day I hand place each piece of lump is the day I stop grilling. Wiggle rod works just fine. http://thirdeyeq.com/Custom_Tools.html or just bend a coat hanger. 
    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

    "Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screwtop jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don't deserve to eat garlic." Bourdain
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 12,466
    Welcome. On a l&s I do place a few large pieces and dump. I also clean out really well. I also "shake it" to insure the lump is going to fall instead of stay in one place. Hique on the bottom helps. I use Ozark Oak and Rockwood. Goes forever.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • pgprescottpgprescott Posts: 380
    This is not a fuel issue. It is strictly a lighting issue as suggested by others. The suggestions given wilL all drastically reduce the likelihood/frequency of this problem, the controller, IMHO, is the only sure cure for preventing this from ever happening. I have one and I only use it on over night cooks. I sleep quite well knowing it is up regulating the airflow and temperature. Like I said earlier, the other suggestions will drastically improve your odds of success though. Good luck
  • jhl192jhl192 Posts: 685
    I am guessing that since you still had unburned charcoal on the outter ring that you had an airflow problem.  
    1) Clean out all previous ashes prior to a long cook
    2) Make sure the opening to your FIREBOX is in alignment with the bottom vent.
    3) Getting a High Que grate with larger openings should prevent any clogging of air holes but should not be necessary.
    4) Make sure your lump is dry and has not picked up too much moisture.
    5) I have not tried this yet but some on this forum advocate filling not only to the top of the FIREBOX but halfway up the FIRERING as well
    6) Light lump in  3 places
    7) Stay awake at least an hour to ensure that your temperature is stable at 250.  
    Good luck and welcome. 
    XL BGE; Medium BGE 
  • corey24corey24 Posts: 298
    +1 on wiggle rod.  I don't place lump by hand, a pain in the butt and you get all nasty.  Just get a wiggle rod and clean out holes on fire grate when needed.  On those long cooks before bed just clean holes underneath and you should be fine.

    XL Egg Owner Since Dec 2013 - Louisiana

  • +1 on the wiggle rod.  I don't stack my lump, but will clean out the ash before an overnight cook.  Airflow and airflow management is the major component when using the egg.  Lighting in multiple spots is also a good idea especially on an overnight, but keep an eye on the airflow to keep it around 250.
    Simi Valley, California
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,736
    A wiggle rod may help but this phenomenon is more of a lump contact thing. It happens very rarely but the lump burns straight down in a circular pattern without spreading horizontally.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • @BDono33 - I don't know if this will help you out or not, but in addition to multiple lighting spots.  I bought a BBQ fan off of ebay from China. As soon as the charcoal gets started you can spread the fire around with the fan.   I usually buy them 2 at a time because they are so cheap, I think last time I paid $3.75 each.  They break easily and only last around 3 or 4 months, but they have helped me get my BGE going. 
    Large BGE from Normal, IL 
  • They look something like this.
    $(KGrHqZ,!qwFG7I4FHeHBRz,gkZ9Wg~~60_35.JPG
    300 x 300 - 7K
    Large BGE from Normal, IL 
  • ShadowNickShadowNick Posts: 493
    Also, which I have not seen said except from jhl192, for low and slows I always fill the lump past the top of the firebox to within an inch of the top of the fire ring. Then light at 10 o'clock, 6 and 2 a few inches from the center of the lump.
    Chicago, Illinois
  • A wiggle rod may help but this phenomenon is more of a lump contact thing. It happens very rarely but the lump burns straight down in a circular pattern without spreading horizontally.
    A lump contact thing.... I'm sure their is a joke in their somewhere!
    I have never thought of that before, interesting idea.  
    Simi Valley, California
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