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Taking forever to get to temp...

abundellabundell Posts: 57
edited 2:41PM in EggHead Forum
I've been using Wicked Good Charcoal in my Egg for a year or so. I love it, but it takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r for it to come up to temp (And BGE charcoal takes a long time too). By that I mean well over an hour to get to 400 deg. (It's been 40 mins tonight and it's only 150 deg). I use a 1 inch firestarter cube.

I'm thinking of going to electric start unless someone has a better idea. If I do go electric (reluctantly), is there a really good brand or are all the major brands decent? Wondering whether to spend $15 at Home Depot or pop for the $24 Green Egg version.




  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    Wow, that seems like a long time.

    A weed burner would certainly help.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    if your starter cube smokes, then it is out and only smoldering. try keeping the lid open to keep oxygen flowing to the cube.

    there are a lot of ways to start an egg. none of them take an hour to hit 400, though. damp lump? too much ash?
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 5,882
    Dumb many cubes did you use? I use only 1 cube for lo and slo, but 2 or 3 for 350+ cook.
  • you've been egging for a year and it takes an hour to get to 400 with two different charcoals? how many times a week are you egging?

    dome thermometer calibrated?
    all small pieces of lump?
    ash cleaned from all places, including behind the firebox?
    firebox installed properly with hobbit hole towards the bottom draft door?
    bottom draft door all the way open including spark screen and metal top all the way off?
  • NilsNils Posts: 82
    40-60 minutes?

    Something is definitely not right.

    on my large BGE, I have used both BGE and Wicked Good Charcoal (also Cowboy charcoal), and longest it has taken me to get to 650 deg+ for searing steaks is 30 minutes.

    I have used three methods to light the fire - all work just fine.

    1) Weber starter cubes, 2-3 cubes
    2) Rutland firestarters, 2-3 wedges
    3) Chiminey with 1-2 handfuls of charcoal in it over 2 Rutland wedges (fastest start IMHO)

    No matter how I light it, the first 10 minutes are the same:
    Bottom vent full open, dome full-open.

    If none of this works - check that your vent holes in the firebox and charcoal plate are not clogged.

    Next possibility is pretty (MEANS MAKES FLYING SPARKS AND IS A SAFETY HAZZARD, but boy is it fun!!) after the 10-minute step above, if not high enough temp - point the exhaust of your shop vac near the bottom vent to greatly increase the airflow for 15-30 seconds - this will jump start ANY fire.
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    You probably already know this but the heat generated in the egg is a combination of fuel (lump) and air flow. That's where to find a solution to your problem.

    On my medium, that is not uncommon for me, further the max temp will only go to 400°to 550°.

    I am at 4500' elevation which is part of my problem. Some things you can to to help yourself out is make sure you have larger pieces of lump on the bottom next to the fire ring and up to the fire box holes. Make sure you have a newer style fire box.

    Smaller pieces of lump in the fire box will cause problems you are experiencing.

    You need to use 2, 3 or mabye 4 cubes. If using cubes leave the dome open for 5 to 10 minutes, but don't leave the egg.

    Use oil/napkin - 2 for the light should do just fine. This is usually faster than using MAPP gas (in my case).

    Weed burner will relsolve your lighting problems. You will be ready to cook in about 2 minutes max.

    Use common sense and caution with the following:

    If you continue to have the problem, then use a 'foil rope' and close down the air gap between the outer side of the fire ring and the inner side of the egg wall. I am in the process of testing using the foil rope with the outer surface of the fire box and inner egg wall.

    This blocking of the 'out of fire box' air flow should resolve the lower max temps and longer lighting times. The outer egg temp will be higher than you will have with the way your egg is set up now. The egg's ceramics will withstand the higher temps.

  • As usual you're getting all sorts of good info so it might be confusing.

    1) Leave the dome open while the firestarter (whatever you use) is burning.

    2) use 3 firestarters, spaced equally, not just one.

    3) before you buy another piece of equpment, try the paper towel method (this is all I use now) or the 90something % alcohol method.

    tonight I had half old lump and half new lump and was up to 650 in about 15 minutes. Sometimes it's more, sometimes less. It hits 400 in 10 minutes or less.

    OOp- Just saw GG posted and he makes an EXCELLENT point about airflow and also size of lump. I had some problems getting up to temp when I wasn't stirring the old lump to get rid of the ash between cooks.
  • DarnocDarnoc Posts: 2,661
    You have a air flow issue.Make sure the fire grate has no clogs in the vent holes,clean out all of the ash in the bottom of the fire box and make sure the vent on the bottom of the fire box aligns up with the bottom draft of the egg.
  • I had this exact problem tonight, trying pizza for the first time. never did get over 350. But there was ash from the weekend and a little old coal and a little new coal. I will try again this weekend... OH...only noone will be around, everyone will be at eggtoberfest... lucky eggs! :(
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    it would, but it shouldn't be required.

    there must be other issues, but the guy seems to have vanished on us (for now)
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Thanks to all for suggestions. I had to leave to finish cooking. It took forever, but it was spatchcocked chicken and roasted veggies which were egg-cellent.

    I've always been good about keeping the egg clean and aligned. I always start with the bottom vent and screen wide open and the daisy wheel full open. Last night I removed the daisy wheel. I'm thinking there may be two issues based on everyone's comments. The first is that I often cook at 200-250 and one cube works fine. When I'm cooking at 350-450, I think I need more cubes. Also, it's possible that the lump is more moist. I moved it to one of those outside plastic storage bins which keeps it physically dry, but it may be naturally humid in there.

    I'm going to try a few things... 3 cubes and I'm moving the lump back inside for a while. When I bought the egg it only took 20 mins or so... so something has changed. I'm just gonna have to keep cookin' till I figure it out! Thanks again
  • Airflow problems can easily prevent you from reaching high temperatures. In my last cook I was re-using old lump and the temperature stopped climbing at about 375-400, which is a sure sign of airflow problems. I took my straightened-out coat-hanger with a 2 inch bend at one end and reached in through the draft door and poked it up through all of the holes in the grate and that solved the problem and the temp got up to 500 in a few more minutes.

    You can carefully look up into the open draft door and see that some of the holes in the grate have less of a glow coming through them than other holes. That means those holes are clogged and need to be cleaned out with the coat hanger. Be really careful though, because hot ashes might come flying out into your face at any time.

    I too had problems with Wicked Good taking a long time to start. You could try getting some Cowboy or other easy-starting charcoal and mixing it in with the Wicked Good.

    I use the 91% rubbing alcohol method to start my fire: pour 2 oz of rubbing alcohol in a 8 inch circular area in the middle of your stack of lump, then toss a few pieces of lump on top of the wet lump, then carefully light with a fireplace match and close the lid. The only times this hasn't worked nicely were when I was trying to use 100% Wicked Good charcoal.
  • After I had my problem with air flow, I decided to go for the raised grate at the bottom of the Egg (don't remember what you call it).

    Since incorporating that, I've had excellent airflow and it's easier to keep the ash away from the coals.
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