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thoughts and questions from first usage

hockeynuthockeynut Posts: 12
edited 4:55PM in EggHead Forum
Christened my brand new large egg yesterday - made spare ribs and they were the best I've ever made!

But of course I do have some questions after losing my egg-ginity.

Here's what I did:

- soaked Jack Daniels chips (a good handful) for about 90 mins

- hit the ribs with some random BBQ rub we had lying around

- put enough lump into the Egg to cover the vents by about an inch or so

- put the soaked chips around the coals (random distribution)

- put a starter square in the middle and lit it

- left top open for about 10 mins then closed it

- left top and bottom vents open. By now the smell was intoxicating and the temp camp up to around 250.

- put the plate setter on (feet up), put grill on top, and put the meat on.

- cooked for about 4.5 hrs at between 225 and 250



So now my questions:

1. I think I did something wrong setting up the lump coal - too much, or maybe I need to use more than one starter square. I wasn't able to get the temp to go over 250 even if I left the top and bottom vents wide open. Seems that the coals didn't light up as I expected they would so there was a lot left over.

2. At the 3 hour mark I wasn't able to get it to go above 200 even with both vents wide open, so I had to relight it. There was a lot of unburned coals.

3. If I didn't use the plate setter would it have gotten hotter because of the increased airflow?

Comments

  • vidalia1vidalia1 Posts: 7,091
    You do not need to soak chips or chunks when using the BGE. It retains moister so they burn during the cook. Load the lump up to the fire ring when doing longer (4+) hour cooks.

    Either use 2 cubes or break one in half as you should start the fire in 2 places. This gets a more even fire distribution and does not have the drill down fire effect.

    Also let the smoke clear before you put the meat on. Yes you will still get a smoked flavor from the chips.

    If you load up enough lump you can easily cook at 250 for 20+ hours...
  • hockeynuthockeynut Posts: 12
    Thanks - I guess I didn't have ENOUGH coal in there.
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 27,973
    hockeynut,

    I don't use the starter cubes but you should light the egg in more than one place. I think folks that use the cubes cut or break them in pieces. Congratulations on your first cook!

    Steve

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    You don't need to soak the chips, the Egg wont supply enough oxygen for them to flair up. Sounds like you didn't have enough fuel in there, I typically fill to the bottom of the fire ring. -RP
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    not enough lump. you need enough so that (even though you had some left over) the fire will find new lump as it moves around. yours sounds like it burnt itstelf an island. there was left over lump, but likely there was an area on your grate where the fire burnt itself out. fill well above the hole.s you won't burn more lump the more you have in there, it will just give you more to work wit.

    don't soak chips. the egg is airtight, and the chips won't burn any faster dry versus soaked. (they won't burst into flame for example, and burn up quickly).

    if you didn't use a platesetter you probably would have been okay because the ribs were far from the fire (because you had not a lot of lump). the platesetter doesn't affect ambient temps in the egg som much as block the food from the direct radiant heat.

    your thermometer outside says it's 80, but the sun is frying you. put on a hat and it's still 80 out, but your face is in shade. platesetter shades the meat from the lump. lump burns at 1100-1200 at least, with a lot of airflow it'll get to 2000 even.

    so, if you can block the meat from the radiant 1200 degree heat (granted there isn't very much of it when the egg is running at 250 dome), then you are cooking at only 250. without a platesetter, you'd find that the ribs might have had scorching on the bottom. actually though, the guys that DO cook ribs and butts at 250 without the platesetter usually do it with very little lump, to keep the distance from the coals. it's a little "advanced" i guess. but it is essentially what you did. you just had the fire go out.

    the reason you couldn't go higher after 300 hours was probably that you had an island of burning lump surround by a moat of ash or open grate. it couldn't find fresh lump
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,770
    - soaked Jack Daniels chips (a good handful) for about 90 mins

    Stop this.. It's a waste of good water

    - hit the ribs with some random BBQ rub we had lying around

    Never sauce ribs at the beginning of the cook

    - put enough lump into the Egg to cover the vents by about an inch or so

    Fill to the top of the fire ring.

    - put the soaked chips around the coals (random distribution)

    Good, but save the water.. Ohh chunks are better


    - put a starter square in the middle and lit it

    OK

    - left top open for about 10 mins then closed it

    Keep the lid closed unless you are using a Wok

    - left top and bottom vents open. By now the smell was intoxicating and the temp camp up to around 250.

    This is good.. Just make sure the smoke is clear or very light blue

    - put the plate setter on (feet up), put grill on top, and put the meat on.

    Should have been in the egg from the start. Let all the ceramics come up to temp at the same time

    - cooked for about 4.5 hrs at between 225 and 250

    1. I think I did something wrong setting up the lump coal - too much, or maybe I need to use more than one starter square. I wasn't able to get the temp to go over 250 even if I left the top and bottom vents wide open. Seems that the coals didn't light up as I expected they would so there was a lot left over.

    You had something blocking the air flow. Was the opening in the firebox aligned with the bottom vent? Did you have foil on the grate?

    2. At the 3 hour mark I wasn't able to get it to go above 200 even with both vents wide open, so I had to relight it. There was a lot of unburned coals.

    See Answer #1

    3. If I didn't use the plate setter would it have gotten hotter because of the increased airflow?

    No
  • Green LiraGreen Lira Posts: 2
    First, I want to tell you that I am a novice like you to use the egg, but only got 3 weeks of progress, but it passes my initial experience, which I can share.

    1. Starting with a charcoal chimney:
    Ÿ Start about 15 hardwood briquettes in a charcoal chimney. These are the only briquettes you are allowed to use; the primary charcoal for your BGE should be lump hardwood charcoal. When they are completely
    ignited, place about 10 of them in the firebox, distributing them evenly.(from www.nakedwhiz.com)

    In other words you need to use more than one starter square, I use minimun 4 distributed in 4 different places. B)

    JLO
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    when i used starters, i would break one into three pieces. for hot cooks (getting to sear temp quickly) i'd use 4 chunks (an extra chunk from another starter cube). for ribs or other lo-and-slo cooks i'd use two, maybe.

    i find that when lighting a fire which i (ultimately) want to be 250, if i lit in three spots or more it had a tendency to overshoot my desired temp more quickly.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Bob VBob V Posts: 195
    Hmmm-

    Let me preface this with the warning that by 3 hours the temp should have caught up, but...

    There are essentially two ways to start a fire in the Egg depending on the kind of cook you are trying for. For low and slow you put in the lump first and then start the fire at the top. (Best description ever of this technique is in the Elder Ward NC Pulled Pork BBQ recipe in the recipe section.) Lit that way, the fire burns slowly down from the top to the bottom.

    The second way is to start with a handful of lump on the grate and light those - or use a chimney, or an electric starter, or MAP gas. Close the dome and have top and bottom wide open. When the handful of lump is fully red and burning, then add lump up to the top of the firebox. Leave the drafts wide open and wait about 10 minutes. All the lump should be glowing. Sometimes you start to have the "jet engine" effect where a concentrated flame jets a foot or more out the top. This method of starting is - understandably - for the hot fire of steaks or pizzas.

    Couple more things: check to make sure that the wide opening of the firebox lines up with the bottom draft door. You can line them up with your fingers. Just make sure that the firebox bottom opening hasn't shifted around so that it isn't a straight air flow to the bottom door. Finally - make sure the fire is going really well *before* you put in the platesetter. The platesetter does disrupt the airflow, as you noted, and is also a big heat sink.

    Also make sure your pizza stone doesn't block the air flow even further than the platesetter. I had this problem cooking pizzas on my medium. If you put a normal sized pizza stone on top of the platesetter for a medium, you're left only about an inch of airflow around the edge. You'll never get a hot temp with that.

    Hope these help -

    Bob V
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