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Loading Charcoal

gumbo lovergumbo lover Posts: 3
edited 10:55PM in EggHead Forum
I'm new here, so forgive me if I'm repeating a previous topic. I read an article today regarding the correct way to load the charcoal for overnight/long term slow cooking. This is the first time I'm heard that there was a correct way to load the charcoal. The article indicated that improper loading might result in the fire going out or going too low during the cooking time. Can some of you experts enlighten me?



  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    You will get a bunch of answers..

    I just dump it in and light it..
  • Smokin JoeSmokin Joe Posts: 441
    Well... you'll get a number of answers.

    I've been egging for 5 or so years and spent a fair amount of time posting a while back, but stopped as work and life got crazy. Never stopped cooking - thank God!

    Been lurking for some time, but this is my first post in a long time. So here it goes...

    I load the egg with larger pieces toward the bottom leaving room for air flow. As I fill the egg, I mix in whatever wood chunks/chips I want to flavor the meet and keep adding lump until I have the amount I want for my low 'n slow cooks.

    I believe Elder Ward's pulled pork recipie will also give you a good tutorial on how to load an egg for an over night cook.

    Best to you!
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    I carefully remove each piece of lump from the bag of charcoal. I sort them according to size. Any piece less than 3 square inches gets tossed out.

    The keepers are carefully brushed with a paintbrush that I use specifically to remove all the dust and chips so the fire grate doesn't get clogged. Any piece that is cracked, split, or otherwise questionable is tossed.

    After each piece is thoroughly cleaned, washed, and rinsed I let them rest in a humidor for a minimum of three days so they are all equally saturated to exactly 62% humidity and are all at 72*.

    I place them very carefully in a checkerboard pattern and allow them to rest in place at least 30 minutes before lighting. When time to light I use special sulfur-free and magnesium free matches that are hand made from naturally fallen Amazon rainforest hardwoods.

    Well....not exactly. I open the bag, dump the stuff in, and torch it - chips, dust and all.
  • EmarfEmarf Posts: 167
    me too LOL
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    :woohoo: :woohoo: :woohoo:

    I about lost it when I began reading your post. Holy Crap!!!! :laugh: :laugh:

  • That's what I've been doing. Dumping, then I even it out a bit and light. I haven't cooked anything all day or all night yet, though, so when I read the article I wondered about "correct loading".
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    You will get a lot of answers...

    When I first began I sorted large and small lump. Followed the Large on bottom.

    Now I am a dumper.

    For overnight cooks, if the egg is empty I will find some larger pieces to cover the fire grate then dump the lump after that.

    What I do suggest is you make sure the holes in the fire grate and fire box are not blocked with ash or small pieces of lump. Light the lump in several places.

  • GatorGator Posts: 27
    I'm a newbie as well, and I had the same concern. I'm an engineer by trade so, I'm great at following directions, and Elder's directions scared me into doing it his way.

    I started out great, I was digging through the charcoal separating the big pieces, laid them in the bottom, etc. My Adult ADD kicked in and I dumped the bag after making a mess.

    The result? Not only was the fire still burning, but it had climbed to 325 (newbie error - corrected). It cooked for about 9 hours at 325 and I still had a ton of charcoal left.
  • HossHoss Posts: 14,600
    Dump n lite!Make sure you put in enough to last.What does not burn on the initial cook can be used on future cooks.I fill mine up to the top of the FIRERING.Not the FIREBOX.Always have a ton left over but so what?I use it on the next cook but I do not have a fuel supply problem in the middle of a cook!!! ;)
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    the correct way is to make sure that the lump gets out of the bag and into the firebox. that's all that counts.

    it might give you some insurance to stack the big stuff on the bottom and smaller stuff on top, but there's no need.

    trust me. the day it was raining and sleeting like a son of a gun, and i just opened the bag and dumped it in a hurry, the fire was fine (overnight). and since then, sorting and stacking has been a fond (but distant) memory
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • kinda surprised their is a consensus on this! Im also a dumper, in more ways than one! :ohmy: but I do try to avoid dumping a ton of dust when the bag is getting low!
  • AnnaGAnnaG Posts: 1,104
    Hee hee... Same here... Just open the bag and dump....

    What happens will happen... :)
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    I'm a lump bouncer.

    I usually have some leftover lump in the cooker, so I stir it and move it away from the ash grate. Then I position the bag under one arm almost horizontal. Using my other hand I "bounce" the bottom of the bag while dumping the lump in the cooker. this tends to keep the smaller pieces in the bag. I do think bigger pieces toward the bottom are better if it happens that way.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Fidel -

    I have read thousands of posts on this board. That had to be the funniest one yet!

    Excellent satire on the OCD nature of some of us eggheads.

    ;) :laugh:
  • Thanks for the replies. I shall continue the practice of "dump and go". This is the article I read yesterday which is why I asked the question.
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