So I'm halfway through my first egg-ing ever... doing a 9lb butt (see here for my previous post asking about setup, etc: http://www.eggheadforum.com/index.php?option=com_simpleboard&func=view&id=690291&catid=1
I started the fire last night at 9:00p. Using Fire King lump (highest ranked lump on the NW database that I could find locally, also what the BGE dealer suggested). Coals looked like this:
I put the coals all in a bin and hand picked each one, putting the biggest pieces at the bottom as suggested by others. However, there weren't any pieces that were "big", maybe 3x1x1 on the large end, with many pieces more like 2x1x1 or 1x1x1.
Then I lit it in the center with a single BGE starter block thingy:
I let that burn about 10 minutes with the lid open, then closed the lid. Even with the top piece off and the draft door wide open, the temps climbed very slowly... 180, 190, 200, 210... once it got over 200 I put the top on and closed the draft door to about 3/8" open (screen completely closed). The wheel on the top was centered (covering the big hole) and rotated so that the slots were about half open. This got me to settle at about 250 degrees after an hour or so. I wanted it a little cooler (was shooting for like 230) so I closed the draft door just a tad to maybe 1/4". Over the next 30-45 mins it dropped to around 210. Dang, I want it a bit higher (yeah, I'm one of those guys) so I opened it the width of one hole in the screen :laugh:
Anyway, at about 1:30am, after 4 hours of being between 210 and 250 I called it a night and went to bed. The meat temp was registering about 130 at this point.
6 hours later at 7:30am I got up to see the meat temp was 133 (remote thermometer). I rushed outside and the egg temp was about 130 as well. Opened the lid (first time since I had begun) and things were definitely cooled off. Seemed that the fire was out. I removed the butt, the drip pan and the plate setter. I should have taken a picture at this point but I was in a huge rush since I had a call for work that I had to be on in 30 mins and didn't know how long this re-starting was going to take. But basically what I saw was that the fire had burned from the center to the back, but never really spread out anywhere else. I'd say at least 3/4 of the coals looked like they did when I started, never burned at all. So, I stirred things around a bit, then stuck another starter thingy in the center and lit it up again. After 10 mins with the lid open the flame had died down and some coals were burning red. I closed the lid (draft door wide open) and took the top off. I then grabbed a hair dryer and put it on low and blew in the bottom door. Now the temps started going up quicker than last night... 150, 170, 190, 210... At 210 I set the draft door and top just like last night, put the platesetter, drip pan and butt back in and closed the lid. It's now been at around 230-240 for the last hour.
So, my questions are (if you are still awake after reading all this!)
1) Do I need to be concerned about this particular butt due to it sitting at lower temps for possibly several hours? I'm assuming that as long as I now take it up to 195 like I originally planned all is well.
2) More importantly, what did I do wrong, or what else could I have done to allow this fire to burn happily all night long? I really, really, wanted to wake up this morning with the egg still at 230 deg and have my butt at like 180. But no such luck!