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Starting Egg

johannjohann Posts: 111
edited 7:05PM in EggHead Forum
So, I've been through several iterations of starting the egg. My favorite is to use a weber chimney starter, with paper. That seems to light the quickest. The issue is I end up dropping coals on my table deck when moving from large egg to small. That's not good for anyone!

I read about the veggie oil/paper towel method but I've only been able to apply that method once. It seems not so good, or I'm not doing it right.

I read that fat wood is a bad idea; so now I'm wondering if the starter log stuff is a good idea? Any hints on what to pick up from lowes?

On the plus side the wife has expressed an interest in me tiling the egg table next summer to protect it from me dropping coals on it etc. Which could be awesome.


  • Get yourself a mapp torch. It lights lump in seconds and a tank will last years. Doesn't matter if it is windy outside or raining, the mapp torch will come through.
  • I second the Mapp torch. It's clean and fast but you may get a few sparks on the newer lump. It is my favorite method to date.
  • Johann,

    If you want to spend money on something, I second the vote for a MAPP torch. I have one and it works great. It lights fast, and has the added bonus that you can dictate where and how fast you want to start the fire.

    Honestly though, for the 1st couple of years that I had my Egg, I just tore some paper off the side of the charcoal bag, crumpled it into a fist-sized ball, and buried halfway in the middle of the lump, putting a few small pieces over it. I lit that with a wooden kitchen match (worked better than a lighter for some reason) and it nearly always lit just fine.

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    starter logs are paraffin and sawdust. i used one for about a year's worth of cooks, but find that just like starter cubes, they need a good draft to burn off quickly and cleanly, otherwise they can smolder and throw a giant white cloud for a loooong time.

    the paper napkin and oil thing works for me. if it doesn't work, then yeah, something's amiss. i see references often to "soaking" the paper. no... just a little drizzle. when i twist them, they don't drip at all. the oil might work by itself, and the paper napkin too. but they both don't work alone as well as they do together.

    700 in fifteen minutes with dry lump and a clean egg
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Rib FanRib Fan Posts: 305
    Paper towel and veggy oil trick has always worked for me. Just use two sections...twist together...put inside egg...pour some oil on the towel....light...apply charcoal as if building a regular camp fire. Never had a problem. Also handy if you are transporting egg and have minimal means of lighting...i.e. no torch.

  • Rib FanRib Fan Posts: 305
    If this was a "draw" stike would have just shot me.
  • gtalvolagtalvola Posts: 42
    I have tried the oil/napkin technique but I prefer using 91% isopropyl alcohol. There are some YouTube videos that describe one way to do it, but here's my slightly different method:

    Load up the egg with lump.

    Using a pyrex measuring cup, slowly pour 2-3 oz of 91% isporopyl alcohol in an 8 inch diameter circle onto your lump. I concentrate the pour just on the outline of the circle, rather than filling in the whole area of the circle with alcohol.

    Toss a few extra pieces of lump on top of the lump that you just wet with alcohol.

    Light the wet lump with a long match or lighter (watch out because it will flare up quickly).

    Immediately close the dome, leaving daisy wheel off and bottom vent wide open. Dome temperature will shoot up to 600-700 degrees and then drop down to 200-250 and will then climb its way back up to cooking temperature.

    If it's taking too long to climb up, you can open the dome and use a small hand-held fan to stoke up the coals quickly from above.
  • johannjohann Posts: 111
    Have a mapp torch, or two, but find that it sparks a bunch and as fun as it is, I want something to setup, light and walk back to.

    My uncle has a mapp torch with a "turbo" that whistles and a large tank with some kind of 3-6' hose.

    So you twist the paper towel all up and then put oil on it while its in the lump?

    I tried drizzling but wasn't sure if i was supposed to drizzle in a corner or all over or flat and then twist.

    Soaking and end definitely didn't work; when i tried that i gave up and went back to the electric starter.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i take two paper napkins, lay them next to each other, drizzle a couple "zees" across them, then fold it in half lengthwise, fold it again lengthwise, and maybe again, then just twist into a long wick with bowtie ends.

    you want the paper to be translucent, not dripping

    i toss them in, light the both ends, and bridge some lump over the flame. sometimes if i don't mind screwing around, i'll keep piling lump from the sides over the holes where the fire is coming out. it will keep growing the longer you add charcoal where the flame comes out.

    usually though i just go in and prep the food. come back out in ten fifteen minutes and i'm at temp usually

    i've done MAPP, have a weed burner, used fire logs, starters, etc.

    for me, the paper towel trick is a good combination of stuff i have on hand, minimal time standing around, and fastest to desired temp. alright, the weedburner may get you there faster. but it's just overkill in my small place
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    911 Whats your emergency??


    Do not be alarmed that is just stike starting his egg..

  • andy_bandy_b Posts: 77
    I normally use the electric starter (what don't you like about that?)

    If its wet out or if I am denied access to electricity for any reason I use the paper towel and oil methid.
  • johannjohann Posts: 111
    re:electric starter. I'm lazy these days and don't like traipsing the cord in and outside. My father has a setup where his cord is always ready and setup and out of the way. If i could do something like that I would be more inclined with the electric. Its just a pain untangling the cord, bringing it up from the basement, then bringing it back down. etc.
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    You need to get yourself a small Rubbermaid storage bin you can keep near the egg..

    Why keep hauling stuff up from the basement???
  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    I like the original BGE cubes, or Rutland brand from Ace hardware, they are the same thing exactly. Light it, place it in the egg on the lump and walk away with dome up for 10 minutes. Close dome and leave all else wide open for another 10 minutes. Ive lit my eggs every common way mentioned here on the forum and this is the simplest to me.
  • I like the 91% alcohol because I can get it refunded on my medical reimbursement account!!! :evil:
  • SundazesSundazes Posts: 284
    I use either a MAPP torch for quick starts or the little Weber cubes. They are great as well. I didn't like the smoke bombs from the BGE cubes. Haven't tried the paper towel method yet.
  • SundazesSundazes Posts: 284
    I use either a MAPP torch for quick starts or the little Weber cubes. They are great as well. I didn't like the smoke bombs from the BGE cubes. Haven't tried the paper towel method yet.
  • Stike has described my experience to a tee!

    The other thing with the oil and paper towels is that if you take an Egg on vacation, you always have paper towels and cooking oil available, you don't need to bring starters with you.
  • I used the BGE starter squares for about a year until one day I found I'd run out of them, so I used the paper towel and oil trick. I found it started the lump just as well and didn't smell nearly as nasty. I haven't used anything else since. The MAPP torch does sound like fun though.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    that's my preferred way. at least prior to the paper towel thing.

    you make a good point, that folks often miss with those. DOME OPEN. they need a lot of air. took me a while to realize that if the dome's shut, they (more likely, the paraffin/wood types) can stop flaming and simply glo, and the smoke is horrible and takes a while to burn off.

    the only reason i don't use the BGE starters is that they are 6 bucks a box, and i use one and a half (three halfs).

    i'm to o cheap to pay for them.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i actually use it as a weed burner. for the brick patio. i am really self-conscious, because that thing makes a shungload of noise when it's going full blast. sounds like a jet engine.

    i run it when the neighbors are at work hahaha
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    LOL, I had neighbors complain to my HOA about my weedburner.
    Of course that could of been from me using it to light strings of firecrackers over July 4th weekend. :unsure:
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