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Need help using egg

cheapskatecheapskate Posts: 24
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
I finally broke down and bought a large egg. Little did I know that's only the beginning, with $60 add ons for the plate setter, $45 for the stone, etc. Anyway, I bought it, and it's great for cooking steaks and burgers at really high temps.

However, I'm having a lot of trouble in two areas:

1) Pizza - I used the plate setter with the legs down, and a stone on it. I had a full load of coals, used the electric starter to get it going, opened the bottom door all the way and the top all the way to get it as hot as I could. 1 1/2 hours later, it was barely 250 degrees. I can't seem to get any heat to the stone or top of the dome when using the plate setter. I wound up cooking the pizza in the oven when we were too hungry to wait any longer.

2) Brisket - I used the plate setter in the legs up position and a grill on top. Whole untrimmed brisket, about 12 pounds, fat side up. I shut down the vents top and bottom almost all the way, but had trouble getting the temp below 275 degrees. I was trying to get 250 but couldn't maintain it there. ANyway, according to the recipes I should have 10 - 12 hours before needing to wrap in foil with beef broth. After 8 hours it was so dried up, the bottom 1/2 inch had to be cut off, which was a goodly percentage of the meat.

I was told before buying that the egg retained moisture so well that you couldn't hardly dry out food. I've checked the dome thermometer with an additional oven thermometer and it reads the same, so I don't think it's a problem with the thermometer. What am I doing wrong?

Comments

  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    I don't do pizza's or brisket much but, I was wondering how much lump are you putting in your egg to cook with? Tim
  • I load it up with a lot of coal, about to the top of the fire bowl (below the fire ring).
  • That is about how much coal I use. I have done only a few platesetter cooks but have not had a problem reaching and holding 350*. Have you cleaned out the fire box lately? Those little chunks like to get stuck in the draft holes. Try placing larger lump towards the bottom so air can come through.
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    On one cook you want your egg to get to 400 plus degrees but can't get past 250 degrees.

    On the other hand you want your egg to stay at 250 degrees but can't get you egg to cool back down.

    First when I set my egg up for a high heat cook I fill my egg with lump and light in several places.

    Second when I set my egg up for low temp cooks I fill my egg up with lump and light it in just a couple places.

    Either cook I start out with dome closed and no daisy wheel and wide open bottom vent. Than as the egg temp rises after the initial spike from fire starters etc. I begin by closing the bottom vent then putting on the daisy wheel and always keeping an eye on my egg until I get to my cooking temp and not over shoot my desired temp. Then I stabilize my egg for a time that allows the VOC's to burn off and the ceramic to come to temp all together.

    I'm sure others will chime in and help some more. Wishing you well. Tim :)
  • bcrawfo2bcrawfo2 Posts: 85
    Just a thought...were you getting your temp stabilized and then putting the plate setter in (not changing any of the vent settings)?
  • h20eggh20egg Posts: 168
    It's a matter of practice and experience. After a month or two I can reliably get hot or not. While I do clean the ash out periodically, I'm not getting out the vacuum cleaner either. All I care about is unobstructed path from the entrance to the grate and holes. Which is the place to concentrate on. If you are restarting from previous cook, you have to stir the old lump to get the ash and little bits to pass through the grate. You want to verify the holes in the firebox are clear. That works for me, every time. I've wondered about removing the old lump and screening it, but that's just too much work and I've found unnecessary. Assuming you don't have obstructions, but it's just not gettin' hot, on one or two occaisions when I'm in a hurry I whip out the cheapo $9.99 hair drier and blast some air through the bottom vent. In two minutes it's nuclear.

    Based on your description of your problems, I really think it's a matter of airflow and clearing the holes and grate...good luck.
  • No, I put the plate setter in as soon as I remove the electric starter. Otherwise, if I wait until it's hot, it'll burn my arms when I try to put in the plate setter. Wish there were a way to use an electric starter without having to remove the grill or platesetter everytime. That's one of the weak links in the design of the egg that makes it more hassle than a gas grill. They should fix that.
  • Now that you say that, it makes sense. The last cook was the brisket, where the coals burned for 8 hours, so it stands to reason that the air holes got clogged. I bet if I just stir up the coals that'll fix the problem. I want to get that pizza stone up to 700 or higher for true wood burning brick oven pizza. Has anyone been able to peg the thermometer? I can't seem to get much past 600 degrees on mine.
  • Mike in AbitaMike in Abita Posts: 3,302
    SOunds like you might need a litlle reading material. Try here and if that doens't help there are others.

    http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramic2.htm
  • If you think of the bottom vent as the "intake" vent, and the top vent (the daisy wheel) as the "exhaust" vent, that may help.

    Both need to be in the proper position for specific temps. Whatever that "proper" position is for you depends on your area (altitude, humidity, temp, etc).

    Also, as others have said, the holes in the grate need to be open, because even if you have the bottom vent all the way open, if the grate holes are plugged, the air cannot exhaust itself through the top vent - there needs to be an unobstructed flow of air from bottom to top.

    If I'm using previously burned charcoal, I'll definitely stir it up & allow the ash to drop to the bottom (at which time I'll use the shop vac to suck it out). If there's too much ash in the bottom, that too can obstruct the airflow.

    If there's no obstructions, I've witnessed that if I leave the dome open, the temp of the Egg can shoot up to well over 600-700 pretty quickly!!
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • bcrawfo2bcrawfo2 Posts: 85
    I always get my fire going good and then put the plate setter in. How do I do that without burning the c**P out of myself? Welding gloves from Home Depot/Lowes. You can use them to insert/remove even a hot plate setter. You need to move rather fast on a hot one...but you can.

    Following the air in the bottom...out the top....if you put a big plate setting in that path when the fire is just getting started...you make it harder.

    Give it a shot. And do listen to other opinions about clogged holes.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,239
    on the brisket you say you had trouble getting the temperature down, and only got to 275. If you are doing lo-n-slo, don't go more than 10 degrees beyond your desired target. It is possible to cool down an Egg that has gotten quite hot, say 400 degrees, but it can take an hour or more to drop it to 250, depending on how long it was at high temp. The problem will be worse if you have the platesetter in also, because it will also need to cool down.

    For a 250 fire, expect both vents to be down to a crack. Really, I've had cooks where the bottom vent was closed, and the Egg held 250 for over an hour.

    Recipes that tell you how many hours you should expect at a certain temp and meat weight are just averages. The average for pork butts is 1.75 hours, but I've had a few at 50 min. per pound.

    So, one more thing to buy. Get a quick read thermometer. A $10 dollar cheapy is better than nothing. Best, get a thermapen, which is currently selling for $89 ( or ping Egger Mollyshark, who will sell it for a few dollars less.) It will help all of your cooking.

    When you food should be half done, test the temp. Most likely it will not be done, but every now and then, there will be surprises.
  • Agree with everyone on the first point. Whenver we do pizza I clean out most of the ash and smaller bit and go for md to lg size chunks. Putting in the plate setter after its gotten over 600 works every time. The temp will slowly drop down to 525-550. I don't ever use the daisy wheel anymore with pizzas as the temp drops too much.

    Regarding the brisket I have also found its easy to get the egg too hot. More experienced eggers may have their own techniques but I've found its best to start by slowly building up to temp. The first few times I did ribs I was in a hurry to get it up to temp and overshot. After that I lit a small fire in the middle and let it slowly come to temp over 30-45 min. After that I close the bottom almost all the way and close the wheel with the "eyes" open halfway. Always seems to hold nicely at 225-250.
  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,106
    You should also make or buy a wiggle rod. Insert this through the bottom vent and clean out the holes while the fire is starting. This will improve the airflow and give you much better control over the temperature.

    Also, don't just compare your thermometer against another - instead, boil up some water and put your thermometer in it and adjust it until the temperature is correct.
    Barry Lancaster, PA
  • I have owned my BGE since Father's day and today I cooked my first pork shoulder for pulled pork B. 6 pounder. I started @ 0400 and filled the large egg with lump coal 3/4 of the way up the fire box. I fired up the egg and let it get to 250 degrees. Then I put in the plate setter (feet up) and a drip pan, then the rack. Closed her down and let her run for about a half hour to stablize at 250. At 0500 I put on the pork shoulder, expecting to cook it for about 12 hours (2 hours per pound). The BGE stayed rock solid at 250 all day. The top vent was about 90% closed, and the bottem vent was just cracked (1/4 inch). It worked perfectly. I have a wired meat thermometer and I watched the internal temp slowly rise. It reached 195 in just over 10 hours. I removed it from the BGE and double wrapped it in tin foil, towels, and put in a cooler to keep warm. We will be pulling pork in about an hour. :lol:
  • kmelleckerkmellecker Posts: 331
    I agree with everyone that airflow is your problem and specifically with Shiff. A wiggle rod is a every cook tool for me. I made mine from 3/16" rod you can buy at Home Depot/Lowes for a few dollars and bent one end at 90 degrees about 2 1/2" worth. If I don't stack my lump, I use the ash tool to stir out all the ash from the used lump and add new lump on top of the old. Before I start the fire, I push the wiggle rod up through as many of the grate holes as possible. If I get in a hurry after that I break out the hair dryer and after a blast or two you have a screaming inferno, plate setter and all. Good luck to you...you're going to love your Egg before long.
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