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Lighting your lump with MAPP gas

chuckls Posts: 399
edited November -1 in Charcoal
I haven't seen much of a thread on lighting your lump with a MAPP gas torch recently, so I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents - what I've learned lighting lump exclusively with my MAPP gas torch.

First - what part of the flame to use. An egger recently asked what was the hottest part of the flame he should use to light his lump. Well of course the hottest part is the tip of the hot blue flame, but you shouldn't lay that on your lump to start it. You should pull the torch back so the feather end of the flame is tickling your lump. This way, there is still plenty of heat to excite your carbon, and most importantly there is plenty of free oxygen being thrown at the carbon as well, as fresh air is being blasted onto your lump due to the velocity of the flame. If you use the tip of the hot blue flame, sure your lump will heat up and glow, but it really won't start burning until you move your torch away and allow fresh air to hit the spot you just heated up.

Second - where to direct your flame. Many times I don't refill the egg when I relight the fire. And I've found in this situation it's better not to stir the lump around before lighting. When the fire was last extinguished, the lump had set itself up for good burning, so I use that structure to relight it. I direct my flame through the channels that exist in the extinguished lump, and start the fire as deep in the lump as I can. You've probably noticed, that except for lava temp burns, the fire seeks downwards towards the grate. That's where the air is coming in, so when I relight a fire I light it deep in the lump.

Third - building (not reusing) a fire. First I stir around the lump, helping the ashes and small bits of charcoal fall through the bottom grate. I scoop out all the old lump, and put it in a bucket. I shake the bucket around, and if there are any larger pieces I put a couple in the bottom on the grate. Be careful if you used lump made of milled wood, such as Cowboy, because the milled pieces are flat and will lay over the holes and block the airflow through the bottom grate. In this case I do what I learned in Boy Scouts, I lay one piece lengthwise and lay the others leaning against it so it looks like a little campfire down there. I put in more fresh lump on that, and then I upend the bucket with the scooped-out lump into the egg. If there's still not enough (I usually fill to the middle of the fire ring) I'll lay on some more fresh lump to bring the level up to where I want it.

Fourth - How many spots to light your lump. Well I go with the majority of eggers here. If I'm lighting for a low-and-slow, I pick one spot in the middle of the lump. Again, I direct the feather of the flame down through a channel to try to light as deep in the lump as I can. If I'm lighting for a quick cook, I'll light several spots the same way around the edges and also in the middle.

Fifth - How long to leave your torch in one spot before moving to another. Well this certainly depends upon the brand of lump you are using. Lighter lump like Cowboy and BGE brand will take much less time than dense lump like Wicked Good Charcoal. For lighter lump, I'll hover for a count of 15-20 and for denser lump it's more like 40 to 50. But in any case using the feather end of the flame will light the lump faster than using the hot blue flame.

Sixth - I will sometimes use a little battery-powered fan to set up a draft right at the beginning. But don't walk away and forget it, especially on the large egg! I did that once, with a pizza stone inside, and when I came back the outside surface of the egg was smoking, and when I opened it up the pizza stone was glowing and had fused to the porcelain grid, and the felt gasket was fried all the way around. But the inside sure was clean!

So the next time you light up your egg (this evening, or tomorrow for many of you!) try a couple of these tips. And enjoy the fruits of your labor. For me, today, it's an injected beef brisket so big I had to scrunch it to fit inside my large egg and it still hits the sides!



  • Thanks for the tips. I purchased a mapp gas lighter a few weeks ago and your tips will sure help. How much hotter is the mapp than standard propane?
    The bottles are 3 time more expensive.