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New BGE User...funny taste from 1st cook

johnnyk60048johnnyk60048 Posts: 2
edited 11:35AM in EggHead Forum
Just purchased a new BGE and made my first steak and burgers last night...used "Wicked Good Lump Charcoal" which was recommended by the dealer where I bought it. Used Rutland "Safe Lite" fire starters. Let the fire burn for a good 30 minutes till it was 600 degrees. Meat had a chemical smell and taste...any ideas why? Do I need to do something prior to cooking? I have looked everywhere and can't find a similar issue.

Thanks for your help...looking forward to lots of great meals on the BGE.



  • SpanishJoeSpanishJoe Posts: 28
    First cooks are funny things. There are a lot of things that can be causing your funny taste... here is a list of problems, in no particular order:

    -grid was not washed before 1st use, may have residue from shipping
    -too much charcoal for 600 degree cook, and are getting lots of smoke, even after 30 minutes
    -maybe a bad batch of charcoal (something might have snuck in there, a squirrel, angry neighbour sabotage)
    -maybe a bad firestarter
    -maybe a bad rub
    -maybe bad meat :blink:

    I know the BGE says it is "good to go" right after assembly, but I think it's a good practice to put it together, wash the grid realy well, tighten everything down, light it with a smallish amount of lump (just below the holes), burn it to 600 right down to ashes, let it cool, wash the grid again, retighten the bolts, and NOW you're ready to cook.

    Just my 0.02... I know it's hard to resist cooking the second you get your egg home (I did it, did a load of ribs, couldn't wait), but the egg does get better over time and cooks...
  • The chemical smell/taste could also come from the brand new gasket. This same thing happened to a friend of mine recently. It smelled BAD! I suggested he cook a few times in the 350° range first, to kind of "season" the gasket; he went straight to "Wa-hoo! Look'it these temps!" and paid a small price. His second cook was at a much lower temp and everything has been fine for him since that first cook.
    For your next cook you might try a lower temp and also allowing the egg to perk along a little longer before placing the food on the grid. Good luck, and welome.
  • StanleyStanley Posts: 623
    This approach will also protect your gasket by letting it set in before (more) high-temp cooks.
  • SmokeySmokey Posts: 2,468
    My sister in law was visiting and we had fillets (on the egg). She said the taste was not right. Both my wife and I thought the steaks were excellent (OK, so I may have been a bit biased)!!

    We later learned that the off taste that the sister in law spoke of was from not using match light charcoal. She had learned to like the chemical taste that food acquired from whatever is used in to make the stuff lightable. :S

    I just have on thing to say about that ... Eew
  • StanleyStanley Posts: 623
    Just keep a can of lighter fluid on the table to use as a condiment when she comes to dinner: problem solved ;)
  • Smokey,

    Thanks for your input. I have never used charcoal briquets and know what food is supposed to taste like. In this case it was a definite chemical smell and flavor which made the experience less than desireable, particularly when you consider the rave reviews the BGE gets. I started it again today and there was a remnant of the smell, but it is much less...I think the recommendation on slowly breaking in a new Egg was a good one. I have it outside now on 400 degrees and it's much improved. If I had to guess I think it might be the gasket getting "broken in"...if only the BGE people would tell you that ahead of time!
  • SmokeySmokey Posts: 2,468
    Stay with it man!! ;) I'm sure everything will work out! Sounds like you are quite an experienced cook. The egg has a slight learning curve and once you get in the groove, I bet you'll be the envy of all of your neighbors :woohoo:
  • SmokeySmokey Posts: 2,468
    Although that sound utterly disgusting, you may be right ... YUCK :ermm:
  • Sounds like you may have it under control.

    I had problems with taste too and mine were from:

    -not letting the fire burn long enough before the cook.(not your problem)

    - rutland firestarters not burning completely before the food went on.(Might be your problem, remnants can linger though i don't know how)

    - bad lump.

    now i use paper towels and cooking oil to start my fires and leave the dome open until the firestarters are all burned up.
  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    I would be more inclined to believe it was the starter cube or the lump. I've cooked at plenty of fests all with brand new Eggs and never noticed any off flavors. I've even seen gaskets fried on their maiden voyage without any chemical taste. I don't care for starter cubes but typically have to use them at fests. To me they smell bad, like lighter fluid. When using them, I will let the coals burn for about an hour, until the smoke is clean, before putting the food on. -RP
  • I had this problem I think it is the fire starters
    I quit using them problem gone.
  • StanleyStanley Posts: 623
    Guess I should try that paper towel thing - I use paraffin-based starters now and haven't had any problems though. I know I don't like the smell of burning paper towels, which concerns me. There's also the torch and electric options. Oh yeah, and alcohol. Think I better just drink some - these decisions are making my head hurt :P
  • I had my first cook up to 600. I was cooking some T-bones that took about 30 sec. Did not get the chemical smell, but I threw some JD wood chips in there to smoke it. Smelled and tasted a lot like whiskey. Maybe that is the key for the first few. Smoke it up real good. If that doesn't work, wash it down with some lighter fluid. BTW I recently swtiched to paper towels and oil as a fire starter. Put plenty of oil on it and it works like a charm. :)
  • KnaufKnauf Posts: 337
    My first few cooks were the same way. Bad smell and taste. I thought it was the fire starter sticks I was using. dealer said no way it could be them. I ended up starting fires with half a stick broken into 2 pieces and it lights just fine and letting the lump stabilize longer and I haven't had the bad taste anymore. It could also be the combination of the egg getting broken in, gasket getting seasoned, grate getting gunked up etc. keep trying it will go away.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597 don't need too much oil.... just enough to go translucent. i find it's faster and hotter if it's not too wet.

    if you twist them up, they shouldn't weep extra oil. just my 2 cents worth
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • I had my second cook tonight and it the food (pizza) tasted aweful.  The first cook I did some chicken around 350 with no taste issues.  On the second I fired it up to 600 for pizza's.  At one point it did get over 800-900 and the gasket looks to be burned in some places.  Not sure if this is normal breaking in...the way the gasket looks.  The first pizza tasted like chemicals, etc...but then I got the egg down to 550-600 stable for the second pizza and it came out with no problems.  To me it seems like the adhesive/gasket was the culprit.  I will be able to rule out the fire starters soon since I have my looftlighter on the way.  
  • tazcrashtazcrash Posts: 1,852
    Sounds like you had a few things that could have happened. the fact that you had the second pie come out ok would leave me to one of the following happened:  
    I've had bad taste from: 
    Wood & paraffin fire starters not completely burning. Now I don't use them
    Not giving the lump enough time to burn off the VOCs (bad smoke bad flavor, good smoke good flavor). Now I make sure I give enough time to let egg get to temp, and wait for "good smoke".
    Brunt felt is just nasty. 

    FWIW, the gasket is dead. it just doesn't know it yet. It will fail sooner or later. Mine was less than 10 cook in on pizza. 

    Bx - > NJ ->TX!!! 
    All to get cheaper brisket! 
  • I have to agree with a few folks here... fire starters. Even after lighting and letting them burn off, I could still taste the starters. Before the BGE I used a charcoal chimney but was "sold" the starters when I bought the egg. I went back to the chimney and after a couple of cooks without the starters, the funky taste was gone.
  • I have used Rutland Safe Starters for over a year starting the fire in my egg.  I have never had a strange taste or odor or complaint of any. 

    Welcome to the Swamp.....GO GATORS!!!!
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 26,671
    Starters are wax and sawdust.  If the wax burns up, you shouldn't taste it.  If that wax starter is still fueling the fire, like the Chinese manual I got the other day said, "Sparking is badness".
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • I didn't use any kind of starter other than electric and my first cooks were chemicalesque. No sure what the deal was but the problem went away after my second cook and everything has been great since.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 26,671
    It's like the first time you turn on your heater or AC - beginning of the season.  Da funk just gets disturbed, then it's gone.
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Make sure the rutland starters are completely burned up before closing the dome. I use them and thy are great, but if they aren't burned up before closing the dome, the smoke lingers in the egg.
    Mark Annville, PA
  • I received my looftlighter today, so I will definitely be taking the paraffin starters out of the equation.
  • DonWWDonWW Posts: 323
    I, too, use a looftlighter.  Takes just a couple of minutes and you can get a really, really good start.
    XL and Medium BGE.  Dallas, Texas.
  • EggdamEggdam Posts: 223
    + 1 on the looftlighter. Speeds up my start time by almost 10 mins
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