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Good info on regulating, what about starting fire?

Aledo Green DreggonAledo Green Dreggon Posts: 134
edited 2:21PM in EggHead Forum
I posted this in the 250* newbie thread, but decided it might not have tied in as well as I originally thought.

I have an electric starter, but watched the video a few days ago about using 91% alcohol to start the egg.

1) To keep the fire going for a long low and slow cook how many places to I need to start it? If I only start in the middle I would think my odds of the fire going out would be really high.

1a) Would the alcohol method be better than the electric starter for this reason?

2) With an electric starter if I start 3-4 locations will the fire get hot enough to melt the starter or electrical cord?

3) How much difference is there in a 250* direct cook compared to an indirect?

4) Every time I open my egg the daisy wheel flops open and I have to reset it. Is that normal?


  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,994
    1 i always light a couple places when im not using a weedburner, with the weedburner i just wave it around and get it lit.

    1a i dont like either method, try the oil napkin one that gets posted here, or use sawdust/pariffin log pieces. or get a weedburner which is what i prefer.

    2 i dont like electric starters, they burn up

    3 most things that can be cooked low and slow inderect between 250 to 300 degree dome can be cooked direct at 220 to 250 degrees dome but you need to raise the grill and lower your lump levels in the egg to increase distance between fire and meat. inderect is easier because temps can spike with a direct setup and burn things if your not watching or experienced with temp control. most people will cook low and slows inderect but i like to experiment with different setups.

    4 put the hinge screw towards the front of the egg so the daisy just hangs (not slides) when you open the egg.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,938
    Among the problems I've had with long cooks is the fire burning straight down the middle. In one case, there were only a few lit coals left at the very bottom, surrounded by a wall of unburnt lump. So I light in several places. It is not a guarantee that the fire won't travel down the center, but often the fire remains nicely spread out.

    I get a crispier outside with direct than indirect, but must turn the food more often to keep hot spots from charring portions. Cooking time is generally a little shorter.
  • #4

    #3 They are the same temperature but you have a direct fire vs. the convection action of the indirect. Maybe I'm reading too much in to your question? Not sure

    #2 I don't use electric starters so I'm not qualified to answer.

    #1A I wouldn't. The alcohol method would lite too much lump IMO. You only need about three or four good size pieces of lump burning to maintain 250 deg.

    #1 Until you are confident with the egg I would lite in two to three places. Once you have some experience, to know that the fire you built, will travel through the lump and sustain itself. Until then lite in two to three. After you have built many fires, then you will just know that you can lite in one spot and not fear it going out.
  • Thank you to all 3 of you. The pictures of the daisy wheel makes perfect sense. MY OCD dictated that the words on the wheel be centered in the front. :huh:

    I am guessing the 'weedburners' are mapp or propane torches. Isn't that an expensive way to light it? I already have the torch so that isn't the question, just the amount of gas that it takes to light it each time?

    I am going to do some searches for the oil and napkin method.

    I am seeing how useful the nakedwhiz is. That was a response to the first topic I made(Thanks again for that Mike) so I went in and looked at the charcoal database. That was the extent of my knowledge at that time. "I have the grill, add good lump, cook", but already the other stuff is making more sense cuz it just ain't that easy.

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,994
    much bigger than a mapp torch. if you have a tank from an old grill its fairly cheap, a tank will last several years
  • I think MAPP gas is a fairly inexpensive method for lighting lump. I bought a torch and cylinder the summer of 2005. After many uses I bought a spare cylinder expecting to run out at any time and wanted to make sure I had a backup. That day didn't come until this summer. So basically, three years worth of fire starting on one cylinder. I think MAPP costs about $8/cylinder, so at an average of 1-2 egg cooks per week for 3 years, my cost per fire start is about $.03-.05. Probably much less than using the Weber starter cubes. Propane cylinders of the same size are even cheaper, but I haven't tried it so I don't know if it lights as quick as MAPP.
  • Due to the job I can only cook on the weekends, so I only lite three times a week. While using the MAPP torch for a low and slow cook, I only hold it on one spot for 15-20 seconds. This is usualy enough to lite it well enough for a good burn. Sometimes when I'm looking for a hot fire fast I'll lite in three or more places for the same 15-20 seconds. Still using only 1 minutes worth of gas, so it's not like I'm using a lot. I am on my first MAPP tank. I started using the torch just late last year. Prior to the gas I would lite using a chimney starter. Add about 5-10 pieces of lump to it lite with newspaper and once going very well, dump this on top of the lump in the egg. I did this method for about 4 months until I got the gas.
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,738
    is it pure overkill on a small. using a mapp now
    Salado TX Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • Re: the oil and napkin method, he posted some pics which showed how simple it is. Even though I have a big box of unused starters, I've never used any other method to start a fire since seeing that and trying it for myself.

    When you use this method, it lights a "line" in the middle of your lump rather than a "spot" as you would get with a single starter. Maybe it's not a "line", but it lights a bigger area than a single starter. When I used to use starters, I always lit it in 3 places but never had the fire start as well as it does with the oil & napkin (paper towels in my case).

    Two things that have greatly improved my fires are the napkin method to start and raising the lower charcoal grate up 1/4" with carriage bolts.
  • Flashback Bob wrote:
    Two things that have greatly improved my fires are the napkin method to start and raising the lower charcoal grate up 1/4" with carriage bolts.
    Can you explain how you raised the grate and possibly post some pics? The impression I get is that there will be a gap all the way around the grate.
  • BW - I don't have any pics handy, but I got the idea from others here who may have posted pics.

    Basically I got (3) SS carriage bolts that I secured to the charcoal grate, acting as legs. I think I got the 4.1/2" length x 3/8" size. The result is the grate is held off the Egg by about 1/4", more or less.

    The legs get in the way a little bit when cleaning out the ash below but it's really not a problem. I believe the improved airflow resulting from this has resulted in better burning fires.
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