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Firing up my egg - help!

riverdawgriverdawg Posts: 6
edited 9:46PM in EggHead Forum
Hey guys, long time lurker... I just got an L for Christmas. Very Happy with it, I've wanted one for a long time!

I have successfully done a brisket, a couple of butts and a few chickens so far and it has performed perfectly.

I tried to sear some steaks the other night and couldn't get my heat up to 650. This was disappointing, I never got higher than 550 and went ahead and put them on. They were good, but they were missing that seared crust I was hoping for...

I'm sure it was a user error and more than likely had to do with my lighting procedure; I lit a handful of lump in a chimney and poured it onto my filled firebox. Top and bottom wide open. It just never got screaming hot.

I'm hoping I could get some pointers on how I could build a more efficient fire?

Thanks for the help!


  • I still cannot get the temperature of my Big Green Egg above 350°F. What could I be doing wrong?
    There are two common reasons why the EGG will not reach higher temperatures.

    The first is lack of airflow. Make sure that all of the air holes are free of obstructions, including those in the fire grate, the fire box, and the space behind and around the firebox. It is also necessary for the horseshoe shaped opening in the firebox to be aligned with the lower draft door in order to obtain proper air flow. Increasing the amount of air will ensure the EGG reaches higher temperatures.

    The second reason you may have trouble attaining higher temperatures is that the lump charcoal is wet or damp. If charcoal is wet, or was wet and has not completely dried, it will be very difficult to reach higher cooking temperatures. Removing the wet charcoal and replacing it with fresh, dry lump coal will remedy this problem.

    above from bge site. i clean out my egg a lot more than others .. little pieces of lump blocking the air holes too much ash in the bottom and after a bunch of cooks you need to vacuum the raceway between the egg and the firebox . damp lump or too many teeny pieces will resrtict air flow
  • You need to check the cast iron grate and make sure that there are not small pieces of lump that are blocking air flow. It helps to put a couple of large chunks of lump on the bottom the ensure good air flow. You may also want to remove the ash.
  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,703
    As others have said, you are probably having an air flow problem. On my BGE, the most common problem is that the holes in the fire grate get clogged with little pieces of lump. I find the easiest thing to do is to use a wiggle rod which is inserted in the lower vent and then pushed up through the holes.

    You can buy a wiggle rod or make one out of a metal coat hanger. A great one to buy is at:
    Large BGE
    Barry, Lancaster, PA
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    lose the daisy. not enough to have it open.

    lots of fresh lump and plenty of air is the easiest way.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • PhilsGrillPhilsGrill Posts: 2,256
    Whenever you want to cook over 350 totally clean the egg out as if it were new. Fill it full of lump to the top of the firebox. Light'er up and stand back.
  • Thanks for the replies!

    If the grate was clogged, would it even get to 550?

    I had just done a 12 hour smoke the day before, more than likely a clogged grate was the problem I guess. I can cross off the other problem suggestions as I know my lump was dry, big pieces at the bottom, daisy wheel was off, I cleaned the ash out of the bottom prior to...

    All I didn't do was check for a clogged grate. I will look at that tonight when I get home.
  • I think this is the key, I didn't clean it out totally prior to grilling after having done a smoke...
  • Riverdawg, if I want it to get screaming hot I put a fan or blow dryer up to the bottom vent with the daisy wheel off. That usually does the trick.
    Happily egging on my original large BGE since 1996... now the owner of 6 eggs. Call me crazy, everyone else does!
    3 Large, 2 Smalls, 1 well-used Mini
  • SnorkSnork Posts: 15
    For what its worth, I use an old shop vac to clean out the egg. It keeps me from getting ashes all over the deck, and it gets it super clean.
  • Also check the holes in the ceramic on the sides of the firebox for little pieces of lump clogging them. This is always happening to me!
  • CrueznCruezn Posts: 317
    Everyone is right on. I also totally remove the daisy wheel if I want to go over 400 degrees. I control temp from the bottom vent. Even if the daisy wheel is completely open, it will still slightly constrict airflow. Clean that egg out, remove all ash and the fire ring and fire box and vacuum with a shop vac (if you have one). Make sure the firebox holes are not blocked (and the grate too). Fill with fresh lump and light in 3 places. For a hot fire, start the fire deeper in the coals, for a cooler fire, light towards the top. You will be amazed how much better a clean egg performs. Good luck
  • crghc98crghc98 Posts: 1,006
    also, you don't need to go that high to sear....

    drop the steaks closer to the coals...either get a spider, remove fire ring, etc...then just raise it back up for the roast....
  • tach18ktach18k Posts: 1,607
    Well my take is this, fill with lump then light, rather than lite and then dump. I always lit my lump from inside the egg and not with anything other than a MAPP gas torch, basic trigger lighter. If your clooged it wont get to 550 anyways. Maybe not enough lump, how long did you let it get to temp before using the lower temp.
  • CBBQCBBQ Posts: 610
    All good advice but I agree with Cruezen, and you touched on it, that how you lit the lump may have affected your temp. If you dump lit lump on top of a full load in you egg that puts a lot between your fire and the oxygen/air source. For high-temp cooks I light down in the lump so the air source/flow is closer to it. I've never had a problem getting any of my eggs up to temp doing it that way.
  • Yeah thanks you two, I was more interested in advice on lighting technique and you two picked up on that. Thanks for all the help guys!
  • BeakerBeaker Posts: 293
    I can not recall off the top of my head who stated it this way...butt...Fuel + Airflow = Heat
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