Big Green Egg - EGGhead Forum - The Ultimate Cooking Experience...
Welcome to the EGGhead Forum - a great place to visit and packed with tips and EGGspert advice! You can also join the conversation and get more information and amazing kamado recipes by following Big Green Egg at:

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Youtube  |  Vimeo
Share your photos by tagging us and using the hashtag #EGGhead4Life.

In Atlanta? Come visit Big Green Egg headquarters, including our retail showroom, the History of the EGG Museum and Culinary Center!  3786 DeKalb Technology Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30340.

Strong "smokey" flavor charcoal

JDBoulderJDBoulder Posts: 7
edited September 2011 in EggHead Forum

My wife is not big on the smokey flavor that comes along with cooking on the egg. I use BGE charcoal and have tried two other charcoals and the flavor comes out very strong.

I start my Large Egg as follows: Clean out the ash from previous cook, add coal, put in one or two starters (one in front and one in back), lite starters with lid and vent wide open, wait ten minutes, after ten minutes shut lid and wait for desired cooking temp and adjust accordingly. 

Can anyone recommend a brand of charcoal or a method or step I am not doing or doing incorrectly.



  • Lose the wax starters, and go to something clean burning like electric starter, Mapp, Propane, etc.  Also let the lump burn until it is burning clean.   Put your hand over the top vent of the Egg for a few seconds, then smell your hand.  It should have little to no smoke smell at all.  If the smoke smells bad, that is what your food will taste like.  You're not letting the lump burn long enough.   I usually count on 45 minutes if I am using a new load of lump. 
  • BBQMavenBBQMaven Posts: 1,041
    With fresh lump there is a bit of extra "burn off" time. Not a chemist so don't know why, however you will find that the first burn with lump will have a strong odor until the smoke clears from the top vent. Anything put in before that will have the odor you're referring to. Next time let it burn till no smoke or smell on your hand (good advice above post).
    I load my Egg up to the middle of the fire ring with fresh lump and cook. When it is time for the next cook, I don't stir the old lump, just start with 91% rubbing alcohol and let it burn for 5-10 minutes - no smell. By using a wiggle rod I can clear the lower grate (stirring drives all the ash down and covers the holes)
    I get three or four cooks from each load. 

    Kent Madison MS
  • I noticed that the BGE lump inhale always used gives off the blue smoke at the beginning of each light when new. This weekend I tried my first bit of Wicked Good and was surprised there was no blue smoke at all.

  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,948
    Would think you just need to wait long to let the lump burn off the bad stuff.  I don't taste smoke unless I add a chunk of wood.  My wife doesn't care about smokey taste either and the only time she complains is when I use too many wood chunks.  Lump only it is fine.  I think you aren't waiting long enough before your throw your food on is all. 
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: and  and
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • i agree with everything said above about letting the charcoal burn until there is little or no smoke.   having said that, cowboy lump has the reputation of having little or no smoke odor/flavor.  the orthodoxy here is that it is a lower tier/poor quality lump, but i find it acceptible, especially if i am looking for no smoke flavor in the cooked food. 
  • Thanks for all the replys. After reading your posts I think I did not wait long enough. When I purchased the egg, the recommended way to start the egg was what I posted. I will try some of your suggestions and post my results.

  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,948
    I probably wait too long but typically I light approx 1 hour prior to throwing on food.
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: and  and
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • I have to agree with faithie999 about Cowboy brand lump.  After the Florida hurricanes in 2004 the local Barbecues Galore bolted, leaving behind a lot of back rent and five pallets of Cowboy in 20 lb bags.  The building owner sold the whole lot to me for $5 a bag.  I burned that stuff until early this year.  It was fabulous, and generally has no smell until you add wood chunks.  Once added, the woody smoke smell will last to some degree until all the lump is burned.

    Technique...  I bring the temp of my smoker up to 250F with all the ceramic and hardware in place, and let it stabilize there for about an hour before loading with food and adding hardwood.
  • geegee Posts: 71
    I myself almost gave up on the BGE because of the smokey flavor. Until I learned to let the Egg burn for a while I usually let it heat up 30 mins or until the "smoke" is gone. They might say it is ready in ten minutes but you better like that smokey flavor.
    Who cares I'll post where I want
  • JD, the one other thing I would mention is to clean your grate every couple cooks.  The grease build up tends to collect more particles with that heavy smoke flavor. 

    If you have a clean grate and let the lump burn 30 minutes or so, you should be good to go.


    Good Luck


  • this is the one good use for your old gasser if you still have it.  put the egg grate in a 500F gasser while your egg is heating up, then brush the crud off with a brass grill brush.
  • I fired up my BGE on Saturday using BGE charcoal and I let it "warm up" for about 30 minutes.

    This time it came out Great!! No complaints from my wife!

    To add, I ALWAYS clean my crate before and after a cook and use canola spray on the grate before putting food down.

    Thanks everyone for the easy fix.

  • This has been helpful to me as well. Thank you.
    Piero from South Etobicoke in Toronto and sometimes Pinellas Park, St.Petersburg, XL-BGE
Sign In or Register to comment.
Click here for Forum Use Guidelines.