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Big Lump vs Little Lump

AD18AD18 Posts: 209
edited February 2012 in EggHead Forum
Had a bad day yesterday doing up some ribs.  Stirred charcoal up to remove ash and make sure air vents open.  Loaded up some fresh BGE charcoal and had a lot of pretty big pieces.  Some were 4-5 inches across, some narrow and 6-7 inches long.  Had good preheat to desired grate temp with usual bottom vent and daisy wheel openings.  Chucked on ribs and got about an hour of stable temps.  I like 225-240 grate.  After first hour temps went all over the place from 190 to 270 grate.  I made very small adjustments to lower vent and daisy wheel, but could not get normal BGE stability back.  Only thing I can think of was fact the big pieces where not "passing the fire" to the smaller chunks as efficiently as small to small.  I pulled the ribs after 7 hours and they still could have used an extra hour at least I think.  Is the big chunks theory a viable explanation for temp fluctuations or did I just have a bad rib day.
Large BGE, Weber 22.5 kettle, Weber Genesis
Cobourg, Ontario


  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,935
    I'd be more suspicious of the used lump. For me, it has worked fine for shorter, rather hot cooks, like burgers direct. But often enough, with longer and lower cooks, it just doesn't seem to burn as well. I usually have to have the vents open farther and farther as the cook goes on. Then, after the 3rd or 4th opening, it gets hotter than I want.

    When ribs, or anthing really, take too long, I bump up the heat. There are folks that get good results from doing ribs and butts at 350 dome temps for shorter times (and often, some foiling.)
  • There is definitely a camp that suggests stacking your lump although I just roll with how it comes out of the bag and don't seem to have an issue.  I can't say that I have ever had a firebox full of just big large pieces of lump.  It will be interesting to see if others have experienced this.

  • AD18AD18 Posts: 209
    Gdenby that is pretty much what happened with my cook.  Temp started dropping rather slowly, adjusted vents, stabilized at lower temp, then started dropping again, adjusted vents, then spiked upwards rather quickly.  Thus my deduction that larger lump was cause.  Guess best thing would be to get larger lump lower in burn area and get smaller pieces on top.  That or try and break up the larger pieces.  Glad someone has had this issue, its bugged me a lot.  Eggs are usually sooooooo stable. 
    Large BGE, Weber 22.5 kettle, Weber Genesis
    Cobourg, Ontario
  • boatbumboatbum Posts: 1,273

    I like a mixture of large and small pieces, specially on a long cook.   Large pieces burn very well, and perserve the air channels through the charcoal.   Mixture of smaller pieces in with the large increases the density of available fuel to lengthen the cook.

    The result of that analysis - means I just dump the bag till the level of charcoal is high enough ....


    Cookin in Texas
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