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Brand new Large egg owner. Cooking troubles

EggdamEggdam Posts: 223
edited April 2012 in EggHead Forum
Just bought a brand new large egg.  Since this is my first egg I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.  I have cooked on the egg twice both times chicken one time wings and then a whole chicken.  Both times the food tasted like it was cooked over a campfire.  The first time I lit it I used a natural starter burrowed in the center and piled some big pieces of charcoal on it with the lid open.  I waited 10 minutes and the center of the charcoal was going good.  I then closed the lid and the temp came up to about 450 and I started closing vents.  After about a total of 15 minutes I was cooking on it.  I figured this was not burned off enough so for the whole chicken  I waited about 30-40 minutes total.  However after I was done I noticed that some of the charcoal was left unburned even thou it stabilized at 350 for almost and hour.  Am I closing the dampers to soon?  I assume the only way to stop this is make sure that all the charcoal is burning before closing vents?  What is the best way to ensure this?  I was also a little worried about having my gasket fall off if I got it too hot on the first couple cooks.
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Comments

  • BrisketBobBrisketBob Posts: 144
    What brand of charcoal are you using?  It matters.
  • BrownieBrownie Posts: 1,023
    What type of charcoal are you using? Did you wait until your smoke is not colored before putting you food in? Maybe try a different brand. I have used charcoal that takes a long time to burn clean and has left my food tasting less than desirable.
  • EggdamEggdam Posts: 223
    I bought 2 bags of green egg charcoal.  Would all the charcoal have to be burning to avoid this taste.  I assume and unburnt charcoal that lights after cooking would give you the acrid taste?
  • I bought 2 bags of green egg charcoal.  Would all the charcoal have to be burning to avoid this taste.  I assume and unburnt charcoal that lights after cooking would give you the acrid taste?
    I always get the whole load going before cooking. Try that and see if it helps

    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • EggdamEggdam Posts: 223
    I bought 2 bags of green egg charcoal.  Would all the charcoal have to be burning to avoid this taste.  I assume and unburnt charcoal that lights after cooking would give you the acrid taste?
    I always get the whole load going before cooking. Try that and see if it helps

    So do you leave the vents all open untill the whole load gets going?  Roughly how long are we talking?  How hot is the egg at that point?
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    The tip off is you were cooking ten minutes after starting the fire

    Give the starters time to burn off. If they are paraffin and sawdust, that can br a while. Watch the smoke. Billowing white mnoke means the starter snuffed out and is smoldering. It should get plenty of air and always be in flame. Other methods dont require an eagle eye. But those starters are still ok as long as you are sure they are fully consumed

    The charcoal also needs time to blow off some fumes and burn cleanly

    When all else fails, smell the smoke. If it smells good it will taste good
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • GatoGato Posts: 766
    I don't think it its necessary to get the whole load going. For example, if you were to do that on a low n slow, it would take a long time to get the temp down. The voc's from what I understand will disappear from the airflow moving through the egg. You do need to make sure there is clear or very little smoke coming from the egg before you put the food in. Also hold your hand over the top and see what it smells like.
    Geaux Tigers!!!
  • troutgeektroutgeek Posts: 458
    The only charcoal I wait for the whole load to start is briquettes, and I never use briquettes in an egg. Have you tried the other bag yet?
    XL BGE - Large BGE - Small BGE - Traeger Lil' Tex Elite - Weber Smokey Joe
  • EggdamEggdam Posts: 223
    The only charcoal I wait for the whole load to start is briquettes, and I never use briquettes in an egg. Have you tried the other bag yet?
    Nope not yet.
  • troutgeektroutgeek Posts: 458
    I have to tell you, it sounds like you're doing everything right -- try the other bag. Maybe the first bag got wet?
    XL BGE - Large BGE - Small BGE - Traeger Lil' Tex Elite - Weber Smokey Joe
  • I bought 2 bags of green egg charcoal.  Would all the charcoal have to be burning to avoid this taste.  I assume and unburnt charcoal that lights after cooking would give you the acrid taste?
    I always get the whole load going before cooking. Try that and see if it helps

    So do you leave the vents all open untill the whole load gets going?  Roughly how long are we talking?  How hot is the egg at that point?
    I leave the dome totally open until all the lump gets a little white. Then I close the dome and take it up or down to temp.  That keeps all the acrid stuff out of the dome altogether. How hot it gets depends on lots of different things. How much lump, quality of airflow etc. It's hot though. 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 938
    I leave the dome totally open until all the lump gets a little white. Then I close the dome and take it up or down to temp.  That keeps all the acrid stuff out of the dome altogether. How hot it gets depends on lots of different things. How much lump, quality of airflow etc. It's hot though. 
    Wouldn't that be kind of hard on the mileage you get from your lump?  

    In my experience 1/2 hour seems plenty to get a clean burn.  I leave the lid open for 5 minutes, then close the lid with no top damper, when I approach the target temperature I start shutting down the bottom vent and then add the daisy wheel to the top for the fine tuning of the temperature.  Seems to work every time for me.

    Gerhard
  • njlnjl Posts: 883
    You might try a different brand of lump, avoiding any that claim to have any mesquite in them.  My first steaks were done using Publix Greenwise lump and some mesquite chunks "for flavor" and we decided that the mesquite made the meat taste like camp fire.  We switched to hickory for flavor and have been very happy.  I've still mostly used Publix lump, some Royal Oak, and Win Dixie once.
  • troutgeektroutgeek Posts: 458
    BGE is fine lump. It's just expensive. Try the other bag.
    XL BGE - Large BGE - Small BGE - Traeger Lil' Tex Elite - Weber Smokey Joe
  • xraypat23xraypat23 Posts: 421
    I never get the whole firebox going unless I'm doing a high temp cook. I use the electric starter, buried in the middle until theres flames coming out. Unplug, remove, assemble the internals(platesetter, pizza stone, whatever) let it burn for a few more minutes with the bottom draft wide open, than close the lid, put on the daisy wheel top when it reaches 200, close the bottom vent down to almost a 1/4inch  and close the lid of the daisy wheel so only the petals are open. this is usually 30 minutes from start up. That set up with minimal tinkering always gets me a 16+ hour burn at 250 dome. 

    For high heat cooks, i blast the whole firebox with my weed burner till it's all nice and lit, about 20 seconds. Let that catch for a little while, assemble the internals and leave the bottom open and the top off. 30 minutes later and the needle is working on it's second time around.
  • I leave the dome totally open until all the lump gets a little white. Then I close the dome and take it up or down to temp.  That keeps all the acrid stuff out of the dome altogether. How hot it gets depends on lots of different things. How much lump, quality of airflow etc. It's hot though. 
    Wouldn't that be kind of hard on the mileage you get from your lump?  

    In my experience 1/2 hour seems plenty to get a clean burn.  I leave the lid open for 5 minutes, then close the lid with no top damper, when I approach the target temperature I start shutting down the bottom vent and then add the daisy wheel to the top for the fine tuning of the temperature.  Seems to work every time for me.

    Gerhard
    It's not too bad. Probably not the most efficient way but it really does not blow through much more. it's usually ready in 20-30 and I like my fires to be cover the entire cooking surface. If you use a paraffin lighter, I don't think 5 min is enough. I don't use them anymore but I don't like my dome closed with any starters in there. 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • You might try a different brand of lump, avoiding any that claim to have any mesquite in them.  My first steaks were done using Publix Greenwise lump and some mesquite chunks "for flavor" and we decided that the mesquite made the meat taste like camp fire.  We switched to hickory for flavor and have been very happy.  I've still mostly used Publix lump, some Royal Oak, and Win Dixie once.
    I use 100% mesquite lump and it is not any smokier than any other. I still have to add wood to get smoke flavor. i think when the unburned coal ignites it can give you that acrid smoky taste. I do not know this for a fact but I've always heard that so I don't ever cook over unburned coals. Mesquite wood can be off putting to people that do not like a lot of smoke so I would definitely avoid adding mesquite if you are sensitive to it. I like it but still am careful to use less when I do use it. 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817
    If the smoke is relatively clear you should not get the taste. As stike said billowing white mnoke isn't good.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • Occasionally, I find that a piece of lump hasn't been fully carburized (I believe that's the correct term). I start my fire with a MAPP torch and can usually spot them quick, if there is a piece of lump that behaves differently while lighting. They tend to spark pretty ferociously. As you move the torch to another spot, they will start smoking excessively and if you smell the smoke, it's quite acrid. If I catch one of these, I'll get the offending piece of lump out with a pair of tongs and put it somewhere safe, usually dumping a big glass of water to make sure there are no ember that can cause a fire.

    Hope this helps. Don't give up. As you can tell by the tremendous amount of people on the forums, the BGE is the best cooker in the world.

    Cheers,

    Joe
  • I leave the dome totally open until all the lump gets a little white. Then I close the dome and take it up or down to temp.  That keeps all the acrid stuff out of the dome altogether. How hot it gets depends on lots of different things. How much lump, quality of airflow etc. It's hot though. 
    Wouldn't that be kind of hard on the mileage you get from your lump?  

    In my experience 1/2 hour seems plenty to get a clean burn.  I leave the lid open for 5 minutes, then close the lid with no top damper, when I approach the target temperature I start shutting down the bottom vent and then add the daisy wheel to the top for the fine tuning of the temperature.  Seems to work every time for me.

    Gerhard
    That way works for sure too. Probably better on the mileage but it get going faster with the lid open (more oxygen) so i do it that way.
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • EggdamEggdam Posts: 223
    edited April 2012
    When I cooked the chicken the smoke was clear before starting.  As it cooked I check the smoke on and off.  Part way throu it was white again.  I thought this was from drippings burning off but it did have a hint of campfire smell at times.  The whole chicken had less of the offending taste then the wings did.  However I will try to get the whole load going and failing that I will try the other bag.  The bags are very crisp and clean looking with no sign of water damage.  I will keep you posted.  Thank you all for your insight!
  • rsmith193rsmith193 Posts: 219
    try lighting your charcoal in a chimminey, using a parifin starter. Once the charcoal is lit, dump it into the egg. no muss no fuss and no strange taste.All of the starter is burned off before you put it in. another thing we do during our compititions is light the chimmeny full or charcoal useing the burner of the turkey frier. lights fast and burns the starter off very fast.
  • EggdamEggdam Posts: 223
    try lighting your charcoal in a chimminey, using a parifin starter. Once the charcoal is lit, dump it into the egg. no muss no fuss and no strange taste.All of the starter is burned off before you put it in. another thing we do during our compititions is light the chimmeny full or charcoal useing the burner of the turkey frier. lights fast and burns the starter off very fast.
    I thought about a chimney but it would not fit all the required charcoal as the egg firebox is quite large.
  • xraypat23xraypat23 Posts: 421
    if you're going to use a chimney, light about 1/2-2/3's of one and dump it on a 3/4 full firebox shouldn't have any issues
  • chad408chad408 Posts: 140
    All the people using the chimney lighter are you just lighting a few pieces of lump at a time then dumping in the full fire box or what.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    they fill the chimney, light, and dump
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • gtk10583gtk10583 Posts: 77
    I fill my chimney at least 2/3rds full, light, then dump the lit coal into the firebox on top of unused lump from previous cook, or fresh lump to the firebox if needed.
  • EggdamEggdam Posts: 223
    Ok.  Lit the egg with starters.  Waited 10 mins dome open.  Raked the outer unburnt charcoal into center to get it all going waited another 10 mins.  Closed the dome set the temp and hamburgers turned out great.  Very moist great texture and hardly shrunk at all compare to cooking on my old gas.  The campfire taste was gone.  I guess I didn't have the coals ready the first two times.  Thanks again guys for the insight.
  • Ok.  Lit the egg with starters.  Waited 10 mins dome open.  Raked the outer unburnt charcoal into center to get it all going waited another 10 mins.  Closed the dome set the temp and hamburgers turned out great.  Very moist great texture and hardly shrunk at all compare to cooking on my old gas.  The campfire taste was gone.  I guess I didn't have the coals ready the first two times.  Thanks again guys for the insight.
    Thanks for the update. I've always heard that cooking before your lump is ready can give you that acrid taste but it's nice to see some validation of that. That's why I always get it all going before choking down the fire for my low and slow cooks too. maybe that's overkill but it's the way I've always done it that way for this exact reason. 
    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • odie91odie91 Posts: 451
    Eggdome, try leaving the top vent wide open (or completely take it off), and control the temperature with the lower vent.
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