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Lighting coal for grilling?

butwhymalemodelsbutwhymalemodels Posts: 267
edited May 2012 in EggHead Forum

I've only grilled twice on my egg. One was a flank steak and one was two chicken breasts. Both were around 350 degrees dome temp. Both had a very small amount of coal lit in the center of the egg.

I can't see grilling working for 8-10 people like that. There would be a very small portion of the meat actually cooking while the rest slowly heats up.

What strategy do you use when lighting coals for grilling to get a nice bed of coals glowing across the entire bed of lump?

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Blogging: Never before have so many with so little to say said so much to so few.

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Comments

  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,707
    I start my charcoal using 91% alcohol purchased at Walmart. I use a pencil to poke a tiny hole in the seal and then  squirt a little alcohol in 4 places in a circle about 4 inches in from the outside rim of the charcoal. Then a little squirt in the center.  Wait a few seconds then toss in a match.

    Alcohol burns clean and quickly starts the charcoal. It is very safe as long as you stand back a little when dropping in the match.  The warmer the day, the more  it evaporates before lighting and can cause a flash.  In the winter, it doesn't evaporate and I actually have to hold the match at the squirt points.
    Large BGE
    Barry, Lancaster, PA
  • xraypat23xraypat23 Posts: 421
    weed burner. Blast it for less than a minute, probably less than 30 seconds and the coals are all going nicely, let it go wide open for a few minutes and you're ready to go
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,002
    either light in three or four spots, or use oil and napkin trick as it lights a big area, or use a weedburner and swirl it as you light, or just wait longer for the fire to spread. raising the grid high above the coals evens out the heat as well and gives you time to move things around as you grill
  • OMG EggsOMG Eggs Posts: 118

    For grilling, I light at the bottom and add lump on top.  If I already. Have a decent load, I'll stir it around a little after I get a few spots going.

  • ChokeOnSmokeChokeOnSmoke Posts: 1,914
    After I pull my electric starter out, I GENTLY stir the coals so there is lit and until evenly spread out throughout my lump reducer.  I do this for every cook, regardless of whether it's a low and slow or high heat.
    Packerland, Wisconsin

  • NicktabNicktab Posts: 2

    Does anyone use the chimney type for normal charcoal and after lit add it to the existing charcoal in the egg

  • Mighty_QuinnMighty_Quinn Posts: 1,878
    either light in three or four spots, or use oil and napkin trick as it lights a big area, or use a weedburner and swirl it as you light, or just wait longer for the fire to spread. raising the grid high above the coals evens out the heat as well and gives you time to move things around as you grill


    Good advice right there...
  • not sure I understand the question, but I light my coals the same way no matter what I'm cooking or how I'm cooking it.

    I light the coals using a torch in 3 places (~120* from each other around the fire ring) then I let it sit there for a few minutes to make sure the fire(s) are not going to die out, then I stir the coals to distribute the fire(s) around. 

    I do this whether I'm doing "low & slow" or "high heat" sear, or whether I'm grilling, roasting, searing, smoking, etc. 

    Works for me!!  :)>-
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • boatbumboatbum Posts: 1,273
    Friend of mine showed a neat trick he uses with the fire starter blocks. Stands an empty wine bottle in the center, then pours the charcoal in. Slide the wine bottle out, nice place to drop the firestarter.
    Cookin in Texas
  • BRush00BRush00 Posts: 367
    I find this works quite well for my uses; lightly coat 2 sheets of paper towel with canola oil, roll into two "paper towel cigars", lay on coals, put 1 or two pieces of lump on center point, and light all four ends.

    image
    [Insert clever signature line here]
  • Doc_EggertonDoc_Eggerton Posts: 5,162
    If I read your question correctly I think you are not quite understanding cooking on the Egg.  Yes you can start it in multiple places, but that is really only to get hot faster.  You are convection cooking on the Egg with the dome closed, and you do not necessarily have to be directly over flame as you might have on a metal grill.  One of the pluses of the BGE is the whole grid is cooking area, with no dead spots.  In fact unless I am doing a really hot sear thing with meat, I usually ring it around the grid outside of the actual flame.

    XLBGE X 2, LBGE (gave this one to my daughter), MBGE and lots of toys

  • Doc_EggertonDoc_Eggerton Posts: 5,162
    Oh, and I used Rutland fire starters broken in half and ringed around to start a whole area burn, and more recently a Looftlighter that lets me quickly choose where I want the coals started.

    XLBGE X 2, LBGE (gave this one to my daughter), MBGE and lots of toys

  • But, Doc, if I had the whole surface area of the grid covered in meat (let's say chicken, I grill(ed) a lot of chicken on my Brinkmann), wouldn't the meat directly above the bed of coals cook faster than that on the outer edge of the grid? I'm trying to get it set so that all meat is 8 minutes, flip, 8 minutes done when grilling.

    A muslim, a socialist and an illegal immigrant walk into a bar 

    Blogging: Never before have so many with so little to say said so much to so few.

  • burr_baby33burr_baby33 Posts: 503
    All the lighting subheadings above are good. You man be putting enough lump in your egg. Fill fire box at least 2/3 full, then light.
  • Doc_EggertonDoc_Eggerton Posts: 5,162
    But, Doc, if I had the whole surface area of the grid covered in meat (let's say chicken, I grill(ed) a lot of chicken on my Brinkmann), wouldn't the meat directly above the bed of coals cook faster than that on the outer edge of the grid? I'm trying to get it set so that all meat is 8 minutes, flip, 8 minutes done when grilling.
    Depending on the height of the grid, and the heat you might have to do some rotating, but you still want to cook mostly with the dome down.  My record for steaks were 8 rib eyes, which were the most tender I've ever done.  I think it took me 15 minutes.  A couple of steaks is usually about 10 minutes.

    XLBGE X 2, LBGE (gave this one to my daughter), MBGE and lots of toys

  • Austex_EggerAustex_Egger Posts: 153
    Same as Hillbilly.  I use a MAP torch and light in 3 places (for any kind of cook), wait 10-15 minutes then close her up and adjust the vents.  May try the stirring the lump around,  but not doing that works fine for me.
  • Dome up or down, it will burn unevenly if you don't have a uniform fire on a direct cook.


    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • Hillbilly-HightechHillbilly-Hightech Posts: 966
    edited May 2012
    Dome up or down, it will burn unevenly if you don't have a uniform fire on a direct cook.


    that's why I stir the lump... to spread the fire around. 

    Even doing "low & slow" I've found that spreading the fire around uses no more lump (my guess is because when doing a "low & slow" you restrict the airflow via the vent settings, so while you might have more *pieces* of lump on fire, all those pieces get less airflow, so each piece has a "smaller" fire than if you were to light in one place, ie, less pieces on fire, but a bigger fire). 

    (same dome temp assumed):  more pieces on fire needs less fire per piece equates to:  less pieces on fire needs larger fire per piece. 

    Hopefully that wasn't too confusing...
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • Stirring the lump is something I'd never thought of and what I'll try next. Don't know why I never considered it - it's what I did once I dumped the Kingsford out of the chimney in to the Brinkmann.

    A muslim, a socialist and an illegal immigrant walk into a bar 

    Blogging: Never before have so many with so little to say said so much to so few.

  • I normally don't stir but have when needed. When I light, I Let ALL the lump start to get a little white. Then I shut the dome and let it come to temp. I do this even on low and slows. I know there are as many ways to build a fire as there are ways to cook a burger so not saying my way is any better than anyone else's. I just know that when I started doing this way, i started sleeping through the night on all my low and slows (I don't even use a thermo anymore because I don't want to know). I've always done this on directs so I don't know any better there....and I never relight old lump for low and slow or super hot (pizza, sears etc). I only use new, hand placed, large lump. Overkill I'm sure but it works for me. 


    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • DOCEDDOCED Posts: 69
    For lighting I have recently become an alcohol fan,er, 91% isopropyl alcohol (have always been an ethanol fan in any concentration).Also, vis a vis the above posts, cooking indirect should largely solve the "hot spot" problem. 
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,738

    No hotspot problem

     

    image
    Salado TX Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,707

    Does anyone use the chimney type for normal charcoal and after lit add it to the existing charcoal in the egg

    I used a chimney a few times.  It worked fine but was too much work and it got very hot so I had to handle it carefully and put it down somewhere to cool. Now that I use alcohol, a few quick squirts and I light it and wait till it comes up to temperature. Much quicker and safer.
    Large BGE
    Barry, Lancaster, PA
  • MikeP624MikeP624 Posts: 292

    I have found if i am doing a direct cook at 400+ by the time i get the egg stabilized that the majority of my lump is burning, so there is even heat everywhere.  Are you waiting long enough to put your food on?  I usually wait atleast 40 minutes, regarless if i am cooking at 250, or 700+.

    If you are doing indirect it shouldn;t matter because the platesetter will distribute the heat.

     

  • I have found if i am doing a direct cook at 400+ by the time i get the egg stabilized that the majority of my lump is burning, so there is even heat everywhere.  Are you waiting long enough to put your food on?  I usually wait atleast 40 minutes, regarless if i am cooking at 250, or 700+.

    If you are doing indirect it shouldn;t matter because the platesetter will distribute the heat.

     

    same here and agreed on direct vs indirect. 


    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • No hotspot problem

     

    image
    I would think not!

    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
  • Bear 007Bear 007 Posts: 343
    My preferred method,

    image

    image
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,002

    No hotspot problem

     

    image
    i putt the grill on first and clean it with the weedburner while the lump lights, your wasting an opportunity
    :))
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,738

    fishlessman I will jump on that idea. Thanks. It needs all the cleaning it can get.

    Salado TX Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • No hotspot problem

     

    image
    i putt the grill on first and clean it with the weedburner while the lump lights, your wasting an opportunity
    :))
    good idea!

    1- LGBE
    1- KBQ C-60 (The Dishwasher)
    I- Blackstone 36" Griddle
    1- Sweet-A$$ Roccbox Pizza Oven
    1-Very Understanding and Forgiving Wife
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