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What is the best way to light lump for low and slow?

I am going to try my first low and slow cook this weekend.  I was wondering what is the best way to light the lump for this type of cook?


  • JRWhiteeJRWhitee Posts: 4,493
    When I light for low and slow I fill the firebox and light one spot toward the front of the egg, the fire tends to burn toward the back. 

    Large BGE 2006, Mini Max 2014, 36" Blackstone, Anova Sous Vide
    Green Man Group 
    Johns Creek, Georgia
  • I don't really think it matters providing you establish the burn and have airflow. I light in three spots with a map torch and leave the dome open for five to ten minutes. The ceramic doesn't overheat this way. Then I put the platesetter in and set the vents for the temp I want. I've had one or two go out on me cause I didn't get a decent burn started.


    Caledon, ON


  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,749
    There are about as many ways to light as posters-key is a good small amount of lump burning, controlled air-flow and calibrated dome thermo.  Catch the temperature on the way up and don't chase it once established.  +/- 15-20*F on a low and slow isn't going to make much impact.  BTW-most BGE's seem to have a low&slow "sweet-spot" in the 240-260*F range.  FWIW-
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • Thanks for the input everyone.
  • I have an XL. I fill the firebox and use an electric firestarter for ~10 minutes right in the center. After it starts a light flame, I remove the firestarter and watch it for a few minutes to make sure that the coals flame up. Then I put on the platesetter and grill grate before closing the lid. I leave the bottom vent fully open and the top vent mostly wide open until the temp approaches the target temp. Then I gradually close the bottom and top vents progressively as the temp approaches target. Around then, I attach the DigiQ and set the holding temperature.
  • I use a plumbers propane torch and light a single spot right in the center. Then I let the temp reach 250-275 before choking the air flow down, stabilizing at 220 degrees, which is to me a low and slow cook. This takes a few hours and a few beers but I'm good for an overnight cook without any problems. Buy the way I use a nano-q air controller. Works great. It will hold that heat for many hours with fuel left over. I have done 20 hour cooks this way with a full load of lump. Hope this helps. By the way I have a large egg.
    San Angelo, texas
  • When I light for low and slow I fill the firebox and light one spot toward the front of the egg, the fire tends to burn toward the back. 
    I agree with @JRWhitee - I use a mapp torch to get things started and that's all it takes.
    -The Goat
    Marietta, GA
    XL BGE

  • I did a brisket last weekend and started the fire with just one starter cube in the center. After an hour of cooking, my fire died. This was around midnight or so. Restarted it, opened my vents more, and went inside. Came out 30 minutes later and all was well. Went to bed. Set alarm for 4:30 am and temp was at 210. Went back to bed till 6:30 and temp was still holding at 210. Dome thermo was calibrated before the cook too.
  • mokadirmokadir Posts: 115
    The starter cubes worked well for me before I ran out of them. Now, I usually use paper towel soaked with a bit of veg oil. I usually make a little pit to put it in, then stack a few pieces on top of it before lighting. I try not to overshoot and I put the ceramic in as it is approaching goal temp.
    Delaware Valley, PA Large BGE, CGS adjustable rig, iQue110, High-Que grate
  • Definitely don't let the entire lump get burning. I did my first cook last weekend on my new XL and thought I had to get all of the lump burning before putting the plate setter and grill top on. The temp got way too hot and took forever to get it down. I ended up having to close the vents and left the lower vent cracked about 1cm. The temp seemed to be stable at 250F so I put my brisket on. Woke up about 5 hrs later to check on it and the fire had burned out. Second cook, I lit the center until a small flame was going, put my plate setter and grill top on. This time I hooked up a digiQ and stabilized the temp on the way up. Much better result.
    Houston, TX
  • Actually, getting a large amount of charcoal lit at the beginning is a good thing since it creates a large area where the fire can settle in. I find the best way to light for a low and slow is to prepare your charcoal, leaving enough room on top for a chimney load of charcoal.  I get a chimney going rocket hot, dump that on top of the prepared fire.  This doesn't get the ceramic hot since it hasn't been sitting like this long enough, but it ensures you have fire burning all over the place.  I add the plate setter, drip pan, rack and butts and close the lid.  The temperature will go to about 175 and then I just do the normal regulation of the vents, closing them as the temp rises to 225-250. 

    On a side note, Nature Boy of Dizzy Pig does it the same way except upside down.  He dumps the chimney in first, dumps the unlit charcoal on top and then adds the plate setter, etc. and regulates from there. FWIW....
    The Naked Whiz
  • I light in the center either with a Mapp torch or Looft lighter I get it going leave it open for like 5 mins and then I good to go 
    2 Large Eggs and a Mini 2 Pit Bulls and a Pork shoulder or butt nearby and 100% SICILIAN
    Long Island N.Y.
  • Thanks everyone for the input.  I hope the cook goes well for me this weekend!
  • I use a weed burner and light the center good and cherry hot, hit the edges around for a few seconds at most.
    I leave the air vent and top all the way open, put the place setter in and when it gets 15 degrees from my target temp, shut them down....
    I let my temp stabilize for 15 minutes before I put food on.
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