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XL Brothers & Sisters (Help Please)

GrillmagicGrillmagic Posts: 1,550
edited September 2013 in Off Topic

I am a first year newbie with about 60/70 cooks under my belt and I am having trouble getting the temp up past 450/475 dome. I have checked and verified my dome thermometer. I have been trying to get it up to 600 to make pizza and have never been able to get it above 475 (525 once)

Here is how yesterdays pizza cook went (no pics) I pulled everything and cleaned the egg and reinstalled everything with everything lining up and put a half a load of lump with a electric starter and let it go for 12 minutes and had a good fire started, I centered the lump and added some more lump on top and got a good fire going (probable 20 minutes with the dome open) I closed the dome with the bottom vent and screen wide open and no DW on top vent, after 20 minutes the dome temp was only 350 so I blew a hair dryer through the bottom vent for 2/3 minutes and I had sparks blowing out the top (I still had a lot of unburned lump) I put the platesetter in legs up and after 15 minutes the dome was only at 350, I then added the pizza stone and re used the hair dryer for 90 seconds, 30 minutes later the dome still never got above 475, I put the pizza on for 15 min. and it came out GREAT like most things on the BGE but I am stumped on how to get a fire. Even when I used the DW on reverse sear steaks and have started with a full load of lump roasting at 250 until 110 with the plate setter in then pulled the steaks and plate setter and stir it up, open everything and I can not get it above 475 (which takes 30/40 min) I got it to 525 once by letting it go for 1 hr. I use Royal Oak and it seams to work fine with every thing else I cook.

Thanks for any advise.


Dimondale, Michigan XL BGE


  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817
    edited September 2013



    Caledon, ON


  • Fill with lump then start. Once all lump is bright red, you will be hotter than you want.
    Be careful, man! I've got a beverage here.
  • You might try lighting in 3 or 4 locations when wanting high temps...generally for me though once it reaches about 300 the temp really starts to climb fast...i've had my XL thermometer go all the way around to 1200 on a few occasions when I got distracted and forgot about having it lit. I generally keep my firebox full of lump. I'm no pro by no means but that platesetter and pizza stone probably take a fair bit of time soaking in all that heat before the temps are allowed to keep climbing...if you have enough lump in there you should have no issues reaching any desired temps....good luck.
  • Hi GM, Have you calibrated your thermo or used a second thermo to confirm the dome reading? I've never had any issue pegging my dome thermo with bottom vent wide open and no daisy wheel on it. The bigger issue for me is leaving the egg wide open while I prep and then having to wait for temp to drop.
    -The Goat
    Marietta, GA
    XL BGE

  • So I do pizzas quite often with my XL.  I routinely get up to 1000 degrees for quick Neapolitan pizzas.  

    Fill the firebox completely as you will burn through a lot of lump.  I light with fire-starters in at least 3 areas.  Lid open and let it get going for at least 20 minutes.  Put the platesetter in legs up (in the picture you will see the leg down - tried that this last time but I think it actually took longer).  To get things going quick I almost always use a stand fan that we have outside on our patio to really get the air flowing in the egg.  It will take about 10 minutes but will really fly once you get all the lump on fire.  You can see in the pictures that the entire bed is hot.  Once it is nuclear you will not need a fan in my experience.  I'm sure you can wait around for this thing to get up to temp but a fan helps so much.  Be careful opening and always use long leather gloves to protect your arms.  I also had to recalibrate my thermometer after the last pizza cook.  I may just remove it in the future (you can see it has spun all the way around upwards up 900 degrees or so). 

    XL BGE 
  • DMWDMW Posts: 13,581
    The XL usually has no prob at all going nuke. Keep the bottom open all the way and DW off. Don't use the DW at all for high temp cooks, just use the draft door to regulate. I usually keep it wide open until it hits 650* the. Start closing it for pizza temps. Once it hits those temps the dome temp seems to respond almost instantly to draft door changes.
    Morgantown, PA

    XL BGE - S BGE - KJ Jr - HB Legacy - BS Pizza Oven - 30" Firepit - King Kooker Fryer -  PR72T - 18.5" WSM - WSJ - BS 17" Griddle - XXL BGE - Akron Jr - BS SS36" Griddle
  • GrillmagicGrillmagic Posts: 1,550
    Fill with lump then start. Once all lump is bright red, you will be hotter than you want.
    By the time I added some more lump I had at least a 60/65 percent full fire box and with the aid of the hair dryer it was all glowing bright red. I was hoping  I wouldn't  have to get a whole load roaring just to cook a 10/12 min cook but it sounds like it's the only thing left to try. This was the first time I have used a hair dryer and while I was doing it I thought for sure I was going to peg my thermometer as it turned all the lump bright red.
    Dimondale, Michigan XL BGE
  • That is quite curious.  When I do a burn out I spin the thermometer all the way around and then pull it to prevent damage.  If your therm is calibrated, then you have some sort of air flow issue.  If it is driving you nuts I would go back to the beginning.  remove everything, reset and make sure the fire ring is aligned, always stir lump and be conscious of dust and ash.

    I find the grate/holes in the stock XL to be the best for air flow among the different sizes.

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

  • dlk7dlk7 Posts: 1,053
    I fired both my XLs up this morning to do a clean burn after a very messy appetizer party last night.  Had the daisy wheel off and bottom vent all the way open.  Took less than 8 minutes to hit 750 degrees on both.  There are only a few things that can cause an XL not to reach high temps - something limiting air flow or bad lump are usually the culprits.  I have seen an instance of the location of the egg being a problem in that there was a constant outside air current that inhibited the inside airflow of the egg - would be very rare.  Also, for high temps for indirect or pizza stones, I always light the lump and let it get up to over 400 degrees before I put in the plate setter and stone.  This requires you to use gloves so you don't burn yourself.

    Two XL BGEs - So Happy!!!!

    Waunakee, WI

  • GrillmagicGrillmagic Posts: 1,550
    Thanks everyone, I do believe my thermometer is calibrated correctly and I have it put together right after a total cleaning. The only time I have used a full load of lump has been on a low & slow 15 hour pork butt cook and several 6 hour rib cooks. I think I have to try a full load of lump on the next pizza cook.
    Dimondale, Michigan XL BGE
  • Replacing the stock fire grate may help.......

    Go Home Depot or Lowes and get a Weber 18.5 in cooking grate.  They're $8.97.  If two much charcoal falls through, just buy two, sandwich them together, and rotate them 90 degrees to form a cross hatch.  You can tack weld them in a few places, or just set them in the bottom.

    I've been running a single grate for 3 yrs now.  It has sagged quite a bit, but still works just fine.

  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 6,456
    edited September 2013

    ... and added some more lump on top ...

    ... I put the platesetter in legs up ...
    the above two points caught my attention ...
    1. adding fresh lump on top of established fire tends to 'smother' or 'choke' the fire, try putting in enough lump at the get go.
    2. platesetter in legs up position restricts the air flow, not sure what your exact pizza cook config is but I'd try to use the p/s in legs down position to increase circulation.  I used to own a Small that was hard to heat up in legs up position so I elevated the p/s with copper tees.

  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 7,038

    I had the same issue with my XL when I first bought it.  The only thing I have to add to what has already been said is that there are three ways I know of to ensure good air flow through the charcoal grate.

    1) Some people only use big chunks of lump on their high heat cooks so that they don't plug the holes in the charcoal grate.

    2) Get a different charcoal grate as described above. 

    3) My preference is to just pour in the charcoal and then dig a small hole at the front of firebox to make sure that 2 holes in the charcoal grate are wide open.  Since I started doing that I have had no problems on high or low heat cooks.

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • tjvtjv Posts: 3,812

    "half a load of lump with a electric starter and let it go for 12 minutes and had a good fire started"  consider using a mapp torch and light in multiple locations.  I do five spots, 3,6,9,12 clock positions and center for a high temp cook.  

     I centered the lump and added some more lump on top and got a good fire going (probable 20 minutes with the dome open)  moving lump or adding lump can snuff the burning lump.  If you are going to use a fan, keep dome closed so the air (oxygen) can draft from the bottom and thru the lump. 

     I put the platesetter in legs up and after 15 minutes the dome was only at 350, I then added the pizza stone  let the setter and stone come up to temp with the cooker.   start with setter legs pointing down to give room between it and lump, then flip when lump is burning right.  the cold ceramics knock the temp down.  Also adding the ceramics later could change the airflow  in the firebox which in turn could affect the lump's active burn pattern.  

    I got it to 525 once by letting it go for 1 hr. I use Royal Oak and it seams to work fine with every thing else I cook.  It's going to take 45-60 minutes, maybe longer with platesetter and stone to get to a good steady pizza/grilling temp

    t ACGP, Inc.
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