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Lump doesn't last 20 hours

I keep telling my husband that my large BGE can burn for 20 hours on one load of lump because that is what I have read on this forum. Mine has never lasted more than 15 hours, though. Last night I cleaned it out, put large pieces on the bottom grate and did everything I have read to make it last 20 hours but in 15 hours, I was empty. Any suggestions? I end up moving my butts to the oven to finish them every time. Could it be that my gasket is leaking? Thanks.


  • buzd504buzd504 Posts: 2,521
    Did you do the dollar bill test?  Do you see smoke leaking from your seal?

    How high up did you fill your lump?  What temps are you running?
  • Mattman3969Mattman3969 Posts: 7,998
    edited April 2014
    What kinda of lump?? What kind of temp? How full did you fill the egg?


    2008 -Large BGE. 2013- Small BGE and 2015 - Mini. Henderson, Ky.
  • cazzycazzy Posts: 9,058
    What temp are you cooking at?  When was the last time you calibrated your thermometer?  What brand of lump?

    My briskets and butts are regularly done in less than 14 hours, so going longer is only necessary for consecutive cooks.
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • SpaightlabsSpaightlabs Posts: 1,821
    If you use good lump and run it to the top of the fire ring you can run 20 to 24 hours at 225 to 250
  • No. Does that just mean that I shouldn't be able to pull out the dollar bill? I filled the lump up to the bottom of my AR. Can you use more lump with the platesetter? I ran about 225-250 for the 15 hours.
  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 6,173
    How did you light the lump?
  • I used BGE lump last night but the same thing happens with Royal Oak. I have a Maverick.
  • Mattman3969Mattman3969 Posts: 7,998
    So you 250 was at grid level?


    2008 -Large BGE. 2013- Small BGE and 2015 - Mini. Henderson, Ky.
  • I lit with the little waxy fire starters in two places, not in the center.
  • Yes, 250 was grid level.
  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    You say you filled the charcoal up to the bottom of your AR.  Is that an Adjustable Rig?  Where is that relative to the fire ring?  Are you filling it up to the top of the fire ring?  The bottom of the fire ring?
    The Naked Whiz
  • Yes, up to the bottom of the ceramic plate on the spider of the adjustable rig.
  • That is the top of the fire ring.
  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    So, where is that relative to the fire ring?  Bottom?  Middle? Top?
    The Naked Whiz
  • SmokinpigSmokinpig Posts: 739
    I have gone 21 hours in my large with rockwood leftover. That was with an average dome temp of 250.

    LBGE Atlanta, GA

  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 6,173
    how many levels of butts in the AR, if space permits, try spider legs down, that'll allow you to fill lump upto top of fire ring.  no water in drip pan.
  • 2 levels of butts. If I turn the spider over, they don't fit.
  • buzd504buzd504 Posts: 2,521
    That sounds wonky.
  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 6,173
    if you have an extra grid, or use two rods, you can position the stone at the same level as top of fire ring, that allow more room below stone for charcoal.  But it shouldn't be that close, even without that extra charcoal you should easily get 20+ hours.  Something else is not right.
  • I will try the dollar bill test tomorrow. The gasket is only 3 years old. Thanks for the advice.
  • R2Egg2QR2Egg2Q Posts: 1,964
    Sounds like you have the spider legs up which will have your ceramic stone below the top of the fire ring. With that set up and 2 levels of butts, I'd use a lump more dense than RO or BGE (which is also RO) to get a longer burn.
    XL, Large, Small, Mini Eggs, Humphrey's Weekender, Superior Smokers SS-Two, MAK 1-Star General, Hasty Bake Gourmet, Santa Maria Grill, UDS (Darth Maul), Thai Charcoal cooker, Webers: 18.5" WSM, 22.5" OTG, 22.5" Kettle Premium, WGA Charcoal, Summit S-620 NG

    Bay Area, CA
  • SGHSGH Posts: 24,011


    If I may I would like to offer my findings on burn times. Please remember these are just what I have been able to obtain as others may far much better or worse depending on several factors. First let me say that if you just pour lump into the egg and run 275-300 degrees 15 hours would be about on par give or take a little with what I have noticed. Next the 20+ hours of burn time are usually obtained from a clean egg and the lump hand selected and hand loaded and then ran at low temperatures between 200-250. The higher the temperature the less the burn time. The heavier the egg is loaded with meat plays a factor as well. There are so many variables and circumstances that can and will affect burn time it would take volumes to cover them all. But here are a few. Type of fuel used. Quality of fuel used. How the fuel was loaded. Weather conditions. How heavy is the smoker loaded with meat. Use of a water pan and even a misused drip pan can affect burn time. Again your numbers are realistic. Some of what you see posted may or may not accurate that's for you to decide. I would like to say that with a large green egg under ideal circumstances cooking between 220-225 and the egg loaded to capacity but not over crowded I have approached 30 hours but never quiet got to it. Again this is not the norm in my opinion. If you are running 300 or higher I don't think its realistic to reach much above 15 hours as fuel consumption is dramatically increased the higher and harder you run any cooker or smoker the egg included. You did not state what temp or type off cook that you was doing. But the fact you are getting 15 hours of burn time falls well into what is realistic under normal everyday cooking circumstances. And also if you stay in the 250-275 arena most of the time there are few things that will require much over 15 hours. The cuts that would require more than 15 hours would not fit on a egg any how. Again you have seen some exaggerated claims on burn times just as I have. I suggest just use a little common sense when reading such claims. You have a good idea of what is realistic and what is not. Some one will no doubt try to refute what I have said here and that being said just aim for what I have stated then aim for what they state and you will see who gave you true and sound advice. That 30+ hours of burn time on the small and medium just aint going to happen cooking at normal cooking temps. Possibly running at 150-180 it might but I doubt even that because of the capacity of the lesser eggs is so limited. Im going to repeat just a few pointers here because I feel that they are useful if you are fairly new.

    First. 15 hours at normal cooking temps is good. Second. 20+hours is attainable at normal cooking temps but requires some preparation to pull it off. Third. The higher the temp the higher the fuel consumption. This is unavoidable. Fourth. The lower the temp the longer the burn time. Fifth. A dry cooking environment will consume less fuel than a wet one. These are figures that are realistic and that you should try to replicate. I hope that I have answered your question. If I have not feel free to respond and I will give it another try. I meant to mention this earlier but forgot. I have never used a guru. All temps and times were reached with the vents only. As always I hope this helps and good luck my friend.

    Location- Just "this side" of Biloxi, Ms.

    Status- Standing by.

    Arsenal-Just a small wore out and broken down Weber kettle. No other means to cook at all.
    Virtus Junxit Mors Non Separabit
    The greatest barrier against all wisdom, the stronghold against knowledge itself, is the single thought in ones mind, that they already have it all figured out. 
  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 6,357
    The telling part of this is that your large can't complete a butt cook. That fact sort of makes the details about the temp, etc irrelevant because whether you are cooking at 225 or 300 or whatever, you should have enough lump to finish the cook - assuming you pull your butt off somewhere around 200 degrees and you aren't cooking a 20 pound butt.
    With that said, I'll make a suggestion that may or may not be helpful. Try just dumping as much charcoal in as you can regardless of size - then clear a very small space at the front of the fire ring down to a hole in the charcoal grate. As long as one hole in the charcoal grate is open (not clogged with coals) you know you have sufficient airflow for a low temp cook. I find that this allows me to have more pounds of charcoal in my egg at the start of a cook.
    As long as air can flow into the egg and out of the egg I don't worry about airflow between the pieces of charcoal. I just see the air pockets between big pieces of charcoal as wasted space where you could have had more fuel.
    I may be totally off base, but this has worked very well for me on my XL. Hopefully, it will work on your large. Good luck.

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

    San Antonio, TX

  • Hungry JoeHungry Joe Posts: 1,536
    edited April 2014

    The first time I used the spider on a low and slow I ran out at about 22 hours which is short for a large so I never used the spider for low and slow again. I don't remember what charcoal I used for that cook but I can easily go 30 hours with out the spider filling to the top of the fire ring.

    Maybe change your set up to use a stone on the bottom of the AR so you can fit more charcoal and use the extender to get more levels. I use the Woo2  and can fit three eight pounders on a single level and prefer to do butts that way. I have also have used my own homemade extender with the Woo2  but, I have squeezed four on a single level by standing them up. They do touch but they shrink during the cook and I never had a problem except maybe needing extra time for one or two of them.

    30 hours with a large is not difficult  when filled to the top of the fire ring. If you are cooking at 300 I can't think of anything that would take 30 hours to cook. Even at 250 dome temp I don't see the need for 30 hours but it is nice to look in the egg after a cook and see enough charcoal left to keep going if you did need to.

  • tjvtjv Posts: 3,717
    run thru the set up: bottom to top:

    spider legs down (in fire ring) with 13" stone and 13.5 drip pan.  
    adj. rig on fire ring, only rig on fire ring - no grid
    grid with butts on lowest notches of rig, approx.1.5 inches above fire ring
    bge 18" stock grid atop rig with butts.
    make sure thermometer does not stick butts during cook.

    couple things folks do to make cook more difficult:

     -use the spider and stone, then place the bge stock grid directly on the fire ring and load the grid with butts, essentially building a cap over the fire ring.

    - use the bge large stone on the spider, from past experiences, at 14 inches, it's a smidge to big.

    - light to much of the lump, waste to much energy at the beginning of the cook.  want the lump to burn down a little, not across the top of the lump,  when bringing cooker to temp, dome should be closed with air adjustments at daisy and lower slider.  

    - foil the pan on the spider but don't leave enough room for air to get out of the fire ring. foil impedes air flow 

    -  light the lump, and immediately place the stone on spider as cooker heats up..  better to put stone on a grid on rig to heat up with cooker.  then when ready to load the butts,  remove grid/stone, add a chunk of wood for smoke on burning lump, place/slide stone onto spider and build the cook.  having the stone up when bringing the cooker up to temp, opens up the cooker's area for airflow.

    - and as other have suggested, something amiss with the lump, fire ring/firebox position, thermometer accuracy, or felt

    when building the cook, always ask yourself how's the air flow situation.  Is there enough open space at each level for the heat to get to the daisy wheel.  

    t ACGP, Inc.
  • Thank you all for the great advice. You have given me a lot of things to try. Which charcoal is better than the Royal Oak for long cooks?
  • johnmitchelljohnmitchell Posts: 4,602
    IMO. for me mixed with Rockwood.
    Greensboro North Carolina
    When in doubt Accelerate....
  • Jeffroe189Jeffroe189 Posts: 272
    I love Rockwood and ozark oak. If you order $100 from you can get free shipping. They have good prices to.
    Jeff from Winston-Salem, NC  - LBGE, MiniMax, Blackstone
  • SenecaTheYoungerSenecaTheYounger Posts: 368
    edited April 2014
    250 at grid level is 275 or higher dome.

    When a recipe says "250", it almost always means dome temperature. This doesn't mean that it is even betterer to make the grid 250 because it's closer to the grid

    You can certainly cook at 250 grid, but it's is hotter than 250 dome. You lump will burn faster. But your meat should be done sooner anyway

    How 'full' is full? It's possible to cook for 24 hours, shut down, and usually do two or three more cooks without needing to add lump. Requires filling within an inch or two of the top of the fire ring.
    Copia ciborum subtilitas impeditur

    Seneca Falls, NY

  • CanuggheadCanugghead Posts: 6,173
    edited April 2014
    ...  I ran about 225-250 for the 15 hours.

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