Big Green Egg - EGGhead Forum - The Ultimate Cooking Experience...
Welcome to the EGGhead Forum - a great place to visit and packed with tips and EGGspert advice! You can also join the conversation and get more information and amazing kamado recipes by following Big Green Egg at:

Want to see how the EGG is made? Click to Watch

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Youtube  |  Vimeo
Share your photos by tagging us and using the hashtag #BigGreenEgg.

Learning how to cook with BGE has been a challenge

A truly humbling challenge for sure.  I've been smoking/grilling/cooking for a long time and was pretty good on my Weber Bullet, but I tell you the Egg has really humbled me.  Thought I knew better how to control this thing but it has definitely been more difficult than I imagined.  I've learned from my mistakes that's for sure and had another opportunity to learn yesterday.  Tried to smoke a 7 lbs Pork Shoulder yesterday using the turbo method.  Totally cleaned out my X/L egg, loaded with fresh Fogo lump almost to the top of the firebox.  Had some large pieces of lump.  Lit the lump using 3 firestarters and let it go until blazing, lowered top and had bottom vent wide open.  Settled in nicely at 325-350 dome.  Added plate setter and aluminum pan filled with apple juice and waited another 20 minutes or so.  Temp holding nicely.  Added the shoulder and it went along great for about 3 hours and I added some wings.  An hour and half later the shoulder was only at 170 and wings looked good, but temp had dropped to 200.  It was raining lightly, cold and windy.  I couldn't get the temp to rise after opening all vents fully.  Looked like the lump had just burned out.  I know the lump tends to burn faster and hotter, but wasn't expecting it to burn out after 5 1/2 - 6 hours.  My guess is that I just have to over load the thing.  I didn't want to start over so I finished the shoulder in the oven wrapped in foil and it was good; very good, but I've never had to do that before.  This would have been my longest smoke on the Egg so far as I'm new to it.  Can't imagine trying to do an overnighter in this if it goes through this much lump that fast.  Still enjoying the experience and love my Egg, but boy it's not as easy on maintaining temp as I always heard it was.  Or, I'm just trying to do what worked on the Weber to this and it's not flying.  I'll keep egging! 

Steve

X/L BGE

Louisville, Kentucky
«1

Comments

  • pgprescottpgprescott Posts: 13,539
    You should get 12-18 hours on a huge load in an XL @ those temps. Something doesn't add up here. The cold and rain should have negligible if any effect. I would first check you dome thermo for accuracy. Secondly, I would start the lump in one spot for all cooks with the possible exception of a hot sear cook when I'm in a hurry. When done correctly, there is nothing to a L&S cook on the egg. Shouldn't have to touch a thing for hours. 
  • It sounds like perhaps you didn't have enough lump in there. Also, I personally never use more than 1 firestarter, perhaps that is a contributing factor. Did the fire just go out or was all the lump consumed?
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 24,214
    You are right in that the higher the cook temp obviously the more lump you consume per cook time.  The water pan also provided a heat sink that requires more energy (BTU's) to maintain your target dome temp.  (Thermo calibrated?)
    BTW-witin reason you cannot overload with lump.  As long as you can get the platesetter loaded you are good to go.  As you are aware, it's the size of the fire that controls the temp.  
    You will get this sorted out.  I am local so shoot me a PM if you want to further address.  Happy New Year.

    Louisville; "indeterminate Jim" here.  Rolling smoke in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer!
  • WolfpackWolfpack Posts: 3,467
    Send us a picture of the amount of lump you are adding.  You can fill all the way to the bottom of the platesetter. 
    Greensboro, NC
  • The_StacheThe_Stache Posts: 1,153
    Looks to me like not enough meat to keep the XL egg interested!!  (Just kidding)... :)  I'm kinda agreeing with the too many starters comments!
    Kirkland, TN
    2 LBGE, 1 MM


  • stevezstevez Posts: 114
    Thanks to everyone for feedback.  I'll remember on the starters and never thought about the water pan being a heat sink.  On faster cooks even on the Weber I would add a dry pan too to maintain the higher temps.  Guess I forgot about that!  The lump totally burned up and the picks below show where I am pointing to how much I put on. I will say the Fogo seemed very light and airy.  Even more so than I remember the BGE brand "feeling".  Not giving up of course and part of the reason I love smoking is the learning.  Thanks again.
    Steve

    X/L BGE

    Louisville, Kentucky
  • I normally use two starters unless I am doing a hot and fast then I use 3. I have no problem maintaining temperature but I'm not too good at setting the temp. It seems the egg picks the temp it wants to use. But I just need more practice I guess. Learning (and eating) is fun.


    Marshall in Beautiful Fruit Cove, FL.
    MiniMax 04/17
    Unofficial BGE MiniMax Evangelist
    Facebook Big Green Egg MiniMax Owners Group


  • DMWDMW Posts: 13,801
    You can fill it much higher with lump. You only filled the fire bowl, you can fill all the way until it is almost touching the plate setter. I've had my XL go 30 hours around 250*.
    Morgantown, PA

    XL BGE - S BGE - KJ Jr - HB Legacy - BS Pizza Oven - 30" Firepit - King Kooker Fryer -  PR72T - WSJ - BS 17" Griddle - XXL BGE - Akron Jr - BS SS36" Griddle
  • westernbbqwesternbbq Posts: 2,452
    edited January 2017
    At FIL's Christmas Day and as per annual tradition in Phoenix, we cook at eat outside.  filet mignon.   FIL turned over grilling responsibility to me and while his metal custom built in with adjustable charcoal grate is nice, temperature control and even heating are challenging.  Next year i will bring the minimax ober there amd cook the steaks to perfection.   He has a power outlet by the bbq area so a SV setup is going to happen as well...

    Now when i started on egging a few years ago, i couldnt say this... My learning curve was frustrating at times.  After my first two pizza failed attempts i was ready to give up.   

    My poimt in all of this ia that if you stick with it you will become really good on the bge and then when you have to cook on another type of grill, you will see the incredible capabilities of the bge...
  • pgprescottpgprescott Posts: 13,539
    Regardless, if u filed to the fire ring or a bit higher, you should have been able to cook 10+ hours I would think. 
  • kthacherkthacher Posts: 155
    edited January 2017
    You are not alone.   I posted a while back that my Egg was burning through all of its lump in 6 or so hours.   This was after I had many cooks that went way longer, with lump to spare.  I have yet to solve this problem, and it is a really frustrating.  I do have a Rutland replacement gasket, and it does not pass the dollar bill test everywhere, but then I read that people do low and slow with burned out gaskets.  I get very little smoke leaking out around the gasket seal,  but maybe I need to change it out again.  

    One comment to OP.  I have never found it necessary to have the bottom vent open all the way to maintain 300-350.    Maybe 1/3 open, with the daisy wheel holes wide open.  Sometimes I open up the daisy wheel some more, but usually not.   Also, when my Egg was working properly I cooked in the Canadian winters with none of the issues I am seeing now.  
    Winnipeg, Canada
  • Regardless, if u filed to the fire ring or a bit higher, you should have been able to cook 10+ hours I would think. 
    But if you light the lump in 3 places you have 3 fires spreading out through the lump consuming it faster. I can see where it won't last as long.


    Marshall in Beautiful Fruit Cove, FL.
    MiniMax 04/17
    Unofficial BGE MiniMax Evangelist
    Facebook Big Green Egg MiniMax Owners Group


  • pgprescottpgprescott Posts: 13,539
    Regardless, if u filed to the fire ring or a bit higher, you should have been able to cook 10+ hours I would think. 
    But if you light the lump in 3 places you have 3 fires spreading out through the lump consuming it faster. I can see where it won't last as long.


    Temp should have been way higher. Otherwise the fires would have been choked way down and barely burning. Still not right. 
  • WolfpackWolfpack Posts: 3,467
    I don't think the gasket matters- I cooked for years without one. If holding temps then the amount of airloss is irrelevant. Air flow is air flow.

    i would check your temp gauge and start lighting in only one spot.

    Other than that you need to fill up with charcoal. You can add more than 2x what you had at the top of the fire ring.  I've gone well over 20 hrs on mine. 
    Greensboro, NC
  • RedSkipRedSkip Posts: 1,400
    edited January 2017
    Lack of airflow due to OEM charcoal grate?  I don't know about the XL but my Large had issues.  I upgraded to the "kick ash basket" and airflow hasn't been an issue since.

    Perhaps you're missing the airflow component?

    Fire = Air + Fuel + Heat (Ignition)


    Large BGE - McDonald, PA
  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 16,849
    Sounds to me like your thermometer is off. You shouldn't have gotten the black burn at your temps. Higher temps is the only way you could have burned that much lump in such a short time. Calibrate your thermometer in boiling water and throw away the retainer clip. 
  • TideEggHeadTideEggHead Posts: 1,072
    As others have said, I have also had good luck starting the fire in one spot. I normally start it in one of the corners, and can get the egg (LBGE) to go 8-9 hours easy! But I feel your pain, on my first brisket my fire went out about 5 hours in and had trouble relighting! I've also never used Fogo for what that's worth.
    LBGE
    SC AL
  • dsleightdsleight Posts: 101
    Regardless, if u filed to the fire ring or a bit higher, you should have been able to cook 10+ hours I would think. 
    But if you light the lump in 3 places you have 3 fires spreading out through the lump consuming it faster. I can see where it won't last as long.


    The number of lit spots should not matter on the burn time.  It requires X amount of fire to produce X amount of heat.  It can be one large fire or three small fires, it is still consuming the same amount of fuel to maintain a set temperature.  The benefit to multiple fires is the possibility of a single fire burning out (lump making poor contact with surrounding lump,excess ash, etc.).  I have never had it happen, but it seems like it can.  I have lit single and multiple areas and never had an issue.

    One other issue could have been the lump,  possibly it was less dense and just burnt up faster......When I am moving lump around during clean out, I can tell some lump is more solid then other pieces of the same size.
  • Ozzie_IsaacOzzie_Isaac Posts: 11,666
    This thread may clarify some things for you:

    http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1179093/lump-burn-rate-in-xl
    If it is worth doing, it is worth overdoing.

    XL, Medium, Minimax, Mini, Blackstone, WSM
  • sumoconnellsumoconnell Posts: 1,838
    edited January 2017
    stevez said:
    Thanks to everyone for feedback.  I'll remember on the starters and never thought about the water pan being a heat sink.  On faster cooks even on the Weber I would add a dry pan too to maintain the higher temps.  Guess I forgot about that!  The lump totally burned up and the picks below show where I am pointing to how much I put on. I will say the Fogo seemed very light and airy.  Even more so than I remember the BGE brand "feeling".  Not giving up of course and part of the reason I love smoking is the learning.  Thanks again.
    If you are filling to where your finger is pointing, that is not enough lump to go at 350 for long.  Fill it to the top of the fire ring. You simply ran out of fuel.. If it held temp for five hours, you had proper airflow regulation.

    And check your thermo..(edits)
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Austin, Texas.  I'm the guy holding a beer.
  • MJGMJG Posts: 577
    More lump, make sure thermo is calibrated, and drink more. No worries. If you can get good results on a Weber you can do this. It's easier, IMHO, but different. 
    Large Big Green Egg in a nest. North Shore of Boston.
  • Looks to me like you could have easily doubled the lump you had in there. Which in theory would double your cooking time.
    Gittin' there...
  • Ozzie_IsaacOzzie_Isaac Posts: 11,666
    stevez said:
    Thanks to everyone for feedback.  I'll remember on the starters and never thought about the water pan being a heat sink.  On faster cooks even on the Weber I would add a dry pan too to maintain the higher temps.  Guess I forgot about that!  The lump totally burned up and the picks below show where I am pointing to how much I put on. I will say the Fogo seemed very light and airy.  Even more so than I remember the BGE brand "feeling".  Not giving up of course and part of the reason I love smoking is the learning.  Thanks again.
    If you are filling to where your finger is pointing, that is not enough lump to go at 350 for long.  Fill it to the top of the fire ring. You simply ran out of fuel.. If it held temp for five hours, you had proper airflow regulation.

    And check your thermo..(edits)
    Curious as to why the "disagrees" on this post.  I have found in my XL that when running at 350 if I only fill to the location the OP is showing I will not get burn times much beyond 6hrs.
    If it is worth doing, it is worth overdoing.

    XL, Medium, Minimax, Mini, Blackstone, WSM
  • SoCalTimSoCalTim Posts: 2,158
    edited January 2017
    stevez  I've been where your at. My learning curve was about a year. Five years later I am in total command of my egg - I tell it what to do, it doesn't tell me.

    It'll come, til then all I can really add is to enjoy the journey ... but more importantly, don't overthink things.

    Happy New years 2017 ~ Tim 
    I've slow smoked and eaten so much pork, I'm legally recognized as being part swine - Chatsworth Ca.
  • I would just add that in addition to not putting liquid in he drip pan, try putting the platesetter and grid in just after your fire starter burns out. It's easier to stabilize temps this way rather than bringing the BGE up to temp and then throwing a cold platesetter on there later.
    Stillwater, MN
  • sumoconnellsumoconnell Posts: 1,838
    stevez said:
    Thanks to everyone for feedback.  I'll remember on the starters and never thought about the water pan being a heat sink.  On faster cooks even on the Weber I would add a dry pan too to maintain the higher temps.  Guess I forgot about that!  The lump totally burned up and the picks below show where I am pointing to how much I put on. I will say the Fogo seemed very light and airy.  Even more so than I remember the BGE brand "feeling".  Not giving up of course and part of the reason I love smoking is the learning.  Thanks again.
    If you are filling to where your finger is pointing, that is not enough lump to go at 350 for long.  Fill it to the top of the fire ring. You simply ran out of fuel.. If it held temp for five hours, you had proper airflow regulation.

    And check your thermo..(edits)
    Curious as to why the "disagrees" on this post.  I have found in my XL that when running at 350 if I only fill to the location the OP is showing I will not get burn times much beyond 6hrs.
    ^^
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Austin, Texas.  I'm the guy holding a beer.
  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 16,849
    I don't think I've ever filled my XL past the fire bowl and I can go way longer than six hours at 350
  • stevezstevez Posts: 114
    dsleight said:
    Regardless, if u filed to the fire ring or a bit higher, you should have been able to cook 10+ hours I would think. 
    But if you light the lump in 3 places you have 3 fires spreading out through the lump consuming it faster. I can see where it won't last as long.


    The number of lit spots should not matter on the burn time.  It requires X amount of fire to produce X amount of heat.  It can be one large fire or three small fires, it is still consuming the same amount of fuel to maintain a set temperature.  The benefit to multiple fires is the possibility of a single fire burning out (lump making poor contact with surrounding lump,excess ash, etc.).  I have never had it happen, but it seems like it can.  I have lit single and multiple areas and never had an issue.

    One other issue could have been the lump,  possibly it was less dense and just burnt up faster......When I am moving lump around during clean out, I can tell some lump is more solid then other pieces of the same size.

    While I did use 3 starters by the time I closed the lid there was just one fire and it was consistent throughout.  Good burn.  The lump was incredibly light weight and didn't feel like lump that I recall.  I bought a 35 pound bag of the Fogo and was surprised at how light it felt while loading it.  Still have some Royal left that I'm going to compare to the Fogo. 

    Very thorough cleaning and fire was going great with smokeware cap open 3/4s and bottom about an inch/inch and a half.  Did great for several hours; spot on.  Really appreciate the feedback and help and I'm not quitting!  I love this, but it was a bummer to have to move to the oven.  And, I will fill it up higher the next time, start with one or maybe 2 starters and go from there.  When I first started I had trouble even getting it up to the higher temps; now, I'm comfortable with that.  It's just different, but I'll get used to it and really appreciate all the advice. Love this community! 
    Steve

    X/L BGE

    Louisville, Kentucky
  • Ozzie_IsaacOzzie_Isaac Posts: 11,666
    edited January 2017
    I don't think I've ever filled my XL past the fire bowl and I can go way longer than six hours at 350
    Do you pack or just dump and stir?  I can run my XL for 20+ hours at 250 when full to bottom of my woo, but when I just dump in the firebowl my times are way less.  I just dump though, no packing.
    If it is worth doing, it is worth overdoing.

    XL, Medium, Minimax, Mini, Blackstone, WSM
Sign In or Register to comment.
Click here for Forum Use Guidelines.