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Charcoal question

i am new to BGE. Thanks for having me in this forum. Learning a lot. I have a question about lump charcoal. I use my BGE as a pizza oven a lot. Recently I had a really hard time getting the temperature up to 600. I was attempting to use the smaller pieces of lump charcoal at the bottom of the bag. After a pretty good failure, I cleared the Egg and used larger pieces of lump charcoal. I got a very hot fire very quickly. My assumption is that the larger pieces afford more airflow and hence the hotter fire. Was this an anomaly?  If not, what can I use the smaller piece for ?  Thanks for any help b

Comments

  • MNarracci said:

    i am new to BGE. Thanks for having me in this forum. Learning a lot. I have a question about lump charcoal. I use my BGE as a pizza oven a lot. Recently I had a really hard time getting the temperature up to 600. I was attempting to use the smaller pieces of lump charcoal at the bottom of the bag. After a pretty good failure, I cleared the Egg and used larger pieces of lump charcoal. I got a very hot fire very quickly. My assumption is that the larger pieces afford more airflow and hence the hotter fire. Was this an anomaly?  If not, what can I use the smaller piece for ?  Thanks for any help b

    Welcome to the site. What brand of charcoal are you using?  Rockwood and KJ big block are two of my favourites and come with larger chunks so this isn’t a problem. 

    Alternatively using a kick ash basket or high que grate vs the stock charcoal grate will allow better airflow. 

    The cheapest option is to just place the larger chunks at the bottom before dumping the smaller stuff over top to help airflow. 

    Unless your cooking all day, don’t add in a days worth of charcoal 
    Two Kamado Joe Classic III & a Kamado Joe Jr.  Large BGE, Mini BGE 
    YouTube: @smokingdadbbq 
    Instagram: @smokingdadbbq  

  • The smallest pieces will clog up the fire grate restricting air flow.  You could buy a wiggle rod, or at least look at it and fashion a heavy coat hanger into one as per the attached pic.  Put it through the bottom vent and use it to unclog the grate and move lump around.  Or you could buy a Kick Ash basket to replace the grate.  I generally don’t reload the egg with each cook.  Dump and burn is my motto.

    the city above Toronto - Noodleville wtih 2 Large 1 Mini

  • WeberWhoWeberWho Posts: 9,559
    Double check to see if your temperature gauge is reading accurate. I'd also double check to see if your firebox is lined up correctly with the lower vent
    "The pig is an amazing animal. You feed a pig an apple and it makes bacon. Let's see Michael Phelps do that" - Jim Gaffigan

    Minnesota
  • stlcharcoalstlcharcoal Posts: 4,450
    Kick ash basket and a high carbon content lump is what you seek......have fun!
  • As to what to do with smaller pieces.  Burn em.  Just use the fines on a lower temp cook or dispersed with larger pieces.  
    Jason NW GA- home of carpet and Mexican restaurants
    LBGE, MM, BS (Blackstone and the other kind)
    One sorry Labrador

    My chili did not suck. My wings either. 
  • Philly35Philly35 Posts: 850
    I fill it up and just snuff it out when I’m done. My next cook, I’ll just relight the lump. When I have a hard time getting the temp up, it’s usually because there’s not enough lump left. Then it’s time to refill it with some more lump. 
    NW IOWA
  • In my experience when trying to achieve hi temperature I always clean the grate and holes in the fire box before lighting to allow for maximum air flow. Also I put big pieces on bottom and cover with tailings for the same reason.
    South of Columbus, Ohio.
  • buzd504 said:


    Unless your cooking all day, don’t add in a days worth of charcoal 

    False.  Since you can snuff your egg and reuse your charcoal, fill it up!


    I like adding different smoking wood for different cooks, it’s easier to place wood at the bottom when you’re not packed to the brim. 

    Second it’s nice sometimes to either bank your coals or if you have a KAB to use a divider 
    Two Kamado Joe Classic III & a Kamado Joe Jr.  Large BGE, Mini BGE 
    YouTube: @smokingdadbbq 
    Instagram: @smokingdadbbq  

  • An anecdotal observation:  When BGEs and other Komodo cookers were not in great demand back some 20yrs ago, I find that lump charcoal, in general, also had a much lower demand.  That said, every brand of lump, and there were not many, contained a good mix and lots of large lump.  As the demand increased other manufacturers got into the lump business and the direct outcome was smaller lump (in general) by suppliers that once had mainly large lump.  I am sure that yield became an issue and the larger lump was able to command a higher price.  To your question, smaller lump can be problematic and in my opinion causes a decrease in airflow.  It's all in the angle of the dangle and depends on how nicely the smaller pieces nestle themselves in the stack.  The good thing is there is a solution...and it is called the Kick Ash Basket.  It's one of my favorite tools for my BGE.  Just my two cents.  Geaux Tigers!!
    The problem with a problem is that you don't know it's a problem until it's a problem.
    Holding the company together with three spreadsheets and two cans connected by a long piece of string.
  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,835
    When I open a new bag of charcoal, I store it in a Kingsford plastic bin.  I dump it into the BGE from the bin. At the bottom of the bin is usually some powdered charcoal which can decrease the airflow.  I don't worry about any small pieces since there usually aren't too many small enough to block the airflow (I use Rockwood).  When I get down to that fine powder, I only pour in half of it or less, then save the rest for my next cook.  I always have 2 of these bins next to my BGE.  This works fine and is less work than trying to load the BGE with large pieces on the bottom, etc.
    Large BGE
    Barry, Lancaster, PA
  • An anecdotal observation:  When BGEs and other Komodo cookers were not in great demand back some 20yrs ago, I find that lump charcoal, in general, also had a much lower demand.  That said, every brand of lump, and there were not many, contained a good mix and lots of large lump.  As the demand increased other manufacturers got into the lump business and the direct outcome was smaller lump (in general) by suppliers that once had mainly large lump.  I am sure that yield became an issue and the larger lump was able to command a higher price.  To your question, smaller lump can be problematic and in my opinion causes a decrease in airflow.  It's all in the angle of the dangle and depends on how nicely the smaller pieces nestle themselves in the stack.  The good thing is there is a solution...and it is called the Kick Ash Basket.  It's one of my favorite tools for my BGE.  Just my two cents.  Geaux Tigers!!
    I failed to add that my solution was to switch to Rockwood as it has a nice variety of sizes.
    The problem with a problem is that you don't know it's a problem until it's a problem.
    Holding the company together with three spreadsheets and two cans connected by a long piece of string.
  • 1911Man1911Man Posts: 366
    buzd504 said:


    Unless your cooking all day, don’t add in a days worth of charcoal 

    False.  Since you can snuff your egg and reuse your charcoal, fill it up!


    I like adding different smoking wood for different cooks, it’s easier to place wood at the bottom when you’re not packed to the brim. 

    Second it’s nice sometimes to either bank your coals or if you have a KAB to use a divider 
    I get great results just adding the chunks on top of the charcoal just before I put the item getting smoked on the cooking grate (in the Woo ring setup). I also use the Kick Ash basket and can in my BGE. The basket makes cleanup a TON easier and provides better air flow to the charcoal. 

    The last time I smoked on the egg (weekend before last) there was plenty of smoke still coming out even after going for about four hours. I'll also leave whatever is left from the smoking for grilling. Often not adding any more charcoal. I also tend to get smoke flavor into the item I'm grilling. Even with it going long enough to get to grilling temps. 

    I also find that relighting the snuffed charcoal is easier than fresh charcoal.
    Large BGE with CGS Woo Ring, stone with stainless pan, Smokeware chimney cap, Kick Ash basket and Kick Ash can.
    Living free in the 603 (Pelham).
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