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Very SLOW lighting

krmanningkrmanning Posts: 3
edited 3:56PM in EggHead Forum
Help for a newbie, please someone.
I got my large BGE in April, and I've loved everything I have cooked on it. But, compared to everything I've read,its taking way too long to get this egg lit and ready to cook. I'm talking 40 minutes sometimes.
I'm using BGE charcoal or sometimes another brand of lump charcoal (no difference), using the little starter square things from the dealer, and I've made sure none of the air holes in the ring are blocked. The bottom vent is all the way open, and I've tried leaving the top open longer (20-30 minutes) and shorter times (10 minutes) with no real difference.

To get my egg up to higher temps (500-600 F) takes even longer - up to an hour. I tried a total charcoal exchange, I've cleaned out ashes (its amazing how little ash this thing makes).

Any suggestions? Thanks everyone.


  • Big'unBig'un Posts: 5,909
    40 mins to cook at say 225F-350F isn't that far off the mark. It also depends how much lump is actuallly lit when you start. Try adding some olive oil paper towels and have some lump to stack on top. I personally use an electric starter. But as soon as I put it in, I start stacking lump onto the sides to light as much as possible. When trying to raise to temp above 350F, leave the top off until it hits about 300F, then add the top, to get the temp you want. HTH.
  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    Stir your coals with the ash tool to get the ashes to fall through the fire grate. A lot of small used lump pieces right over the fire grate can clog or restrict airflow causing it to take longer to get to temp. -RP
  • RRPRRP Posts: 22,035
    is the opening in your firebox lined up OK with your bottom vent door? I have my best luck letting the starter cube burn for 10 minutes and then close the dome - that helps fan the fire by creating a natural updraft.
    L, M, S, &  Mini
    And oh yes...also a 17" BlackStone gas fired griddle! 
    Dunlap, IL
    Re- gasketing AMERICA one yard at a time!
  • Cpt'n CookCpt'n Cook Posts: 1,917
    Should that be extra virgin olive oil or what?
  • Big'unBig'un Posts: 5,909
    Any type of cooking oil should work.
  • civil eggineercivil eggineer Posts: 1,547
    Remember there is a lot of mass you are warming up.
  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,675
    With 1 starter cube broken in half my large will hit 400 in about 20 min., another 20 to 30 for clean smoke. With the weed burner 600 in 3 to 5 min is easy and less time for clean smoke.
  • krmanningkrmanning Posts: 3
    Thanks everyone.

    So the info from the company that says its ready to cook in 15 minutes really is a lot of nonsense? If it is, I'll stop worrying.
  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,675
    It depends on what your cooking and how your lighting. I can be ready to TRex a steak in 5 minutes. For low & slow I'll take a lot more time.
  • RRPRRP Posts: 22,035
    yes - along with the idea of a couple handfuls of lump plus a bag of hump lasting for months on end!
    L, M, S, &  Mini
    And oh yes...also a 17" BlackStone gas fired griddle! 
    Dunlap, IL
    Re- gasketing AMERICA one yard at a time!
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    you leaving the dome open?

    shut it. you need draft...

    i am often ready to cook in ten to fifteen minutes. i used to use the starter squares (three 1x1 pieces at a time), but now drizzle a little oil on two paper napkins, twist them, and go. with new lump, it's 700 in fifteen minutes

    daisy off, bottom open, dome shut. when starting, the fire won't burn downward as fast with the dome open, where it'll just try to spread horizontally.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • GunnarGunnar Posts: 2,305
    I use the hairdryer if I'm impatient. It will move things along fairly quickly.
    LBGE      Katy (Houston) TX
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    When doing the oil/napkin thing, I use crisco. There is some black smoke then the lump white smoke before clear/blue.

    You wil also see a heat spike while the napkin/oil is cooking then a fall back followed by a slower increase, that is until the lump kicks in and within 2 or 3 minutes the large can soar to 700° or higher.

  • I've had a BGE L for a couple of weeks now, so I don't have as much experience as others in the forum.

    I too, have had difficulty getting the egg fired up. I get things started in my chimney (maybe 10 mins)and then I add it to the other lump charcoal. The dome temp raises fairly quickly (250-350 degrees) and there have been a few times where I got it around 400 degrees - never in the 700+ I see in the forum. For the most part the dome has been around 350 degrees and cooks well.

    I've tried opening the vents, daisy wheel and even opened the lid. When I raise the lid, fire kicks in fairly quickly and the temp raises fast. When i lower the lid the egg maintain the last temp I was at. Not much happens with the other two.

    I've found that used coal lights very quickly, warms up the egg quickly and seems to maintain the heat. New charcoal sems to take a long time to get going.

    Im thinking that Im not building the fire properly or there isnt enough air getting into the vents - maybe I need to relocate the BGE to a location with more breeze or force some air into the vents.

    Thoughts, comments.

  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    It's not 'a breeze' issue. Check out The Naked Whiz website.

    The only time I have problems getting the large to high temps is if there are a lot of very small pieces of lump in the firebox. Even then it may take an hour but the egg will push or exceed 650°

    Using a chimney an after that batch is ready to put in the egg your temp should be reached fairly (very)quickly.

    I don't cook at 650° or 700°, rather between 300° and 400° which takes from 20 to 30 minutes depending on lighting method.

  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 516
    My egg used to take anywhere from 15-30 minutes to reach 300-400 cooking temp, longer for 500-600+ which was just too long for convenience. I tried all the lighting methods and finally settled on using rubbing alcohol. It is the safest, fastest, cheapest, cleanest, and most convenient method in my opinion. A weed burner on high will light the egg just a little faster but it throws too many sparks and is not very fun to stand close to. Here is a video on the net showing some info. slides and the rubbing alcohol method in action on my egg. Just under 10 minutes to 400...

    Part 1: 9 mins.
    Part 2: 3 mins.
  • Cpt'n CookCpt'n Cook Posts: 1,917

    Just yankin' your chain. :)
  • A trick I use to to force air into the bottom vent. Go to Petco or Petsmart and look for a small battery operated fan for a dog crate. Throw some batteries in it and start you fire. After about 5 minutes. Put the fan directly in front of the bottom vent with Daisy wheel off and dome closed. You should see smoke coming out of the top a lot faster. In about 5 minutes all of that air will be superheated and the entire inside of the egg will flash. remove the fan, the temp should start to climb very rapidly. 600 degrees in 15-20 minutes. Good luck.
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 516
    Good idea TB. I used some PVC pipe and a small 12V DC fan in my table for the same purpose. I don't use the fan much since the rubbing alcohol gets the egg hot in no time but it is helpful if I want to get to 600+ in a hurry, or if I want to ventilate my enclosed table. Here is a link to my full table report including photos.
  • StanleyStanley Posts: 623
    Yesterday I fanned my favorite BBQ hat in front of the wide-open draft and got a very quick response.
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