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Egg won't get hot!

sylsyl Posts: 16
edited 1:15PM in EggHead Forum
I've had my large BGE for about a month, and it has been nothing short of spectacular, as has been the support from all of you.
Here's my problem -- the first day I got the Egg, I fired it up for steaks and it went to 600 degrees in no time. Most of what I've been cooking since then has involved lower heat, such as smoking, cooking fish etc. But the last couple of times I tried to go hot, including last night for pizza. And it's a real struggle now to get it above 400. I made sure the ash holes on the firebox grate were clear, emptied out the ash from the bottom, and put in several inches of BGE lump charcoal. Used 2 BGE firestarters, each broken in two, so I had four ignition points, and it lit off just fine.
But after 40 minutes, with top and bottom air vents wide open, I was still at 390, and climbing SOOO slowly.
The pizza was great, but this ain't right.
Any ideas?


  • NooBBQNooBBQ Posts: 134
    Is there any old lump in there?

    Is your lump dry?

    With it just staying at 400 I bet you there is either old moist lump in there, or some of the vents are closed.

    My advice, empty and clean the whole sucker (yeah I know PITB) and start with fresh lump. To be honest, I seldom clean out the egg completely (only for a butt or brisket), and even with left over lump I get well above 500-600, but notice higher temperatures the more fresh lump I use.

  • Big'unBig'un Posts: 5,909
    If the firebox is lined up correctly, then only the lump could be the trouble. It's also possible that the lump could be packed a bit tighter and air flow is restricted. I try to vaccuum mine out about once a month.
  • sylsyl Posts: 16
    No, this lump is only as old as the Egg (about a month), and it lives in the garage, so it's dry.
  • HaggisHaggis Posts: 998
    Two inches really isn't too much if you want to reach the highest temps. I'd be inclined to fill the entire firebox - from then on I just stir up the old lump the next time to clear out the ash and add a couple handfuls to maintain the volume of lump.

    You emptied out the ash but you don't say if you pulled out the firebox and cleared everything out - sometimes ash builds up and blocks some flow.

    If there was a lot of small lump pieces, the holes in the grate can be blocked, although this happens most often as lump is used repeatedly and the pieces burn off.

    Also, make sure gap in the firebox is aligned with the lower vent in the Egg.
  • bobSTLbobSTL Posts: 105
    "with top and bottom air vents wide open"

    Just being a new Egger, I would venture to add, maybe you should try taking off the wheel on top all the way, and see how fast that lump will climb out of this world. Keep an eye on it, because it will surprise you.
    Hope this helps.
  • This is what works for me....After I vaccuum out the entire thing, I hand place the bottom layer of charcoal to make certain that the holes are not covered. I build little bridges and seriously place them in there with a surgeon's precision. Then after the first layer is done, I dump. Never have any problem and the air flow never gets restricted.

    Hope this helps.
  • ShiffShiff Posts: 1,707
    I had a similar problem with mine and solved it by doing what some others have suggested here.

    I clean out the BGE and dump all the charcoal into a bucket. I then make sure all the holes are clear - most of the time I find many of them plugged with tiny pieces of charcoal.

    I then pick out some large pieces of lump and place that at the bottom of the BGE to give better airflow. I don't get too carried away with spending a lot of time at this. I then pour the bucket back into the egg on top of the large pieces. I then add enough new charcoal to the top to fill it up.

    It doesn't take very long to do this and the fire starts quicker and gets hotter faster.

    Large BGE
    Barry, Lancaster, PA
  • giantwinggiantwing Posts: 189
    I have had this problem when using plate setter legs up.
    last night I had cleaned out ash,put a full load dry lump in and had a good fire going. I tried to maintain at 350 but it just wouldnt.
  • sprintersprinter Posts: 1,188
    You say that you put in "several inches of BGE lump charcoal". Is that ALL the charcoal you had in there? With that little bit of lump in the cooker you'll not be able to get it up to those temps. Load the cooker up full with lump and start it in 2-3 places and you'll get a good fire going and SHOULD be able to get to those temps. You either dont have enough fuel to get the fire that hot, or you have the airflow blocked somewhere. With both top and bottom opened up 100% you should not have any trouble with getting to 5-600. Stir the charcoal bed to shake out any ash that has accumulated and get rid of some fo the smaller pieces that may be clogging the holes in the bottom. Replace the lump in total maybe. But, if the air vents are clear on the bottom of the egg then somewhere in there you have airflow blocked, or you simply are not using enough lump to get those temperatures. Are you putting the plate setter on the fire ring inverted? That would tend to block a lot of airflow but it STILL should allow for enough air, after 40 minutes anyway, to get the fire hot.

    If your statement of a couple inches of lump is correct, then my guess is you dont have enough burning to GET to those temps regardless of how much airflow you have.

    Hope this helps.

  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    This is long, but if you are a relative new egger it should be useful.

    The amount of heat produced is dependent on fuel and air.

    I am using my eggs at about 5000' elevation and will have sometimes have problems getting to high heat levels or even a slow start up.

    If you want high heat at the cooking level load the lump high enough into the egg (or lower the cooking level to close to the lump) so there isn't a long distance between lump and the food grid.

    Light the lump as you stated but make some holes about 2" below the lump level at each spot. I would light at 3, 6, 9 o'clock and center.

    Bottom vent & screen open, DFMT off. Light the starters and leave the dome open until the flame of the starter burns out. You should see lump burning in each spot. Lightly carefully cover those 4 ignition spots with some lump.

    At this point you have some fuel and air is mostly coming into the lump from the top due to the dome still being open.

    The physical burning (heat) of the lump will begin the natural draft need for the lump to burn and get to high temperatures.

    Close the dome.

    That beginning draft will force the air into the lower vent and up through the lump.

    If the temperature does not climb at a reasonable speed then the air flow at the grate and firebox holes are restricted or the lump is has smaller pieces and there is not an easy air path up to the burning lump.

    You will need to clear an air path. The easiest way is with a Wiggle Rod. Some use a wire hanger but is not the best. I went to Home Depot and picked up some wire rod and bent both ends.

    The wire hanger if a just opened up will be very weak. Either fold the hanger in half (once opened up and straightened) and then twist. Then make the bend for the upright of the wiggle stick. The hanger will have a little strength.

    Thirdeye makes a great wiggle rod as does a couple of other forum members.

    Back to your fire. Use the wiggle rod to clear some of the holes in the fire gate. You can also go from the top down and clear a path. The idea is not to mix up the lump but rather provide some path for air to come up through the lump.

    I have only had to clear out the fire grate holes and make a small path up through that lump.

    The quicker one can get the egg up to higher temperatures the less lump will be used reaching higher temperatures.

    I used to sort my lump into large and smaller pieces and was very careful on how I built the lump. All that really doesn't matter. I use a water proof container to store the lump. So I pour out of the bag into the container leaving as much lump dust in the bag as possible. I then dump from the Kingsford containers into the eggs - no sorting.

    For the first 10 to 20 minutes, it is how you light and let that upper burn develop that makes the biggest difference. After that initial start, it is a matter of how well the natural draft is pulling air up through the fire grate.

    I use the eggs about 4 to 6 times a week year around. As for cleaning the ash... On my large & medium I take apart and clean about once every 6 months to a year. Usually never over the winter months (Nov. through May). I clean out the ash with the ash tool about every 4 cooks and on every overnight.

    On the small. Take apart as above and clean ash out about every 3 cooks. Mini, I pull apart about every 4 cooks and don't worry about cleaning out the ash.

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