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:

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Youtube  |  Vimeo
Share your photos by tagging us and using the hashtag #EGGhead4Life.

In Atlanta? Come visit Big Green Egg headquarters, including our retail showroom, the History of the EGG Museum and Culinary Center!  3786 DeKalb Technology Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30340.

XL Lighting Help

AzScottAzScott Posts: 309
edited 6:05AM in EggHead Forum
Hello Everyone,

I have a customer that just bought an XL Egg and I'm hoping I can get some help. I've tried offering up my advice and it hasn't worked so I'm a little perplexed. Any advice from those with more XL experience would be greatly appreciated.

Here's the problem:

He fills the Egg full of BGE charcoal up to the fire ring and lights two BGE fire starters in the charcoal. The bottom vent is wide open, the lid is raised, and the daisy wheel is off of the Egg. The charcoal lights very very slowly and he has smoke coming out of the bottom vent. It is taking him about 35 minutes to get to 250 - 275 degrees and the hottest he has been able to take the Egg is 400. Obviously there is an issue since it shouldn't take that long to light and it should easily get over 400 degrees as I've seen many times before.

I asked him if there was ash clogging the grate holes or filling the bottom of the Egg and there is not. I asked him if the charcoal was wet and it was not. I asked him if the air vent on the firebox was facing the exterior vent and it was a yes again. I asked him if the bottom vent had the mesh screen over it and the answer was no. I asked if he was lighting the egg and then putting the platesetter over it before the coals were lit and once again no.

I don't know what to tell the guy. The only thing I could possibly come up with is that having the XL lid open while lighting the Egg could somehow create an equilibrium with the airflow and cause it to snuff itself out. My other thought is that the BGE charcoal is clogging the holes at the bottom somehow but I don't see that charcoal being a problem. Other than that, I have no other ideas. If anyone has any tips or ideas, I'd love to hear them.




  • rsmdalersmdale Posts: 2,472
    I have been cooking on a XL for 2 years, Is he dumping the lump in out of the bag or stacking by hand?.Also have him try 4 rolled paper towels dipped in cooking oil that works great 4 me.I am new to this but I am sure you will get some good advice from the great cooks on this site.


  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    Scott, he probably has ash and small pieces of lump blocking airflow. You have to really rake the old lump to get the ash to fall through the grate.Then if there are a lot of very small pieces of lump left, you want to add some new lump and re stir to mix the small with the new, then add the rest of the new. -RP
  • PhilsGrillPhilsGrill Posts: 2,256
    Have him break the fire starters in half and light in four places also.
  • Once I light my XL in 3 or 4 places, I usually close the lid to let the heat create a draft to get things going. Never had smoke coming out the bottom vent while coming up to temp. Usually gets to 350 in 15-20 minutes.
  • KnaufKnauf Posts: 337
    I once had this issue on my large. Used the last of a bag of lump with very small pieces and it never got over 400. The small pieces must have clogged the grate and ash holes. Have him empty and put larger lump on the bottom and smaller as he goes.
  • abundellabundell Posts: 58
    I agree with other posts, and when it's happened to me it's been restricted airflow either because the grate has been clogged or because the lump is full of small pieces which prevent air getting through the load. I also did have one bad bag of lump. It just was hard to light, but...

    the real reason I'm posting is that I bought a Looftlighter several months ago. It's kinda like an intergalactic hairdryer shaped like Luke Skywalker's lightsaber. I got it on eBay for $20 (not the $80 some are charging). It rocks. You hold it on the charcoal and let 'er rip. It gets the charcoal going in just a few minutes without using fire starter or any other material. Check it out on Youtube and if you can steal one on eBay for $20, grab it.
  • BashBash Posts: 1,011
    I do the same. I used to use the sawdust/wax chunks, now I just use a propane torch (like for soldering pipes). I read about MAP on this site, but I had propane already, and it works for me.

    I light in three spots by holding the flame on the lump for about 30 seconds, and circle around to the original 3 sites again until I have good lighting. After a couple of minutes I close the lid with the cap off and the bottom wide open.

    I notice Wicked Good starts much more slowly than BGE or Cowbow, but all of them will quickly climb past 300 if left wide open.

  • AzScottAzScott Posts: 309
    Thanks for the help everyone! I'm going to have him remove the small pieces from the grate, if they are there, close the dome, and also tell him to light it in 4 spots.
  • AshmanAshman Posts: 375
    I may have missed it in the other posts, but has he calibrated his thermo? Just a thought.

  • WessBWessB Posts: 6,937
    I never leave the dome open on any of my closing the dome, you are in effect creating a chimney which will draw air in the bottom and across the lump. I also find my XL does not like being lit in only the center, so I light in 2 places offset of center...Good luck
  • EubletEublet Posts: 54
    I always close mine too. Never used a firestarter. The only thing I've ever used, from day one, is 91% rubbing alcohol. Never had one bad light. I can get up to 550 degrees in 10 minutes easy. I light the charcoal and close the egg immediately. Temp instantly shoots up to 750+ because of the flames from the alcohol, then it dies down to around 200 degrees after about 2 minutes, and then climbs back to 550 in another 8 minutes. You have to be careful with the rubbing alcohol, and I doubt that I would tell anyone to do this if I were a store dealer simply because of the moron factor. If someone poured too much of it on their grill, they could quickly create a problem and burn themselves. But 2-3 ounces in an XL, spread in about a 8-10" circle in the center lights every single time for me.
  • WessBWessB Posts: 6,937
    Sounds a little to ballsy for me. :laugh: ..I'll stick with my slow but affective starter cubes..or mapp torch if I'm in a hurry....8 to 10 minutes is extremely fast though...
  • EubletEublet Posts: 54
    It's not ballsy at all really. There's a youtube video on the net on how to do it. If you watch that you'll see there's nothing to it. 2-3 ounces will not Flash up. When you light it, it doesn't "whoosh" like lighting gasoline at all. It does spread quickly, and the flames will leap up a goo 12-18 inches above the cools for about 30-45 seconds. I usually light it with one hand, and on the other I have my long-sleeved glove. The flames might lick up to the handle a bit, so I use the gloved hand to shut the lid. The flames will lick out of the top of the dome a bit for a few seconds, but that's it. You just have to make sure you don't use to much. Measure it out into a measuring cup or something. I use an old plastic aerosol can top that I've marked with a Sharpee so that I get the exact measurement, around 60 ML or 2.5 ounces. I make a little dip in the coals, spread half that amount in the dip, the cover the dip in, and pour the other half on top of that. Take me about 60 seconds to do the whole thing. It's cheap and easy.

    NOTE: Cold rubbing alcohol has a very controlled, somewhat slow light when lit with a match. Do NOT pour alcohol on a hot fire or coals however in an effort to speed things up. That's much different than a simple match and it can flame up very quickly and singe all the hair off your arm! Trust me on this one! :woohoo:
  • DryFlyDryFly Posts: 351
    I've used 91% alcohol my last 6 or 7 cooks and find it is very effective in both my large and small (you have to cut the amt of alcohol in 1/2 for the small). A quick and safe light. Watch the 2 part YouTube video.
  • DryFlyDryFly Posts: 351
    Oop's !
Sign In or Register to comment.
Click here for Forum Use Guidelines.