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NEED HELP - Firestarter/Even Fire Distribution

ThaMav12ThaMav12 Posts: 27
edited 1:14PM in EggHead Forum
Okay fellas, still a newbie, so please forgive me...

I have an XL BGE ("Jaba"), and I am not 100% certain as to truly get my fire up and running...What I am experiencing is placing several firestarters down in the coal, and when I light them, there is a flame directly over them, but it doesn't seem to spread anywhere else...

I then go in and try to stir things up, but that seems to, at times, put out the fire all together...

Due to the config of our backyard, and with a pretty bulky table I built, I had concerns that not enough air flow was getting in...I purchased the Eggcelerator, and I pretty much use it every time...

In the end, I have a very hot fire, but I can't seem to get things to evenly dispurse, and I don't get that burn down of ashy coals, that are easily spread out and even across the bottom...

When I get everything lit, I typically wait 8-10 minutes and then close the lid and adjust things...

Also, I am not 100% certain as to how many of the firestarters I am supposed to use, and where they are supposed to be placed...

Anything I am doing wrong here? Any suggestions for getting an even light across the entire bottom?


  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    If you are using firestarters, keep in mind they take the dome temp to at least 350 even though the coals are not ready yet. Let it get hot and then it will drop and slowly come back up. You really don't need the Eggcelerator. -RP
  • ThaMav12ThaMav12 Posts: 27
    thanks, but not exactly sure I understand what you are saying...

    Are you saying NOT to use firestarters?

    If you still suggest using them, how many should I use, and where should they be placed?

    Are you saying leave the lid open longer and let it continue to burn prior to closing the lid?
  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    No what I'm saying is that while the firestarters are burning, you will get a higher dome temp that will drop while the coals heat up. -RP
  • BBQMavenBBQMaven Posts: 1,041

    Welcome to the forum... you can count on lot's of help when you call for it... so glad you chose an Egg, you'll learn much and enjoy cooking more than ever...

    When using lump charcoal the lighting method is a personal choice and starter cubes will work just as good as all the others. When I was using them I learned to break or cut one into smaller pieces and put them in a triangle layout 3-5 inches apart. I pushed them down in the lump till they were almost buried. After lighting them I'd leave the dome open for 5-8 minutes and then put in my cooking setup, closed the lid, and left the bottom open and nothing on the top.

    Watch the temp and start trimming the temp BEFORE it gets to your desired cooking temp. Let the Egg settle to your cooking temp for 15-20 before putting your cook in - it will maintain the temp with very little adjustment needed.

    Kent Madison MS
  • I have an XL and I agree with BBQ Maven except I use a chimney starter. I use a newspaper and starter cubes under the starter. This concentrates the heat on the charcoal bottom and top. When the starter coals are ready, pour them on the remaining charcoal, close the dome and give it a little time with both air vents wide open. It won't take long from here. The chimney starter seems to speed up the process a little faster for me. Make sure your air holes are clear. Good luck.
  • One of the best tips I learned from this forum is to use napkins, twisted and soaked in oil as a starter. I use two and place them in the coals - coals light quickly.
  • ozeggozegg Posts: 50
    I am new to the egg too, I use a similar method to this
    The only thing I would change is to be a bit picky with the charcoal placement, making sure big pieces are near the bottom and throughout to create better air flow, I am yet to fan my fire. And when I want it to spread it out i just move the hot coals gently around to spread the fire. You could probably try 3 or 4 fire starters because the XL is bigger! Good luck, and happy egging!
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,982
    i light with a weedburner but from reading your post im gathering that you havent burned much lump and are more used to burning briquettes like kingsford that white over with ash, lump doesnt do that. most light in the middle or three spots like at 12 oclock, 4, and 8. wait for temps to stabilize and smoke to clear and start cooking and dont really look for a spread out fire.
  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    Here here ditto! ;)
  • AshmanAshman Posts: 375
    Welcome!! I have an XL and have gone though a few different methods of lighting: Electric, cubes, and oil/napkin. Now a days I use this weed burner I bought from Lowes.


    It uses the small propane tank, and is long enough that I stop burning holes in my shirts (when I was using a small hand held torch the sparks kept on hitting my long sleeve shirts). If I want a full bucket of flames, I light it in 3 spots. For a lower heat cook, I light it in one area. Just hit it with the torch for 30 seconds and let it go. Bottom vent fully open and dome open. Once flames are going strong, shut the dome and leave the daisy wheel fully open for a few minutes. Then set for desired temp. Keep playing with it, you will get the hang of it, there are plenty of ways to get to the end result.

    And if you do use a torch, please don't forget the eye protection!
  • BigGreenDonBigGreenDon Posts: 166
    I have an XL, and like Pilcher, I use a chimney starter.

    For getting the XL up to temp fast, a chimney just cannot be beat. Dump the starter onto your coal bed and use your ash tool to rake it around to even things out.

    When I am feeling *really* anal about building the fire, I do the following:

    1: Start picking out the pre-used charcoal from my grill, the biggest pieces first, and put them in my chimney starter. When the starter is full, it will consist of the larger pieces on the bottom and successively smaller pieces towards the top.

    2: Take the charcoal remaining in the egg and put it in a bucket temporarily. This will usually consist of very small pieces.

    3: Clean the egg of ash and make sure all the holes in the grate are clear. Rake out the ash from the bottom.

    4: Put in some new lump. This will usually be about 2/3 of a load. Remember the charcoal that is in the chimney and bucket...

    5: Light the charcoal in the chimney. You can use a couple sheets of newspaper (some folks wet it with vegetable oil), a can of sterno, or sit the chimney on the aux burner of a gas grill if you have one. Let the chimney get going real well...

    6: Dump the contents of the chimney in the egg, and rake the lava evenly over the top of the charcoal bed with your ash tool.

    7: Now dump the small stuff (from the bucket) on top, and rake it even.

    8: Make sure the vent is open, the daisy is off the top, and close the egg.

    What you do from there would depend on how hot you want your egg. The base procedure is for a fairly hot fire. For a low & slow, use only a half chimney.

  • reccitronreccitron Posts: 176
    jerseyshore wrote:
    One of the best tips I learned from this forum is to use napkins, twisted and soaked in oil as a starter. I use two and place them in the coals - coals light quickly.

    I like the vegetable oil soaked napkin method better than my MAPP torch but the MAPP torch does have the wow factor if your entertaining.
  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    If you don't need an even fire (say, roasting indirect) then you don't need to worry. If you do need an even fire, I dump a chimneyful of roaring hot burning charcoal from a chimey starter. Then I spread the red hot coals evenly over the top of the charcoal that was already in the cooker. This is like having dozens of little fire starters all over your cooker.
    The Naked Whiz
  • PhilsGrillPhilsGrill Posts: 2,256
    Well I use an electric starter. Every time I pick it up to hold the coals, to move them around, they always fall through the center. :blush:
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