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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 08-19-2012, 02:01 AM   #1
fingerlickin'
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Default How do you load up your egg?

I know how I do it. Wanna hear it? Here it goes...

A little while ago I saw a post about some people foiling their plate setter before every cook. I chimed in about cleaning mine with a couple putty knives. That got me thinking about how everyone else goes through the process of setting up their egg, and the different techniques and tools everyone uses. I'm always looking for a better way, so if you have one, feel free to offer it up. If nothing else, maybe this will help out someone who is new to ceramics, as I know it would've helped me my first time around.

This is how I set up my egg for a long overnight cook. If possible I like to set it up during the daylight hours so it's ready to go when night falls. I wouldn't be surprised if this set up would burn 24 hrs. or more at 225*.

When I do ribs, or something that I will only have to cook for a few hours, I will normally just stir up the old charcoal and add new on top.

I keep my tools and supplies in the garage, and the egg is out back so this is my tool caddy of sorts. It holds my 2 putty knives, a screwdriver, a dust pan and brush, and a box for small pieces of charcoal.



I also have an old popcorn tin that I keep under the egg, I use it to collect the ashes and scrapings from the platesetter. Yes, I realize I have a plastic bag in there, and no I don't empty hot ash into it, but it does make it easy to grab the bag and head to the trash can. A pair of heavy duty gloves are also a must.



Here's my nicely seasoned plate setter after my last rib cook. I just scrape off the old drippings with the 2 putty knives. Having 2 makes it a lot less messy, by using one to load up and scrape off the other.



2 minutes later.



This is how much lump I had left after a 6 hour burn at around 275*.



After mixing it around a bit with my ash tool. Tons of usable lump left over. I pull out all the bigger chunks and the small pieces make their way into the diaper box.



Then I clean out the ashes with my ash tool and the dust pan. I've seen some folks talk of using a vacuum for this. I'm would love to hear what type works best.



I use the screwdriver to poke out the holes in the charcoal grate, and we're all ready to load her up again.



I try and find the biggest pieces in the bag that I can, and arrange them on the first layer. I think having the larger chunks at the bottom keeps the small pieces from getting stuck in the holes and helps with the air flow.



Then the medium sized chunks. A bit blurry, sorry about that.



Then finally, I finish with the small pieces from the diaper box or the bottom of the bag.



At this point I will usually light the coals at 3 places with my mapp torch and add three chunks of wood right on top of the lit areas, here's a picture, except I would actually light the charcoal first. Within 1 hr. the smoker is up to temp and spewing thin blue smoke.



Well it's 3:01 am, and now that I've bored you all silly, I'm going out to check on the butts before I hit the sack.

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Unread 08-19-2012, 02:20 AM   #2
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Almost identical here with the BSK...but I never bothered layering in bigger charcoal on the base.good idea Jason!
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Unread 08-19-2012, 06:41 AM   #3
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I have the large BGE I use the adjustable rack from the ceramic Grill Store. If I load it with lump charcoal to the t op of the fire ring it will easily go > 24 hrs. I also have a differant grate for the bottom of the fire box- lets in more air flow and it is stainless steal- check out a thread from Ross in Ventura. I use a shop vac to clean out the dust- works great but have to bring it up from the shed- wish I got a smaller model. I put in the largee pieces of lump also to allow for better air flow. When I have a good base I fill her up. Usualy I can reuse the large pieces. I had almost enough lump left over from a 20 hr cook to refill it for this one today. I normally will put my butts or briske on at midnight and set it @ 220. Get up at 6 to check it and kick up the temp to 250. Right now 2 boston butts are @ 157 almost ready to wrap
Good post Jason
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Unread 08-19-2012, 07:20 AM   #4
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Good thread.
I usually just stir up whatever is left over, clean out the ash at the bottom, dump in new charcoal, put a couple chunks of wood throughout, and light it using a paper towel drizzled with some veggie oil. I am in the wrapping the plate setter in foil camp.
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Unread 08-19-2012, 07:49 AM   #5
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That's the way I load the Kamado. I use a small shop vac because I don't want to take the ash pan off.
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Unread 08-19-2012, 07:55 AM   #6
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When i do long cook on the EGG I load it just about the exact same way, I don't really seperate lump by size but mix it all together, old, new, etc. I also mix in chunks and chips all the layers.
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Unread 08-19-2012, 08:00 AM   #7
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i do wrap my stones, but when it comes to lump, i'm not a sorter/stacker. i stir it up good to get the ash out, clean it out the bottom with an ash tool, fill it up, light it up, cook it up.
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Unread 08-19-2012, 08:39 AM   #8
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I used to sort (when I was a new Egger) the large and small lump in my Eggs, but now I just stir the old lump and dump the new lump over that (for long or short cooks--I just did a 21 hour smoke doing it with 30% of the lump left afterwards--I filled the lump to the top of the firebox where the firebox and fire ring meet). Why do more work than necessary? I see no difference at all in air flow, performance or anything. I also don't foil my platesetter or pizza stones. I just scrap it and the rest burns off on the next cook. The Egg basically cleans itself.
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Unread 08-19-2012, 09:36 AM   #9
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I use a drip pan so my plate setter is pretty clean for the most part. As for the lump, I just dump it right in, no sorting whatsoever.
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Unread 08-19-2012, 09:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisnjenn View Post
I used to sort (when I was a new Egger) the large and small lump in my Eggs, but now I just stir the old lump and dump the new lump over that (for long or short cooks--I just did a 21 hour smoke doing it with 30% of the lump left afterwards--I filled the lump to the top of the firebox where the firebox and fire ring meet). Why do more work than necessary? I see no difference at all in air flow, performance or anything. I also don't foil my platesetter or pizza stones. I just scrap it and the rest burns off on the next cook. The Egg basically cleans itself.

Hey, I'm all about less work, maybe before the next long cook I'll give that a shot. I've been using Humphrey's lump lately and the sizes are pretty consistent. I know when I was using Wicked Good, there were a few extra large chunks in there that I might've need to break up.
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Unread 08-19-2012, 10:02 AM   #11
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I do pretty much the same as you do, as long as it works fine.... there is no one right way.

However.... I do want to point out your charcoal grate is upside down. The chamfer on the holes should be on the underneath side, and the bevel around the OD should mate to the firebox. You will get better ash action with it turned over, and it's easier to wiggle too.


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Unread 08-19-2012, 10:07 AM   #12
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I use a different grate than the original one. I use one made by High-Que. Has made me get to temp (high and low temps) faster. More airflow. I love it and highly recommend it.

http://www.high-que.com/
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Unread 08-19-2012, 10:15 AM   #13
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What's the spacing on the HighQ grate, I ordered one the other day and haven't been around to play with it yet. I was hoping it'll work for slow cooks also.
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Unread 08-19-2012, 10:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BGEMike View Post
What's the spacing on the HighQ grate, I ordered one the other day and haven't been around to play with it yet. I was hoping it'll work for slow cooks also.
Works perfectly for both low and high temp cooks. Much better than the original.
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Unread 08-19-2012, 10:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisnjenn View Post
I use a different grate than the original one. I use one made by High-Que. Has made me get to temp (high and low temps) faster. More airflow. I love it and highly recommend it.

http://www.high-que.com/
This is the one I use Got the idea from Ross
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