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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 07-23-2011, 01:21 PM   #1
fingerlickin'
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Default First smoke on BGE. Lookin' for advice.

Well I'm finally almost finished with my table.




Just have to cut the hole in the butcher block top today.

Anyway, I'm planning on doing the first smoke on my XL BGE on Sunday, BB or spares not sure which yet. I'll warn you I'm a novice with lump charcoal. I'm ashamed to say it but I've been a gasser most of my life. Even my first smoker. I wouldn't mind some tips on using the egg.

If I had specific questions these would be a few:

Fire building tips

How high to fill the fire box

minion method or not? (I'm planning a pork butt later this week so any tips on that as well would be great, I'm assuming I'll need more charcoal for that cook)

Setting the vents and dialing in a temp

anything else you can think of and want to add would be much appreciated.


Thanks in advance

Peace
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Unread 07-23-2011, 01:25 PM   #2
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Check Out This site. http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramic.htm

There is a ton of info there that will help you out.
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Unread 07-23-2011, 01:30 PM   #3
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I have a large and no matter what I am cooking I use the same method.. fill with lump, I drizzle some oil on a paper towel and twist that up, toss it on the lump and light both ends.
Once your coals are lit, close the lid with the intake wide open and the top off. Once things are moving along, put in yur plate setter and keep an eye on your temps - when they are starting to get to your cooking temp start closing things down - intake first. Don't let it get out of control or you will play heck trying to get the temp down.
Goos luck and have fun!
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Unread 07-23-2011, 01:40 PM   #4
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Some will say it isn't necessary, but I think it important to do the first several smokes low and slow in order to settle in the gaskets. Save Pizza and other high heat cooks for later.
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Unread 07-23-2011, 04:06 PM   #5
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You also can get your lumps started on your gasser. Make sure your gauge is in the ballpark. Get some beer and babysit it. Good luck!
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Unread 07-23-2011, 04:12 PM   #6
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It's nice to see some more Berks "Countians" in here!!
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Unread 07-23-2011, 05:48 PM   #7
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I would also test the egg's thermometer in ice water and boiling water.
Double check that thing is very close to actual temps.
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Unread 07-23-2011, 11:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMAJ View Post
I have a large and no matter what I am cooking I use the same method.. fill with lump, I drizzle some oil on a paper towel and twist that up, toss it on the lump and light both ends.
When you say "fill" with lump do you mean you fill the firebox to the top every time? I guess that would be fine since the charcoal is reusable right?
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Unread 07-23-2011, 11:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbqbull View Post
I would also test the egg's thermometer in ice water and boiling water.
Double check that thing is very close to actual temps.
That sound like a good idea. I also like to put my own thermo inside the smoker at grate level just to make sure.
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Unread 07-23-2011, 11:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeSmellsLikeSmoke View Post
Some will say it isn't necessary, but I think it important to do the first several smokes low and slow in order to settle in the gaskets. Save Pizza and other high heat cooks for later.
Thanks I was thinking the same thing. Seems like a bunch of people have smoked their gasket pretty quickly. Lucky for me ribs and butts are already on the menu for next weekend. I'll admit I am excited to try pizza though.
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Unread 07-23-2011, 11:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperStang83 View Post
It's nice to see some more Berks "Countians" in here!!

I'm actually live right on the county line so I'm in montgomery county but I feel ya on the local love.
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Unread 07-24-2011, 01:26 PM   #12
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Good looking table. Hope your first smoke on it is wonderful!
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Duh.
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Unread 07-24-2011, 04:29 PM   #13
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I usually guage it by what kind of cook I am doing and the position of the plate setter. If it's legs down you can put in more lump. You need to be able to keep your airflow. And yes - you are right... once you are done your cook you can just shut the intake and put on the rain cap and save the lump for the next cook.
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Unread 07-24-2011, 04:57 PM   #14
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The paper towel/oil method that L_M described works great. I also use a torch and light the pile of lump with that.

I fill us the firebox for shorter cooks (like grilling or short low temp cooks like ribs and fill up to the top of the ring for long low temp cooks like butts or briskets.

A couple of tips:

1. It is much easier to catch the temps as they rise than it is to bring them down if you over shoot. As the temp climbs after you have shut the lid don't walk away. It can get very hot quickly.

2. Trust the Egg. Once you have the vents set and your temp is stable, the temp will drop when you put in the meat. How much depends on how much meat and how cold the meat is. Resist the urge to adjust the vents because of this. The Egg will recover. If it hasn't after 20 - 30 minutes then make small adjustments and give them time to take effect.
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Unread 07-24-2011, 08:05 PM   #15
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Ron,
Thanks for the advise. I have been struggling to keep the temp even. It's been somewhere between 210* and 300* all day. I have been messing with the vents a bit every time I put meat on. I've been good about not lifting the lid once it's on (except to pull the fattty off, can't christen the BGE without a fatty to snack on) although it's tough. I want to look...bad. I will try to heed your warning and let it recover after I put the meat on next time.

The spares are off and the BB are on. For the first time cooking on it I'm pretty pleased with the results so far. I was pressed for time today so I just bought the pre cut St. Louis style ribs. I could have trimmed them up a bit but building that table has me worn out.



The table is FINALLY done. I do have that proud new papa feeling today though.




Thank you to everyone for the advise. Please don't hesitate to add more if your so inclined. I haven't exactly mastered this thing yet.
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