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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 06-21-2008, 09:09 AM   #1
Midnight Smoke
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Question What Did I Do Wrong; BGE 1st Fire?

Started with Fire Box filled to top with BGE Lump @ 9:50pm with lid open and intake full open. Started fire in center, waited until small section of lump burning; at 10:05 closed lid temp shot to 350º and adjusted top to 1/4 open and intake to 1/4 open. At 11:30 temp at 275º. So went to bed.

Checked at 5:45am this morning... Fire OUT Nata nothing.

I read do not let the fire get to hot or it could take forever to get it back down, did I not let enough lump get going or did I shut down the vents to much to soon?
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Unread 06-21-2008, 09:53 AM   #2
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Hmmm... that is a little strange. What did you use to start the fire?
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Unread 06-21-2008, 10:02 AM   #3
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I don't know the measurements of the XLBGE, but does the 1/4 open bottom vent have fewer square inches open than the 1/4 open top vent? If so, perhaps that can snuff out a fire if there is no breeze?

Being used to cooking on the WSM, I usually keep the top vent much more open than the bottom one if not fully open.
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Unread 06-21-2008, 10:15 AM   #4
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Not sure this is specific to BGE .... but my experience with this is with some 'undefined' combination of lump pieces ... (sizes/shapes) ... a fire lit in one small area will burn that lump upwards, the ashes will eventually collapse, and the fire goes out. I have had this happen with long cooks and large pieces of lump deliberately placed on the bottom. I now make sure there is a good 'mixture of lump pieces (and wood chunks) and also light the fire in more than one place. This has happened not more than twice for me and over many cooks and a long time period. I guess it's possible the BGE configuration contributes, but I have my doubts. I bet you cold do exactly the same setup again and have no problem at all.

Finally, I agree with the comments re. getting the BGE too hot and then having to cool it down, but the probe only measures the upward radiated temp from the hot coals, and the BGE itself could still be quite cool. For long, lo-'n-slo cooks, I would tend to watch the fire develop more at the start, maybe even use a wiggle rod a bit after lighting, and close things down for the cook when your 'multiple' starting spots are all burning.

Sorry for your bad experience, but it is not a common BGE issue from my perspective.
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Unread 06-21-2008, 10:17 AM   #5
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It's always best to come up to temp. On the 350 at 10:05, sounds like just the air temp, not the actual egg temp after only 15 minute burn. I burn about one hour to get clean smoke and egg ceramics to temp.

If this is a large egg, my best guess is your firebox mouse hole is not lined up with the lower vent. If it's an xl egg, sounds like the lump burned down to the grate and did not spread, does happen.

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Unread 06-21-2008, 10:24 AM   #6
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I did that several times with my grilldome. Panicked and over closed vent and snuffed it out. You need to let it come up to real temps. Close slightly, but keep watching it for an hour. Scott
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Unread 06-21-2008, 10:28 AM   #7
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Yep like above, light in 2-3 place. Practice some long day cooks before overnighters.
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Unread 06-21-2008, 10:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thillin View Post
Yep like above, light in 2-3 place. Practice some long day cooks before overnighters.
Thats what I am going to do while waiting on the Plate Setter to come in... I will try lighting in a couple place's instead of just in the center. I started the fire last night using the paper towel and Crisco.







This Morning, looks like the fire started to spread.


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Unread 06-21-2008, 10:48 AM   #9
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you need to let the fire get established before you damper it down to 250 settings. the initial temp rise was from the flames. do not panic and damper it down. it'll take a good 20 minutes to really get established and another 10-15 to spread to adjacent charcoal. don 't worry about an initial 350 temp. when you add the cold meat, the dome temp will come down. it takes a bit of practice, but once you realize what is happening, it'll be no problem, mon!

if you were planning an overnight cook, fill it to halfway up the fireRING. you can always reuse the unburnt charcoal so having too much is better than not enuf.
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Unread 06-21-2008, 10:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick's Tropical Delight View Post
you need to let the fire get established before you damper it down to 250 settings. the initial temp rise was from the flames. do not panic and damper it down. it'll take a good 20 minutes to really get established and another 10-15 to spread to adjacent charcoal.

if you were planning an overnight cook, fill it to halfway up the fireRING. you can always reuse the unburnt charcoal so having too much is better than not enuf.
Do I leave the lid open and the lower vent wide open during this start up? Thanks, Mon!
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Unread 06-21-2008, 11:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pork Smoker View Post
Do I leave the lid open and the lower vent wide open during this start up? Thanks, Mon!
the procedure used at the start depends on the method used to light the charcoal. for all lighting methods, open the bottom completly, including the spark screen and remove the top damper completely.

- if you use the napkin/oil start method, leave the dome open for a bit till the napkin gets going well and then close the dome and peak in thru the top to make sure the napkin is still on fire. closing the dome will enhance the draft from the bottom and the fire will grow DOWN first before it spreads. if you have a lot of small lump, put those pieces on the outer edge of the pile so they don't block the airflow in the middle. use only large and medium pieces in the middle to help get the fire established.

- if you use a weed burner (preferred method by me), mapp gas, or propane torch, light the lump till the middle top is glowing, then close the dome, bottom all the way open and top completely off. the lump will grow down towards the draft and then spread outward.

don't let the initial rise in temp from the flames fool you into dampering down the vents, you need to heat the large amount of ceramic mass before lowing the temp becomes a problem and heating that much ceramic mass takes a good 30 minutes or more. i usually get a good hot 300-325 degree fire going first so a lot of the lump is glowing, then damper it down to 250 settings for a long smoke cook.

for all methods of lighting, put in the plate setter soon in the beginning after some lump gets going because you need to heat up the ceramic mass of the plate setter along with the egg mass.

hope that all makes sense. i had hernia sugery yesterday, one in my belly button and one an inch above my belly button and i'm a little loopy and i'm rambling

now i don't have a belly button!
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Unread 06-21-2008, 11:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick's Tropical Delight View Post
the procedure used at the start depends on the method used to light the charcoal. for all lighting methods, open the bottom completly, including the spark screen and remove the top damper completely.

- if you use the napkin/oil start method, leave the dome open for a bit till the napkin gets going well and then close the dome and peak in thru the top to make sure the napkin is still on fire. closing the dome will enhance the draft from the bottom and the fire will grow DOWN first before it spreads. if you have a lot of small lump, put those pieces on the outer edge of the pile so they don't block the airflow in the middle. use only large and medium pieces in the middle to help get the fire established.

- if you use a weed burner (preferred method by me), mapp gas, or propane torch, light the lump till the middle top is glowing, then close the dome, bottom all the way open and top completely off. the lump will grow down towards the draft and then spread outward.

don't let the initial rise in temp from the flames fool you into dampering down the vents, you need to heat the large amount of ceramic mass before lowing the temp becomes a problem and heating that much ceramic mass takes a good 30 minutes or more. i usually get a good hot 300-325 degree fire going first so a lot of the lump is glowing, then damper it down to 250 settings for a long smoke cook.

for all methods of lighting, put in the plate setter soon in the beginning after some lump gets going because you need to heat up the ceramic mass of the plate setter along with the egg mass.

hope that all makes sense. i had hernia sugery yesterday, one in my belly button and one an inch above my belly button and i'm a little loopy and i'm rambling

now i don't have a belly button!
Makes perfect sense to me. Thanks for the advice. I will be posting another question in a bit about steaks. Look forward to your input!

Hope you get to feeling better soon.
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Unread 06-21-2008, 11:53 AM   #13
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You might want to cook something that's a little more forgiving as you get used to your egg. The egg is absolutely the best steak cooker there is and it's a very good low and slow cooker but these are the extreme uses of it. You're gonna have it for a looong time. Cook some chicken thighs or some pork chops and bond with it a little before swinging for the fences.
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Unread 06-21-2008, 12:08 PM   #14
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All great advice. I don't have a torch yet, so for a long cook, i start about 10-12 briqs in a chimney and put on top of the pile (minion method?). Close the dome and leave the vents wide open and bring up to about 350. This is mostly air temp or flame temp and not really pit temp. Then i try to stabilize by adding the plate setter and wood chunks and start to close down both vents. You now start to get a truer pit/dome temp at about 250. Adding the mass of the meat will bring it down more and you can dial it from there.


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Unread 06-21-2008, 12:09 PM   #15
Midnight Smoke
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All good advice! Thanks. I will take it slow until I get the hang of it. Hope to be able to do a Brisket or maybe just a Butt or 2 For the 4th of July.

Help me not ruin $80.00 of Ribeyes today!

1-Proper fire preparation...

2-Procedure for cooking the perfect Steak.

3-Times for Rare to Well Done (Daughter)

They will be some thick 2" steaks.
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