How to Light and Maintain Temperature of a Big Green Egg
Quick and Easy to Start
The core design of the Big Green Egg is all about using 100% natural lump charcoal as you cook with live fire. Lump charcoal lights quickly and heats up to cooking temperature in minutes without using lighter fluid. The patented precision-flow draft door at the bottom controls the amount of air entering the Fire Box. This, combined with the air-tight ceramic cooking chamber and rEGGulator vent cap provides precise temperature control with the touch of your hand.
Start by filling the ceramic Fire Box or the Stainless Steel Fire Bowl to the top with Big Green Egg Natural Lump Charcoal. The Golden Rule: never use quick light charcoal products or briquettes as they contain fillers, nitrates, chemicals, and other petroleum additives which can penetrate the porous ceramic interior and impart a chemical off taste to the food. Big Green Egg lump charcoal is premium carbonized wood with NO additives whatsoever.
Lighting the EGG
Most people find lighting the fire a satisfying process that adds to the enjoyment and excitement of cooking on the EGG. Cooking with a live fire delivers incredible, hassle-free results with amazing flavors.
Now, the original way to light the EGG was with Speedilight Charcoal Starters. These little blocks of compressed sawdust are coated with natural paraffin wax. Nestle 1-2 Charcoal Starters into the lump charcoal and light. After eight to ten minutes, you're ready to cook!
Today, there are multiple EGGcessories that are equally fast and all-natural options for lighting your lump charcoal:
Electric Charcoal Starters
To start, nestle the round heating coil directly into the lump charcoal. Then, plug-in this handy device, with a heat-resistant handle, and you're cooking in minutes without striking a match!
Simply place the tip of the EGGniter 1/2" from the coals, flip the switch, and watch as the super-heated air ignites the coal in just minutes. Once the coals are burning, you're ready to cook!
With the battery-powered, refillable Butane EGGniter, simply press the button and the adjustable torch flame will ignite the charcoal. Then use the built-in air blower to boost the fire and you're ready to cook!
It's much easier than it seems. Trust us... To get those precise cooking temperatures you're after, all you need to do is keep an eye on the exterior temperature gauge and tweak the draft openings as needed. If you want lower temps, just close up the rEGGulator and draft door a bit. For hotter temps, open up those dampers wider! Just remember, the wider the openings, the hotter it'll get. With a little practice, you'll be able to control those temps within a few degrees.
PRO TIP: Think of the top and bottom dampers as the gas and brake pedals on your vehicle. The bottom vent (gas pedal) sucks oxygen in through the draft door and fuels the burning lump charcoal. The rEGGulator (brake pedal) allows the spent oxygen and smoke to escape and make room for more air.
Extinguishing the Fire
Let's talk about how to wrap up your cook! When you're all finished, just shut those dampers all the way to cut off the airflow. This will put out the fire and save any leftover lump charcoal for your next cook. Keep in mind that the ceramic walls hold onto heat like nobody's business, so it'll take some time for everything to cool down and the coals to die out. Whatever you do, don't use water to put out those coals! Instead, wait at least 24 hours until all the ash is totally cool before you remove it from the Ash Removal Pan. Easy peasy, right?
Re-lighting the EGG
After your cook, you might notice some unused natural lump charcoal still hanging out in the Fire Box or Stainless Steel Fire Bowl. No need to toss it - save it for next time you fire up your EGG! Before you get started, use the Ash Tool to rake those coals over the Fire Grate. This'll help any ash fall through the holes in the grate. Then, just remove the ash with the Ash Removal Pan from the bottom, add some fresh charcoal to fill it up, and light it up! Easy as can be.