There is nothing more frustrating than going to cook a hot pizza or sear a steak and not being able to get your Big Green Egg (or Kamado Joe) up to temperature. This is especially true if you have company over! How to get The Big Green Egg Hotter?
The biggest culprit in only getting low temperatures is simply ash filled holes & grates from previous cooks. Follow these tips, tricks & methods to either troubleshoot your existing condition or prevent the headache from happening to you in the future.
Keep Your Big Green Egg Clean to Allow for Maximum Airflow
How to Properly Clean the Big Green Egg for Maximum Airflow?
Whenever you are going to cook over 500 degrees it is best to start out with a freshly cleaned Big Green Egg. A freshly cleaned BGE eliminates the possibility of old ash from previous cooks from potentially reducing the allowable airflow within the BGE.
It is recommended to completely clean every 2-3 cooks but best to always do it prior to anything over 500 degrees (or if you ever have trouble getting the temperature you are looking for). To clean the Big Green Egg simply follow these easy steps.
Pull the fire ring out of the Big Green Egg and set it safely aside.
Get paper or plastic grocery bag, Tupperware or garbage bag and place the remaining coal in it temporarily while you clean the egg. If you are looking to stay clean simply use a rubber glove to remove the ash. However, the black ash easily washes right off your hands in the sink too.
Pull the metal grate that was holding all the coals and set aside .
Carefully reach in and pull the fire box out. This is easily done by grabbing the lower vent draft door opening and pulling it out carefully with one hand.
You now just have an empty egg with nothing but left over ash in it. Simply grab a shop vac and suck all of this ash out.
I prefer the Dewalt vacuum because it can operate on a battery without needing a chord. However it is also equipped with a cord so should your battery not have a good charge you can still run it directly off a receptacle. A great alternative vacuum would be the Micro vacuum by Shop Vac as it is small and easily portable.
While you have the shop vac out ensure all the holes in the fire box are also clean and clear of previous ash.
Simply put everything back inside the Big Green Egg including the lump coal.
When setting the firebox be sure that the draft door opening on the fire box is lined up with the draft door vent on the BGE. Upon completion you will have maximized your maximum air flow and you shouldn’t have any issues getting the BGE blazing hot, well above 600 degrees.
This is an example of a fire box that isn’t positioned correctly. It should align with the draft door like the previous photo.
Big Green Egg Still Not Reaching 600 Plus Degrees?
Closing the Big Green Egg Lid Too Soon (Choking the Flame Out)
If you are heating your BGE up off a previous cook instead of starting it with a freshly cleaned BGE you could also have troubles getting hot temps above 600 degrees. A freshly cleaned BGE with the daisy wheel removed and the draft door open the BGE it will have no problem getting to temp with the dome closed.
However, if there is existing ash from previous cooks you could be dealing with less airflow. To overcome this simply leave the lid of the BGE open for a good 10-15 minutes in which you should have a good grapefruit size coals burning prior to closing the lid. This will prevent the BGE from smothering the flame out.
Other Tips to Ensure a Successful 600 Plus Degree Cook
Remove the Daisy Wheel (Top Vent)
The daisy wheel is basically your minor temperature vent which is used to adjust the temperature within 10 or so degrees. So when cooking at high temperatures the daisy wheel can just be removed all together. For more information on vents and temperatures please reference my other article Big Green Egg Vent Settings (The Function of the Top and Bottom Vents) here.
Ensure the Draft Door Is Completely Open (Lower Vent)
The draft door is your major temperature control which is used to adjust the temperature more than 10 degrees at a time. For example, if you are looking to go from 250 degrees to 400 degrees this vent is to be used. When cooking things like pizza or searing a steak this vent should be wide open. Hold on inserting the accessories into the Big Green Egg
Align Firebox With Draft Door (Bottom Vent)
To ensure maximum airflow ensure the firebox opening is aligned with the draft door of the Big Green Egg. If not, you could be reducing the airflow that is needed to achieve the high heat temperatures.
Hold on Inserting the Accessories Into the Big Green Egg
If you have all accessories installed in the Big Green Egg prior to the coals starting to heat up you could also run into issues. Don’t add any accessories until the BGE gets to 300-350 degrees but don’t wait to much longer as you want things like the pizza stone or conv”egg”tor to heat up to the hot temperatures slowly. If this isn’t done you run the risk of cracking or breaking either the pizza stone or conv”egg”tor.
Fill Lump Coal to the Top of the Firebox (Myth)
Quite a few people say that the firebox needs to be full of lump charcoal to achieve these hot temperatures above 600 degrees. This just simply isn’t true as ½ filled firebox will still get the job done.
It is however recommended to fill the BGE to the top of the firebox. This ensure that you have enough fuel in order to last the entire cook (because the last thing someone would want to do is run out of fuel prior to being completed with the cook). It also doesn’t hurt anything because the leftover lump coal can be used on the next cook.
Hopefully all of these tips and tricks will help resolve your Big Green Egg from not getting hot enough all while assisting with keeping it clean. Following these steps should prevent the frustrating nights of not being able to get the BGE above 600 degrees. For the best way to start the Big Green Egg, check out these 4 popular ways to start up your Big Green Egg. Feel free to comment or reach out to me if you have any other issues or questions, and if not, then happy Eggin’!
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