Remember when starting your grill, air flow is king. Especially for long sustained cooks like brisket and pulled pork, you have to be sure the air holes in the Fire Box are clear. This usually means cleaning out your Egg then putting the largest pieces of charcoal on the bottom, then stacking the next largest around it, and so forth until you think you have enough charcoal. This kind of “charcoal Tetris” usually isn’t necessary for regular use, so don’t worry too much about. Before each cook I stir around the charcoal already in the Egg to get rid of the used stuff. Then I clean the ash out, and add as much fresh lump as I need. However, if you find that you can’t get your Big Green Egg hot enough (even with fresh lump), its probably because of poor air flow and you may need to clean out your Egg.
There are a variety of ways to get that first spark in the BGE, but all methods require that you leave both the Dome and the Draft Door open so that oxygen can flow through Egg. Here are the most common tools used to light the Big Green Egg.
Just place one square starter block in your charcoal heap, light it and walk away. A few minutes later you should be ready to cook, pretty simple. Best of all, these are odorless, tasteless, and free of chemicals so they won’t impact the flavor of your food at all. Check out my Starter Block Review for more information about these things.
Electric Charcoal Starter:
Plug in the Electric Starter, bury it in the coals and walk away. A few minutes later you are ready to cook. You’ll need an extension cord or an outlet close to your grill, however. And be careful when you take it out, these things get very hot! Check out my Electric Charcoal Starter review for more information about Electric Starters.
Tried and true. Put some charcoals in the chimney, and light using a newspaper at the bottom. Dump the hot charcoals in the Egg to get the rest of the lump going. I would call this the “old school” way of lighting charcoal, but it is extremely effective. I have actually never lit my Egg this way (I have only used Starter Blocks or an Electric Starter), but I would venture a guess that this is the most popular way of lighting a traditional charcoal grill.
Basically a hair dryer on steroids. Bury the end of the torch into the coals and fire away. There are very obvious safety concerns here, but they are worth mentioning anyways. These are dangerous because they reach extremely high temperatures and may cause sparks to fly, be careful! With that said, though I have never used one, I want to light my Egg with one of these just one time. If you have experience lighting your Egg with a looftlighter, please let me know so I can provide more information here.