There a lots of ways to light the charcoal in a Big Green Egg. No one agrees on the best method, but everyone agrees that N-E-V-E-R use lighter fluid.
I’ve tried lots of methods, from starter cubes, charcoal chimneys, and even a napkin dipped in olive oil. But for me, the quickest and surest method is a MAPP Gas torch. This is a little different that a propane torch like you might use for sweating copper joints. The key differences are that MAPP burns a little hotter, and the biggie is that the torch will burn when you hold it upside down (as you would when sticking into the bottom of the Big Green Egg).
I recommend a self igniting torch with a locking trigger. That way you can tip the MAPP bottle up on end and rest it against the side of the pit with it lit. This is the one I use and you can pick it up at Amazon or your local home improvement store.
What’s your favorite method for lighting the charcoal in your pit? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know.
On an impulse, I picked up a bag of Stubbs 100% All-Natural Charcoal Briquettes at my local Lowe’s the other day. I’ve used sauces from Stubb’s and found them to be pretty good and I thought the charocal might be like the Kingsford Competition Briquettes that I’ve read so much about (but never seen in a store).
So when I got home, I fired up the cooker with a small pile of the Stubbs briquettes and had the cooker going pretty quickly for some pineapple shrimp kabobs. My first reaction was that there’s no difference in appearance or smell to any other briquette that I’ve used. And, given that I cook on Kamado style cookersthe last thing I wanted was the extra ash that comes from briquettes vs. lump charcoal.
In the end, the fire burned fine but didn’t have the nice smell that I’ve come to expect from burning lump charcoal. It also created the ash that I had hoped to avoid and did not extinguish cleanly with the ability to relight again. In short, this was just charcoal briquettes that I’d expected something more from because Stubb’s had put their name on the bag.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sticking with all natural lump charcoal.
If you’re shopping for a bbq pit, part of your decision making process will be to determine what type of fuel you’ll use to fire the pit. You basically have 3 options to consider and each have pros & cons.
- Hardwood – Many folks believe that it’s not really BBQ if it isn’t cooked over wood coals. I don’t personally subscribe to that line of thinking, but maybe that’s because my experience with a stick burner was really awful. I had an offset cooker that I tried to burn wood in and I just never could get it right. One of the things to consider about using hardwood is whether you have a consistent source for fuel and do you have a place to burn it to coals prior to shoveling it into your cooker.
- Propane – Sometimes called Lazy-Q, many gas powered cookers are pretty close to “set it and forget it”. I’ve cooked on a propane smoker with great results. However, one of the things that alwasy concerns me a little bit is leaving a roaring burner of propane overnight. Propane, like everything else has gotten a little more expensive as well.
- Charcoal – This fuel type could be divided into a couple of categories; briquettes & lump. Either way, this fuel is readily availble and still surprisingly affordable. I won’t get into the debate of briquettes vs. lump here, but suffice to say that I’m a lump charcoal guy.
So leave me a comment and tell me, what fuels your fire?