By Casey | November 5, 2007
I have often been asked how long of cook times can I get out of my large Big Green Egg without adding more charcoal. I have often been told stories of people that have done a low and slow cook on the large and have had to add more charcoal after 6 or 8 hours. I am here to say that I can easily get 20 hours of cook time out of one filling of charcoal when cooking at low and slow temps like 240 deg. I have cooked as long as 24 hours straight without the fire going out and without adding anymore charcoal.
Here is a few key points to consider when attempting a low and slow cook for extended times without having to add charcoal.
Make sure you start with a clean firebox. You will want to start by removing all of the charcoal from the firebox, keep all of the pieces that are a quarter in size or larger and add them to the fresh charcoal when you refill the firebox. If you dont start with a clean firebox you run the risk of having the ash build up under the charcoal during the cook and choke off the airflow resulting in you fire going out. Also while cleaning out the firebox you want to make sure that the air holes in the bottom of the firebox are not plugged up, use a pen to clean them out if they are plugged.
Most people make the mistake of not adding enough lump charcoal and this is why they can not get enough burn time for an extended cook. Make sure that you fill the firebox up completely and into the fire ring. You can add as much charcoal to the Big Green Egg just making sure that you can still install the plate setter without it touching the charcoal.
This is a picture of the level that the Big Green Egg dvd says to fill the firebox. It states that you should fill the lump just over the holes in the fire box. At this level you can only expect getting 6 or 8 hours of burn time and will require you to refill the firebox durring an extended cook. Keep in mind that charcoal that does not get used in a cook can be reused even if you dont use the egg for 6 months, unless it is wet it will start right back up.