How Much Charcoal To Use In Big Green Egg For Smoking

A Big Green Egg is bliss for anyone who enjoys outdoor cooking. Using it is also incredibly easy, but the amount of charcoal you put into your Big Green Egg can create a huge difference in terms of the cooking procedure and the taste of your food.

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Most people find out the correct amount of charcoal by trial and error method, but you don’t have to! Check out this article to find foolproof answers to how much charcoal big green egg needs, which charcoal to use, how to add charcoals, and literally every question that you might have about a Big Green Egg!

How Much Charcoal For Big Green Egg

One of the most frequently asked questions by big green users is ‘’How much charcoal do I use?’’ Some find the correct measurements by experimenting, and some just like to fill up till the cooking grate.

The amount, indeed, depends upon your personal choices. The important tip to remember here is that you should put as much charcoal as possible, and yet stay conscious about not putting too much while cooking directly.

Nobody wants to run out of charcoal while they are still cooking, so I would suggest you fill it just below the mark where the deflector is going to sit. This is particularly great for indirect cooking, as you can always save the extra charcoal for the next time you cook. 

For direct cooking, however, it is wise to keep the charcoal a bit away from the cooking grate; and in such times, only filling half of the fire bowl would be plenty.

Either way, make sure to adequately fill the fire bowl because otherwise, it will not generate enough heat for your cooking. You may also want to keep the fire ring exposed.

Too Much Charcoal In Big Green Egg – What Should I Do

Figuring out how much charcoal big green egg needs for different types of cooking can be a bit confusing, as I have mentioned earlier. But it is nearly impossible to use too much charcoal, as long as it’s not way above the fire ring.

Don’t worry if filling up the entire firebox seems like using too much charcoal. You can always use the leftovers later. In fact, using leftover charcoals is even more convenient than using fresh ones.

On another note, many users complain that their food sometimes tastes extra smoky, or even smells of charcoal. This does not occur because of the amount of charcoal. 

If you are facing similar issues, you should follow these steps to keep the smokiness optimum-

  • For indirect cooking, use a three-legged ceramic plate settler. For direct cooking, keep some distance between the fire ring and the level of charcoal.
  • Try to avoid lighter fluids and self-lighting charcoal, as their smell will stick to your food.
  • After the egg has generated enough heat, release some heat by opening the lid a few inches and then closing it. Do it a few times to ensure that too much smoke isn’t trapped inside.
  • Do not start cooking until the charcoal is properly heated up. Wait for at least 10-15 minutes after lighting the charcoal. Otherwise, your food might catch the smell of raw charcoals.
  • Control the temperature using the vents.
  • Do not leave your food inside the egg for too long than the cooking time.

What Charcoal To Use In Big Green Egg

Our ancestors had been cooking using wood and charcoals thousands of years ago. In fact, grilling uses the same method that the cavemen used to use. 

The only difference is that we now have advanced tools and a wide array of options to make the task much easier.

When it comes to choosing charcoal, the market offers numerous types and brands. All charcoals are made by burning wood, but the type of charcoal you use makes a big difference in terms of taste and the cooking process. 

In the previous section, I mentioned that you should never use self-starting charcoals. Now, which ones can you use?

Natural hardwood charcoal: The largest source of natural lump charcoal is the wood from the eucalyptus tree. It doesn’t have any flavor of its own and thus lets your food develop its very own taste. You can also add fresh wood chunks to it to make it burn more slowly and add a smokier flavor.

Natural lump charcoal: This is usually made of oak and hickory chunks, and it has a subtle flavor, which can make your food smell even better. For a flavor variation, you can try adding wood chunks or smoking chips to it.

Charcoal briquettes: Charcoal briquettes are a combination of wood dust, wood shards, and some extra items. They are cheaper and easier to find. In fact, you might just find one in some corner of your garage!

Although it isn’t the best option out there for a Big Green Egg, you can still use this. The downside of using charcoal briquettes is that your food wouldn’t be as flavorful as the ones cooked with lump or hardwood charcoal. It will also produce more ash.

Coconut charcoal: Coconut charcoal isn’t really a type of charcoal, since they are not made from wood. Instead, they are made by charring coconut shells.

This is the least used charcoal for big green eggs, but it still has some features that would give the other charcoals tough competition. Coconut charcoal has a sweet flavor to it, and they burn pretty evenly, creating a minimum amount of ash. For slow-cooking, they can be an excellent choice!

However, coconut charcoal can be much more expensive than other options, and you should be extra picky while choosing them because poor-quality coconut charcoal can make loads of ash.

Which Is Better Lump Charcoal or Briquettes For Big Green Egg?

Here is a side-by-side comparison of lump charcoal and briquettes for your ease of choosing.

Natural Lump CharcoalCharcoal Briquettes
Lump charcoals are pure carbonized pieces of wood chunks.Charcoal briquettes include small wood chunks, wood sheds, and binding agents.
Lump charcoals heats up faster and burn evenly.Charcoal briquettes also heat up pretty fast, but they produce excessive gas and may not burn evenly.
Produces less ashProduces more ash and dust
Last longer for slow cooksDoesn’t last long
Suitable for large grills and ovensSuitable for smaller grills
Comparatively pricierCheaper than lump charcoal

As it is apparent from the table, lump charcoal is the best option for Big Green Egg. But don’t just dismiss charcoal briquettes yet, they can be useful for quick smoking, and they also save you money.

A secret tip for you- Big Green Egg charcoal is actually made by Royal Oak, and Royal Oak charcoal maintains the same quality as Big Green Egg charcoal. 

Also, Royal Oak charcoal is comparatively cheaper. So, save your money by opting for Royal Oak charcoal instead! 

Can You Use Kingsford Charcoal In A Big Green Egg

You can most certainly use Kingsford Charcoal in a Big Green Egg. In fact, it is the most reliable brand of charcoal briquette in the US. It contains tiny pieces of charcoal, coal, and sawdust. Starch is used as the binding agent of this briquette.

The best thing about Kingsford Charcoal is that it has sodium nitrate in it, which makes it so much easier to light. It is also cheaper than hardwood charcoal. So, if you are on a tight budget, you should absolutely go for Kingsford charcoal.

Can You Use Regular Charcoal In A Big Green Egg

Even seeing a campfire? If yes, then you are probably familiar with regular charcoal. Once the campfire goes out, the remaining black chunks of wood are the purest form of charcoal, and these are one of the best options for using in a Big Green Egg.

If you are going to quickly smoke some food, then regular charcoal will perfectly do the job. However, they are not suitable for slow-cooking, as regular charcoals are smaller and they will not last for hours.

The hardwood lump charcoals that are industrially manufactured, on the other hand, are much larger in size. These are made by collecting bigger chunks of wood and then burning them inside a klin. 

After burning them for a while, the klin door is closed. This leads to the fall of oxygen level inside the klin and the wood becoming carbonized.

But, did you know that you can make regular charcoal in your backyard? Relax, you won’t need a klin! 

Here’s what you will need- an empty can (preferably paint cans, because they are heavier and more durable to heat), your preferred type of wood chunks (or even branches can work), a drill machine, and a fire or grill.

Once you have all the materials, follow these steps-

  • Start by drilling 3 to 4 holes in the lid of your can. This will let the extra gas come out of the can. Otherwise, the can might explode!
  • Next, break the wood pieces into a size that would easily fit inside the can. Make sure they are completely dry. You may want to keep them in the sun for a few hours before you burn them.
  • After filling your can, close its lid and place it on a grill or fire. Let it burn for at least 4 to 5 hours, and more if your can is too big.
  • Remove the can from the fire and let it cool completely before getting the charcoal out from it, and you have some fresh, self-made charcoal!

Note: Remember to stay extra cautious while handling an open flame.

Who Makes Big Green Egg Lump Charcoal?

Big Green EGG manufactures its own brand of all-natural lump charcoal, although it is originally made by Royal Oak charcoal. Some other brands who make great quality lump charcoal are-

Royal Oak: They are the producers of Big Green Egg Charcoal, and they also sell the same charcoal by their own brand name. 

Royal Oak is much cheaper than Big Green Egg charcoal, and it also burns evenly. So, this is a brand I would highly recommend. You can find this charcoal at Walmart and most online retailers.

Fogo Lump Charcoal: They sell two types of charcoal, premium lump charcoal, and super-premium lump charcoal. This brand is quite useful for Kamado grills since it lights up within 15 minutes.

Also, Fogo is an environment-friendly brand that believes in causing the least harm to forests. That’s why they use carefully cut-out tree trimmings. If you are conscious about the environment, this should be your go-to option!

Cowboy Lump Charcoal: This can be a substitute for Royal Oak, manufactured by Lowes and Home Depot. However, this brand is over-priced. As long as you don’t solely hate shopping at Walmart, you should get Royal Oak instead.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Do You Have To Add Charcoal To Big Green Egg?

If you have filled till the fire ring with hardwood lump charcoal, it can last up to 18 hours for low and slow cooks. Try to keep the fire bowl at least halfway filled before smoking on your Big Green Egg.

How to Add More Charcoal to Big Green Egg?

Before adding more charcoal to a Big Green Egg, clean the fire bowl and get rid of excess ash. Then, pour the used charcoal back into the fire bowl and pour fresh charcoal until it is filled to its fire ring.

Can You Use Charcoal Briquettes in a Big Green Egg?

Yes, you can use charcoal briquettes in a Big Green Egg. But they aren’t the best options out there, since briquettes produce more ash than hardwood lump charcoal. Sometimes, briquettes can trap an excessive amount of gas inside, which may interrupt the burning process.

Can You Use All-Natural Hardwood Briquettes in a Green Egg?

You can definitely use all-natural hardwood briquettes, but I wouldn’t recommend them for two reasons. First, they take longer to light up, and second, they produce more dust and ash.

How Long Will Charcoal Burn In A Big Green Egg?

Once you have filled your Big Green Egg till its fire ring with natural lump charcoal, it will burn for at least 18 hours if you are slow cooking.

Conclusion

Big Green Egg is indeed one of the most magical tools for grilling. Even having this gigantic kamado-style grill sitting in your backyard brings a whole different vibe to your home, let alone its ability to turn a simple piece of meat into a mouth-watering steak.

In this article, you have got all the vital information related to Big Green Egg. You know how much charcoal Big Green Egg burns, you know which charcoal to use and exactly how to use it. So, put your knowledge into practice, and have many wonderful barbeque nights!