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Big Green Egg Not Heating Up? Here’s Why (+ How to Fix It)

The Green Egg is a multipurpose Kamado-style grill that uses charcoal to grill, bake, or smoke your food. When used correctly, the Green Egg is a powerful cooker that can reach up to 400°C (750°F). However, without the correct knowledge, you might struggle to get the Green Egg up to temperature. 

If your Green Egg isn’t heating up, it’s because it’s not getting enough airflow, there’s too much ash buildup, not enough charcoal, or the temperature gauge isn’t calibrated. Fixes include adjusting the airflow vents, cleaning the Green Egg, adding charcoal, and calibrating the temperature gauge.

This article will explore why your Green Egg isn’t reaching its maximum temperature. I’ll also give you step-by-step instructions on how you can fix the issues and get cooking in no time! So, let’s get started. 

How the Green Egg Works

The Green Egg works by trapping heat inside the ceramic cooking chamber.

The fire box at the bottom provides heat. You can control airflow through both the top vent cap and the lower draft door. 

The cooking chamber is completely airtight, which allows it to keep all the warmth inside. This also traps the moisture inside of your food for juicier steaks, pork chops, and burgers. 

It doesn’t need any lighter fluid, and you can easily ignite the charcoal using electric or butane starters. This helps to retain a more natural taste that infuses into your food. 

The Green Egg is safer than regular grills, thanks to its ceramic shell that doesn’t get as hot as traditional metal.

It also has a sealed fire box, so there is no risk of burns from the flames. This is a much safer option if you have kids in the house. 

1. Check the Airflow 

The Green Egg can cook so effectively because of the unique airflow design. It has a rEGGulator Vent Cap at the top of the cooker that allows heat to exit.

The cap is adjustable and removable, so you can always get the perfect temperature. 

It also has a Precision Flow Draft Door at the base of the unit, which controls airflow in and out of the fire box.

If either or both vents aren’t used properly, that problem could prevent the Green Egg from heating up. 

How to Fix

Here’s what you need to do to fix the air vents in your Green Egg:

  1. Open the lower draft door completely to allow maximum airflow around the fire box. 
  2. Open the top vent cap completely. 
  3. Align the fire box with the bottom vent. 
  4. Light the charcoal. 
  5. Leave the lid open for 10-15 minutes to avoid choking the flame. 
  6. Close the lid for 10 minutes until the Green Egg reaches the desired temperature.
  7. Burp” the Egg a few times to avoid igniting a flame. 
  8. Adjust the vents to your desired temperature once the Egg is hot and ready and start cooking. 

Hot Tip: Green Egg recommends these vent positions for achieving various cooking temperatures:

Vent Cap PositionDraft Door PositionTemperature
Slightly openSlightly open60°C to 150°C/140°F to 302°F
75% open Slightly open150°C to 220°C/302°F to 428°F
100% open25% open200°C to 230°C/392°F to 446°F
50% open100% open280°C to 350°C/536°F to 662°F

If you want to see a clear demonstration of how to adjust the vents and airflow, check out this video:

2. Check for Ash Buildup

If you’ve successfully used your Green Egg a few times and now it’s no longer heating up, you likely have a lot of ash residue. 

When you burn charcoal during cooking, it leaves behind ash that gradually builds up and blocks the ventilation holes, restricting airflow.

With limited airflow, the Green Egg can’t heat the charcoal enough to cook your food. 

How to Fix

You need to clean the ash buildup in your Green Egg to fix this issue. Here’s how:

  1. Start by using a grill brush to clean the residue off the rack. It’s easier to do this immediately after cooking, but you can do it cold too. 
  2. Remove the grill and use the grill tool to rake the charcoal around until all the ash falls through.
  3. Open the bottom vent and use the grill tool to rake the ash into a container. You can throw the ash away or use it as a natural fertilizer in your garden.
  4. Remove the fire ring, fire pan, charcoal, and grate bottom. 
  5. Use the grill tool to rake out the excess ash.
  6. Use a shop vacuum to suck out the remains.
  7. Replace all parts, and you’re done!

The following video provides a great step-by-step guide on how you can clean your Green Egg: 

3. Check the Charcoal

The Green Egg uses natural oak and hickory lump charcoal to give food a unique, smoky flavor without having to resort to artificial flavorings. 

The amount and the state of the charcoal can affect how hot your Green Egg gets.

If you don’t use enough charcoal, your Green Egg won’t have enough fuel to reach the desired temperature.

Furthermore, if the charcoal has become wet, it won’t ignite and burn properly. 

How to Fix

Here are a couple of tips on how to tell that your charcoal is in good condition:

  1. Check that your charcoal is dry. You should store your charcoal in a sealed airtight container when not in use to stop it from absorbing moisture.
  2. Check that the fire box is full. Green Egg recommends that you fill the fire box to the top with charcoal at the start of every cook. 

4. Check the Temperature Gauge Calibration

It’s possible that your Green Egg is reaching the correct temperature, but the gauge isn’t showing an accurate reading.

Green Egg temperature gauges are calibrated in the factory, but you can easily test if yours shows an accurate reading to recalibrate if needed.

If you’ve been using the temperature gauge for a long time, regular wear and tear may have reduced the accuracy of the reading. 

How to Fix

Here’s how to test your Green Egg’s temperature gauge:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and place two chopsticks over the top of the pot.
  2. Place your temperature gauge between the chopsticks with the tip submerged but not touching the bottom and the gauge outside the water. 
  3. Leave the gauge until it reaches temperature. At sea level, water boils at 100°C (212°F). The boiling point decreases by 0.5°C (32.9°F) for each 150m (492 ft) increase in altitude. 

If your gauge shows the correct temperature at boiling point, it’s calibrated correctly. If it isn’t, you can recalibrate it with the following steps:

  1. Use needle-nose pliers to spin the calibration nut on the back of the temperature gauge. 
  2. Move the nut until the arrow on the temperature gauge is in the correct position for boiling temperature. 

This YouTube video shows you how to test and recalibrate your temperature gauge:

If you’re looking for a more accurate digital temperature control that also doubles as a meat thermometer, I recommend buying the DigiQ DX3 BBQ Temperature Meat Thermometer (Amazon.com). It’s an affordable and effective tool for getting accurate temperature readings.

Summary

You now know how to use and fix any temperature-related issues with your Green Egg.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Always adjust the vents for optimal airflow.
  • Clean your Green Egg regularly to keep it ash-free.
  • Ensure you always have enough dry charcoal in the fire box.
  • Occasionally test your temperature gauge and recalibrate as needed.

Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, you can get grilling! Bon Appetit.

Author

  • Steve Rajeckas

    Steve Rajeckas is an HVAC hobbyist with an avid interest in learning innovative ways to keep rooms, buildings, and everything else at the optimal temperature. When he's not working on new posts for Temperature Master, he can be found reading books or exploring the outdoors.

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