How Much Charcoal in Big Green Egg [Explained]

Big Green Egg can be an amazing addition to your set of cooking equipment. But using it properly can be quite a job. Especially the amount of charcoal you need to have a good cook is vital.

How much charcoal in big green egg?

It’s great to start with a fully loaded grill with lump charcoal. For example, 5 pounds lit charcoal would be enough. However, for a smaller grill, you can use around 30 briquettes of charcoal. For a bigger grill, you may need to fill up the container with more charcoal. It could be around 50 briquettes. 

Not sure what we are talking about? Fret not! This complete guide has all the answers you are seeking.

Let’s dive right into the details!

How Much Charcoal Do I Need?

The charcoal you need kinda depends on what you are intending to achieve. For different types of cooking, you might need different amounts of charcoal in BGE.

Different cooking and the amount also depends on your BGE size.

So, let’s explore the whole thing now. Shall we?

Smaller And Portable Grill

A decent way to start with the smaller grill is using at least 30 briquettes of charcoal. However, you might need more depending on the weather. If it’s windy or rainy, double the amount. 

Also, you don’t need to add the whole amount of charcoal at one go. If you want it to burn for a long time you can add a small amount every 30 minutes.

Bigger Grill

Different sizes of grill have different capacities. So for bigger grills, you may need more charcoal and vice versa. The amount could be around 50 briquettes. Nonetheless, you can check out the temperature control of the BGE for a better understanding.

However, the usual amount of charcoal can be used for slow-smoking. 2 fistfuls of chunks of charcoal are ideal for a standard size Egg. 3 handfuls of charcoal are ideal for the XXL size big green egg

Indirect Cooking

Indirect cooking is basically when you want to do low or slow cooking. In this case, a thin layer of coal at the bottom will be enough for indirect cooking. Here an interesting fact is, around five coals will set your grill between 225-250° F. 

So, if you are intending to do an indirect cook then you can fill it up fully. It will create a lot of heat.

However, higher heat is required when searing meat. At the very least, double the quantity of charcoal and stack it two to three high.

Direct Cooking

For direct cooking, it’s wise to start with a small amount of charcoal. Otherwise, there’s a risk of burning your food. Also, if you’re cooking directly on the grate, leave some space between the pile and the grill. It will also reduce the chance for your pan to slide.

When grilling foods like burgers, hot dogs, and sausages that need to be cooked at a moderate temperature, you don’t need a lot of charcoal. So, you can evenly place around 3-4 coals amongst the cold coals. And it’ll be safe enough for you to start with your cooking. 

How to Control the Heat Without Changing Charcoal Amount?

You see, the vents can be used to control heat. The heat can be controlled using the vents while the charcoal just burns.

You’ll learn what vent locations create a given temperature as you gain experience with your kamado. By regularly changing the vents, you can avoid losing the desired temperature. Set it up and see where it takes you.

The lower vent regulates the temperature range for around +/-100 degrees. Whereas the top vent fine-tunes it for around +/-25 degrees). Get a Green Egg thermometer if you wanna be really precise with your heat adjustments.

When you lift the lid, the top outlet no longer restricts air movement. Therefore you’ll need to regulate the bottom vent.

Because of the thermal mass of the ceramics, it becomes much easier to raise the temperature than it is to lower it.


Some Tips to Remember

There are a few key things to remember while you use your big green egg. Otherwise, you can end up wasting a huge amount of charcoal in the process. 

So, let’s go through them one by one.

Tip 1: Always Start With Fully Filling Up Your BGE

Begin by loading a full load of pure lump charcoal into the grill. This equates to 5 pounds of paraffin fire starting cubes or an electric lighter ignited. There’s no need for a chimney because the Egg’s design makes it a bit of an enlarged chimney. 

Here’s what we use to start the fire easily.

Lighter Cubes [Set of 3]
  • Get grilling sooner with our easy lighting fuel cubes. The Cubes are odorless and non-toxic and are designed to light quickly even if wet. The Cubes are made of paraffin wax and come 24 to a box.
  • Designed to catch fire even if wet. Light your charcoal grill quickly and hassle-free. Helps light charcoal grills
  • No chemical aftertaste, only true charcoal flavor.
  • ANSI certified and CSA listed

Oh, are you using your BGE’s hood properly? Let me tell you that it also plays a great role in the amount of charcoal. Let’s find out how in the next tip.

Tip 2: Keep The Vents Open While Lighting The Charcoal

Leave all the vents open as well as the cap open for the first 7 to 10 minutes after igniting the charcoal. Then close it to maintain the desired heat of the Egg. It will require 15 to 20 minutes to complete this task (a bit longer in winter).

Tip 3: Preheat The Grill For Direct Grilling

Preheat the grill to 600 to 700 degrees for direct grilling. Light all the charcoal, open the base and upper vents wide. If you are intending to sear meat then lower the cover after searing it. Add a bit of chimichurri sauce to make it even better if you are up for it.

Grill each side for 2 minutes. Here’s where the Big Green Egg’s awesomeness shines. The smoke is trapped and the moisture is sealed in by the lowered cover. It also cuts the cooking process in half.

That was pretty much it. Hope we’ve answered your query appropriately.  

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Is it safe to use briquettes in the Big Green Egg?

Don’t ever use combustion fluids, coal lump charcoal, or self-starting charcoal in the Big Green Egg because they contain petrochemicals that pollute the EGG and affect the flavor of your meal.

Is it okay to reuse leftover charcoal?

Yes, you surely can. Leftover charcoal bits left from your previous cooking can be mixed in with new charcoal for another one. 

How do I get my green egg to 700 degrees?

All we have to do to raise the temperature to induce airflow by opening the upper and bottom vents. As previously stated, increased air circulation leads to increased temperature.


This is the end of our guide. Hopefully, you got the answer to how much charcoal in big green egg. If you have any further queries then do let us know in the comments.

Do remember to prioritize your safety over anything while grilling.

Have fun grilling! See ya!

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