Replace the draft door on the bog green egg. Images demonstrating instructions are shown with the Small BGE draft door, structure, door-way and screen.
The Kamado design of the Big Green Egg is the best way to cook for great flavor. There is no gas barbecue or grill that can create the reliable heat and the flavor of a kamado and there is no more successful Kamado than the Big Green Egg with thousands of warranty centers and trained technicians. Learning to use the draft door is what allows us to set the temperature on the egg with unbelievable precision. Because of the weight of the ceramic the draft door and the top vents control air-flow which dictates how hot we cook and how much flavor is retained. While ceramic cannot rust and round ceramic is unlikely to break the porcelain coated steel band, stainless draft door and cast iron top dome-vent will all eventually need to be replaced.
Only work on, test, check, remove or replace any thing on a cool Big Green Egg. Although it is tempting to get a fire going and then realize there is a problem with the draft door or the gaskets and so finish cooking and immediately want to repair the problems while the issue is still fresh in our heads, this is very dangerous. We love the BGE because it is so able to retail heat but as that ceramic expands and contracts and stays hot we can get badly hurt messing about with a hot kamado. Only examine and replace the draft door on a cool egg.
Do not use the egg without a draft door in place. This is an instruction from the BGE literature and it is a good instruction. The draft door works with the top dome vent and the perfect seals are the reason we can set a kamado at 250 degrees and then walk away for 10 hours. Any other gas or charcoal and wood burning appliance would need supervision but the egg is reliable because of these 2 vents. If the draft door is missing we will have air flowing at a far too great rate for smoking or barbecuing. We cannot close the top vent to compensate because we need the pull of the chimney or the flames will die. We could only open the top vent a bit and allow the egg to grill with tremendous temperatures like a ceramic pizza oven. Although this is one of the strengths of the big green egg we should not do this without the draft door. There is a possibility to lose hot ash and highly flammable embers through the opening that cannot be closed and that leave open a possibility for tragedy.
To replace the BGE draft door we are going to need access to the draft door from outside the egg and from inside the egg. If necessary reposition the egg to allow access from both sides. Remove the cooking grate, grate support ceramic ring, charcoal grate and the wind vent inside liner so the BGE is empty of parts inside the base.
Remove the old draft door.
Using a number-two phillips head screwdriver and a 3/8 inch wrench remove the bolts holding the draft door to the base ceramic. BeCareful — Stainless Steel Edges and Corners Can Be Sharp Enough To Draw Blood. Mini and Small BGE models will have one bolt, washer, and but assembly and Medium Large and Extra Large BGE models will have 2 assemblies. If necessary use a putty knife to avoid injury but once the bolts are removed we need to gently remove the old draft door without damaging the green egg glaze. With the old draft door removed look at the inner edges and take not of the placement of the silicone sealant position. We will use the positioning from the old door to gauge where to place the seal on the new door. We do not want the silicone getting messy or spread around when compressed on the egg because this will make using the draft door difficult for years to come.
Remove all the old silicone from the base of your egg around the door opening in the ceramic. If simply rubbing is not sufficient it is permissible to use a silicone remover but follow all the manufacturers instructions and do not damage the glaze finish. Get silicone and (following the instructions of the
manufacturer) apply a bead to the top and the bottom edge of the draft door base taking care not to allow the silicone near the door track sliders. Stick the door in place so all the holes line up and re-install the hardware. Finger tighten the hardware and check the silicone. Assuming the silicone is in place and will not spread to interfere with the doors continue tightening the hardware until the door is tightly attached. The door is curved to match the curve of the BGE base. When inspecting the silicone be certain the silicone is sealing any gaps between the door flange and the base of the egg. The draft door is useless if the silicone does not seal all the air-leak-pathways.
Once the silicone has had sufficient time to cure (read the tube instructions) re insert the door pieces and make sure everything slides nice and easy.
The big green egg draft door is fairly sophisticated. My own personal kamado is very old (these smoker barbecues will last decade after decade after decade!) and is not so fancy. My draft door is also very old and still does not need=d to be replaced so I do not have this fancy design. The new replacement draft door has a sliding screen in addition to the door. The screen is very nice because the door cab be used independent of the screen to allow the opening to be wide and heat increasing while still blocking any hot ash or embers or anything else on fire to drop out of the door way opening.
Although a seemingly minor change the draft door has a small flange that is bent up at the edge of the flange opening. This stops the sliding vent and the sliding door to slide right off the base. Many times the heat (and my not-so-vigorous cleaning) has made the sliding door stiff. Of course it also get hot so I have had to hit the edge with a spatula. Many times I have tapped the door to adjust the ventilation and change the temperature in the grill only to
tap the door so it slides right out of the track and onto the floor. It is not a lot of fun and is not easy to get a very hot door back into the track so I can continue to control the heat in the egg. The new designs prepare against such errors by placing bent stainless edges in the way of the door and the screen pushing one another and also in the base of the door flange so the screen and door do not slide off the track to the floor.
This I can personally appreciate!
As this next image shows the draft door assembled with the sliding vent door and the sliding screen can be adjusted in any way we like. The door and the screen move independently so using one does not hinder movement of the other. Further the tabs are coated with heat resistant material that is slightly sticky like a rubber coating so it is very simple to make all kinds of adjustments without burning the tips of the fingers. If you are not afraid of burning the tips of your fingers you will be less likely to smack the tab with the spatula and send it flying like I do!
The best advice I was ever given about the draft door is to use a credit card to gauge the opening. Stick a card into the draft door and close the venting door to the card so the vent is only open about 1/32 inch. Once that space is gauged it is easy to adjust the screen to cover the gap. This small opening is enough to allow the chimney to pull whatever air required to keep the egg temperature low for long-term smoking or very hot for fast grilling and anything in-between for barbecuing. Get used to using the top cast iron vent cap to control the heat. (incidentally the newer vent-cap designs are also very sophisticated.)
This image shows the vent is completely closed. The heavy ceramic of the ancient Japanese Kamado design that is the Big Green Egg makes this appliance perfect for set-it-and-forget-it temperature setting which is rare and valuable among charcoal barbecues and charcoal/wood smokers. The other pleasantly simple use of the barbecue is that the top vent and the bottom draft door can be closed to completel suffocate the flames without burning the entire amount of fuel inside the barbecue.
With most charcoal barbecues, smokers and grills there is plenty of places where the flames can suck-in oxygen. When the cooking is complete we close everything but the flames create a vacuum that pulls oxygen through the edges of the drip tray, through the closed hood edge, through the closed vents and anywhere else there is a moving part. The kamado design has very little moving parts and has enormous weight keeping the main edge closed where the gasket seals the opening completely. This means if we add an entire bag of charcoal to the kamado, get a roaring fire going and then close the dome lid, close the dome lid vent and close the base draft door then the fire starves and dies. Charcoal can be continued to be used because the draft door is part of a system of complete control.
One Last Important Warning:
This concludes the (fairly obvious) Big Green Egg draft door replacement directions. One thing to remember. When we are done cooking and we close the lid, draft door and dome vent so the flames go out we have to be certain that we are done. Fire needs oxygen to burn and the closed lid and vents will cause the fire to go out. However, the big green egg will stay hot for hours and the embers inside the big green egg will stay hot for many hours. If we have everything closed to suffocate the fire for a few hours and then open the lid this can be very dangerous. This is not in the instructions but with a few decades of experience please pay attention to us here. If there are a few embers at the bottom of the egg just barely sucking in a little but of oxygen or if the enbers have died but are still hot when you open the lid this is exactly like spraying oxygen on a fire. Ask a firefighter. I suspect aprofessional would
prefer gasoline to oxygen thrown on a live fire. If the embers are hot and you open that BGE dome the oxygen will feed that fire instantly and it is possible to have a roaring fire inside 3 seconds. I have spoken with a few customers who have experienced this and a few of them did not have any eyebrows or bangs. Even if you do not get hurt this will frighten you enough to remember the lesson many decades later.
Once the dome and vents are cloud leave them closed and do not use the Big Green Egg again until it has cooled. If somehow you absolutely Must access the inside of the Big Green Egg while it is still hot, do not open the dome. Open the vent and leave it for a few minutes and then open the draft door with the screen closed. After a few minutes your eyes and the Big Green Egg temperature gauge will tell you what the flames are doing so you can use the Big Green Egg safely.
If you need assistance contact Majestic Grill Parts anytime at:
954-2-GRILL-2 which is also 954.247.4552.