The good folks at High Que recently sent us their new fire basket for the large Big Green Egg and asked us to give it a look. You may remember, they brought us the replacement fire grate for the large Egg some five years ago. Now they have followed it up with a new stainless steel fire basket that combines their fire grate technology with the concept of having a basket to hold the charcoal. It replaces the cast iron charcoal grate in the bottom of your Egg and has a number of features that make it a big step up from the stock grate. It allows you to shake the ashes out after you are done using the two handles. It also comes with a divider to allow you to use only half the basket, along with a plate to block the bottom of the other half of the basket. The basket's wire grid allows more airflow through the charcoal and doesn't easily clog like the Egg's cast iron stock grate.
Specifications and Features
Here is how the fire basket was shipped to us:
Now let's take a close look at some of the features of the fire basket. First a look a some of the rods making up the grate. Notice the handles conveniently are angled inward to allow you to grasp them while the basket is in the Egg. The other photos show the rods that hold the vertical divider in place.
Next are a few photos showing some of the welds that hold things together:
Here are some photos showing the vertical divider and the blocking plate:
All Those Hexagons!
You may have noticed that the sides of the basket are riddled with hexagon-shaped holes. 60 of them, to be exact. Now, if you don't care to know what percentage of the square area of the sides of the basket are holes and what percentage is not, then feel free to skip to the next section because we're going to get all cerebral on you now and answer that question.
First of all, the shape of the basket is known in math circles as a "truncated cone." All we need to do is to figure out the surface area of the side of the truncated cone, calculate the area of each of those hexagons, multiply the hexagon area by 60, and then subtract that from the surface are of the side of the truncated cone. Got it? Here we go:
To get the area of the side of the truncated cone, the relevant forumulas are:
|s||=||Slant Height of the truncated cone|
|L||=||Lateral Area of the truncated cone|
|R||=||Base radius of the truncated cone|
|r||=||Top radius of the truncated cone|
|h||=||Height of the truncated cone|
We know from our measurements above that R = 6.75 inches, r = 4.5 inches and h = 4.0 inches. Plugging these values into the forumulas gives us a value of 162.2 square inches for the lateral surface area of this truncated cone.
Now for the hexagons. The area of each one can be determined with the formula:
where a is the length of one side of the hexagon. We measured that a = 5⁄16 inch, so plugging this into the equation gives us a value of .2537 square inches per hexagon. Therefore the area of all 60 of the hexagons is 15.22 square inches.
Finally, we arrive at our destination. The hexagons consist of 15.22 / 162.2, or 9.4% of the total surface area of the sides of the basket! So, why all the torture? Now we know that almost 10% of the side of the fire basket consists of openings to help with airflow to the fire! Who said we never use all that math we learned in school?
You might wonder how this basket is going to hold up to the scorching heat of a charcoal fire. Well first of all, the High Que fire basket is backed by a five year replacement warranty against defects in manufacture and failure in use. Of course, we don't have the ability to simulate 5 years of rugged use in a short period of time, but we did burn some lump charcoal in our basket with the vents wide open for about 1½ hours. We took a quick reading with our infrared thermometers and the top surface of the charcoal was burning at about 1500°F. In the past, we have put a high temperature thermocouple down into burning lump charcoal and gotten readings close to 2400°F. Here is what the basket looked like after we allowed it to cool, removed it from the cooker, and hosed it down:
It is perhaps hard to see in the photographs, but trust us, there was no warping or sagging or other deformation of any part of the basket after this hot fire.
High Que makes a pretty tough fire basket that should handle the hottest of fires. It is backed by a five year warranty so you shouldn't be nervous that it can do the job. It is handy in that it has handles to allow easy insertion and removal, as well as allowing you to shake the basket to get ash off your charcoal. Add to that the ability to use a divider and limit the fire to one half of your cooker and like we say, you have a pretty handy device.
You can purchase this fire basket as well as the fire grate replacements we reviewed earlier from the High Que website, or by using the links below to visit Amazon:
806 Buchanan Blvd
Boulder City, NV 89005
Phone: Toll Free 1-855-HIGH-QUE (1-855-444-4783)
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