Any Big Green Egg heads out there?
We're finally about to give our humongous gas grill the old heave ho, and make the leap into Big Green Egg land. I'm a very experienced gas and charcoal griller, and I'm wondering whether to expect a climb up a learning curve to get the best out of thing. Anyone?
oh, and...i'm not sure what kind accessories you got with your bge--but an essential is an adjustable top damper. the only accessory that came with my egg several years ago was the little steel ash hook--a tool that should be employed before laying every fire.
i would not want to try to control heat on my bge without the adjustable top damper--i have the metal daisy wheel cap. even if this sort of gizmo is treated as an add-on or an option, treat it like part of the original assembly. i use the green ceramic top for putting out fires and for protecting the innards between uses. i cook with the daisy wheel cap every time--even if it is almost closed.
we purchased our bge about 2 weeks ago and i haven't turned on my oven since. we've made a proper pulled pork that cooked beautifully at 225' overnight as well as gorgeous pizzas (crispy outer crust with soft chewy inside) that taste like they we're pulled from a brick oven, a wonderful gorgonzola walnut hearth bread and quickly grilled chiles stuffed with cheese.
we have never had a smoker (or even a basic weber, we too got rid of our gas grill) before and the "learning curve" for us simply involved spending a few days reading through the forums and listening to the tips from the awesome gentleman at our local hardware store where we bought the egg.
once we assembled the egg and loaded up the lump, it was smooth sailing. it sounds like you're already way ahead of us on the experience, so i think you'll be turning out lots of deliciousness from day 1. plus, aesthetically, it's very lovely in the back yard. go for it!
the bge is very flexible and quite easy. i do not agree with the poster who suggested it is a bit slow for grilling steaks, etc. the bge heats up as fast as a lighter kettle grill and gets much hotter--making it better than a weber just for grilling--let alone for its ability to slow cook and smoke.
there is at least one bge accessory that i've found helpful--and now almost necessary: the ceramic plate setter. this is an insert that sits on the fire ring . it can perform any of several functions. for longer cooking it provides a heat baffle that keeps food from scorching on the bottom from the direct heat of the coals. (if i see a recipe that calls for "indirect" heat, i will consider using the insert though after a while you'll develop your own sense of when it is important. because the insert is, itself, ceramic, it does take some time to stabilize the heat.) it also helps with pizzas. there are lots of hobbyist alternatives to the commercial insert--a small pizza stone placed on a low-mounted second grill, e.g--but i think the insert is easier.
one safety issue--if you're running up the heat with the lid closed--as i do for steaks--you can get a sizable fire belch when next opening the lid. if the lid is closed and you're up toward the top of the thermometer, or if it is pinned, gently and gingerly "burp" the fire by rapidly cracking open the lid and closing it before flinging it wide open. this might help preserve the hair on your forearms.
you're in for a treat.
Grilling on the egg is actually very easy... it's smoking that has a bit of a learning curve. I ruined my first rib cook because I left the egg alone before the temp had plateaued. But that's the only bad cook I've ever had on it. (and its not hard to get a feel for the temp vents once you've spent some quality time with your egg.)
But grilling is a snap. I find it much faster and easier than my old Char Broil. Steaks are the easiest, followed by brined pork chops.
I use the method of starting them out at 700 degrees for a minute on each side, then closing the vents and letting them cook for a few more minutes on each side depending on thickness and whether its pork or beef.
Consult the methods sweet100s linked to at the thenakedwhiz.com. In my experience the best resource is the Naked Whiz, followed by the forum http://www.eggheadforum.com/index.php... , then the little cookbook that comes with your egg. In that order.
The biggest crowd pleaser I've found is poussins from the local quail farm. Marinated, spatchcocked and grilled for twenty minutes over natural lump and soaked citrus wood chips. I'm not a great cook, but I've had loads of people tell me that this is the best chicken they've ever had. The credit goes to the Griggstown Quail Farm and the Big Green Egg.
re: Paul N
I just want to add that the recipes in the book that comes with the Egg has many incorrect times in it. Seriously, I wouldn't trust any of them. Use the BGE forum as others have stated and Naked Whiz.
One more tip...you can modify any recipe that calls for cooking in an oven, just cook it in the Egg at the same temp. It will taste better. Bread, lasagne, pies, etc. Don't get discouraged.
I have a kamado grill, which is very similar. You can put almost any meat or veggie in that thing and it will come out moist and delicious!
One trick I learned is that adding wood chips (eg hickory or mesquite) can overdo the smoke flavor. It really doesn't need any, but if I want to subtly flavor anything I can add just a very few chips.
I love using my egg for super high temp grilling. That's how it evolved, but the main reason is I went from kettle-type to Egg is one that I don't as often see cited: it makes everything about grilling or BBQing so **easy**.
- I'm a novice to cooking, grilling, and Q'ing. With the Big Green Egg, I no longer have to deal with chimney starters and worrying about where the sparks and newspaper ash are flying when I turn it over.
- I no longer have to replace charcoal or lump when making pulled pork (longest so far - 14 hours on 1 load thanks to the heat retention properties of the Ceramic.)
- It is very easy to get it up to extremely high searing temps to make really tasty ribeye's. This guy has an excellent website on ceramic cooking. http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramic.htm I followed the description for how to "TREX" a steak:
and it was the best steak I've ever made
Simplified Summary: Prep--Sear--Rest--Cook (Don't skip the "Rest" stage)
1 level more detail for a 2" thick Ribeye:
Hot tub the ribeyes.
This cool trick means: Bring ribeyes to room temp by putting them in baggies. Put the baggies in a mixing bowl in your sink with a constant stream of hot water.
Therefore, instead of bringing them to room temp in an hour or more, you bring them to hot-water-temp (104 deg) in 30min.
Prep (On both sides: olive oil,salt,pep,Mustard coating).....
Sear each side for 90sec while at 600-700 degrees F
Rest the ribeye for 20min while the egg dwells (goes down to 400)
Rest 5-10 min
His web page on Searing temps - Egg vs Kettle:
- In addition to being awesome for either Grilling or Q'ing, some people want to use it specifically as a coal or wood-burning ceramic pizza oven / bread-baking oven.
This person has experimented with results with pre-made dough:
I've uploaded some pics of cooks I've done on the egg:
I have one and I love it for both grilling and barbecue. I can get it hot enough for steak in about 20-30 minutes. The first time I used my egg for steak, I got it so searing hot the steak seared and cooked through in 1 min per side. I toned it down a bit after that. I find it incredibly easy and versatile, because you can make a blazing hot fire to cook a steak, then close it off and relight the hardwood briquets the next time you want to grill. It took me a few times, but I built a 22 hour fire for pulled pork recently. the forums at the egg site are pretty good, and there are links there to other good advice. The Naked Whiz is one. I would not give up my egg. Have fun!
There's a learning curve and the Egg will make you slow _way_ down,
Remember that the Egg is primarily a smoker / slow cooker, working at its best cooking something low and slow for _many_ hours. Although it certainly can be used to grill, say, steaks, to me doing that on an ordinary Weber Kettle is much easier and faster.
Here's the Egg drill...
Dump in enough lump charcoal and light it. Once it's burning in a few spots, close the lid and adjust the vents to what's appropriate for your target temperature. Wait about an hour for the Egg to come up to temperature, for the fire to reach a steady state, and to ensure you don't have freshly-lit coal making noxious smoke. Then put the food in and adjust the vents as needed to maintain your desired temperature. The Egg will easily run at 225F for 20+ hours without having to reload coal.
A side note; you'll need to use a decent brand of _lump_ charcoal (Royal Oak etc). Briquettes generate _way_ too much ash and your fire will choke in no time.
With those caveats, I highly recommend the Egg. Go to greeneggers.com for lots more info and help.
Thanks so much. I'm prepared for a good month of delivery pizza 'till I figure the thing out but I've heard that once you do, it's definitely the way to go for 'grilling' (you can bring the thing to a super high searing temperature, they tell me) or for slow cooking ribs, lamb shoulder or smoked anything. Thanks again.