New to Big Green Egg? 5 Tips to Get You Cooking
The ceramic cooker -- part oven, part grill, part smoker -- has a fanatically devout legion of followers for good reason. The outdoor cooking appliance is fun to use and the results speak for themselves. Simple to control temperature, the ability to hold heat for "low and slow" cooking and, the means to quickly develop searing heat make the Big Green Egg a backyard chef's dream firebox.
Plenty has been written about the Big Green Egg -- I'm definitely late to the game. But after five years of using my own Big Green Egg three or four times a week and reading several hundred posts from devotees, I felt compelled to break down some simple truths about the Egg.
The following played well in a Facebook group (Big Green Egg BBQers) devoted to the Egg -- but is sympathetic to folks who choose other ceramic cookers.
TOP FIVE TIPS FOR BGE NEWBIES
1. Once you get “Zen” with your Egg, remember that this ceramic cooker is essentially just like your in-home oven and infinitely controllable. There is a learning curve. Anything you can cook in the oven, you can do in the Egg. Time, temp, method remain the same. The bonus: Your BGE is also a smoker AND a grill. Alton Brown would be proud of you for acquiring a multi-use appliance.
2. There is no fixed answer for “How long does XXXX take to cook?” Even same cuts of meat have varying cooking times due to density, marbling, and starting temp. Get a meat thermometer and use it. Championship BBQ master Wiley McCrary told me years ago: “The meat is done when the thermometer says it’s done.” I prefer a remote read thermometer so I don't have to open the lid. Still, an inexpensive instant read thermometer will also do the trick.
3. Be confident in your comfort zone. In other words, don’t obsess over what’s “right and wrong.” If you prefer a certain brand of charcoal – use that. If you are more comfortable using paraffin starting blocks vs a Loofa lighter, then do that. Outdoor cooking oughta be fun – not a challenge, competition or shame fest. Fire up your BGE and have a beer.
4. Longer isn’t necessarily better – nor is hotter. I know guys who brag about a cook that went on for 15 hours. Yeah, you can do that – but mostly it’s not necessary. Nor is pimping out your Egg to generate heat paralleling hellfire. Refer back to Tip No. 1.
5. Check your band bolts every couple of months, keep the ash dump clean and your BGE is pretty easy to get along with. The more you use your BGE, the more comfortable you will become. Above all…have fun, eat well, enjoy!