Big Green Egg Instructions
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The Big Green Egg is one of my newest smokers slash cookers slash grills and while I am not hung up on the brand name like some folks, it does exactly what it was designed to do and it does it well. I have a feeling that all of the ceramic cookers do a pretty good job regardless of the brand name.
The folks at the store tried hard but were not able to talk me into the absolutely necessary stand or cart since I knew that it would sit just perfectly on some blocks until I had time to build a table for it and I have to tell you that it is very solid and has no chance of falling over or being blown away by the Oklahoma winds. The fact that it’s an XL or extra large makes it even more solid.
I unloaded this off of a flatbed truck and moved it about 100 feet to where it is now with absolutely no help and if you are wondering why that’s such a big deal then you probably do not realize that it’s huge and weighs in at over 250 lbs.
Fortunately, I have a background in engineering and that along with my intense creative abilities helped to get that thing unloaded and set up without mishap.
Once the Big Green Egg (BGE) is in place, fill with lump charcoal to just above the bottom air holes.
Here’s a couple of different brands of lump charcoal. I have used everything from BGE brand to the offbrands and in my opinion, the Royal Oak works best.
So why lump charcoal instead of briquettes? I thought you’d never ask!
Lump charcoal is real hardwood that has been burned or charred in a low oxygen environment. The product that results burns cleaner than charcoal briquettes, is all natural and does not contain any additives. It also tends to burn hotter than briquettes.
The BGE uses very little charcoal and you will find that once you fill it up, you’ll be able to use that same charcoal multiple times before having to add more especially if you keep it at normal smoking temperatures.
It is very fuel efficient and the amount you save in charcoal, will offset the high cost of these units. They are not cheap but they are lifetime purchases. If you take care of it, it should last you a very long time.
To start the charcoal, I simply place a piece of firestarter down in the center of the coals and light it.
Place a little charcoal over the top of the flames and let it burn for about 7 minutes.
This is me experimenting with creating the right amount of smoke. I sprinkled wood chips around the charcoal like the instructions said but that was just not enough for me. I purchased a stainless steel woodchip box, filled it with wood chips and set it just off center to hopefully create the extra smoke that I wanted.
Put the plate setter in place to create the indirect cooking environment required for smoking. I do recommend purchasing one of these. They are not cheap but they are worth it. I tried it without it and it was just not right.
The plate setter is the ceramic piece that goes into the egg over the charcoal and forces the heat from the coals to be directed to the sides of the smoker. The heat then travels up to the dome and down creating the indirect cooking method perfectly for smoking meat.
The grate fits over the plate setter as shown in the picture
While the egg is still coming up to temperature leave the top vent open all the way.
Bottom sliding vent is also all the way open until it comes up to temperature
Once the thermometer gets within about 10-15 degrees of your target temperature, I recommend closing the top and bottom vents to a “just barely open” configuration. You will have to practice to find out what works for you but this is the setting that works for me.
I placed the probe from my Maverick ET-732 dual probe meat thermometer at grate level and it seemed to be very close to what the dome guage is measuring.
Using a Temperature Controller – The FLAME BOSS
The Big Green Egg as well as most ceramic cookers are pretty good at holding a steady temperature but even at that, I would never leave for several hours or even go to bed and sleep all night without feeling like I needed to check on it every hour or two.
This is where the Flame Boss temperature controller comes in.
The company sent me one to try out and it worked perfectly right out of the box with almost no setup at all. Easy is what I am all about!
It’s basically a module or brain connected to a blower which blows air onto the coals (via the intake vent at the bottom) as needed.
It knows what is needed due to a temperature probe that is connected to the grate with an alligator clip.
You set the temperature that you want it to maintain via the easy buttons just below the screen and it does just exactly that.
As you can see, I have it set for 225 and it is maintaining that very well. I don’t recommend taking too much stock in the smoker gauge since it is so far above the grate, it often is not accurate to what is going on at the grate level.
With this setup, I can walk away from the BGE and go to town, go to work, go to bed, whatever, knowing that it will maintain the temperature of the smoker for as long as it has coals to burn. In the BGE and most other ceramic cookers, that is easily in excess of 12-14 hours if you need it to be.
No more staying up all night to cook briskets, pork shoulders, etc. Set it up, go to bed and get up in the morning to find the meat cooking away just like you.
The Flame Boss is the way to go, if you want to absolutely put your ceramic cooker on auto pilot.
I have been using this cooker for a while now and I really like it. It is fun to use, allows me to walk away from it for several hours knowing that it will maintain the temperature and cook the food without much adieu.
These are a little on the pricey side but I do believe that they are a lifetime purchase. Perhaps something that will get passed down to the kids one day. In my opinion, they are worth the money.
I have seen several of these on craigslist and in the local classifieds so if you are in the market to buy but don’t mind buying something already broke in, then you should be able to find something a lot less expensive.
I will continue to add to this page as I learn more about the Big Green Egg ceramic cooker. Right now the testing is in progress, I have a lot to learn and I promise to share my findings.
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My challenge is to get pork shoulder or brisket up to 200-205 degrees F on Big Green Egg at 225 degrees F pit temperature. I have gone as long as 20 hours and peak internal meat temperature is 180-190 degrees F. How high can I go on pit temperature to avoid burning/overcooking the finished product?
Wrap with tinfoil when it hits 165, watch close it’ll only take an hour or so
Jeff, I’ve got a difference of opinion concerning the Flame Boss (which I have.) totally controlling the pit temp. I’ve got a Kamado Joe Classic and during my several years of using it, my experience has been that it will control the fan which controls the temp up to set point. If for some reason the temp climbs above set point the Flame Boss merely sits there as the temp climbs to what ever the vents will allow it to. I’ve had mine climb 50-60* above set point at which time I was really scrambling to get it back down.. Yeah, i agree that I should have been keeping a better eye on it and not have let it get so far outta control – which I do now.
Please tell me where I’m wrong. I’d sure appreciate the help!
Also, when I use chips they tend to burn up and not just smoke. The best way I’ve found to use chips is to wrap them in tinfoil and punch a few small holes in it.
Love you site. Cook for years on beg till I burnt it out. Have a big,joe and to start the fire I use small torch for few minutes and then use small battery blower to get it burning fast
I started with the forerunner of the BGE.
an”Imperial Komado’ in 1976. Still working today. Later the BGE was an advancement.
Can’t speak to highly of this cooker. I find it difficult to understand why the average backyard smoking aficionado does not use it.
( provided it can be afforded). Once the cooker is set one does not need a flame boss
which I have. What a machine !
Hi! I obtained my BGE around 2002, at the time I had a very well made gas grill. I never ever re-lit the gas grill after that day, it took me 8 years to figure out I should throw out the old gas grill because it had rusted and fallen into disrepair.
Since I got the BGE in 2002, I have replaced a grand total of $50 in parts, the first to go was the coal screen which simply wore out due to almost constant grilling and smoking. The spark screen developed a small hole and I replaced that as well, also I bought a roll of gasket material. $50 over 15 years: Try to beat that with a gas grill or the other brands of ceramic cookers!
I also own a Primo smoker, it’s the equal of the BGE in cooking but the Primo is NOT as well made, and it has some infuriating design aspects. But I do use it!
The BGE is simply the best grill or smoker you can buy if you are looking for a low-maintence cooker that will last forever… Easy to start, great to cook with. Best cooker ever? I think so.
Lots of great comments here! I also have the BGE and love it. I use it mostly for steaks and chicken, but have also smoked on it as well with great results. A 2 to 2 1/2″ filet mignon seared and cooked at 350 to a medium doneness is to die for on the egg. Anyway, as far as smoking goes, I have read and heard that meat fibers close up and stop accepting smoke at 120 internal temp. So, you may not need as much wood to achieve what you want. Wonderful blog place Jeff!
Jeff. Regarding the BGE I notice that all my grilling times are shorter than the recipes call for. I assume this is due to the temperature at the meat is higher than at the thermometer. When you give a temp for cooking is this assumed to be the thermometer reading or at the meat? All my ribs cook in way less time than you recommend and the final meat temperature is 190 deg or above.
Quick ? How do you recommend adding Wood to a BGE after cooking has been started. Tanx. KD.
I usually don’t add wood after the food is placed on the grate but, in a pinch, I have carefully lifted off the grate then used my metal ash remover to lift up on the plate setter slightly while pushing a stick of wood underneath and on top of the coals.
It is best to mix in some wood chips with the charcoal then perhaps also place a metal woodchip box on top of the coals full of wood chips. This gives you immediate smoke as well as sustaining smoke throughout the smoking process.
I have never had to add wood and I have cooked up to 18-19 hours.
I have been using my Egg for many years but never smoked with it before. Do you put charcoal in the bottom and wood on top of the plate, or does the wood go underneath with the charcoal so I can use a water pan. I am using Kingsford charcoal but will look for the other lump charcoal. My bbq salesman said I should soak my wood, but I read above that is not necessary.
Charcoal in the bottom and just place wood chips or chunks right on top of the charcoal for the smoke. There is really no need to soak the wood in my opinion but some folks still do it and probably always will ;-)
Smoking is intended to be an indirect style of cooking so you will want to always use the plate setter just above the charcoal and wood to force the heat to move up the sides and then down instead of coming straight up toward the meat.
Hi, first clean out all old charcoal & start with a fresh batch, use only lump charcoal I like Royal oak in the red bag or Big Green eggs brand is good also. Put the wood chips on top of the coals after you heat them up to turn white in color. Turn down to temp for smoking I use around 320 depending what I am smoking. Do not soak the wood chips in water than add them on top of the coals. I don’t use a heat plate above the coals in mine, never have seemed to need one. One thing I like also is grilling salmon than a few mins before done add a few chips for a light smoke flavor. Best to smoke birds about 8 pounds max & always check temp of bird for at least 165 degrees min. I like cherry wood chips for chicken or turkey. Have fun grilling always start coals with a electric starter never use lighter fluid.
when using a BGE for a pork butt can you cook it in a pan? Do you need to worry at all about drippings? How hard is that place setter to clean up if you haven’t covered it or used pan?
Normally I will put a pan on the place setter with liquid in it; water, apple juice, wine, etc. That way it will catch the drippings and keep them off the place setter. When I don’t do that I clean the place setter with a 5″ or 6″ wide putty knife / scraper. Just make sure you don’t get a flimsy putty knife, get a heavy rigid one. I picked up a grill scraper at a restaurant supply. Once drippings are burnt they will scrape right off. I scrape it with it still in my Egg and let the scrapings go back into the charcoal.
Rob, My grill brush has a scrapping edge on the other side. I was using this until I read some where you can wrap the plate setter with aluminum foil. I have tried this twice now and it seems to work just fine. After the grill cool down just pull off the ole foil and throw it away.
I respectfully have to disagree with Steve about wrapping the plate setter in aluminum foil. I’ve tried it and I am convinced that it fundamentally changes the way heat is radiated to whatever you’re cooking on the grill rack. Aluminum is a poor conductor of heat and therefore interferes with the heat being radiated up by the plate setter. My suggestion is to use a paint scrapper on the plate setter at he end of a cook while it is still hot (or warm) to get rid of any burned-on crud. The plate setter won’t look beautiful, but so what? It will be clean and ready for your next cook.
Hi, sorry but I have never used a heat setter as I have not seemed the need for one. If I used one I may like it who knows. Getting the heat right with good airflow for heating up I changed the bottom plate out for a grill grate for a small Weber grill. Now I can control my heat much better also using a remote temp gauge on the grilling grate itself helps for knowing the real temp you are grilling or smoking at. Myself I always let my charcoal turn white in large flames before closing lid to control temp.
A friend just gave me a wireless remote temp gauge for meat, will be fun to see if it works right or not. If it works right that will save time from checking temp of foods while cooking.
Sorry guy I did not not know there were two Steve’s on here.
Scarri3r, I use several of Myron’s recipes on my BGE. I have been to two of his classes and love his flavor profiles. I use Jeff’s rub but follow Myron’s cooking instructions and do use a water pan though I may try without after reading some comments here. One important thing though… Myron’s book, at least early editions, instruct to place the meat in a pan at the beginning of your cook. This is incorrect! I asked Myron about this and he said it was a mistake in the book. Do not pan until the internal temp is 155-160 so as to allow smoke penetration around the entire meat.
Waited for the end of the season and just bought a Kamado from Sam’s for $200 off the spring price. Haven’t used it yet, but all y’all have given me hope! Wasn’t even sure how to fire it up! BBQing for decades now and am tired of having metallic kettle BBQs burning/rusting out after 2-4 years [waste of $$ even though they cook well enough].
Y’all have convinced me that the BBQ God uses a ceramic unit ………….I am a convert!
Hope to be able to soon contribute to this excellent series of posts!
Had a bge for many years now i just got the black egg from Sams also. First of all the shock on the front was keeping the kid open a little so i took it off, you can drill bigger holes & adjust it fit right.
Next the lid was leaking air use a dollar bill close the lid on it & see if it is sealed if not i had to adjust the mounting bracket bolts to get it to seal.
Most of all it would not heat up very good so i went to Ace & bought a small grill grate to replace the steel plate that holds the coals now i can control the heat better also it will get as hot as i want now.
One thing you have to be careful about when buying a used BGE is that no one has used charcoal briquettes. I had a friend buy a used BGE after I had bought my new one a couple years ago. The food tasted like pine and lighter fluid! The guy that sold it had used briquettes and the ceramic absorbed the chemical and that must have been why he sold it. The BGE my friend bought was useless for other than a fire pit. If buying a used one be sure to see or ask what they cooked with. Start a fire with lump charcoal (you can bring a few pieces with you for this) and check to see how it smells. The seller should be more than willing to allow this.
Just my two cents! JB
I wanted the BGE for sometime and did some reading on why to spend that kind of money on such a great cooking vessel. Liter fluid is something of the past for me as well as briquettes. The Egg cooks perfectly and I don’t need the Flame Boss! Keep your egg clean for long cooks,, ash build up slows air flow from top port to bottom port.
I use a device called the Looftlighter to light the charcoal in my Primo Ceramic smoker! Ivan light the coal in multiple places much faster than using charcoal lighters. I also layer my wood and charcoal in two layers and light each layer separately. That gives me a steadily burning fire no dead spots in the coals! Bought my Looftlighter from Amazon!
I don’t have the Flame Boss and may never buy one. If you look at Jeff’s picture, the vent openings are almost dead on. I watch it for the first couple of hours to make sure my temps are steady. (do this while sharing a few beers with friends that will be over the next day for food) Then I can go to bed without any worries. Next morning my temp is always still sitting at 225. As far as wood is concerned for smoke, I have never been dissatisfied with my results. Use the larger chunks is my only advice. BGE owner for about 4 years now.
I bought my BGE at Ace Hardware in Reno, on Virginia St. They are extremely knowledgeable about the BGE.
Buy AMERICAN, which means buy the Primo, which is made in Georgia, NOT mexico like the Egg is! Primo also give U a larger cooking area and better indirect cooking than the Egg does!
All I want to know is where to buy BGE I live in Northern nevada.
BGE has a website: http://www.biggreenegg.com/locator/
Just plug in your Zip code and it will give you a list.
I just bought one over this past weekend. I haven’t fired it up yet but I’m pretty excited.
I love the idea of the Flame Boss to “set and forget it”. I have small children which means I can’t spend hours and hours tending to a smoker. I have the OBS with the Auber PID just for this reason. I’d love to have a charcoal option, but my concern here is that I would still have to tend to it to add wood. Let’s say I was doing something on the BGE with the FB set at 225 and wanted 4 hours of smoke, how often would I have to add wood?
Kevin, with the BGE, I usually add 1-2 sticks of split wood (3″ x 10″ or so) right on top of the coals and it will produce smoke for 2-3 hours or better. You can also mix wood chunks or large wood chips in with the lump charcoal at about a 1:5 ratio and it will produce plenty of ongoing smoke so that you really won’t need to add more wood during the entire cook.
With the Flame Boss controlling the temperature, you could theoretically, set up a 4-6 hour cook or even longer and never have to touch the Egg again until the food is finished cooking.
With Kamado style cookers, you mix the wood in with your lump at the beginning, light it, and when it gets near set temp, add the meat. That’s it. No additional wood is needed since the wood you put in will last many hours. The controller will not allow all the wood to burn up all at once. If you were to check it after 4 hours, you would see some of the lump and some of the wood chunks consumed with plenty more left to go many more hours.
After you finish smoking or grilling, how do you put the coals out so you can reuse them….fixing to by a green egg….can’t stand it any longer….lol
Simply close the vent to kill the oxygen flow. Fire won’t burn without it. Hope this helps. Oh and definitely stick to lump charcoal. There is a reason you wait for briquettes to turn white before cooking. It burs off additives. The egg is designed continuously start new charcoal as it cooks. It’s why its a set and forget style cooker. Hope this helps.
Thank you….bought the kamodo and was just messing around with the temp control and closed all vents at 9pm and at 7am was still warm and a little over 100 degrees…..going to cook ribs and chicken and corn tommorow. Hope it turns out good….will just take practice….thanks again
I have had my large BGE for about two years. Our friends think I am a genius when cooking out. It’s not me, it is the egg!! I have prepared some great meals. Then I got Jeff’s Rub. Now, it is a whole new game. So far I have used the rub on everything from chicken, brisket, pork ribs, boston butt and recently mahi mahi. So far, I tell all my friends that I came up with a secret rub…..It is actually Jeff’s and I make it exactly as he describes. I really enjoy the egg!! I saw an article recently on cleaning the egg with a bag of cheap of lump do a long burn at 700 degrees plus. Take out all the plate setters and grills and let her cook. Turns out as white as when new!!
My husband was the BGE expert in our family. He died in February. I am determined to carry on his love of the egg and wish I had paid more attention how he cooked all the wonderful things he did. I am so glad I found this site which has answered many questions. I know I will never be as good as he was but I think he would be glad that we (me and our two sons) are using his recipes as we experiment and learn. Thank you.
The reason most of the el-cheapo bullet style smokers require a water pan is that they are not insulated and therefor require much more fuel and air to maintain the smoking temps. The steam coming off the water pan helps counteract the moisture loss from all that air flow. Kamado style smokers, whether they be ceramic or metal (double wall insulated BSK) require about 1/10th the amount of fuel and air flow to maintain the same temps. I have used both and can attest to the fact that the kamado style produces moister meat. Jeff, have you noticed the moisture accumulating around the bottom air intake door while cooking low and slow? Proof that no water pan is needed!
Just bought a large BGE this past week- broker in with two 4 hour burns- then cooked baby back ribs- just so so- then today did a rib eye– not even so so- tender and moist but the BGE lump charcoal leaves a bitter burnt wood taste– I am in Texas and have smoked with off set wood smoker for years and gas grills and weber charcoal- never had food taste this bad before– am I doing something wrong?
I can tell you with the ribeyes that my favorite is to sear them at about 600 for 5 minutes, flip them for a couple then shut it down. Finish by “baking” for about 6-7 more or until 140
That can happen if you put meat on before the BGE has heated up enough to drive off all the volitiles from fresh charcoal. Normally, you can tell when it's ready when there is no more white smoke and what comes out of the top smells good. If it's not ready, the smoke will smell acrid and your meat will taste like it was cooked in a house fire. I suggest you smell the smoke to see if it's sweet or acrid. I say this because if you have wood chunks mixed in before you start the fire, you could still have white smoke from the smoking wood instead of TBS even though the nasty stuff is burned off.
Hope this helps.
When using the plate setter…do you place your fire temp prob in the center of the grate or close to the side where the heat is coming up from under the plate setter?
I try and position the thermometer near the meat, chicken or fish I'm cooking. If that's to the side, so be it, ditto the center. I've also tried clipping it to the part of the dome thermometer that is inside the BGE but surprisingly the two never agree. I use a DigiQ 2 or a Maverick 732 probe, depending on what I'm doing and I've learned that a 10º swing one way or the other isn't really a big deal. Pork butt is very forgiving, and ribs will cook beautifully in the BGE anywhere from 225º all the way to 250º. The thermometer position is less important than learning to control the temperature in the BGE and not let it get away from you. If you're doing it without a DigiQ, which automates temperature maintenance, then you just have to figure out the right flue settings to maintain the temps you're looking for. Just keep experimenting with your probe placement and remember that most home ovens have a normal fluctuation of at least 10º to 20º. For what it's worth, I'm convinced that putting aluminum foil on the plate setter also affects temperature by absorbing or deflecting some of the heat generated by the ceramic material. I still do it since it makes clean-up easier, but I've noticed that the few times I don't do it, the temperature is much easier to maintain.
Anyway, hope some of this helps you. Welcome to the BGE community!!
Thanks for the info. Very helpful. I also put foil on the placesetter for cleanup but did not think about it affecting the temp
I have been looking at the Kamado style cookers for the last couple of days and have settled on the Bayou Classic Ceramic cooker. Saw it at Lowes and became infatuated. Checked out some video on youtube and decided it was my goal to own one of these things. Thank you, Jeff for the informative article about these awesome cookers. Can't wait until I have one of my own.
Hi. I just bought a BGE. I have not used it yet. I also bought the book "Smoking Meat" by Jeff Phillips. I will do my homework first and then try it. I have bbq' ed for years but this is very new to me. I am a home chef and would like to try some new "hogies and wraps Asian style. Thankyou for writting the book it is very informative. I have the whole summer to experience this smokin thing before I go back down to Mexico for a winter of serching and trying mexican flavors with a chef friend of mine. I think I would still like to use a water bath in with the meat as i am not experienced at this and i don't want the meat to be dry due to my inexperience. Do I set it to the side for indirect moisture or on the place setter inside the egg? Can I use beer or juice in this water pan? Happy smokin everyone!
Congrats on your purchase. I've owned a BGE for 20 years and still use it at least twice a week. You're in for a real treat if you like smoked food.
I know your question was to Jeff, but I'm going to throw in my 2¢ here regarding moisture.
Use the plate setter for everything you cook, unless you're grilling something like a steak or hamburger. The plate setter allows the heat to radiate up rather than the protein being exposed directly to the fire, where it's much harder to control, especially over a long cook. There is no need to add a water pan for moisture if you control the temperature.
Here are couple of hints I'd offer for your cooking success.
First and foremost, use a good brand of charcoal. Natural lump charcoal is by far the best. BGE makes their own brand or you can use other brands like Royal Oak and Cowboy Charcoal. BGE makes a Fire Starter to light their charcoal which works like a charm, or use an electric starter. Just don't use any liquid starters that are oil based. They leave a terrible taste in the coals.
Leave the top and the damper wide open to let the fire start. You'll have a basic fire in about 10 minutes. Put the place setter on top of the firebox (with the feet up if you're using the grill grate), close the top and let the BGE get to temperature.
Here's the only tricky part. I don't add the wood for smoking until I've got my BGE up to temperature as I don't want to waste the wood generating smoke until I add the meat, chicken or fish. Using a BBQ mitt or an old rag, move the plate setter out of the way by tilting it, or just removing it for a minute. It'll be hot, but if you're heating your BGE to, say, 250˚, the plate setter is still very easy to handle and won't be difficult to handle. Add your wood for smoking in a pile in the middle of the coals, put the plate setter back in place, put the grill in place, add the meat you're cooking, close the top and let the temperature come back up. Close the adjustable flue on top from being wide open to just having the holes wide open.
Once the BGE is up to temperature, adjust the lower dampler and upper draft to keep it steady. The lower damper really only has to be open a half inch or less. The top flue should also only be about a quarter open. That'll keep the temp stable. With some practice you'll get the hang of it!
Some other quick hints.
Do NOT soak your wood in water. It's an old wives tale and all you do is keep the wood from releasing smoke.
Use a thermometer like a Maverick 732, available on Amazon. It monitors both the temperature at the grill level as well as the interior temp of the protein you're cooking. It makes the BGE much easier to monitor.
If you really like cooking on your BGE, make an investment in an electronic thermostat like the DigiQ DX2 from BBQ Guru. I bought one a year ago and it's a life changer! It will maintain the termperature in your BGE without any fuss, as well as monitor the protein temperature. Whether you're smoking fish at 170˚ for two hours or pork at 250˚ for ten or more hours, the thing is magic!
Good luck with your BGE! Welcome to those of us who use it to make some of the most delicious smoked food you can eat! If you need some advice or hints on usage, this forum is a good place to come! You should also check out amazingribs.com, a cornocopia of grilling and smoking information!
BTW, enjoy your trip to Mexico!
Have you ever used Myron Mixon's recipes with the Big Green Egg ? I want to try his baby back rib recipe but he uses pans to cook in. I see mixed reviews and I have both place setter and a pizza stone. If I'm cooking in the egg and using the pans then would I even need to use indirect cooking ? The total cook is only 2 hours uncovered and spritz'd, 1 hour covered in foil, and 30 mins glazed and dwelling. Any thoughts ?
Scarri3r, I own Myron Mixon's book but have yet to try his recipes. I make as little use as I can of foil or foil pans as I'm convinced they play havoc with the heat distribution in my medium BGE. I think the recipes that have worked the best are from The Bob Gibson BBQ Cookbook by Chris Lilly. He cooks at at 250º. 4 hours for St. Louis cut ribs and about 3 hours for baby backs. Occasionally I wrap for the last hour with a glaze of brown sugar and margarine, then cook an additional 30 minutes unwrapped with a coat of BBQ sauce. Either way they come out perfectly tender. For Boston butt, I use 225-230º and cook it as long as it takes to get the meat to 195-200º. I don't wrap although many people do. After I bring the pork butt off my BGE, I wrap it in heavy duty aluminum foil, place it in an Igloo (or Styrofoam cooler), wrapped in a towel. I leave it there for 2-3 hours. Then I unwrap it and pull the meat for the best pulled pork you'll ever eat! One last suggestion. You MUST use a thermometer. Either use a Maverick 732 or a DigiQ DX2. I use a DigiQ and can't imagine cooking without it, especially on long cooks. Hope this helps! Good luck!
I have a medium BGE that I've owned for close to 20 years. While I've had to replace the seals and the grate, the rest of the cooker is very durable. I've cooked hundreds of meals in it.
My "words of wisdom" would be that if you're doing a long cook, say brisket or a Boston butt, don't use leftover coals. Clean out the entire firebox and start with 100% new coals. The only problems I've encountered with my BGE have come from long cooks when I added new coals on top of old, and the fire started to go out, or couldn't be controlled.
Secondly, I'm not a fan of using a metal box to hold the wood, at least in the medium size BGE. It plays havoc with the temperature and doesn't give out enough smoke for my tastes. Instead, after the fire is started, sprinkle the wood directly on top of the coals in a pile, with additional wood as needed outside of the center. It should resemble the same pattern as if you took a salt shaker and emptied it on a table: a pile in the middle and lighter as you move out towards the edge. I use chuncks on a long cook for Boston butt, brisket or ribs and chips for a short cook, with fish or chicken wings.
Once you get the hang of controlling temperature, the BGE is easy to use. Just remember that for a lo-o-ng cook, use all new charcoal. And as Jeff says, use hardwood lump charcoal for the BGE.
Great tips.. thank you!!
Try soaked wood chunks wrapped in alluminum foil with holes poked in it! Much cheaper than a box and doesn't mess with the temp.
I bought a Chargriller Kamado Kooker last June and I love it. Will do everything the BGE will do for $299 plus $39 for the smokin stone (plate setter on BGE). I made a few modifications to make it more airtight for smoking in windy conditions that cost me less than $20. One tube of hi-temp RTV sealant and one roll of nomex high heat gasket did the trick. If you are wanting to get into the world of Kamado cooking without breaking the bank it is a great option.
Absolutely agree. I have had my Akorn since September and I use it at least twice a week. I have not made any modifications to mine as I have not had a problem with any air leaks.
Jeff is absolutely right. The BGE keeps meat quite moist while smoking. I occasionally flip the plate setter over and put a pie pan with water and wood chips directly under the meat I am smoking, but its really not necessary. Glad to see Jeff in the Egg world. I am pretty crazy about mine. My only regret is not buying the XL Egg.
I had that regret as well Tim. I bought the large model about 5 years ago, it has had a fire in it every weekend. 2 months ago I purchased the XL. I can cook a whole weeks worth of food on Sunday. Keep looking at the XL and talking about it. Eventually your wife will say "Just go get it so you will shut up about it"…. That's how I ended up with it anyway.
Why no water pan with this vs Weber barell smoker. Years ago I had a cheap Brinkman that used a water pan.I now have a Chargriller w/ side box and use a water pan but I think the old Brinkman did a better job but was difficult to add more fuel. I am going to junk the chargriller an get either the Weber or the egg. Your thoughts?
I agree that the water pan is a great thing in smokers but when you use a ceramic cooker, you will notice that there are quite a number of things about this smoker that make a water pan not so important. There is very little radiant heat coming from the coals due to the small number of lit coals required to maintain smoking temperatures. The walls of the smoker are very thick and hold heat really well and this is what actually radiates heat to cook the food. It is a tight unit and while there is plenty of airflow for the smoke, it seems to do a great job of naturally reducing the drying effect of the heat.
As far as the weber vs. the egg, I love both of them and the biggest difference between the two is $$$. The Egg is what I call a lifetime purchase and if you take care of it, you will pass it on to your children one day.
The Weber is a lot less money and while it probably won’t outlast a normal person, it is a blast to use, easy to maintain heat and can produce some of the best smoked food you ever tasted.
Final thoughts: If you can afford it, go with the egg and you will love using it. Otherwise, go with the Weber WSM 22.5 and it will serve you very well.
Had a Kamodo comped to me. I know, lucky guy! Tipped it over with my mower, then they don't work so well. Lucky day #2, bought a BGE in a divorce fire damage. I can't even tell you what a gem this is. I wake up thinking of what to make next. Invite yourself over and i'll make you dinner. But…..must have Jeff's rub, i put it in a big shaker to use all of the time. I do put a caserole pan with water on the diffuser. Love the remote thermometer, only wish there was an iphone version. Other than something with digital controls or a pull behind version, this is the only grill I feel comfortable walking away and going to church (after temp is stable). This is now the only site I use for smokin advice, just makes life easier and tastier!
I have used the BGE for many years and the BBQ Guru CyberQ Wifi to maintain excellent control of temperature. I also use the BGE to bake bread and pizza’s. What ever can be done in your oven can be done in BGE. Jeff also has excellent rub’s and sauce recipes as well as a great cook book.
I recently bought a Kamado Joe.. Love it and it is a little less expensive than the BGE.
The BGE is VERY EASY to get started using. I hadn’t ever used the BGE, but used one at my nephews shop while demoing it. It was so easy to use. Start your fire, put in the defuser, set your vents and you are ready to go. I haven’t used a Weber Smokey Mountain yet, (Next big purchase for me. LOL) but I’m looking forward to it. The BGE’s are expensive, but if you can handle the price I say go for it!