Me & My Big Green Egg; Part 1

Let me just start by saying that the phrase “life changing” is thrown around a little too willy nilly. For example, “this pizza is life changing”. If pizza can change your life that drastically, what kind of life are you leading? Perhaps you need some hobbies. Maybe get out of the house a little more. I don’t know, but something is amiss. Another one I hear, “that movie was life changing”. Was it really? Did you walk out of the theater and immediately sign up to do volunteer work in a third world country? If you’re like me, you went home, petted the cat, brushed your teeth and went to bed. End of story. Not life changing. 

Why am I saying all this? To firmly drive the point home that I would never throw that phrase around lightly and to also leverage the impact of my next statement. Purchasing my Big Green Egg was…well, Life Changing. No, seriously, it was Life Changing. Little did I know, that purchase would mark a turning point in my relationship with fire and meat. 

Prior to that, my experience with barbecue was limited to wielding a set of tongs over a rack of ribs on my gas grill. Certainly they were tasty enough, but I had no idea what they could be. I was not giving them the time and attention to encourage them to live up to their full potential; instead I settled for average. Shame on me. The BGE enabled me to start the No BBQ Left Behind policy in my own backyard and I received an education along the way. I learned that the addition of smoke could elevate almost any meat to epic proportions of flavor. I learned that the meat should not fall off of a rib and that there is no room for a mushy rib at the dinner table. That is not an indicator of quality. I learned that time and patience would render meat so mouthwateringly delicious that folks would lineup to be invited to my backyard soirees. And finally, learning to use the BGE would eventually send me down the path to create my own line of Rubs and BBQ Sauce. Now, I’m not saying the Big Green Egg will change your life, but it could, you never know. If nothing else, it will certainly make your life more delicious.

Cooking on My Big Green Egg

I’ve got lots of cooking vessels sitting in my back yard. A quick visual inventory looking out my backdoor reveals a Weber Genesis gas grill, a box smoker, and not one but 2 Disc-ITs. The Weber Genesis is a good gas grill and it certainly gets the job done quickly and efficiently, but it’s a little utilitarian and doesn’t have quite the panache of the BGE. The box smoker is nice and roomy, comfortably accommodating a rack of ribs or a pork butt, with space enough to invite all their meaty friends over, as well. It easily handles the big jobs, but when I’m shooting for nothing short of fantastic, I always fire up the Egg. I bought the Egg with the sole intention of cooking some barbecue and grilling some steaks, but I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be grilling whole legs of lamb or braising pork belly. Like a custom-fitted set of golf clubs, the Big Green Egg has elevated my cooking game. And the Disc-ITs? Well, those bad boys deserve their own fanboy blogpost. Look for it in the future.  

Smoking a Pork Butt the Big Green Egg
 
Why the love affair with the Big Green Egg? The list is long, but let me hit the high points…
 
  • Versatility – The BGE out performs all of the tasks of a backyard grill, smoker, or oven and let me tell you, we have run it through the gambit. We have smoked, grilled, cooked, steamed and baked almost every meat or vegetable imaginable. There are no limits to what this beast can do.  
  • Consistent Temps – The shape of the BGE and its ceramic construction lend itself to consistent heat temps. Set the vents and it maintains the desired temp over time. The Big Green Egg website boasts that it’s more accurate than most home ovens and I have no reason to doubt them.
  • Improved Heat Circulation – The addition of the plate setter allows the heat to circulate around the dome and the meat for a perfect indirect cooking environment. This combined with the ability to maintain the perfect temp means your completely in control.   
  • Great Flavor – The BGE uses lump charcoal which imparts delicious flavor to whatever sits atop those fiery grates. No charcoal briquets, no lighter fluid. Smoke is an essential ingredient in outdoor cooking, so I’ve experimented with various lump charcoals and the addition of different woods. My personal favorite? Mesquite lump charcoal and pecan wood chunks. This combination is delicious and in my mind, perfectly represents New Mexican flavor. 
  • No Wasted Charcoal – Done with your dish? Just close the vents. Without air flowing through the vents, this shuts the heat down and there’s no need to burn off the charcoal. You’re basically ready for the next cook.  
  • Dazzling the Tastebuds of Friends and Family – What’s the best shower? The one that consists of accolades. The BGE is bigger than the sum of it’s parts and the food prepared on it consistently turns out far better than what I am expecting and let me stress, I set my expectations pretty high. And what’s the best side dish for a perfect meal cooked on the Egg? Rave reviews from those folks sitting around the dinner table. I guess you could say the BGE is good for my Big Green Ego. 

 Here is the low point…there’s just one (in my opinion).

  • That Bullshit Nest – The BGE is heavy, very heavy. When you plunk down nearly $1,000 on a Big Green Egg the Egg Dealer will invariably try to sell you something to sit it on. The economical choice is the Nest made by Big Green Egg. The Nest is bullshit. Read on for a sad little story sure to bring tears to your eyes. 
June 12, 2011,i t was the best of times, it was the worst of times. We had spent several weeks in limbo waiting to close on our new home. During the sale process, the sellers kindly allowed us to move all of our stuff into the garage of the new place, where it sat for roughly 3-weeks. Once all the red tape was taken care of, the sale was complete and we could finally move things over the threshold and into the house. On the morning we signed the paperwork and took possession of the keys, I joyfully attempted to roll my Egg to it’s new home in the backyard. I was carefully rolling it across the cement when a wheel on the Nest caught the expansion joint in the concrete. I felt the egg start to tip over, but there was nothing I could do, it fell to the ground and shattered like Humpty Dumpty. I was so mad I screamed a certain profanity that starts with “F” and ends in “uck” so loudly that it brought Cheryl running from the other end of the house expecting to see me covered in blood or missing a limb or both. 
 
Humpt Dumpty had a great fall….

The moral of that story? The Big Green Egg is very fragile and dropping it is not covered by the warranty. Big Green Egg has  since come out with a new nest that is a little wider and slightly more stable, but I wouldn’t waste my money on it. It cost me $400 to replace the base of my egg.  I seriously considered buying something else but I couldn’t bring myself to do it, so I decided to put my Egg in a nice big table surrounded by granite and wood to keep it safe. This baby is never tipping over again. Save up your pennies for a Big Green Egg, but skip the Nest. Instead have your handy brother-in-law custom build you an awesome table to sit in on. And if you don’t have a handy brother-in-law. Get one. Seriously.  

 
BGE is safe & secure



I’ve got a lot more to say about the Big Green Egg, this is just the first of a series of posts.  If you have any questions about the Egg, feel free to post them in the comments below, on our Facebook page or email me at kirk@albukirkyseasonings.com. I am always happy to talk about the BGE.
 
 
 
 
 
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