Even though it’s the dead of winter, it’s hard not to think about firing up the Big Green Egg and cooking some meat.
People always ask me, do you still grill in the winter? While I have not yet done it in 2024, I did smoke a ham for Christmas.
Whether it’s hot and steamy, or cold and icey, it’s always nice to be outside fussing over tempertures and the size of your fire.
So to keep me fired up so to speak, I thought it would be fun to cover the best meats to cook on the Big Green Egg. These are the meats I get the most joy out of cooking as well as the final product.
Brisket is the world championship of smoking meat in the backyard for me. I rarely do it due to the cost and time it takes, but when I do, the results are magical. Every few years I take a trip to the Meat Dept. on Roncy and get the most amazing 8-10 lb beef brisket. The key is having a full day to focus on it. It’s best not to have plans. The night before I clean it up, cover it in mustard and add the spices. I used to go crazy and use some fancy BBQ rub, but as I have gotten used to the process, I pretty much stick to salt and pepper. Simple is better in my opinion. Then it’s up early the next morning before the sun to let the meat get to room temp and set up the Egg to smoke all day.
I never used to be big fan of chicken thighs until I discovered what happens when you cook them lown and slow. They become the perfect type of chicken to eat as is, or shredding for some pulled chicken goodness. I have more success with bone in thighs even if they are not as enjoyable to eat having to worry about bones.
Check out a classic post about chicken thighs on the Big Green Egg.
Ham is a very underated meat for smoking and never gets the publicity like a brisket or chicken wings. But when you add the smoky flavour to a big ham, it tastes so good. In fact, ham has all but replaced turkey for our holiday meals. You can take one of those large grocery store hams and upgrade it to competition status pretty easily. To go with the smoke flavour, whip up your own glaze that is whatever flavour you want and go from there. The key is wrapping the ham and letting it rest for an hour at least. Let the juices build up. Ham doesn’t need to be hot off the smoker.
A whole chicken is just fun. It’s an event in the backyard. On the Egg I like to do either beer can chicken or spatchcock chicken (brick chicken). The beer can chicken is some of the juiciest and flavourful chicken I have had. It gives a crispy skin and once you get the set up, it’s not a lot of work. The brick chicken is also very tasty as it cooks everything evenly regardless if it’s the breast, thigh or leg. I also think a brick chicken looks amazing for the IG.
Looking back through my IG feed, it seems clear that one of the meats I enjoy cooking is pork back ribs. While not super pricey, they are perfect for a celebatory dinner or a way to make a Sunday feel just a bit extra. By now you would figure I would have mastered the ribs, but they are a finicky meat for me. Some turn out amazing, some turn out not as great. I know it all comes down to the meat you start with. Also I try not to freeze my ribs for cooking later. Fresh from the butcher is best.
What is your list of meats you enjoy grilling or smoking outside?
What type of charcoal do I use? Well, whenever possible I try to use natural lump charcoal (Big Green Egg brand in particular).