Even though the theme of this blog is supposed to be about parenting and being a dad, Google is telling me that what is bringing eyes to the yard is the Big Green Egg. The amount of searches and clicks on Big Green Egg related recipes and photos is starting to take off.
So of course, that is why every Tuesday I will be posting the Big Green Egg Weekly. This will include tips, stories, recipes and any other news I have seen from the BGE world.
This week, I want to list all of the must-haves to get going with your Egg. The gadgets, accessories and extras for an Egg are endless and pricey. Once you buy one, odds are high you won’t have a lot of extra cash lying around.
So what do you REALLY need to start smoking?
I also want to mention, many of the items you need for smoking, grilling and cooling are already in your house, they just don’t have the cool BGE brand on it.
Here is what you need for your egg.
Before I begin, I am taking into account that whatever size you purchased came with usual parts (grill etc.)
1. A digital meat thermometer. This is a must for quality cooking, especially if you are smoking meat for several hours. You need to know the internal temperature of what you are smoking so you don’t go overboard. Now I will say that rarely have I cook something longer than it should and the Egg is pretty good at covering up little blunders. But dry or under cooked meat is just not good. I currently use a basic digital thermometer that is more for indoor oven use but it does the trick. One day I would like one of those cool wi-fi thermometers so you don’t even have to leave the house. I also have one of those fork thermometers which works okay, but for that one you need to open the lid and ideally with the Big Green Egg, you want to limit how often you open the lid.
2. Plate setter for indirect cooking. I really never knew a lot about indirect cooking but as soon as I started using the Egg, it all made sense. You don’t want the flames getting to your slow cooked meat. In the beginning I would use tin foil on the grill or a pan that was meant for the oven. They did the trick but were not ideal. Then for Christmas my wife got me a BGE plate setter which is made of ceramic and is made for indirect cooking. It can sit two ways depending on how you are cooking. I highly recommend this as one of your early purchases.
3. A place to set stuff down. The Egg has side tables that you can buy that attach right to the Egg. These are great for utensils and plates and other things you need when cooking. I have yet to add these to my toys but I do have a good side table on the deck that is just for the egg. You don’t want to keep running in and out of the house, so whatever you have to use, make sure you set up a good work space that is close.
4. Very good oven mitts. Yes, you can buy Big Green Egg oven mitts for picking up the grill and taking stuff out of the Egg but they seem pricey. Won’t regular oven mitts work? Well they do but here is the thing. First, your wife will hate you because you will get the indoor mitts all covered in grease and smoke. Next, the Egg gets way hotter than your oven. It can get up to 700 F, so you don’t want those typical flower mitts for reaching in there. Get a good pair so you don’t burn the hair off the back of your hands.
5. Tongs, tongs, tongs. A great pair of tongs is key for cooking on the Egg. I have one set I go to all the time. Those that come with generic BBQ sets just don’t do it. You need a quality pair that gives you precise gripping. You will be dealing with some very tender meat that just melts off the bone, so you don’t want to ruin it with a crappy set of BBQ tongs. I would even have a few pairs sitting around so you can use one for meats and one for veg.
6. Wood chips or chunks. This is the most fun of using the Egg. You get to try out all of these different flavours of wood chips. The wood burning off is what makes all the neighbours drool. There are several types and each is best matched with a particular type of meat. But I pretty much try them all, with all kinds of meat. I would have to say my favourite so far is hickory. You can buy them in bags of small chips or some places even carry much larger chunks with are ideal I think.
7. Lump Charcoal. Not those little briquettes. I am talking big lumps of charcoal. There is Big Green Egg brand that I have tried and it is very high quality. But it also comes at a high price. I tend to get this once per year. The bag lasts on par with a tank of propane. I also get some of the cheaper stuff at Canadian Tire or wherever and it does a great job as well. It does not burn as long but when you are doing burgers and dogs for the kids, they don’t really care.
8. Firestarters. Once you have the charcoal sitting the Egg, you need to start it of course. I use a long BBQ starter for the flame and either the BGE wood fire starters or zips that I buy at the grocery store. The wood ones are more natural, but more expensive. I also find that don’t get the fire started as quick as the zips do. Anyways, try it out for yourself. Just don’t use your kid’s homework or the Sunday newspaper. You don’t want to add that flavour to your food.
So that’s it. That is all you really need to get going on your quest to be the next great Pit Boss.
There are so many other toys and gadgets I want but they will come. The Big Green Egg is a lifetime investment, so there is plenty of time for pizza stones, three-tiered racks and cast iron grills.
What is your favourite Big Green Egg tool or accessory?