Did you know that July is National Grilling Month? That’s right! Time to fire up those grills and get cooking! While we offer an extensive selection of grills from top brands including Napoleon Grills and Twin Eagles here at Sunfire Energy Solutions, this month we’re spotlighting the Big Green Egg for its truly EGGceptional grilling power and its wide range of uses.
Read on to learn more about the EGG and how you can use it to grill, roast, smoke, and bake all of your favorite foods.
What Is the Big Green Egg?
A blend of ancient tradition and modern technology, the Big Green Egg is different from other charcoal grills. “Its design is modeled on the clay cooking vessels first seen during the Chinese Qin Dynasty and then used by the Japanese beginning in the third century,” according to the Big Green Egg website.
Ed Fisher, the founder of the Atlanta-based Big Green Egg company, had been importing these Asian clay cookers, called kamados, into the United States in the 1970s when he decided to develop his own signature brand of green, egg-shaped grills. Eventually, he partnered with a state-of-the-art manufacturer and skilled engineers and artisans, and the EGG’s design evolved from using clay, which is more fragile, to more durable ceramics. The result was a top-of-the-line grill that is tougher and provides better heat insulation than most other grills of its kind.
What Are the Benefits of the Big Green Egg?
Today, the Big Green Egg dominates the kamado-style grill market. In fact, Steven Raichlen, author of “The Barbecue Bible,” owns 60 grills and lists the EGG as his fourth favorite of them all in an article for Food & Wine magazine. “Its thick ceramic walls hold in heat, making it amazingly fuel-efficient, while its unique venting system allows it to go from 225 to 700 degrees with the twist of a dial,” Raichlen says.
The EGG’s design allows it to hold in not only more heat, but also more moisture than most metal charcoal grills. It offers more precise temperature control as well. “What makes kamados different from other metal charcoal grills is their heavy, airtight seal that holds in moisture, with small vents at the top and bottom to control air flow with precision,” according to an article on the Big Green Egg published by Atlanta magazine in 2015. These vents allow you to easily control the temperature inside the EGG, with the unit’s temperature gauge providing precise readings up to 750 degrees.
Kamados like the EGG also are known for being energy efficient and easy to use than metal charcoal grills. “A kamado has a quick startup time; it’s ready to cook in just a few minutes,” according to Atlanta magazine. “Moreover, the natural lump charcoal burns hotter and more efficiently than briquettes, and it produces little ash to clean up.”
The sheer versatility of the EGG’s cooking power is another huge draw for many people. In addition to grilling, you can use the EGG to roast, smoke, and bake all your favorite foods to perfection. Whether you want to grill some steaks or burgers, roast a whole chicken or some vegetables, smoke a pork shoulder, or even bake a cake or pie, the EGG can do it.
Best of all, since the EGG is airtight and designed to withstand extreme temperatures and weather conditions, you can grill, roast, smoke, and bake on it all year long! (Always close an unused EGG, and never allow rain or snow to enter the cooker, though, warns the EGG website.)
Tips for Using Your Big Green Egg
The Big Green Egg is different from your average charcoal grill. Read your manufacturer’s instructions carefully before use, and follow these tips for safe and proper usage:
- NEVER use lighter fluid to light your EGG. The ceramic will absorb the fluid, permanently contaminating it. Instead, use Big Green Egg All Natural SpeediLight Charcoal Starters or an EGGniter or Electric Charcoal Starter, along with Big Green Egg brand lump charcoal, which is made in the United States from select cuts of oak and hickory. Do not use charcoal briquettes or self-starting charcoal.
- Leave the coals alone. There’s no need to stoke or turn the coals once your EGG has been lit. In fact, the EGG is specially designed to ignite the charcoal uniformly in a way that is best left undisturbed. “The coals will burn most efficiently this way, and best of all, you are not bothered with the constant hassle of messing with hot coals,” according to the EGG website.
- Resist the urge to keeping checking your food while cooking. Always keep the dome lid closed when cooking to regulate the temperature inside the EGG. To prevent heat loss, try to minimize the amount of time the dome is open when checking or removing food. As the EGG website says, “If you’re looking…you’re not cooking!” Trust the EGG to do the cooking for you.
- Be sure to “burp” your EGG. When you need to open the EGG’s dome lid while cooking at high temperatures (300 degrees or hotter), it is absolutely crucial to first “burp” the EGG: “Lift or slowly crack the dome only slightly a few times, allowing air to safely enter slowly, preventing any backdraft or flare-ups that may allow a flash of heat to escape or burn your hand,” advises the EGG website. “Never quickly open a hot EGG all the way.”
- Cut off the oxygen supply to put the flame out. After you’re finished cooking on your EGG, simply close the upper and lower vents completely to extinguish the flame. Never use water on the inside of your EGG.
How to Cook Like a Pro on Your Big Green Egg
As with all grills, different foods call for different temperatures, methods, and cook times on the Big Green Egg. For direct grilling of meats like steaks or burgers, Raichlen recommends lighting all the coals in the EGG, opening the top and bottom vents wide, and preheating the grill to 600 to 700 degrees. “Sear the steak on the grate for 2 minutes per side (giving a quarter turn after 1 minute), then lower the lid,” he writes in an article on his website, BarbecueBible.com. “Here’s where the genius of the Egg comes in: The juices drip on the coals, sending fragrant smoke up to the steak. The lowered lid traps the smoke and seals in the moisture. It also speeds up the cooking time—7 minutes in all should do it.”
For chicken, Raichlen suggests grilling the meat over a drip pan at a temperature of 325 to 350 degrees. “The Big Green Egg is the perfect grill for cooking chicken—a meat known for its perverse dual tendencies to dry out on the grill or burst into flames because of dripping fat,” he writes in his Food & Wine article. For his Thai-style chicken legs, Raichlen says to “arrange the chicken on the hot grate above the drip pan and away from the coals, skin side down. Cover and grill for 40 minutes or until the skin is crisp and the meat is cooked through.”
For indirect grilling and smoking, Raichlen advises installing a convEGGtor, a ceramic plate that fits inside the EGG. A convEGGtor, along with a pizza and baking stone, also can be used for baking everything from pizza and bread to biscuits, cakes, calzones, and cookies.
Are You an EGGhead?
With everything the Big Green Egg can do, it’s no surprise that EGG owners are known for their dedication and love for their grills. In fact, there are legions of loyal EGG fans (affectionately known as EGGheads) in more than 40 countries around the world. These EGGheads come together online to discuss grilling tips and share recipes like this bacon cheeseburger meatloaf and this easy pizza on the EGGhead Forum. They also connect on social media sites using the hashtag #EGGhead4Life.
EGGheads also can visit the EGG website for delicious recipes like these and many more:
- Smoked spareribs
- Crab quiche
- Grilled vegetable lasagna
- Double smoked potatoes
- Grilled cheesesteak pizza
- Smoked apples
- Coconut cake
- Sticky buns
Here in Martinsburg, West Virginia, and around the region, we have a fast-growing community of EGGheads. Sunfire Energy Solutions is proud serve as the local Big Green Egg headquarters for EGGheads from Charles Town to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, and in nearby Winchester, Virginia, and Hagerstown, Maryland. We carry all seven sizes of the EGG, plus all the EGGcessories you need, from charcoal, pans, and grilling tools to sauces and seasonings.
Stop by our showroom at 301 East Stephen Street in Martinsburg today to check out our selection of EGGs and EGGcessories, or call 304-267-3029 to learn more.
Happy grilling, fellow EGGheads!