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Ross's Big Green Egg-venture


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Waiting for some snakes in Tapped Out, I ran to the store and got some cheap sausage ($1.99). I didn't have any bacon so I used a BBQ rub I had sitting around. The center is 3 different cheeses and bacon bits. This is my first attempt ever at smoking anything.

 

I am new to the Big Green Egg, I won this one at a charity event. It's the small, so it's not great for a family of 5. I have done steaks a few times and some burgers.

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^^^Looks great man, would love to hear how it turned out! Hope your enjoying the Egg, I personally would never buy a small but if I won one at a charity event like you did I'm sure I'd find some uses for it. I bet it's great for steaks and burgers since you can get the meat closer to the hot coals and you can likely obtain the same temperatures of a large (700-800 degrees) with less charcoal. I could see the small being great to take with you to a tailgate or a picnic or something as well.

 

I haven't been cooking much lately but with spring time in the air it's grilling season so some updates shall be here soon. I did cook some beef ribs that turned out great a few weeks ago, and I've been experimenting with cooking on my cast iron skillet in the egg which has worked really well (made the best burger I've ever made with that technique). One of these days I want to buy a large wok that fits in the egg and do some high temperature sir-fry. Here are a few pictures of some of the stuff I've done recently.

 

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Smoked beef Ribs

Smoked beef ribs, the world's most underrated rib! Really great flavor from a basic salt n pepper rub but getting the meat to the proper tenderness is a bit tricky. Publix has these things on sale for cheap all the time so I've added them to my regular rotation whenever a sale pops up. It's hard to tell from the picture but these things are BIG, each bone is probably about 6-8 inches long (that's what she said) and a half rack alone easily feeds two with leftovers.

 

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Swordfish and Shrimp Skewers

Swordfish and shrimp skewers. Again I started playing around with cooking in my cat iron skillet on the Egg. I love cooking in a cast iron skillet but it will smoke like crazy and set your smoke alarm off in a heartbeat so taking the technique outside to the Egg was perfect (and the egg gets way hotter than my stove top ever could). I seared the fillets on the grate first to get the nice grill marks then tossed them in the skillet with some melted butter to finish them off. I tried to get creative with the skewering of the shrimp which looked kinda cool but was mostly a waste of time.

 

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Mahi Squash and Zucchini

Again cooked some mahi-mahi fillets in the skillet and they turned out pretty well. Grilled up some squash and zucchini to go with it which has slowly turned into one of my favorite sides.

 

 

I had an awesome dish at a great restaurant in NYC a few months ago (insert shameless plug for Maysville Bourbon+Food that I've been dying to try on the egg, so I'm hoping to attempt a smoke braised pork belly some time in the next couple of weeks. Also, with Derby season around the corner I'm sure there will be meat cooked over fire and a report to follow.

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It came out great. It was very easy to maintain the correct temperature for the entire cooking time. This cooked at 250 degrees for 2 and a half hours. It was 170 degrees on the inside, and I put it in a cooler to rest for about an hour after it was done.

 

I am going to try a Boston butt this weekend.

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^Thanks, it was pretty good! I wasn't a huge fish fan growing up (kinda of hard to get fresh mahi in KY) but with the fish selection in Florida I almost prefer grilled (or blackened) mahi or snapper over a steak these days. I don't get around to fishing too often but grilling up some freshly caught redfish is about as good as it gets

 

^^^Good luck with the pork butt. The best advice I can give if you've never done one before if don't worry about the timing and don't follow any minutes per pound equation, just cook it until it's done ( I like to cook mine to 195-200 internal). I also like to take mine off the grill when it reaches temperature and wrap it in foil (maybe with a little sauce or butter) then stick it in a cooler to rest for a 30 minutes up to a couple of hours. It should stay right around that 195 temp in the cooler but resting it like that should make the meat very easy to pull and shred after you remove it. Have fun!

Edited by Hilltopper39
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That might be the one thing I miss most about Florida....great, fresh seafood. There's nothing like Mahi straight off the boat! If you'd consistently grill it up like that, I'd move in next door!

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

My apologies to Ross for a slightly off-topic post, but I thought it might be of help to other followes

 

I've followed this thread since it's inception, as most of the regular posters here have. I've salivated over Ross's meals and have lusted over a Big Green Egg for quite a while now.

 

For my birthday, my girlfriend wanted to get me an Egg. I felt guilty having her buy me such an expensive gift, but loved the idea. We compromised and got a much cheaper option at Lowes - a Char griller 6719. It's only $300 - came out to $350 after tax and a cover, and it includes a stand (which IIRC the Egg does not).

 

I'm not going to say that it is better than an Egg. I've had a lot of meals off of an Egg though (they are built about 5 miles from my house), and I'd say it is near-as-makes-no-difference for my palate - the cook still makes the meal. I will admit there is definitely more tolerance in the build, but so far I haven't had any issues with the grill - it might not last as long as other grills, but I don't see it falling apart anytime soon either. Online reviews are solid as well. The main difference is that the Egg and other higher-end products are fully ceramic, where this grill is only ceramic on the inside. Still does a great job insulating heat, and after six weeks of use on a weekly basis, I am very happy with my gift.

 

Basically, what I'm suggesting is that if you too would like to play with a kamodo-style grill, but are a bit hesitant with a $700-1000 grill, perhaps you can try this one out first.

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My brother bought the same grill for his town house last year and he really likes it. I've cooked on his with him a few times and the performance and results are very very similar to the egg. I really like some of the design features on the Chargriller (I think model name is the Acorn). The removable ash tray is pretty convenient and I like the removable center portion of the cooking grate. I think the Egg has slightly better temperature control, for the long cook we did after lighting the initial fire it seems like it took a bit longer to get the temp down to around 225-250 than the Egg does, but other than that it's a pretty darn product that I would recommend/consider (and probably buy) if I were in the market for a new grill right now.

 

A lot of Big Green Green Egg accessories (and they have a lot of good stuff) are pretty compatible with the Acorn since the cooking surface is pretty much the same size as the Egg's.

 

Have fun, and post some pictures if you ever get a chance!

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I smoked a pork shoulder this last weekend. I have a Weber smoker and it has major draw backs but the results were good. I would love to move up to an Egg but need to do a lot more then smoking once a year to justify the cost. Love this thread and hope to see more results now that Summer is in full swing.

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I've been doing a little cooking this summer but nothing very unique or interesting. I did dry age a 7.5 pound Ribeye to cut into steaks for July 4th that I'll get around to posting some pictures of eventually. I've got a bout 1/3 of it left that is still aging so maybe this week/weekend I'll carve up what's left and post some pics.

 

By the way dry again at home is easy to do and yields incredible results. You need to age a pretty big hunk of meat to make it work so it's great for a party.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dry Aged Ribeye Steaks

 

So for the past couple of years I've been experimenting with Dry Aging beef at home. There are a few websites out there that have a pretty good scientific description of the process and directions for achieving that magical dried beef and here a a few.

 

The Food Lab, dry aging at home

 

Cooks Illustrated quick aging method

 

Dry aging beef compound the flavors inside of the meat and creates a completely different tasting cut a beef that I would almost describe as buttery and rich, and yes the difference is absolutely noticeable! From Wikipedia..

The process changes beef by two means. Firstly, moisture is evaporated from the muscle. This creates a greater concentration of beef flavour and taste. Secondly, the beef’s natural enzymes break down the connective tissue in the muscle, which leads to more tender beef That translates to if giant giant chunks of beef flesh are left sitting in a cold climate controlled environment they will turn into tasty magical meat snakcs similar to how a caterpillar in a cocoon turns into a beautiful butterfly. Aged Beef is the sweet and semi-stinky buttery butterfly of the culinary world.

 

A coupe of tips...

-Age the largest piece you can afford to buy, there is a lot of weight loss due to moisture evaporation (almost as much as 30%) and there is even more loss after you trim the final cut.

-Buy a fairly high grade of beef, preferably prime or choice. You need a lot of fat content in the cut because the fat is what breaks down in the aging process (I think, I'm not a scientist).

-Keep you fridge as cool as possible and circulate the air with a small fan. I wrapped mine in a cheesecloth for the fist week while the moisture was still evaporating but after that it get pretty dried up so I just left it exposed.

 

The cooking process for this was simple, get the grill as hot as possible then cook to the desired tenderness. I bought a 7.5 pound boneless Ribeye (would prefer a bone in, maybe next year) then aged it for 14 days. We cut off steak at the 14 day point then I let the remaining portion age another week to 20 days to cook the rest. Here are some pics.

 

Here is the roast before I put it in the fridge to begin the process. I didn't get a picture of the setup but I wrapped the raost in a cheese cloth and placed it on a wire rack set in a baking sheet to get some air flow around the beef.

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The next couple of pics are at around 6 days, you can tell that the edges have started to discolor slightly but the internal color of the meat is about the same.

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The next couple of pictures were around 12 days, now you can really see the edges have started to dry out and the meat that isn't dry has begun to turn a bit of a rosier red color.

 

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Now comes the fun part, carving this sucker up for the feast. You want to try to shave off the dried pieces as thinly as possible until you reach the portion in the middle that is still "good", there is a lot of waste involved but with a really sharp knife you can minimize some of the waste (I didn't get any pictures of the waste pile I trimmed off from 154 days but I did at the 20 day mark).

 

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The next couple of pictures I took before and after slicing into the dry aged cut with the flash on and off. You really see the change in color of the meat at this point. It looks incredible.

 

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steaks on the grill

Here are the steaks on the grill for July 4th at 14 days. Excellent flavor, very tender but I probably should have cut them a little bit thicker.

 

 

The next set of pictures is from a week later when I let the remainder of the roast continue to age. I think that the 20+ days is really the sweet spot, next time I dry age I'll have to play for a atleast 20 days.

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You can really see how much moisture was lsot and how much the thing dried up after the 20 days. The previous picture was the same thicker "Rib Eye" end of the cut that was larger than my hand in the begin of the report. You can also see how much waste there is in the trimming process in the next couple of pictures.

 

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Ready to throw on the grill

 

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Use a piece of beef fat to clean the grate off

 

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Decent grill marks

 

 

 

I grilled them a little more well done than I would have liked but I think part of the darker color was a result of the aging. The beef was still as tender as could be, you could almost cut it with a fork, so I don't really know what the actual level of "done" was, but it was delicious so I don't really care. You can really taste the difference, the meat has a rich almost buttery flavor to it even though the preparation involves nothing more than a light dusting of salt and pepper before grilling. And I know your thinking it but the answer is no, not a single guest got sick in the near future after consuming my home aged beef. The process, if properly executed, is safe and yields amazing results.

 

That wraps it up! Now go forth and age a large piece of beef for you next party, gathering, or family dinner, you won't regret it!

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Wow, that looks amazing! It is quite stinky when done right, but it's soooooo good when cooked.

 

Yeah the smell is noticeable but it really wasn't that bad. Around the 2 week mark when you opened the fridge you would notice it but it wasn't so strong that it jumped out and completely overwhelmed the room or anything.

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  • 10 months later...

Now that grilling season is in full swing, I'm considering getting a kamado-style grill. It seems like the off brand models are worth a look as the BGE is a pretty large financial investment. But I dunno. I need to do a bit more research.

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Yeah, the Egg is a bit of an investment but if you like to grill a lot you'll end up using it all the time.

 

See the post earlier on this page about the Akorn by Chargriller, it's a great product at a much lower price point (I saw one at Lowes this weekend for $299) and honestly works really well. My brother has one and uses it all the time and has nothing but good thing to say about it. Might not be a precise as an egg but it still holds temperature really well. It's essentially the same design as an egg (with a few features I actually like BETTER like the removable ash tray and numbered air door opening) and you can use a lot of the same accessories as the egg. Indirect cooking can be a but tricky but I think the manufacturer actually now sells a "plate setter" type device specifically designed for the Acorn. If not just use a slightly smaller diameter grate and an aluminum foil drip pan and you'll be pullin pork in no time, and by no ime I mean 12-16 hours hopefully !

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AWESOME!! I grill at least twice a week. I don't have a smoker yet, but I'm really close to buying one. This thread makes me want one even more! I'm going to get a Weber Smoky Mountain. The Egg is fantastic, but I can get the WSM a bit cheaper.

 

PLEASE keel posting pics. You're all making me hungry!

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Yeah, the Egg is a bit of an investment but if you like to grill a lot you'll end up using it all the time.

 

See the post earlier on this page about the Akorn by Chargriller, it's a great product at a much lower price point (I saw one at Lowes this weekend for $299) and honestly works really well. My brother has one and uses it all the time and has nothing but good thing to say about it. Might not be a precise as an egg but it still holds temperature really well. It's essentially the same design as an egg (with a few features I actually like BETTER like the removable ash tray and numbered air door opening) and you can use a lot of the same accessories as the egg. Indirect cooking can be a but tricky but I think the manufacturer actually now sells a "plate setter" type device specifically designed for the Acorn. If not just use a slightly smaller diameter grate and an aluminum foil drip pan and you'll be pullin pork in no time, and by no ime I mean 12-16 hours hopefully !

 

Yeah, I just need to do a bit more research. I think the Akorn might be fine for my purposes, but I might rather man up and buy exactly what I want the first time around. The poor man pays twice.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I broke down and bought a BGE last February. I absolutely love it. I have been grilling or smoking just about every weekend. I have done a couple of 16 hour smokes on a pork should and recently got the cast iron grill. One of the best investments I have made.

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I've decided to buy a real kamado because I'm worried about the Akorn rusting out. It rains a lot here. My current little Weber has a lot of rust on it and it's only a few years old.

 

I'm leaning towards the Kamado Joe classic 18" because it seems to include a lot for the money. Other options would include the BGE, Grill Dome, and Primo. I dunno. This might not happen this year as I hope to buy the Retina Macbook Air when it comes out in the fall.

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  • 2 weeks later...

^ I know the Komodo's are a little cheaper then the Eggs. I have heard nothing negative about them either. I went with the Egg because the dealer is close to my house and it is easy to pop in their to get any accessories or charcoal. The lump charcoal is key to the ceramic cookers. I'm only on my third bag of charcoal and have cooked dozens of times. If you don't buy an Egg from a dealer there is no warranty. One of the reasons the prices are higher.

 

I would still invest in a cover if it is going to be left in the rain.

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