Tag: Big Green Egg

Review: Kick Ash Basket for the Big Green Egg

I’ve been cooking on my Big Green Egg for about ten years now.  During that time, I’ve gotten pretty good at managing my fire and creating pretty darned good BBQ using the Egg in it’s default configuration.

Over the past few months, I’ve begun to add a few upgrades.  I replaced my cast iron daisy wheel with the Smokeware Vented Chimney Cap a few months ago.  And most recently, I acquired the Kick Ash Basket for my firebox. 

I ran into an issue recently where I did back to back cooks and needed to reload the BGE with fresh lump charcoal while it was still hot.  Of course trying to knock the ash out of a hot cooker is tough to do.  About that sime time, I came across the Kick Ash Basket and decided to give it a shot.

You can use this with or without the cast iron fire grate in the bottom of the firebox.  So far, I’m still using the grate.  But the beautiful thing here is being able to pick up the basket and give it a good shake to clear the ash out of the bottom of of the Egg.  It sure beats stirring the old lump to knock the ash loose.

Since I’ve been using the Kick Ash Basket, I’ve noticed that my fire comes up to temp quicker as I’ve been able to remove the ash from the old lump chacrcoal more completely.

I’m really pleased with this aftermarket product and definitely consider it an upgrade.  What upgrades have you made to your BGE?  Drop me a note and let me know.

Cheers,

Braddog

How to Light a Big Green Egg

There a lots of ways to light the charcoal in a Big Green Egg.  No one agrees on the best method, but everyone agrees that N-E-V-E-R use lighter fluid.  

I’ve tried lots of methods, from starter cubes, charcoal chimneys, and even a napkin dipped in olive oil.  But for me, the quickest and surest method is a MAPP Gas torch.  This is a little different that a propane torch like you might use for sweating copper joints.  The key differences are that MAPP burns a little hotter, and the biggie is that the torch will burn when you hold it upside down (as you would when sticking into the bottom of the Big Green Egg).

I recommend a self igniting torch with a locking trigger.  That way you can tip the MAPP bottle up on end and rest it against the side of the pit with it lit. This is the one I use and you can pick it up at Amazon or your local home improvement store.

What’s your favorite method for lighting the charcoal in your pit?  Drop me a note in the comments and let me know.

Cheers,
Braddog

Recipe: Grilled Chicken Sliders

Seems like we often go to casual gatherings where we take a dish.  I’ve gotten tired of the same old thing, so I looked for a way to do something a little different while still cooking outside.

Enter, Chicken Sliders.  This was pretty simple.  I simply bought thin sliced chicken breasts at the lcoal grocery store.  I cut each in half and hit them liberally with Plowboy’s Yardbird rub.  I grilled a pound of bacon and then  grilled the chicken.  I placed the chicken along with a couple of strips of bacon and a slice of cheddar cheese on Hawaiian rolls to serve.

Here’s the process.  First, I grilled a pound of bacon.

Next, I grilled the half chicken breasts that were sliced thin.

And finally, I assmebled the sliders with a slice of cheddar cheese, a couple of strips of bacon, and half a chicken breast on a Hawaiian roll.

A couple of things that I’ll do differently next time.  First, I think I’ll use a tenderizer mallet to flatten the chicken breasts a little mroe.  I also think that the slider would benefit from some other condiment.  BBQ Sauce, mayo, etc.

Other than those few tweaks, this was a success and I’ll be doing this again.

Cheers,
Braddog 

Butcher Paper Brisket

Over the past few months, I’ve been reading about this technique on the interwebs.  I’ve tried wrapping my brisket in foil before, but frankly I prefer to cook it unwrapped.  Now keep in mind, I’m not cooking for competitions or trying to cook a brisket in a short amount of time (usually).  However, there are times when I’d sure like to be able to do one in less than 12 hours.

So this past weekend, I decided that I would cook one brisket on Saturday using the butcher paper method.  If that was successful, I’d cook one on Sunday morning for my annual Daytona 500 gathering.  If it wasn’t successful, I’d still have time to cook one overnight on the Big Green Egg.  Seemed like a reasonable plan, all except for the $45 practice brisket.

In general, wrapping your brisket (or ribs, etc) after a couple of hours helps the meat finish sooner.  There is some science behind this around how connective tissues break down etc, but frankly if you’re reading this because you’re looking for the science behind the process you should stop now and move along to another blog.

Most often, you’ll see folks wrap brisket in foil.  But recently the notion of wrapping in  butcher paper has become popular. Part of the theory is that the paper provides the same benefit in terms of helping the meat finish sooner, without the braising effect of foil.

So, I prepped my brisket:

Cooked indirect at 325 degrees for 4 hours

At 4 hours, I wrapped in butcher paper.  Didn’t check temp, but wrapped when the bark had the right “look” and placed the brisket back on the cooker.

I probed the brisket through the paper and when I thought it felt tender and the temp was 200 degrees plus, I pulled it.  Total cook time was about 6 hours.

Here’s the brisket as I unwrapped it:

Sliced…..

The results?  It just wasnt’ tender enough.  You could say that I should have cooked it longer.  Maybe, but it was also dry and if I’d cooked it longer it would have been even drier. 

So the jury is still out for me.  I don’t think this is a viable option for the Big Green Egg.  I’ll try it again on the Backwoods Smoker and see if different cookers have different results.  Stay tuned for more.

Cheers,
Braddog 

Review: Smokeware Vented Chimney Cap for the Big Green Egg

I’ve been cooking on a Big Green Egg for several years now.  My stand operating procedure (SOP) has always been to place the cast iron vented cap inside the hot grill when I finish and use the solid ceramic cap to extinguish my fire (along with closing the lower vent compeltely).  This allows for the cast iron cap to burn off any build up, while extinguishing the fire more efficiently with the solid ceramic cap.

Alas, I finally did what may others before me have done.  When removing my all weather cover from the egg and table, I inadvertently flipped the solid cerami cap off and busted it on the pavers in my cooking area.

Sure, I could just use the cast iron vented cap to shut the cooker down.  But I know from previous experience that it gets gummed up pretty quickly and becomes hard to use.  I could also break out the JBWeld and try to repair the ceramic.  But I know from previous experience that it would only be a temporary solution.

So I decided to just buy a new cermaic cap.  Much to my surprise, I had a hard time finding one.  Then, I stumbled onto this new SmokeWare SS Vented Chimney Cap from Smokeware.  It looked very interesting and it’s affordable enough that I thought, “Why not?”.

The product shipped quickly and I finally got around to installing it.  First, I had to clean the chimney where the new cap will sit.  I scrubbed it pretty good, but there’s some discoloration from years of use that was more stubborn than me.

Then, to ensure that the new cap is airtight a felt gasket is applied.  This is similar to the gasket between the base and lid of the Big Green Egg.

Then the lower part of the 2-piece stainless steel vent cap sits firmly agains the egg.

And finally, the adjustable cap fits on top of that.

Here are my initial thoughts on the SmokeWare SS Vented Chimney Cap .

Pros:

  • It’s affordable, yet well-made
  • It solves both the need to control air flow and the need to cover the chimney for extinguishing the fire and storing the egg
  • It’s build like the flue on your chimney such that it won’t allow rain/water into the system.  I’ve cooked under an umbrella and other unique arrangements to avoid this.
  • It sealed tight enough that I don’t think it’ll come off easily

 Cons: 

  • It’s stainless steel and it does get hot.  I wish the tab to control the size of the opening was a little longer/bigger.  If you’re not careful you’ll burn your hand, trust me I know.
  • I wish the sliding vent control had a stops for fully open and fully closed.  As it is, the vent control can move 360 degrees.  You have to be sure to position it exactly right to fully close off the air flow.

All in all, I think it’s a winner.  Check out the folks over at Smokeware.net for this and other BBQ accessories.

Cheers,
Braddog 

Recipe: Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites

It’s playoff time in the NFL and that means I have a lot of chances to get together with friends for football on the weekends. I don’t do this all that much during the regular season, but after the holidays it seems like folks aren’t as busy and we enjoy getting together.

But I digress. I get tired of the same old snacks that I’ve done for gatherings like this. So, I was looking for something different when I came upon a reference to bacon-wrapped chicken bites. Sounded good to me, so I gave it a shot on Sunday.

I cubed 2 large chicken breasts and wrapped each cube in a half a strip of bacon. I then rolled them in brown sugar and hit them with a little bit of spicey rub. That’s all there was to it.

I fired up the Big Green Egg and set it up for indirect cooking. However, I ran the temp up to about 350 degrees. The chicken cooked for 45 minutes to an hour. The only problem I had was judging the doneness of the chicken, as I couldn’t really see the chicken through the bacon.

There are a couple of things I’ll do differently next time.  First, I won’t panic and switch to direct cooking half-way through.  That was a mistake (and why there are no “after” photos).  Second, I think a little more brown sugar and a little more heat would be good.  I will try to punch up the flavor next time for sure.

Conference championships are coming up this weekend so you’ve got time to perfect your game time grub before the Superbowl.   Leave a comment and let me know what you’re going to cook for the big game.

Cheers,
Braddog 

My BBQ Space

For the past few years, I’ve cooked on a variety of pits at home. Each time, I’ve moved the pit from the garage to the edge of the driveway or onto the lawn. The benefit is that my BBQ Pits (I have more than one, doesn’t everybody?) are stored indoors. The downside, my cars are not.

So, I’ve decided that I’d like to get my cars in the garage. But, I didn’t really have a great place to keep the BBQ gear and I wasn’t sure about storing my gear outdoors. Recently, I took the first step in solving this problem and laid pavers behind the garage. So far, I couldn’t be happier with the result.  I’ve got 2 of 3 cars in the gargage and a dedicated space for cooking.  I’ve ordered a cover for my Big Green Egg and table and I’m about to order one for my Backwoods cooker.

IMG_2095

Some time in the future, I could see a cover on this space.  But that’s a blog post for another day and at a time when the finances could support something more.

Cheers,
Braddog