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BGE Tips

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Post Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:11 am
Buckeye Bob well done
well done

Posts: 318
Location: Chicago West Suburbs
I am now the proud owner of a new Large BGE and looking forward to doing my first cook this weekend. Will probably do something easy like hamburgers or chicken until I figure it out. Here's my question. What is that one thing (or few things) that you wish you knew when you first started cooking with your egg? All tips and helpful hints are very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Buckeye Bob

Post Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:17 am
Griffin well done
well done

Posts: 3312
Location: Dallas, Texas

Congrats on the new toy. Where to start?

You might just take a few hours the first time and play around with the top and bottom vent to get a feel for how it responds to opening and closing the vents. Bottom vent is for big changes in temp, top (or DFMT) is for smaller increments.

It's easier to catch the temperature as it is climbing up than it is to overshoot and bring it down. One of the great things about ceramic is that it holds heat so well. That's not a great thing if you've overshot your temp as it will take awhile to bring it down.

For a first cook, do something easy. Most people seem to do some type of chicken on the bone. Mine was thighs. But a spatchcock chicken is real popular as well.

If you don't have thermometers, invest in some good ones. A thermapen is great for a quick check of temps, Maverick ET-732 is great for monitoring pit temps and meat temps remotely.

GreenEggers.com and Egghead Forum are great places to learn more than you will ever need to know.

And last....that pretty felt gasket between the bottom and dome....kiss it goodbye as you are gonna burn through it. There's nothing left of mine and it still works fine. Some people replace it, others don't. Don't freak when it burns out.

Post Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:30 am
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
Griffin gives some good tips, but I would like to just clarify one of them a little. It is true that it's easier to bring the temperature up than it is to bring it down, however that really applies to when it has already been heated up. When you're first lighting it and your lump gets going good, you will reach a point where the temperature can really shoot up quickly and if you're not paying attention can easily overshoot your target temperature by several hundred degrees. When this happens, don't be discouraged and think that it's gonna take a long time to bring that temperature down. The ceramic material hasn't been thoroughly heated up yet, so when you close the bottom vent a decent bit your temperature will fall quickly. Once it's been going awhile and that ceramic material has heated up, that's when it will take quite some time to cool.

Lighting & getting your egg up to temperature is definitely something you're going to have to play around with. One thing I've learned about getting the temperature stabilized is to let the egg heat up with the bottom vent open all the way & the daisy wheel top completely removed. As you approach your target temperature (within 20-30° or so) close the bottom vent by half. Let the temperature rise again, and as you're approaching temperature close by half again. You'll eventually get a feel for where you need to be for what temperatures and how often you'll need to do this to get there, then you're going to put the daisy wheel on and use it to fine tune. If you're going for a super high temperature, you may not even have to close by half when you're trying to get there and can probably get stable & cook without even putting the daisy wheel on. Just experiment.

What is crucial, especially when you're using it as a smoker or for a longer cook where temperature is kind of critical (baking bread, etc.) is to make sure you let the egg run for 10-15 minutes or so at your desired temperature to make sure it is dialed in. Once you open the lid & add your food, resist any urge to fool with the vents. It may take awhile but your temperature will return to where you had it.

There's definitely a learning curve for a new egg owner, but once you get the hang of it you're really gonna love it. IMO, the best money I've ever spent on any cooker and my only regret is that I didn't take the plunge sooner.

Good luck & enjoy!
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

Post Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:44 am
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
Another piece of advice I forgot to mention: "Burping" your egg. Make sure you get yourself in a habit of doing this when you open the lid. I've found that for me it's really only an issue when mine is heated at or above 400°, but I still try to remember to do it every time I open the lid. I do occasionally forget and end up singing a littl arm hair :shock:

Simply use a long gauntlet-style heat resistant glove, such a a welder's glove, on the hand you are opening the lid with and instead of just raising the lid, open it just a bit for a few seconds. If you look through that opening, you'll see the flames flash but they will be contained within the egg. Once you get that initial flash, it is safe to open the lid the rest of the way. I hope I've done a good job of explaining this. As much reading and research as I did on the eggs before I purchased mine, I found nothing (not even the description on the Naked Whiz's site) that truly prepared me for what a flashback would be like, so the very first one really took me by surprise. They don't happen very often anymore, but when they do they're like second nature :lol:

BTW, doing this will also help preserve that gasket some. My egg is now 2 years old, and while my gasket is far from pristine, it's not shot either.
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

Post Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:29 am
tbk420 well done
well done

Posts: 721
Location: Western Pa.
All good tips above.

The one thing that I also learned - on longer cooks, you need to make sure that the holes in the bottom grate don't become clogged with ash. It will stifle the fire and cause your temps to fall.

Pick up or make a "wiggle rod" - http://thirdeyebbq.com/WiggleRods.aspx - and you can periodically dislodge the accumulated ash through the bottom vent.

Post Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:11 am
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
tbk420 wrote:
All good tips above.

The one thing that I also learned - on longer cooks, you need to make sure that the holes in the bottom grate don't become clogged with ash. It will stifle the fire and cause your temps to fall.

Pick up or make a "wiggle rod" - http://thirdeyebbq.com/WiggleRods.aspx - and you can periodically dislodge the accumulated ash through the bottom vent.


Good tip about the accumulated ash. I don't know how bad this would get on the really long cooks, as I still haven't had a chance to do anything longer than a 5 hour cook, even after 2 years of having my egg. One thing that I have learned is that when I put my lump in the fire box, I start with a base of large pieces. This helps to keep the holes from getting clogged easily. Whenever I am doing a longer cook, I always remove all the charcoal from the fire box and clean out any ash so I am starting up fresh and give myself a better chance of not having issues with very small pieces of lump and ash.

A little more advice: IMO getting the adjustable rig and spider from the Ceramic Grill Store really helps expand the possible cooking setups of the egg. Lots of people buy the platesetter from the start, and I didn't do that. However, I did pick one up a few months ago because I liked the idea of using that as an indirect piece instead of using a pizza stone. And combined with a pizza stone, the egg is by far the best oven I've ever baked in.
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

Post Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:28 pm
Nick medium-rare
medium-rare

Posts: 75
I have an adittional question to add, I hear to always cook with the lid down, does that mean even for simple things like burgers/hotdogs? Also, what about pizza, do you do that with the lid down as well, if so, how often do you left the lid to check so you don't burn the crust? Thanks

Post Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:34 pm
Dyal_SC well done
well done

Posts: 3712
Location: Lexington, SC
Nick wrote:
I have an adittional question to add, I hear to always cook with the lid down, does that mean even for simple things like burgers/hotdogs? Also, what about pizza, do you do that with the lid down as well, if so, how often do you left the lid to check so you don't burn the crust? Thanks


Yeah, I always close the lid. The BGE gets HOT very fast! That much oxygen will aid to the blaze. :) And yep, you close the lid for pizza as well....the BGE works like an oven...cooks from the top and bottom, so you want the dome closed. You can peak at the pizza through the daisy wheel (the exhaust) to make sure you're not burning it.
Large BGE
CG Duo with SFB

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Post Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:07 pm
phillyjazz well done
well done

Posts: 2969
Location: Philly

For grilling with high heat, new lump is best. For low and slow, the old stuff is better. I keep a galvanized bucket, and put the old used coals in it for smoking when I switch over to new for steaks.
- Phillyjazz -

Grill Dome ceramic / Ducane Affinity 4200 gasser/ Concrete pit
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Post Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:13 pm
Kenny 13 well done
well done

Posts: 4051
Location: Belle Chasse, LA
phillyjazz wrote:
For grilling with high heat, new lump is best. For low and slow, the old stuff is better. I keep a galvanized bucket, and put the old used coals in it for smoking when I switch over to new for steaks.


Good tip. On that subject of new lump, you'll definitely want to let it get to where it's burning nice and clean before you add any food to the grill. Let those VOC's burn off, and you'll know when you no longer have that really strong odor coming from the exhaust. If you're doing a low & slow cook, the time you're going to take to make sure you have the egg running with a good stable temperature will more than likely to suffice to burn off those VOC's.
Large Big Green Egg

What's On The Grill?

Post Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:26 pm
smokin'gal well done
well done

Posts: 1541
Location: Seattle, WA
Everyone has given really good tips and advice here. I just wanted to add something in the way of preventing a clogged fire grate. Before my first cook, I purchased the High-Que stainless steel fire grate. The longest cook I've done so far was 10 hours. I've never had any issues with clogging. It also allows for better airflow in general.


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