Christmas 2016 at The Gog - Big Green Egg Cooking Class
- Roast Turkey
- It’s going to taste better cooked on the Egg and given the right treatment will be really moist too.
- There’s also a video to go with this. Consider brining your turkey if you don’t want to inject it.
- Mama’s Stuffing
- Named after my mother-in-law’s stuffing, it’s so easy, really tasty on the Egg and a winner with everyone.
- Venison Stew
- A great autumn/winter dish, this one is very rich. I do other game stews too.
- Turkey Curry
- Chicken/Turkey Tikka Masala recipe cooked on the Egg, nice and smokey. You can also use the marinade I had ready, Parmjit’s Chicken Tikka.
- Naan bread
- Whether they’re plain, garlic or more exotic, the longer this dough proves the better, 12 hours is good so make it early. They’re so much nicer than shop bought packet naans and very quick.
Setup & Temperatures
- Roast Turkey – Plate setter feet up, stainless steel grid, drip pan, V-Rack – 180°C
- Mama’s Stuffing – Plate setter feet up, stainless steel grid, cook in a cast iron pan or oven proof dish – 180°C
- Venison stew – Plate setter feet up, stainless steel grid, cook in a dutch oven or le Creuset dish – 180°C
- Turkey Curry – Direct on either stainless steel grid or cast iron grid – 180-200°C
- Naan bread – Plate setter feet up, stainless steel grid, baking stone – 300°C
Questions and Answers
What temperature should I cook my meat to?
The following chart from AmazingRibs.com is a great reference. Take a look around their site too because it is a wealth of knowledge.
What pans can I use in my Egg?
Any metal, glass or ceramic pan designed for your oven will work fine in your Egg. Just be careful that pots or pans that have silicon pieces aren’t used above 240°C, this is the temperature at which silicon melts. Remember the heat coming up the edges of your plate setter will be hotter than the Egg is set to, so don’t let silicon overhang this area.
I use a silicon baking tray in my Egg when I cook Smoked Chocolate Brownie, it makes getting the brownie out of the tray much simpler when it’s cooked.
I highly recommend the Tefal Ingenio range of pans with the removable handles for use on the Egg, especially the stainless steel ones.
Can I cold smoke on my Egg?
Yes you can but you will need to use something like the ProQ Cold Smoke Generator. This has been designed to burn sawdust very slowly and with very little heat, meaning your Egg will stay close to ambient temperature and not cook the product you are trying to smoke.
You can smoke anything from home cured bacon, fish, cheese, butter, right the way through to things like nuts and salts. It’s another whole type of food preparation and really good fun.
Can I cook my vegetables on the Egg?
Absolutely. Some people love to cook their veg in the bottom of their roasting pan and let the turkey juices drip onto them. I think this is a great technique for carrots and parsnips. For roast potatoes, I either like to cook them in my oven or do them in a cast iron dish on the Egg. This recipe is for roast potatoes on the Egg.
What's the best way to light my Egg?
How do I control the temperature?
I’ve written a page on how to set the temperature of your Egg.
What's the technique/setup for cooking pizza on the Egg, I find I'm burning the bottom of the base?
The Egg is a superb tool for cooking pizza but occasionally you can burn a pizza base. This usually happens when you set up your Egg with the plate setter feet down and the baking stone directly on top of it. What’s happening is the pizza stone is getting incredibly hot as the heat radiates through the plate setter and into the baking stone. To counteract this, you have a number of options.
- Method 1 – Setup your Egg with the plate setter feet up, the stainless steel grid on top and then put the baking stone on the stainless steel grid. This creates an air gap between the plate setter and the baking stone. The only downside to this method is you need to leave you Egg a little longer to heat up the baking stone before cooking your first pizza. I use this method.
- Method 2 – If you use your plate setter feet down with the baking stone on top you can take a damp cloth and quickly wipe the pizza stone. This will cool it sufficiently. A Big Green Egg pizza stone will withstand this, a normal shop one is likely to crack though.
- Method 3 – Make yourself a set of metal spacers to place between the plate setter and the baking stone. A bit of standard copper plumbing pipe cut into 1cm high pieces will work perfectly. The beauty of this method is your Egg will get hotter faster as there will be increased airflow and your baking stone will be seperated enough not to burn the pizza base.
I cook all pizzas as hot as I can get the Egg. Make sure you remember to burp your Egg though.
My dome isn't aligned to the base, how do I adjust it and is this normal?
If you find that the dome of your Egg isn’t aligning to the base this is usually down to the metal bands not being level on your Egg. Most commonly you’ll find that the dome is slightly set back from the base. Take a look at your Egg and you’ll probably find that the lower band is sitting further down your Egg than it is at the front.
To rectify this, you can loosen your two carriage bolts until the bands are just able to be moved, don’t undo them any further than this without first putting on the two white hinge retainers that came with your Egg. On a large, medium, small, MiniMax and Mini Egg, the top of the lower band should sit level with the join between the Egg and the gasket. For an XL the band is designed to sit about 2 mm below the gasket (use the spacers that came with your Egg).
I find the best way to adjust the band is to hand tighten the carriage bolt until you can still move the band but it will stay where you moved it to. Level the bottom band all the way around and then tighten the carriage bolt until is starts to bend (you can’t over tighten these bolts really).
Now repeat with the upper band. It should also be level. Make sure there’s no gap between the upper and lower gasket before you tighten this fully.
The dome and base should now be more closely aligned.
Does my Egg need a gasket?
Yes, the Egg is designed to be used with a gasket. The purpose of the Nomex gasket is to provide a seal for your Egg so you can control temperature. Really slow cooks at 110°C are almost impossible as air (oxygen) is able to get into your Egg through the gasket.
My Egg's not getting up to temperature. Is there anything I can do?
If your Egg can’t get to 180°C in 15 minutes from lighting it can be due to a number of things:
- Most likely is that the air vents in your firebox and fire grate are blocked with ash or small pieces of charcoal. It’s a good idea to thoroughly clean out your Egg after every 10-15 cooks. By this I mean taking out all the Egg internals and brushing it down with a dustpan and brush. When you take the ceramics out of the Egg be careful with them and always make sure everything is put where you won’t knock it over and break it. I always make a point of laying everything flat.
- Less likely is that your charcoal has got damp. Always store your charcoal in a dry shed or garage, somewhere where it won’t get covered in condensation/dew.
Tom Adams developed most of his recipes on the Egg along with Richard Turner who is the Executive Chef at Hawksmoor. Some of the recipes require you to make various component recipes first so if you don’t have much time this one may not be for you. His ‘Mother Sauce’ and ‘House Rub’ are epic. The Pit Cue cookbook celebrates the recipes you can eat in the small Pitt Cue restaurant, just off Carnaby Street in London. You can’t book but you may have to wait in line.
Food DIY isn’t focused on BBQ, written by local Cambridge restaurateur Tim Hayward, owner of Fitzbillies, it focuses on all sorts of different techniques. I got into smoking and curing after getting this book. My smoked salmon is a direct result of this. I have also made his guancaile and used it in a carbonara that is to die for. Try it.
The Super Peel
In my opinion the best pizza peel for putting pizzas onto the Big Green Egg. You can make several on your work bench and then pick them up one at a time and put them onto the Egg.
I use the Big Green Egg aluminium pizza peel to get the pizzas off, it’s thin blade gets under the pizzas really easily.
You can buy the Superpeel from Bakerybits.co.uk.
The video on the right shows you how it works. It’s a little tricky to get the hang of the first time, just remember to keep the hand holding the cloth still and push or pull with the hand on the wooden handle.
This is probably the best gadget in my kitchen, everyone should have one.
Pro Q Cold Smoke Generator
Have you ever thought about curing your own bacon, smoking your own cheese or perhaps smoking some salmon or other fish?
The Pro Q Cold smoke generator is an excellent device that allows sawdust to smoulder and the smoke permeate your food. I use it all the time especially for bacon and smoked salmon.
It’s available in the UK from HotSmoked.co.uk and you might be able to use the following code at the checkout to get a 10% discount MP10.
Tefal Ingenio Pans
Tefal Ingenio is the range of pans I use on my Big Green Egg. Amazon sell them as do John Lewis. I have a stainless steel set which are really heavy duty and work really well.
The non-stick versions are good but they don’t last forever.
I have the stainless steel frying pans from the range too with the non stick. They’ve been superb. I use them for risotto and paella on my MiniMax when we’re camping as well as for standard cooked breakfasts.
Maverick 732 Wireless Thermometer
The Maverick 732 is a wireless thermometer with a range of up to 300ft between the base station you leave at your Egg and the receiver you can take with you. There is one probe for your meat and one to clip onto the grid so you can see the temp of your Egg and how your cook is coming along.
Remember with these to run the wires out of your Egg over the plate setter feet so the wires aren’t subject to really high temps that could damage them. Wipe the probes down after use, do not wash them as the water may damage them.
The device I used at the class was the Thermoworks Smoke, it’s a much better unit but at the moment only available in the US. The probes are far more accurate and the device much simpler to use. I’ve reviewed it comparing it to the Maverick 732.
Don’t buy the Maverick 733 or 735, the 733 is too complicated, the 735 has an incredibly poor signal and is therefore almost useless.
The Thermapen is the thermometer of choice of the top chefs to check how well cooked any meat is. You should have one of these or something equivalent in your Egg kit. If you can see what temperature something is at, you will get so much better results.
If you can afford it get the Mk 4 version. It’s faster reacting, the display will swivel to whatever angle you are looking at it from and it’s also backlit which is super handly when you’re outside cooking on a winter evening.