Big Green Egg Cooking Class with Iryna, 7th June 2017
During the class we covered the following:
- Loading and lighting the Big Green Egg
- Reverse Seared Picanha Steak
- Vertical Roast Chicken
- Ribeye steaks
- Temperature Control
- Thermometers – both Thermapen for probing and the Thermoworks Smoke for Wireless remote monitoring.
- General Technique
The technique we used here was a reverse sear where we slowly raised the temperature of the two pieces of Picanha by cooking it at 110°C until it’s internal temperature was 55°C for Mrs Smurfit and 50°C for the others.
During this cook we used the Thermoworks Smoke thermometer to tell us both the temperature of the Egg (110°C) and the temperature of the meat.
The initial cook was indirect, we used the plate setter feet up with the stainless grid on top. To that we added the meat and cooked slowly until the core temperature reached 50°C and 55°C (5°C lower than the temperature we were aiming for as the last 5°C would be achieved when we seared the meat).
We then removed the plate setter and opened the air vents to raise the temp to 230-250°C. We used the cast iron grid to sear the Picanha for about 3 minutes on each side.
Next time I would suggest you aim at 58°C for Mrs Smurfit, maybe even 60°C.
Vertical Roast Chicken
The recipe is here.
Vertical Roast Chicken is one of the easiest repicipes to cook. We essentially cooked the chicken at 180°C on the vertical chicken roaster for about 1hour to 1hour 15mins depending on how big the chicken was. You are looking to make sure the internal temperature of the chicken is above 74°C at the thickest part of the meat.
When you cook chicken on a BBQ over lumpwood charcoal you may get what is called a smoke ring on your chicken. This is where the mioglobin in the flesh of the chicken reacts with the nitrogen and carbon dioxide and leaves the meat looking pink. The chicken is cooked but some people may mistake this for the chicken being under done.
As with any meat it is always a great idea to rest your meat after cooking. I suggest resting a chicken for 20 minutes wrapped in foil.
You don’t have to use a drip pan but if you do then you’ll be able to keep the juices for a gravy. Any metal pan from your oven is perfectly good.
Rib Eye Steaks
The Egg a one of the best tools to cooking a great steak. There are many ways of doing it:
- Griddled using the cast iron grid
- Seared on the cast iron searing griddle (you don’t have one of these)
- Dirty – cooked directly on the charcoal. This may sound odd but it’s one of my favourite ways of cooking it.
The way we cooked the steaks was to do them at about 250°C on the cast iron grid, directly over the charcoal (no ConvEGGtor). Make sure you give the cast iron grid 10 minutes at 250°C to heat up before you start cooking on it.
I prepared the rib-eye steaks by just sprinkling them with Maldon Salt. We then cooked them for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Rember the cooking time will depend on the thickness of the steak.
To test the cook of the steak rember to use the thumb method.
The plank is designed to smoulder while the salmon roasts on top of it, taking on the wood flavour as it cooks.
Soak the planks in water for at least 1 hour before you use them. You can also soak them in other liquids such as:
- Beer, lager or cider.
- A dilution of citrus juice.
Get your Egg to 180°C in a direct setup with just the stainless or cast iron grids. Dry the side of the plank, you will put the fish on for about a minute by placing it cooking side down on the Egg.
Take your salmon fillets and place them skin side down onto the plank. Use the grill gripper to move the plank onto the Egg. I put a slice of lemon onto the salmon to show the smoke, not to add flavour. It looks pretty though.
Cook until the salmon has firmed up enough to show it is cooked (about 8-10 mins). Take off the plank with the grill grippers and put onto something heat proof.
What temperature should I cook at?
The following chart shows meat cooking temperatures depending on your cut of meat and your preferred level of cook:
What settings are needed for specific temperatures?
Setting the temperature on your Egg will vary slightly from Egg to Egg. However for a large Big Green Egg the settings are roughly as per the guide I have put together.
Where can I get videos on to help me use my Big Green Egg?
The Big Green Egg UK Youtube channel has an excellent section called the Tips Series. These videos will tell you how to use your Egg.
Rest your meat
Always remember to rest your meat after cooking it. This give the structure time to relax and reabsorb moisture. It will make your meat taste far more tender and juicy.
There is a great article discussing whether this is a myth but I still like to rest my meat: http://amazingribs.com/tips_and_technique/mythbusting_resting_meat.html
When you do a reverse sear as we did for the Picanha, bring the temperature of the meat to 5°C less than you require it to be when finished. This is because the sear process will raise the temperature by another 5°C. For example, for a medium cooked steak you want it to be 63°C, therefore cook it until is has an internal temperature of 58°C before searing it.
Using Planks Multiple Times
A great technique for prologing the life of your planks is to soak them overnight in lieu of them being soaked in just water, add flavourings to the water. Great flavourings are:
- Lemon and lime – lovely citric flavours go well with fish
- Beer, cider and lager
Now instead of using the planks directly over the charcoal, use your ConvEGGtor (plate setter) feet up with the stainless steel grid and place the planks onto the stainless grid. You’ll still get the wood flavouring but it won’t burn your planks away.
Remember always place your planks onto a heat resistant surface when you take them off the Egg.
Using a cool box to rest meat
A cool box makes a brilliant tool to store your meat while it’s resting. It will keep it hot for longer periods too. I’ve kept 13Kg of pork piping hot for over 10 hours before.
Once your meat is cooked, wrap it in several layers of aluminium foil and place it into your cool box. Cover then with bath towels and then shut the lid. Make sure you use old towels as you’ll never get the smell of BBQ out of them!
Cleaning your Egg
The Egg doesn’t need to be cleaned that often but it is essential. If you ever notice your Egg isn’t heating up properly it will be because it needs a good clean.
Clean the ash from your Egg every five or so cooks. Use the ashtool to do this.
Every 12-15 cooks take the whole of the inside of your Egg out and brush down with the dustpan and brush. Some people hoover out their Eggs but if you do this make sure it is cold, I had a customer set her Henry on fire.
We cooked using the Thermoworks Smoke when we cooked the Picanha.
This is my favourite wireless thermometer as it is so easy to use. It had a great range, you were ablt to take it all over the house.
We used this to monitor two temperatures:
- Temperature of the Big Green Egg using the clip on thermometer.
- Temperature of the Picanha using the food probe.
With both of these probes remember to bring the wires out of the Egg over one of the legs of the ConvEGGtor (plate setter). This will prolong the life of the probes.
You can buy the Thermoworks Smoke from here. You’ll have to import it from the US as they don’t sell them in the US yet.
Recommended Cook Books
Tim Hayward is a Cambridge based food writer, restauranteur and chef. He’s judged on the BBQ scene. His book contain loads of great curing recipes as well as BBQ stuff. I really love it and use the recipes all the time. It’s available on Amazon.