Lawrence's Big Green Egg Cooking Class - 6th July 2018
Reverse Seared Rib of Beef
The technique we used here was a reverse sear where we slowly raised the temperature of the whole piece of meat by cooking it at 110°C until its internal temperature was 52°C (5°C below medium-rare). We then fired up the Egg to about 250°C and seared the outside of the rib before resting it for about 15 minutes and serving in slices.
The initial cook was indirect, we used the plate setter feet up with the stainless steel grid on top. To that we added the meat and cooked slowly until the core temperature reached 52°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 250°C. We used the stainless steel grid to sear the Rib of Beef for about 3 minutes on each side.
Dirty Steak vs. Seared Steak
We fired up the MiniMax as well as your large to cook a steak traditionally on the large, using a cast iron grid, and dirty directly on the coals of the MiniMax.
Cooking the steak dirty adds a really meaty flavour to the steak. It’s also a little controversial when you have friends over. Very little ash sticks to the steak. I think it’s a great technique.
You can cook veg this way too. Daniel Clifford at Midsummer House in Cambridge cooks celariac and beetroot directly on the coal, it’s divine. DJ BBQ does an amazing dirty carrot recipe in his book Fire Food.
Roast Cauliflower with Truffle Oil and Black Sesame Dressing
The technique here was to cook on the back side of the plate setter. All I did was wipe down the back of the plate setter with a dry paper towel or foil.
We set up the Egg to cook at 180-200°C with the plate setter feet down.
I cut the cauliflower into about 7mm thick slices all the way through the cauliflower. I removed most of the really thick bit of stalk before cooking. I then added a touch of oil and some maldon salt to the slices (on both sides) and placed them directly onto the plate setter. We then cooked them for about 5 minutes on each side until they started to turn golden brown.
To this we added the dressing. A great addition is to sprinkle toasted black sesame seeds to give a little crunch.
Lamb Rack, French Trimmed
This would be a great recipe to do with the cauliflower as it also can be cooked on the back of the plate setter (or a ceramic plancha).
Again we setup the Egg in an indirect configuration with the plate setter feet down. We set the temperature of the Egg to 180-200°C.
We scored the fat on the lamb with a 1cm diagonal score. To this we added a little oil and some Maldon salt.
I then cooked this directly on the plate setter, fat side down for about 15-18 minutes. At the last minute, we turned the lamb to add a little bit of sear to the edges.
I used a Thermapen to probe the meat. For medium rare, we were looking for an internal temp of 58°C. The lamb will continue to cook while it’s resting so take it off about 3°C before (55°C for medium rare).
Always rest your meat wrapped in foil.
This Italian bread is really simple to make and an easy first go at baking on the Egg.
Make a batch of my basic bread recipe and let it rise. Knock it back and split into two portions. Push out each of these dough balls into the bottom of a 30cm x 20cm baking pan, lightly oil the top and cover with cling film. Put to one side to allow it to rise again.
When ready, poke it with your fingers to make the dimples. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and herbs (we used rosemary).
Setup your Egg for an indirect cook with the plate setter feet up, stainless steel grid on top and the baking/pizza stone on top of that. Get your Egg to 220°C and give the baking stone a while to heat up, probably 20 mins..
Cook your focaccia in the tin on the baking stone for about 15 minutes until it’s both golden brown on the top, but also crunchy on the bottom. Allow it to cool on a wire rack before serving.
Cedar Planked Salmon
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 grid. 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 on to 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.
Apple Tarte Tatin
This was our last cook of the day.
I used one on my Tefal Ingenio pans to make a caramel. We learned the hard way that the colour of the caramel needs to be watched carefully, the caramel will turn from perfect to burnt in a few seconds, just wait for the big bubbles to start forming and then add the apples, butter and pastry.
Don’t stir the caramel, it’ll crystallise. Just leave it until the colour starts changing.
Be careful with the flip at the end, hot caramel burns. Make sure you’re not under pressure with a big audience :-).
Lighting your Egg and setting it to 110°C for your first cook?
My temperature chart showing the settings for the different temperatures is great once your Egg has warmed up. However if your first cook is at 110°C then you may need to have a little more airflow as the Egg warms up.
- Light your Egg with a full basket of coals using one lighter block. Leave the lid open for the first 10 minutes.
- Close the lid for about 5 minutes or until the Egg reaches 180°C on the thermometer.
- Now place in your cold plate setter feet up and stainless steel grid.
- Set the daisy wheel so that it is about 1/2 closed with the top fully shut (see 150°C on the diagrams).
- Set the lower vent to about 1 inch wide (1.5 fingers in width).
You should see the temperature fall. Give it time to stabilise. If it drops below 110°C you can open the vents a little temporarily but be prepared to shut them again.
Remember try not to yoyo your Egg temp, give it time to stabilise and then make small adjustments giving it more air to raise the temperature and less air to lower it.
What temperature should I cook at?
The Stall or Plateau explained
The best resource on this is at AmazingRibs.com. Give it and the other articles a read. It’s a superb site.
Cooking Beef Short Ribs
Beef short ribs are very easy to cook. However you want to make sure they have a good fat content. Your Kosher ribs may have a little less moisture content if they have been salted. To cope with this I would therefore try and cook them as a full rack, called a Jacobs ladder. I would also recommend cooking them in foil for the last part of the cook with some stock to moisturise them.
I’d set up the Egg at 110°C and smoke the ribs with a bit of cherry or sweet chestnut. Cook them for a few hours until the ribs start to go into the plateau at around 70-75°C. At this point I would wrap the ribs in foil tightly, adding a couple of tablespoons of beef stock.
Then cook them until they reach 88-92°C and probe really easily.
As we’ve wrapped the ribs I would expect the whole process to take about 5-6 hours.
What settings are needed for specific temperatures?
Calibrating your thermometer
Unless you’ve tested and proved the thermometer is out of calibration by using another thermometer, don’t mess with it.
To calibrate the thermometer take the clip off the back and remove the thermometer from the Egg. In a saucepan boil some water to a depth that it will cover the probe of the thermometer when suspended over the water on a set of tongs. Your thermometer should read 100°C when the water is boiling. If not, use the tongs to hold the nut on the back of the thermometer and rotate the thermometer until the dial points to 100°C.
Using a DigiQ or other forced air controller
The DigiQ itself has a damper, this should be set to the smallest opening if doing a low and slow cook. This will restrict the airflow a little. I usually close my daisy wheel almost completely closed once the Egg has reached 110°C. This will force the fan to have to push air, and therefore oxygen, into your Egg to maintain the temperature.
Cured meats and the Pro Q cold smoke generator
This will allow you to smoke meats for up to 10 hours per fill. You can use different wood dusts and I find the ones from HotSmoked.co.uk to be the best. You can even try discount code MP10 to get 10% off.
To cure salmon I use a 50/50 mix of sugar and salt for between 4 and 6 hours on the salmon. The recipe is here.
To get into curing meats there are a number of books. I started after reading Tim Haywards book, Food DIY.
What charcoal should we use?
Some good providers:
- Stag Charcoal – I’ve used this and like it a lot. It’s British too.
- Green Olive Firewood Charcoal – Get the longburn charcoal. It’s had good reviews and the occasional bad one. I’ve not used it.
- Oxford Charcoal – superb single species stuff. Not cheap.
Rest your meat
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
Using Planks Multiple Times
- Lemon and lime – lovely citrus flavours go well with fish
- Beer, cider or 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 on to 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 using a cool box.
Once your meat is cooked, wrap it in several layers of aluminium foil and place it into your cool box. Cover 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
Clean the ash from your Egg every five or so cooks. Use the ash tool 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.
Lighting your Egg
There is a great set of videos called the Tips Series that Big Green Egg UK put together.
Rust on your Egg cast iron cap and searing grid
You’ll need to repeat this process a couple of times a year.
Every BBQ chef should have a Thermapen 4. It’s by far the best probe thermometer on the market. It’s super accurate, fast reading and waterproof and has a backlit screen for use when it’s not so bright outside.
You can buy it in my shop and I have set you up with a discount code to use at the checkout, CLASS10.
Thermoworks who make the Thermapen, have launched the Thermoworks Smoke in the UK. This is the best wireless thermometer in my opinion, it’s so easy to use and has super accurate probes. It’s not a replacment for a handheld probe thermometer like the Thermapen you already have but it does allow you to monitor cooks from the comfort of an armchair.
This was the device I used for the reverse seared picanha.
The Meater is a lovely piece of kit. It’s not quite as accurate as the other two thermometers but it does give a great guide and then you can use your Thermapen to check the cook, something I would always do anyway even when using the Thermoworks Smoke.
We saw that there was some temperature variance across the Picanha we cooked, so it’s always worth probing with a Thermapen to check.
You can buy this from Amazon.
Pans with handles that clip on and off
They’re a product from Tefal that I picked up several years ago in France before I got into the Big Green Egg as they were perfect for the camper van. They’re called Tefal Ingenio and are available in the UK now from Amazon.
The handle clips on and off easily so you pop the pan in the Egg and take the handle off. I use mine all the time. They’re great for cooking tarte tatin.
Just be careful with non stick ones that you don’t get them too hot as the non-stick will start to break down.
Recommended Cook Books
Just launched by DJ BBQ (Christian Stevenson). DJ BBQ does a lot of cooking with Jamie Oliver. There are some fabulous and easy recipes in here.
There is a whole section on dirty cooking (cooking directly on the charcaol). I have done the dirty carrots and can highly recommend them. The book was only published recently.
Berber & Q
I’ve only just got this so I haven’t had time to try too many of the recipes but from what I’ve seen it looks excellent.
This is by Meathead Goldwyn, the man behind the AmazingRibs.com website. It’s got some really good stuff on technique as a well as some good recipes. It’s available on Amazon from this link.
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 from this link.