Simon and Katie's Big Green Egg Cooking Class - 5th April 2019
Such a great appetiser and so easy to make.
Drizzle the peppers in olive oil and sprinkle liberally with Maldon salt then cook on a hot searing grid until slightly charred.
Serve them in a bowl and add a little more salt and oil if needed.
Vertical Roast Chicken
Cooking the chicken on a vertical rack allows the air to flow up inside the chicken, cooking it from the inside as well as the outside. The result is a super moist chicken.
Theother advantage to cooking this way is there is more room left to get other things on your BBQ.
Dirty Steak vs. Seared rib-eye Vs. Pan Cooked Rib-Eye
We used the half moon searing grid to cook both steaks at the same time, one directly on the coals.
Cooking the steak dirty adds a really meaty flavour to the steak, especially when it has a big eye of fat. 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 celeriac and beetroot directly on the coal, it’s divine. DJ BBQ does an amazing dirtly carrot recipe in his book Fire Food.
French Trimmed Rack of Lamb
This is 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.
I scored the fat of the lamb rack in a diagonal pattern with the scoring about 3/4 cm apart. I then added a tiny bit of oil and generously seasoned the lamb with 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 5°C before (53°C for medium rare).
Always rest your meat wrapped in foil.
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 200°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, it will start to flake to the touch when it is pink, it will flake all the way through when it is totally cooked through (about 8-10 mins). Take off the plank with the grill grippers and put onto something heat proof.
Technique and Questions
How do I light my Egg?
- Top up the Egg with new charcoal to just above the line where the fire bowl and the fire ring meet.
- Create a small indentation in the centre of the charcoal and put in just one lit fire starter.
- Cover very loosely the fire starter with a few pieces of charcoal, you need to allow a good airflow.
- Leave the lid open and open the bottom draft door. Leave your Egg for 10 minutes to allow the middle of the charcoal to get going.
- After 10 minutes, close the Egg lid and open the cast iron top fully. Remember to position the screw towards you.
- Leave the Egg closed for about 5 minutes until it hits 180°C and has started warming the dome.
- You can now adjust your Egg to the temperature you want to cook at. See my temperature guide.
Do take a look at the Big Green Egg Tips Series. This video covers lighting your Egg,
How long does the Egg take to cool down?
Once shut off you Egg may take up to 1.5 hours after you’ve finished cooking before it’s cool enough to put a cover on. This will depend on how hot you got the Egg and what size Egg you have.
What are the definate no no's with an Egg
Things you should never do with your Egg are:
- Forgetting to burp it above 200°C, you’ll get a flashback and could burn yourself.
- Cooking with the lid up – if you’ve got the lid open it’s just going to get hotter and hotter as you’re giving it more oxygen. Don’t worry if you’ve seen Michelin starred chefs on the TV doing it, they don’t know what they’re doing.
- Washing out the ceramics – ceramics soak up moisture. The way to clean your Egg is to get it hot. It will burn everything off.
- Lighting it with those white firelighters or lighter fluid – they both contain nasty chemicals that will taint the inside of your Egg.
- Use briquettes – they’re 90% filler an once burnt will slump, blocking all your air holes and putting your Egg out.
- Opening the lid to cool it down – you’re just letting in oxygen which in the long run will make your Egg heat up. To cool it down just restrict the airflow.
- Washing your cast iron parts and grates – these will rust if you wash them. Wipe them clean and then coat them in oil.
How would I cook with Himalayan salt blocks on my egg
Salt block are very popular for use on a Big Green Egg. They key to using them is to remember to heat them up slowly and leave them in the Egg to cool down.
Always use them over an indirect heat, using your plate setter. Put them into your Egg at the same time as you would normally put the plate setter in. Once hot you can cook directly on the block and it will impart some of its saltiness to the foods you cook on it.
Which are the good butchers to buy online from?
There are a number of good butchers online. These are the ones we talked about:
- Turner and George – run by Richard Turner and James George. Richard is the executive chef for Pitt Cue and Hawksmoor.
- Philip Warren Butchers – based in Launceston Cornwall, these guys supply many top restaurants. They’re two minutes off the A30 if you’re driving through Cornwall.
- Hannan Meats – famous for their sugar pit pork. Worth a try.
How would I use a Himalayan Salt Block on my Egg
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.
How do I cook Ribs?
- 3 hours indirect
- 2 hours indirect but wrapped in foil with a small spritz of apple juice (1 tbsp per pack)
- 1 hour indirect
During the last 30 minutes you can then apply BBQ sauce.
The rack of ribs should bend when they are cooked but not fall apart. The meat should pull from the bone but not fall off the bone.
If you’re cooking baby back ribs (the much smaller ones) you might want to reduce the timing to 2-1.5-1.
Try some of the rubs from Angus and Oink, their Sweet Bones and Butts rub mixed with their Porky White Chick is a great combo for ribs.
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.
HotSmoaked.co.uk also sell bacon cures. Making your own bacon is really easy, give it a go.
THE BEST WAY TO SCORE PORK FAT
If you want to score your pork skin for crackling then the best tool to do this with is a retractable blade stanley knife. You can adjust how much of the blade is sticking out to adjust how deep you cut.
Always cut away from you. You might find it easier to cut from the centre of the skin to the edge. You can then turn the pork 180° and then score from the middle to the opposite edge.
wHICH CHARCOAL SHOULD I USE?
The Green Olive Firewood Company do charcoal that has a much milder smokey flavour, It’s made from SheOak. You need their restaurant grade lump wood charcoal.
Stag Charcoal also produce some great stuff in Hertfordshire. Look for their single species Ash or Birch for a less smokey cook.
When you really get into BBQ then look at some of the excellent charcoal from the Oxford Charcoal company. They have a very good reputation for their single species charcoals. They have a great chart on matching wood to meats and fish.
How do I use Chips and Chunks of wood?
Meat takes on smoke much better when it is cool and wet. Therefore you want to be generating smoke at the beginning of your cook. Since the charcoal in your Egg will be burning from the middle outwards, you need to place the smoking chips or chunks towards to middle of your Egg.
You don’t need too much wood to smoke with. I therefore recommend you just use a small handful for your first cooks and then build up on future cooks until you find the right level that works for you with that particular dish.
When should I use Pepper?
I recommend you apply pepper to your cooks only if they are indirect.
Using Marinades and Sauces?
Try and avoid tomato based sauces for hot and fast cooks as the sugars in the tomatoes will burn easily. I therefore apply BBQ sauces which tend to be tomato based at the very end of a cook to avoid over cooking them. Any marinated meats from a butcher will likely have tomato on and therefore burn easily.
Making the best baked potatoes
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.
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
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 joint 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
- 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
Once your meat is cooked, wrap it in several layers of aluminium foil and place it into your cool box. Then cover with bath towels and 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.
Rust on your Egg cast iron cap and searing grid
You’ll need to repeat this process a couple of times a year.
Great video resources on cleaning and using your Egg
While working at Big Green Egg I put together the tips series. They’re really worth a look.
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.
I used the block version of this during the class. Unfortunately it’s not going to launch until the summer. I love the Meater+ as its app will estimate when your meat will be cooked and tell you when to take it off your Egg so that it doesn’t overcook. I wouldn’t be without a Meater.
They are now available to buy in my store and I hold stock of these.
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.
You can buy wooden planks from Big Green Egg but they’re expensive at almost £5 each.
I buy mine from Amazon where you can get planks at less than half the price. I tend to buy cedar as I love the flavour.
Recommended Cook Books
Written 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 charcoal). I have done the dirty carrots and can highly recommend them. The book was only published recently.
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.