What temperature should I be cooking my meat to?
Can I do great pork cracking on an Egg?
- Always use decent pork from a butcher that has a good dry skin on it. Supermarket pork tends to be pumped full of water and then because the meat is vacuum packed, the water gets into the skin.
- Take your pork out of any wrapping and place overnight uncovered in a fridge to allow the skin to really dry.
- The skin needs to be scored deeply but not right into the meat. Get your butcher to do this for you or if you’re going to do it yourself get a really sharp knife. I use a Stanley knife from a DIY store, so much better than a kitchen knife and when it gets blunt you can always just replaced the blade.
- Use sea salt flakes such as Maldon salt to rub deep into the scored fat. If you want to flavour your meat a bit you can mix this with spices such a chopped fresh rosemary or fennel seeds.
- Apply a liberal costing of oil, I use olive, onto the fat and rub in.
- You now have two options in terms of getting the fat to crackle:
- Put the meat into a hot Egg (220C) and monitor it until the fat is blistered but not burnt, then turn the Egg down.
- Cook your meat and then at the end of the cook turn it up to 200C and wait for the crackling to form.
- I personally prefer the second method.
- If I’m cooking belly pork I will cook it for the majority of the cook fat side down as this achieves a better crackle.
- if none of this works take the skin off your joint and crackle it separately on your Egg at 220C but watch it like a hawk, it will burn easily.
How long should I rest meat for?
Temperature control, do I use the dual function metal top, the draft door or both?
How do you control the temperature on an overnight cook?
Since then I’ve used one of two devices:
- Wireless thermometer such as the Maverick 732. These devices are a bit like a baby monitor except you plug in two thermometer probes, one to measure the temperature of your BBQ and the other to measure the temperature of whatever you’re cooking. The base station then sends a signal wirelessly to the monitor end. You can set alarms to tell you when the BBQ is too hot or too cold or when your food is ready. This is a big leap forward and can give you peace of mind but it can also wake you up if your BBQ isn’t behaving.
- Forced air controllers such as the BBQ Guru DigiQ DX2 or the HeaterMeter. These devices have two probes or more to monitor your cook just like the wireless thermometer, however they also have a controller and a fan attached to your Egg draft door so that they blow in the perfect amount of air to hold your Egg exactly at the right temperature. They’re normally accurate to 1 or 2C. I’ve never had an issue with one of these and so they are my device of choice even though they are expensive.