Big Green Egg - Pt. 16 - Grate Accessories - Raised Grid
11/10/12 -07:59 Filed in: Big Green Egg | Accessories
This is the second of two blogs offering my impressions of add on grates for the Big Green Egg which add different capabilities to the Egg. The first part covered the Half Moon Griddle Grate. This second part will cover the Half Moon Raised Grid which is intended to allow you to do direct & indirect coking at the same time. Both of these Eggcessories are made by the Big Green Egg company and are available at most BGE dealers.
The Half Moon Raised Grid retails for $36.95 and consists of two parts. There is the tubular steel frame which includes the raised grid, which appears to have some sort of powder coated black paint finish. There is also a drip pan which has, according to BGE, a “non-stick finish”. More on that later. The drip pan slides just under the raised grid and there are times where you might want to use it without the pan. BGE also sells the drip pan separately, but to be honest I am not sure why. The raised grid is intended to sit on the main grid and you could get some food in under the raised grid on the main grid, but it would have to small and it is not super accessible. On thing that struck me as odd at first was the size. While the grill grate on a Large BGE is just over 18” (46 cm) but this unit is only 15” (38 cm) in diameter. I puzzled over this for a while until I realized that one of the intended configurations raises it up above the hinge level up into the dome. This explains the reduced size.
Now might be a good time to discuss the various configurations:
RAISED GRID ONLY ON REGULAR GRID INSTALLED ON FIRE RING: This configuration allows you to do Direct Grilling on the main grid installed in the standard position sitting on top of the fire ring. You are also Direct Grilling on the raised grid, it is just farther away from the fire.
RAISED GRID WITH DRIP PAN ON REGULAR GRID INSTALLED ON FIRE RING: This is the configuration I will probably use the most. You are Direct Grilling on the main grid installed at the standard position sitting on top of the fire ring. You are Indirect Grilling on the raised grid which is up at the hinge level. You could sneak some smaller items on the main grid under the raised grid. I haven’t tried this because the area is rather small. I also wonder if these items would cook faster due to heat from the bottom of the drip pan.
RAISED GRID WITH DRIP PAN ON REGULAR GRID ON PLATESETTER INSTALLED LEGS UP: This configuration gives you Indirect Grilling on the main grid and Indirect Grilling at a higher level up inside the dome. I have not tested this configuration but I imagine the items on the raised grid would feel more effects from the dome.
HALF MOON BAKING STONE ON RAISED GRID ONLY ON REGULAR GRID INSTALLED ON FIRE RING: This configuration allows you to do Direct Grilling on the main grid installed in the standard position sitting on top of the fire ring. You are also Indirect Baking on the raised grid which would be up at the hinge level. The Half Moon Baking Stone is a separate purchase, which I need to see if I need. I obviously have not tested this configuration.
HALF MOON BAKING STONE ON RAISED GRID ONLY ON REGULAR GRID ON PLATESETTER INSTALLED LEGS UP: This configuration gives you Indirect Grilling on the main grid and Indirect Baking at a higher level up inside the dome. I have not tested this configuration but I imagine the items on the raised grid would feel more effects from the dome.
So as you can see this unit is very versatile, but it is not without it’s issues. As I mentioned earlier the diameter is only 15” (38 cm) and between this and the half moon shape you are dealing with a somewhat small space with a less than ideal shape. The half moon shape is less efficient than a square or rectangular shape. This is particularly true in the two corners. I’ve found if you are dealing with 3 or less people it is doable. For 4 or more people you may run out of room. See the picture above for an example of this. One thing you you should probably do is check out the food on the Raised Grid before heating the grill. Better to find out you have more food than grill grid before you start cooking. I suppose if you don’t need to have simultaneous Direct/Indirect Grilling going on you could add in a second Raised Grid & Pan. The problem you might see with that configuration is the second Raised Grid would be going in cold.
This picture shows the space issues I’ve been talking about. While the 3 chops fit easily on the direct side of the grill and could be joined by a fourth chop (left), the 3 chops barely fit on the raised grid & there would be no room for a fourth chop.
How does it work? Quite well with the space limitations mentioned above. I’ve now cooked several recipes on this rig for thick pieces of meat which I’ve also cooked on my gas grill. They start off with a Direct Grilled high temperature sear and then finish off indirectly. The Raised Grid with the Drip Pan does indeed seem to give you a similar Indirect Grilling experience. The differences I did notice were on the plus side. The thick steaks and chops cooked on the Egg were far juicier than what came off my gas grill. The items on the gas grill were juicy, but the items off the Egg were noticeably juicier.
Wrapping the top side of the drip pan in foil makes for little to no cleanup.
One last item to mention is cleanup. These items are some sort of painted steel and they are not the easiest to keep clean. The first thing I do to try to make them easier to clean is spray them with PAM for grilling. A good soak in hot soapy water helps loosen any stuck on food and I also use a sponge with a green “plastic” scouring side. The scouring side looks a bit like a green Brillo pad. The item that was a real nuisance to clean was the drip pan. Part of the problem is the large flat surface of the drip pan makes it easier for items to stick. It took a few uses, I’m sad to say, but I figured out a good solution to the drip pan cleanup. That solution is to wrap the drip pan in aluminum foil before each use. That neatly solved that issue.
In conclusion this is a very useful Eggcessory, but you will need to make sure your food fits on the grid. Once again please note that I am speaking of a Large Big Green Egg here. They are also made for the Small, Medium, Large & XL. So the space issues will be be more or less depending on the size of your Egg. So as long as you can fit your food on the raised grid, it works very well.