Big Green Egg - Pt 13 - Big Green Egg Cookbook
09/28/12 -20:52 Filed in: Big Green Egg | Cookbook
I listed the Big Green Egg Cookbook in the Eggcessories section of the Gear Photos. You might not think of a cookbook as a piece of gear. Although this is a cookbook, I also think it is essential tool for learning & using your Big Green Egg. I purchased this cookbook in the Amazon Kindle electronic book (eBook) format. There are some plusses and surprisingly some definite minuses to this format for a reference book like a cookbook, which I’ll discuss in this blog entry.
I wanted to get the Big Green Egg (BGE) Cookbook for several reasons. The first was it showcased the wide variety of foods you can cook on the egg. Many of the dishes in this book are items I never would have thought to make on the grill. But then again the Egg isn’t just a grill. It is also an oven and smoker among other things. Cooking on an BGE is both similar and different than using a regular grill or smoker. A second reason I wanted to get this cookbook was because each recipe gives the Eggcessories (accessories made for the BGE) you should use, as well as how to setup the Egg and the cooking temperatures and cooking times for the recipe. This is very helpful in learning this new type grill which is very versatile if setup properly. For example I cooked pizzas on my gas grill at around 400 degrees (205 C) using a combination of direct and indirect grilling. On the BGE you use an Eggcessory called a plate setter, plus a pizza stone and cook the pizza indirectly at 650 degrees (343 C). The difference in time is amazing, 10-12 minutes vs. 5-6 minutes on the Egg. The main downside to this book was the price which is a list price of $50.00 and is still pricey at the discounted price of $35.00 that it is commonly available for at Amazon and other internet booksellers. I originally was not going to buy it either price and then I discovered there was a Kindle version at $9.99. That was a no brainer for me. However there are some disadvantages to having a reference book, like a cookbook, in this format.
But first let me talk about this as a cookbook and not as a Kindle cookbook. The book is arranged somewhat logically, at least most of it. There is a Foreword as well as an Introduction which covers the big picture about the BGE and then gets into some specifics about using the Egg and the Eggcessories. After these two chapters there are chapters categorized by food or food group type: Appetizers, Beef & Lamb, Pork, Poultry, Seafood, Vegetarian Meals, Side Dishes, Sauces & Rubs, Baked Goods, Breakfasts and Desserts. You might want to look through the recipes for each category and you may find, like I did, that you might categorize things differently. For example pizzas were categorized as appetizers which is not where I might have put them. So to avoid missing something, you should flip through the various chapters to see what is ACTUALLY in there as opposed to what you ASSume is in there. This brings us to the next organization problem which is even bigger in my eyes. The next two chapters in the book are Egghead Recipes (User Recipes) and Chefs & Pitmasters which are recipes by pros. The problem I have with this is you tend to miss these sections where they are off by themselves out of sequence towards the end of the book. If you have a physical copy of the book, it may fall open to these pages so you may accidentally see these pages and become aware of them. I must admit that all the folks I know who own this book, own the physical version. Even so, it seemed most of them were unaware or had forgotten these sections existed. They’d ask about a couple of the recipes I made from the Egghead Recipes sections and were surprised when I said they were from the BGE Cookbook. They asked where in the book because they didn’t remember seeing it. After these two chapters are chapters are 3 chapters which are of zero use to me personally. These are Chef & Pitmaster Biographies, Acknowledgments & Metric Conversions & Equivalents. Personally I would have thought that versions of this book for areas using Metric Measurements would be published with metric measurements.
The recipes themselves are quite good and serve to highlight the versatility of the Egg and the Eggcessories available to help make it more flexible. The recipes range from those that have a few simple ingredients (RIB-EYE WITH SHALLOTS & GARLIC) to those that have lots of ingredients and steps (EGGFEST CHILI or BRUNSWICK STYLE STEW). They typically offer from “Above Average” to “Excellent” flavor, although some of the credit needs to go to the BGE! I have enjoyed everything I have made from this cookbook and have learned how to set up my BGE to do baking, smoke roasting, direct/indirect, low and slow & high heat grilling. Once I got a few cooks under my belt I began doing cooks from some of my other cookbooks again, but I often used this cookbook as the reference for grill setup and cooking temperatures and time. One thing I had to get used to is on this grill folks use the lid thermometer temperature instead of measuring the grate temperature. The recipes in the BGE cookbook are presented this way, and this is why I use it as a reference when doing other recipes.
Does this look like a cream sauce to you? Looks more like duxelles. Well this is what a cream sauce looks like when you try to cook it at 650 degrees (343 C) as the cookbook erroneously called for. Fortunately it not only looked like duxelles, it tasted like duxelles & all was not lost.
Sadly like other cookbooks these days there are some errors in process or quantities. When I made their PIE CRUST and BUTTERMILK BISCUITS, the recipe used far too little water. I am not yet an experienced baker, having never made either of these items before. My first version of both of these I trusted the cookbook more so than my own judgement and had dough that was too dry to work well with. I remade each of these recipes and the second time I followed my instincts on the water and ended up with much better results. The worst error was when I made PEPPER-CRUSTED RIB-EYE. The cream sauce was made in the Dutch oven which had been pre-heated, per the recipe, to 650 degrees (343 C). This temperature was way to hot for this sauce much of which boiled away and left me with something that resembled Duxelles from a Beef Wellington recipe. Fortunately it tasted as good as Duxelles so all was not lost. Next time I will make it separately indoors on the stove at around 400 degrees (205 C). So this cookbook is not without some errors, so if you are an expert in a particular area trust your instincts. For me I was just getting in to some of these areas: pie crusts, biscuits etc. so I deferred to the recipe instead of trusting my instincts.
The last item to cover is having this cookbook in Kindle eBook form vs. a physical hard copy. In terms of cost it is no contest. The Kindle version is 80-66 percent less than the going price for the hard copy. In terms of convenience the Kindle version wins. I have it on my iPad and iPhone which can go with me to the Kitchen and follow me out to the grill. Both of these are places I might not want to bring a big expensive hard covered book to. iHaving the recipe on my iPhone can be convenient if I am out and I decide to make something from the book, I have the ingredients right with me. In terms of visual appearance the physical book wins. This cookbook in the physical version has beautiful food pictures and is almost like a coffee table book. The Kindle book suffers due to the smaller size. It also just doesn’t have the same visual appeal.
When the reference to a recipe is a hyperlink, as shown in the list here, things couldn’t be easier. Click on the link and your are there.
Ease of use is where I was surprised at some of the difficulty I had using the Kindle version. In many ways it is still easier to use than a physical book. Clicking a hyperlink gets you instantly to where you want to go. As long as there is a hyperlink you are all set. Where things become difficult is when you need to use physical page numbers there are none. You see eBooks can let you adjust the font size to make reading it on screen easier. This solution to the readability problem causes another problem though: You can’t have physical page numbers. The book will be a different amount of pages depending on the font size used for the text. This cookbook has many references to a recipe occurring on page xyz. But there is no page xyz in a Kindle book for the reasons just mentioned. Unless there is a hyperlink too, you are screwed. You must search for the recipe by name. This presents you with a list of the various references to the recipe name. The problem here is this recipe name may be mentioned several times in other recipes throughout the book. So you are left with a list that may have 10 items with the recipe name, 9 are references and only 1 is the actual recipe. So you seem to waste a lot of time floundering around following false leads. There is no back button either, so if you follow the wrong reference you need to do the search again and try a different result. For a book like a cookbook with lots of cross reference this can be very tedious and annoying. These navigation issues were beginning to make me wish I had the physical version of the book instead of the Kindle version. This was the first time I didn’t like the electronic version better than the hard copy. What helped save the day a bit for me, was learning to use bookmarks for recipes I refer to often.
When the recipe doesn’t have a hyperlink and is referenced only by a page number from the physical book, you are in trouble-eBooks don’t have physical page numbers. (top left). You must search for the recipe by name. (top right).
The search results show a list of every time the recipe name occurs in the book. From the short previews you see in the search results field, it is hard to tell which is the real link to the recipe & which are the other 9 references found throughout the book (bottom).
So all in all I am glad I have this book and at the end of the day I am glad I have the eBook version of it. I’d say if you have a BGE and particularly if you are a new user, this cookbook is a great way to get you up to speed fast. You will get to enjoy some great meals in the process and learn just how versatile the BGE is. Be sure to read the section above about the plusses and minuses of having the book in eBook form vs. a hard copy. For me I’m still glad I got the eBook version, but it wasn’t as clearcut as I originally thought. I will leave that decision up to you, but get the book in one form or another.
SOME RELATED LINKS:: For links to the Picture Entries visit the Index by Source and scroll down to the Big Green Egg Cookbook entry:
INDEX BY SOURCE
Q: WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? A: TAKEN BY A CULT- This Blog entry details how I came around to getting my Big Green Egg.
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 1 - ASSEMBLY - My BGE came with free assembly. In this Blog I describe in a big picture fashion what is involved with assembly, so you can decide if you want to attempt it yourself.
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 2 - 1ST COOK - What I chose to make for my first meal on my new BGE, why I chose it, my first impressions & how it turned out..
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 3 - MYTHS & LEGENDS - There are lots of things said about how good the BGE is. After using it for a while I use this Blog to address some of the popular claims about the BGE.
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 4 - 1ST LOW & SLOW - The Big Green Egg may cost more up front, but it costs far less over time due to it's stingy use of charcoal.
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 5 - TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP - The Big Green Egg may cost more up front, but it costs far less over time due to it's stingy use of charcoal.
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 6 - BEST IN CLASS PIZZA - The Big Green Egg turns out the best grilled pizza I’ve ever had or made.
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 7 - EGGCESSORIES - BIG PICTURE - My take on Big Green Egg accessories. Are they too expensive or should some come with the Egg?
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 8 - EGGCESSORIES - GENERAL - The grill related accessories I bought along with my BGE.
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 9 - EGGCESSORIES - COOKING - The cooking related accessories I bought along with my BGE.
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 10 - STEAK ON THE EGG - My first steak on the Egg had a little drama, but was my best steak ever.
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 11 - GASKET REPLACEMENT - BIG PICTURE - The background & what was involved doing my gasket replacement.
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 12 - GASKET REPLACEMENT - BLOW BY BLOW - The actual story of how my gasket replacement experience went.
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 14 - IMPRESSIONS AFTER 90 DAYS - My impressions after 90 days using the Big Green Egg.
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 15 - GRATE ACCESSORIES - GRIDDLE - Cast Iron Griddle Grate.
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 16 - GRATE ACCESSORIES - RAISED GRID - Half Moon Raised Grid for indirect grilling.
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 17 - STIR-FRYING ON THE BIG GREEN EGG - Getting set up for Stir-Frying with a Wok on the Big Green Egg.
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 18 - FIRST STIR-FRY - My experiences on my first Stir-Fry using the Big Green Egg.
BIG GREEN EGG - PT. 19 - IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE - I know it may sound crazy, but the Big Green Egg will really change your life.
BACK TO BBQ BLOG 2012
ARCHIVE OF BLOGS: 2012
INDEX OF BLOGS: ALL YEARS