The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke

Double the Pleasure, Double the Fun - Pt. 2

First Image
In PART 1 of this blog I talked about why I changed my thought process from adding a Small Big Green Egg as my second Egg, to adding a second Large. In Part 2 I will discuss what I have learned in my first month of ownership, some things I expected and some pleasant surprises. BTW I am not singling out the Small BGE for criticism here, I am describing why for me having two Eggs of the same size has many advantages for how I want to use them.

My first Egg was delivered and assembled for me. I watched the procedure closely and took pictures. I never dreamed this knowledge would come in handy so soon. The second time around I was able to save a delivery/setup charge by building it myself. Having seen one go together once, built by someone who has assembled many Eggs, it made the second one go together very easily. The Egg was the same so the assembly was the same. The only new wrinkle was I used a so-called Table nest for setting it on a cabinet vs the first Egg which went in a rolling cart. This was far easier.

In buying a second Large BGE the Eggcessories are pretty much interchangeable, with one exception. I can use all my Eggcessories on either of my grills without giving it a second thought. As I mentioned I only had to buy a second plate setter for use in baking or indirect grilling. I could definitely see times where I might be doing a low and slow cook on one Egg and wanting to bake rolls or a dessert on the other. This resulted in quite a cost savings and other than the plate setter, no additional storage requirements. Actually if I had gotten a Small, I would have needed some ADDITIONAL Eggessories that I otherwise wouldn’t have wanted to double up on. Some of the cleaning tools I bought fit the Large and the XL and you need a different sized one for the small. So I would have needed two sets of cleaning Eggcessories plus the extra space to store them.

Earlier I said “...the Eggcessories are pretty much interchangeable, with one exception”. Shortly after the time I bought my first Egg, they changed the design of the ceramic fire ring so it no longer has 5 notches in the top. The new fire ring has 3 notches to engage with the 3 legs of the plate setter. This means that the Spider which I own and is used for woking, has 5 legs and works with the original fire ring. I could get another 3-legged Spider for the new Egg, but I don’t see the need right now. It really wouldn’t be possible for me to do two wok cooks at the same time. I am looking into possibly getting an Adjustable Rig by Ceramic Grill Works. This gets supported by the Spider. If I decided I needed
TWO Adjustable Rigs, well then I’d get the second Spider. But that is a ways off. For now though the 5-legged Spider is the only item that is not interchangeable.

Learning Curve:
I never really gave this any thought ahead of time, but there really is something to be said for ZERO learning curve. The grills are the same and so they perform the same. You are up and running immediately. I had never given this any thought ahead of time, but it is great to be able be up and running with extra capabilities and no learning curve. Now there is a learning curve involved with doing multi-item cooks, but I already had this under my belt on my grill and smoker. There is no learning curve involved with using the second Large to do it.

Ease of Setup: Other than remembering that I must use the 5-legged Spider only in my first Egg with the 5-legged ceramic fire ring, I can use either Egg interchangeably. The Eggcessories fit on either Egg. Once again the less extra thinking I have to do, the better. With multi-item cooks there is more planning, but in this case I don’t have to factor which Egg I’m doing what in.

Fixed Setups:
My inability to use the Spider on the new Egg had an unintended “benefit”. Since I can only use the Spider on the older Egg, I have been using the wok on that Egg and leaving it set up that way when I shut it down. I was using the other Egg for baking and indirect cooks and so I didn’t have to disturb the wok setup on the other Egg. It occurred to me early on that I could leave each Egg setup for a particular use. The old Egg set up for woking and the new Egg setup for indirect. If I need to direct grill something I can use either. This way I often have very little setup time on the day of the cook.

The two Eggs light the same way using the same amount of paraffin fire starters and take the same amount if time to come to temperature. This seems obvious, but what isn’t so obvious is how easy this makes planning out your cooks. You don’t have to give second thought as to which Egg you are using and whether it takes more or less time to light one sized’Egg vs the other. You just need to allow a little extra time for cleaning, adding charcoal, and lighting the grill. Most of the time I actually do the cleaning and refueling an hour or two before the time I plan to start prepping cooking. Three reasons for this: I don’t have to factor this time into my cook, if something takes longer it doesn’t delay the cook. The second reason is by doing it ahead of time I can do it in daylight. With it being winter around here it is dark when I grill supper. But there is no reason I can’t do the cleaning and setup earlier when it is light. This way, when it is time to cook I merely have to go out and light the grill. I pretty much do this for all my cooks now. The final reason I’ve discovered is charcoal dust can get everywhere. Despite wearing rubber gloves, I often get charcoal dust on my hands anyway. Doing the grill prep early allows me to get my hands nice and clean well before I start the food prep.

Meal Planning:
Meal planning is really no different. Other than the Spider being able to be used only on my first Egg, it really doesn’t matter which one I use for what. The warmup and cooking times are the same on each Egg. If I was using two different sized Eggs I’d have to factor in different warm-up times, different amounts of food I could put on one vs. the other and possibly slightly different cooking times. When I am doing a large multi-item cook, the less thinking I have to do the better. By not having to give any thought to the grills, I can focus on other things. This was another advantage I never thought of ahead of time.

I didn’t have to learn any new cooking tricks or techniques for the new grill. Two different sized Eggs would have their differences, which I would have to learn and remember. The differences may or may not be minor, they would have to be learned over time by trial and error. Again, this was not something I’d even thought about until I started using the second Egg. Now there are different things you need to do for a successful multi-item cook, but as I mentioned I’ve already picked many of these items up on my other grills. What I didn’t have to do is learn the techniques and idiosynchracies of cooking on yet another grill. While I’m sure I could have done it, there was no reason to have to do it.

Future Eggcessories:
Looking ahead, I am sure there will be new Eggcessories I will want, whether they exist now or will be created at some future time. By having two Large Eggs I don’t have to make a choice which sized Eggcessory to buy. The Large is the most popular sized Egg and I can be pretty sure any Eggcessory will come in that size. Not all Eggcessories are available in the Small & Medium sizes.

Big Picture:
It is so much fun having a second Egg. I feel like I really have no limitations in terms of what I can do whether it be in setup, multi-item cooks, or larger cooks. All of this was done without me having to learn new equipment or techniques. This zero learning curve advantage had quite frankly never occurred to me. If it had, I wouldn’t have even considered getting anything but another Large Egg. This would have been true even if it cost me more to get a second Large vs. the Small. But as I mentioned I actually spent LESS money getting the small. When I picked up the second Large it was like I hit the ground running and doubled my pleasure and doubled my fun.

Here is the link for Part 1 of this Blog entry.


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