Congratulations It’s a Large - My 3rd BGE
09/09/14 - 09:36 Filed in: BGE
Sunday I picked up my third Large Big Green Egg. I am as surprised as anyone that in just over two years I own not one, but three Big Green Eggs. This last one is intended to be a dedicated baking Egg. This blog will describe the setup process and what roles I see for this third Egg.
BACKGROUND:I had the opportunity to get this third Egg for very little out of pocket money. My dealer, Oasis Hot Tub & Sauna, was having their fall Big Green Egg cooking event on Saturday, September 6th. I was able to get one of the new Eggs they used once for this even at a discounted price with a full warrantee. My birthday was at the end of August, so I asked for cash gifts this year. Lastly I still had my Nest (rolling cart) from my first Egg as well as the side shelves. As a result, I was able to get this Egg for very little of my own out of pocket money.
I “met” my new Egg when I attended the cooking event on Saturday, September 6th. I would pick up the Egg Sunday, after it had cooled down. I am just as glad because we had severs thunderstorms roll through after the event ended. I wouldn’t have wanted to be out driving or working in those storms. I had brought my Nest and shelves up to Oasis a week before to use with the demo Egg I would be taking home. This way they didn’t have to open up a new Nest or new shelves of out of their inventory which I wasn’t going to need anyway. One thing I liked about this was the idea I would have a fully assembled Egg that they would help me get on my pick up when I picked it up. Once home, I would roll it off the pick up down some wooden ramps I have. Then roll it in place, fill it and light it-done deal. The more I thought about this, the more I began to worry about rolling it down the ramp. The grill weighs 160 pounds (72 kg) or so and perhaps 20 pounds (10 kg) less with the firebox and fire ring removed. Even so I kept having this vision of me flat on my back on the driveway, hands over head with an Egg in pieces on top of me. Just like some cartoon character, only this time the not so funny joke would be on me. To be safe I would need a helper. Sunday afternoon when I picked up the Egg was opening day for the NFL season and the Pats were playing Miami. Finding a “victim” would be hard, everyone would be indoors with their eyes glued to their TVs. I wouldn't dare trying to coax someone away from the game. I figured I’d get it home and get it off the truck at some future time when I spotted a neighbor out and about.
PICKUP:I had talked to the folks at Oasis Saturday at the cooking event and expressed my interest in keeping the Egg in one assemble piece. I would take out the fire box and fire ring before moving it. They said they always take the dome off too, but I resisted. When I arrived after lunch on Sunday they proudly mentioned Tom, one of the sales associates, had packed up my Egg and everything was all ready to go. I found he had removed the ceramic dome, firebox and fire ring. He had packed these in boxes together with the ceramic cap, fire grate and grill grid. The boxes were filled with packing peanuts and air pillows to nicely cushioned everything. The ceramic base was also going to be removed from the Nest for transport. I will admit to being somewhat upset at first, but the feeling quickly wore off. First of all was no point in getting upset because it was a done deal. Packing it this way would guarantee safe delivery and I knew I could get just the base off the truck by myself. Tom had done a great job of packing everything and the boxes were all labeled with the contents. In retrospect I am glad they did this. They saved me from my own possible stupidity. Oasis has excellent customer service and here is a case where it shows again. A dealer that gives you the rock bottom lowest price on everything, might have listened to me and let me take it away in one piece. That way they wouldn’t spend any time or money packing it up for me. Once I left their parking lot with it, they could wash their hands. After all, I went against their recommendations on how to transport it and so the responsibility would be mine. So thanks to Oasis for doing the right thing, despite my efforts to the contrary.
SETUP:Getting everything off the truck went easily and quickly. Having the boxes with the pieces/parts labelled allowed me to place them on the ground in the sequence I would need them. After taking the heaviest piece, the ceramic base, off the truck I was glad Oasis had broken the Egg down. I was able to do this alone and it was relatively idiot proof. If I had tried rolling a fully assembled Egg down my ramps it would have been tricky. The wheels on the Nest allow the Egg to move very easily and it is possible it still might have slipped off the ramp even with two people. This way I placed the Nest below the back gate of the truck and locked the locking casters. I lowered the base onto the nest and wheeled the nest and base to their new home. I had arranged the boxes on the ground in the order I would need them.
The second step was to place the dome over the base and in the metal hinge bands and secure the hinge bands to the base and dome. I have gotten pretty good at getting a good fit between the dome and base. I had to make one tweak near the hinge before securing the bands using a torque wrench. The side shelves went on next. The fire box, fire ring and metal fire grate were next and I was good to go. I just had to add charcoal and add my Adjustable Rig and I could fire it up and start cooking. The whole process took about 90 minutes from start to finish. I was taking my time and had trouble finding the torque wrench in my basement. Figure on just over an hour.
USAGE:Why a Third Egg? The idea of me getting a third Egg is not something I seriously thought about until perhaps six moths ago. In August 2012 when I got my first Large Big Green Egg, I bought it to help extend the life of my 6 burner gas grill and smoker. I had heard a lot of great things about the Egg, most of which I thought sounded too good to be true. Where the Egg could serve as a grill or a smoker, it was an ideal third grill. I was told I should get a Large because the size would suit my needs most of the time. If I found myself needing another Egg, I could pick up a Medium or Small. As soon as I started using the Egg it did not work the way I planned. Once I started using it, I never wanted to use the other two grills again. I used my gas grill all of one more time in the next two years.
My first Thanksgiving found me starting up the Egg around 4:30AM and using it until around 5:00PM. I was going to do indirect baking on it three times which meant I needed to do those first, andI I needed to do the turkey last. That left the middle for direct grilled sides. The funny thing I just realized writing this blog, is I never considered using one of the other two grills/smoker that day. The thought never crossed my mind. I already was addicted to the Egg after owning it for three months. After that day a second Egg was in the cards. I decided another Egg of the same size was the best solution for me. I could share Eggcessories and the two Eggs would perform the same. My second Egg arrived in early January 2013. I figured I could use one Egg for the main food, and the second Egg would be used for sides and baking, I would use wood chunks or chips on the second Egg sparingly. It also gave me the ability to cook food directly and indirectly.
A second Egg did help, but… At first all was well. I had gained extra flexibility and was able to cook up more items, more time efficiently. Then several things happened. The first was as I started cooking more things on the Egg, I wanted to do even more things for each meal: rolls, main dish, sides, even dessert. The meals I used to make for my parents on Saturday went from being at 5:00PM supper to 1:00PM dinner. This way they could leave and drive home before it gets dark. This moved up the time I need to get up and get food ready. Suddenly I found myself starting at 4:00 or 5:00 AM again. If I was going to make bread, or rolls or a baked dessert I needed to do that first if I was going to be doing sides on the Egg too. The sides sometimes would use wood chips. I would want to do anything using wood smoke last, so the remnants of the chips didn’t flavor the baked goods. I could start to see my getting dedicated baking Egg. But it would be at some point in the future measured in multiple years, at least 5.
Another thing happened along the way. I started using the Egg in cases where I needed to go direct-indirect or do a two zone fire. Direct-indirect gets messy because you are trying to retrofit a hot grill with a plate setter. There is a BGE Half Moon Raised Grill Grid which does this, but only half of your grill can be used for each. Also a two zone fire is not easily possible. Or a cook where you are asked to start cooking at a high temperature and then finish at a temperature that is 100 or more degrees (56 C) lower. Depending on what you are cooking and how you are cooking it, one of the big advantages of the Egg can sometimes be a disadvantage. If you start off low and need to quickly raise the temperature, this is easy enough to do. However due to the insulating properties of the ceramic exterior of the Egg, going from a high temperature and dropping 100 or more degrees (56 C) just isn’t easily done. This is why when you are pre-heating your Egg, you don’t want to overshoot your target temp. So I quickly realized that it was easy enough to use one Egg for direct and one for indirect for the same food item. I could often then use one or both of them to make other things too. They were often close to the temperature for the second item. The same goes for a cook that starts off high and finishes off low. Just get one Egg going at each temperature.
Looking to the Future: Now that I have the third Egg what are my plans?
- First and foremost this Egg will NOT have wood chips or chunks used on it. EVER.
- After seeing how well my TENDER PEACH SCONES baked high in the dome, I would say a second AR is in my near future. I also use the AR quite a bit to bake multiple trays of cookies.
- My first Egg will be used for low and slow cooking and will be set up for indirect. I will use wood chips or chunks as needed.
- My second Egg will be set up for direct grilling. I will use wood chips or chunks on this one too.
- The third baking Egg will be left set up for indirect grilling with an AR. This grill will never see a wood chip or chunk in it while I own it.
- I will be able to use two of the Eggs to do larger direct-indirect cooks than I can do on a single Egg fitted with the BGE Half Moon Raised grid. One grill will handle the direct searing portion and the other will do the indirect part. I will still have one Egg in reserve for sides.
- In a similar fashion I will be able to use two Eggs to handle a cook that starts off at a high temperature and finishes with a much lower one. Once again I will still have another Egg in reserve.
- The flexibility offered to me by this third Egg should allow me to get off to a later start cooking since I can be cooking 3 different items using 3 different methods at once.
SUMMARY:This third Egg came much sooner than I ever expected and I am surprised and pleased. I will confess I am getting a little thrill each time I look out under my grill gazebo and see the new Egg sitting there. Looking back I am glad that Oasis dissembled and packed my Egg up for me. They knew better than I did what the right way to do this was. They probably saved me from a very sad Sunday with my new Egg in many pieces. I keep pinching myself, but it seems I really do have a third Egg. I am very excited about the additional flexibility it gives me. I also like the idea of not having to get up super early on holidays in order to get everything cooked on two Eggs. Of course it is a double edged sword: I now have very little excuse not to make something due to scheduling or cooking method issues on my grills. I can live with that.
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