The Corner Cottage Journal: Cooking on the Big Green Egg
Welcome back to the Corner Cottage Journal. For those of you who haven’t read our guest journal, I am Nila and my husband is Henryk. I come up with ideas and wishes, and my talented husband makes them happen!
We are so thankful to be guest bloggers in the month of July. Happy Independence Day!
In our last blog, I detailed how we made a DIY table for our Big Green Egg. Henryk wanted a Big Green Egg grill for a long time. We purchased ours at McLendon’s and couldn’t be happier. Here’s our experience—and a few Southern-style recipes—using a Big Green Egg!
McLendon’s a Big Green Egg Authorized Dealer
If you buy a BGE from a big-box retailer like Costco or Sam’s Club, your BGE won’t have a lifetime guarantee. Knowing that, it was a no-brainer as to where we were going to be purchasing our grill.
McLendon’s is a Gold Star Authorized Dealer, meaning each BGE is backed by a lifetime warranty when it’s registered. Plus, McLendon’s carries 70+ BGE accessories perfect for whatever you’re cooking.
Spark It Up – Get It Started
What amazes me is how quickly our new grill heats up. It’s faster than my electric oven on rapid preheat!
To start the charcoal, I use BGE’s paraffin-based fire starters because they have no taste or smell. Most of the time I cut the lighter block on a diagonal and it still lights up the grill just fine.
Other options include using a starter chimney or an electric starter, such as BGE’s EGGniter.
Never use lighter fluid! It voids the warranty and causes the BGE, which is ceramic, to absorb lighter fluid’s smell and taste.
Burning Food Takes Effort
With the Big Green Egg, you’ll have no more hit or miss cooking! The BGE really doesn’t burn your food—I mean, you really have to be neglecting what you’re grilling in order to actually burn it.
In the past, I’ve avoided cooking chicken breasts on a grill because they turn out bone dry in spots and undercooked in the thicker portions of the breast. It was always a failure for me.
I am proud to say I no longer have that problem when cooking with the BGE! Chicken breasts cook exactly as they should when the temp is set to 375 degrees. My chicken cooks up perfectly—brown, crispy skin outside and perfectly cooked juicy, white meat inside.
No Yolk: Egg-Made Pizza & Bread
To make pizza, I use the ConvEGGtor ceramic heat diffuser. I like to heat our egg to 500 degrees maximum. The BGE isn’t exactly like a wood-burning pizza oven, but you will get a delicious bottom crust.
If you enjoy the look of charred bits on the top, you will need to pop your pizza under a broiler a few seconds, or use a pastry torch.
Pizza tip: When making your own pizza dough, always remember to use 00 flour, which can be purchased at Metropolitan Market or Whole Foods Market.
I’ve cooked other breads, such as savory garlic cheddar biscuits and cornbread, in the BGE. Both turned out lovely as if they were oven-baked. For moister bread, lower the heat to 350 degrees and make sure to use the ConvEGGtor, so the bottoms don’t scorch.
Meat Smoking & Dog Treats
Just from trial and error I have figured out pretty much how I like to set the grill to cook different meats.
For smoking, I like to keep the temp about 230 degrees to cook low and slow. For pork ribs, I use hickory chips and McLendon’s sells it by the bag! Ribs take about five hours, and need basting now and again with apple juice.
While you are smoking meats, you might as well make some treats for Fido!
Beef femur or knucklebones are the only dog-safe bones. I always find them at the butcher in the freezer (I go to Tacoma Boys, but any good butcher will have them).
After thawing the bones, smoke them on their sides (so that the marrow doesn’t run out) for about two hours with mesquite or hickory chips. Allow the treats to cool completely. At this point, the fat and marrow should have the consistency of Crisco or cold bacon drippings.
These bones aren’t basted with anything, but they will smell like an old meat smoke house! Nom, nom!
For this year’s Fourth of July menu, we will have Cast Iron Baked Beans, Southern Sweet Coleslaw, Smoked BBQ Pork Ribs and Banana Pudding for dessert. The best part is you can do these all in one day! Sound good? Let’s get cookin!
Cast Iron Baked Beans
What you need:
1 medium onion, minced
2 (16 oz.) cans Pork & Beans
¼ cup molasses
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1 lb. bacon
STEP 1 Gently stir together everything except the bacon, and pour into a cast iron skillet.
STEP 2 Tear bacon into one-inch pieces and lay atop bean mixture.
STEP 3 Using your ConvEGGtor, place skillet in BGE and grill at 350 degrees to 375 degrees until the bacon is cooked and the beans are bubbly hot.
STEP 4 Remove and set aside.
Smoked Pork Ribs & Rub
What you need:
Rack of pork ribs
After you’ve set aside the Cast Iron Baked Beans, lower heat to 260 degrees and add your favorite flavor of wood for smoking ribs. The best way to cook pork ribs is at a low heat for a long time.
Then give your rack of ribs a generous application of dry rub. You can either use a store-bought rub or make your own, like I do. By making it at home, I know it doesn’t contain MSG and is low-sodium.
For my rub, I use a big mason jar and add in garlic powder, Coleman’s mustard powder, smoked paprika, brown sugar, a few dehydrated onion flakes, salt and pepper. I give my jar a good shaking and label it “Dry Rub, Summer 2017.” I will be able to use that all summer long!
Then it’s time to smoke the ribs. I use the tried-and-true rule of Three, Two, One:
Three: Smoke your seasoned ribs for three hours uncovered
Two: Baste them with apple juice then cover with foil for two hours. Alternatively, you can place ribs inside a disposable aluminum pan with a bit of apple juice and cover with foil. Both methods work just fine, see what you like better!
One: Remove the foil and place ribs directly on the grill; cook one hour.
While the ribs are cooking, you’ll have five hours to get a few things prepared and ready for dinner. Next to prep is dessert, because I like it to chill about four hours in the fridge.
What you need:
1 ½ cups water
¾ can sweetened condensed milk
1 large box instant vanilla pudding
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1 box of vanilla wafers
3 or 4 ripe bananas
This recipe is so simple, so sweet, oh so Southern and always a crowd-pleasing treat!
STEP 1 Whip together water, sweetened condensed milk and instant pudding in a glass bowl; chill in refrigerator until firm.
STEP 2 While the pudding is chilling, pour 3 cups of cold heavy whipping cream in a bowl and whip until peaks form. Don’t over-whip or it will turn to butter!
STEP 3 Remove chilled, firm pudding from refrigerator; fold in whipped cream until blended.
STEP 4 Using a trifle dish, begin layering pudding, vanilla wafers and banana slices. Finish with a sprinkling of crushed wafers.
STEP 5 Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Next it’s time to get your Southern Coleslaw started. It needs at least two hours to chill for the best flavors.
Southern Sweet Coleslaw
What you need:
½ small onion, minced ½ cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 head of cabbage, shredded (or about three bags of coleslaw mix, in the produce aisle)
2 shredded carrots (omit if using coleslaw mix)
STEP 1 Wisk onion, mayo, milk, sugar and vinegar together in a large bowl.
STEP 2 Add in your shredded veggies and coat with the mayonnaise dressing. Is the dressing too thick? Add an extra tablespoon of milk.
STEP 3 Cover with plastic wrap and chill.
Homemade Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce & Pulled Pork Mop Sauce
What you need:
14 oz. ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup mustard
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup apple juice
¼ cup molasses
1 tablespoon of DRY RUB
Pour all ingredients in a pot and simmer for five minutes. Pour into mason jars. For the kids, you can scoop out a cup. For the adults, add 1 tsp to 3 tsp of hot sauce to taste. You know the level of heat your family enjoys, so pop a clean spoon in there and give it a lick to check!
Mop Sauce Variation If making a mop sauce for pulled pork, add more vinegar and more apple juice to thin it out in a basting bucket.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed some of our cooking tips on temperatures to cook things on your Big Green Egg, and I really do hope y’all try some Southern barbeque.
It does tend to be a bit different then what you’re used to out here in the PNW but I’ll bet you’re going to love it!
If you have any questions on the table build or how to regulate the heat on your BGE, or if you have any comments to share, I would love to hear from you!
From our backyard to yours, I wish you all a super fun and safe Fourth of July with all your family and friends!
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