If you are reading this, then you probably already know what a Big Green Egg is. Just in case you don't; a Big Green Egg is a kamado style ceramic charcoal barbecue that is one of the most magical pieces of ceramic in existence. Seriously. It's amazing!
A Big Green Egg (BGE) can transform a simple cut of meat into something that melts in your mouth with so much flavor that it knocks you off your feet. Or it can act as a really nice heavy paperweight/egg looking decoration that takes up space on your patio if you never use it. That's what this post is about making sure never happens.
Tips and tricks to get the best results and the best experience out of your BGE. It can be a little intimidating, but once you learn the basics, you will be making the best barbecue you have ever eaten.
While these tips are for the Big Green Egg (because that's what I use) they are also relevant to other kamado style grill cookers.
Always consult the user manual for best practices and safety information for using your grill.
This post contains affiliate links to products I recommend where I might make a small commission if you make a purchase, which helps to help support this site, at no additional cost to you.
Tips & Tricks for the Big Green Egg
- Always start with a clean Egg.
Completely remove ash so air can flow freely from the bottom vent up to the fire. Stir up any remaining charcoal with an ash tool so the ashes fall to the base and can be scraped out of the vent. You can also use a shop vac to easily remove the ashes from the base.
- Always use high-quality natural lump charcoal in the egg.
- Use more charcoal for long cooks.
The more charcoal you start with will mean less airflow and lower temp that is easier to regulate for long smokes.
- Use less charcoal for high heat grilling.
Use less charcoal for high heat grilling, less charcoal will allow more oxygen to flow, getting the grill really hot for searing.
- Use wood chunks in combination with charcoal for live-fire high heat grilling to sear steaks and other meats.
- Never use lighter fluid to light charcoal.
- To light the charcoal;
use either natural charcoal starter cubes (affiliate) made of sawdust and paraffin or use an Electric Fire Starter to quickly light the charcoal.
- Use larger wood chunks when smoking for long periods. These will burn more slowly, lasting longer for more smoke in your meat.
- Bring the temperature up very slowly for low and slow smoking.
If the egg gets hot too fast, it will be difficult to bring the temperature down because of the heavy ceramic insulation of the egg.
- Use a water bath with plenty of water when smoking.
The water adds humidity to the air which is good for the meat and also makes clean up much easier by catching the drippings. Place the pan on top of the ConvEGGtor (affiliate). You can use disposable aluminum drip pans or restaurant steam pans work great too.
- Start with hot water in the water bath pan so the smoker doesn't cool down while it comes to temperature.
- Monitor the level of the water bath during long smokes as it will evaporate and you might need to add more.
- Always cook with the lid closed.
The Egg is designed only to cook with the lid closed. If the lid is open, the temperature will rise too quickly.
- "Burp" the egg before opening when it’s hot.
Burping is opening the lid just a few inches repeating a few times to allow the hot air to escape without causing a "flashback."
- Adjust the temperature by making micro-adjustments to the vents (primarily the bottom vent).
You want the temperature changing slowly to stay in control. If you need to increase or decrease the temperature, only open or close the vent a very small amount at a time and wait. Then adjust again as needed.
- Face the “BIG GREEN EGG” on the top gasket vent away from you so the vent lid doesn’t slide open when you open lid.
- Remotely monitor the temperature of both the egg and the internal temperature of the meat with a Thermoworks Smoke 2-channel thermometer (affiliate) or a Signals 4-channel thermometer device.
- Automatically maintain a constant temperature of the Egg and even adjust it remotely with a Thermoworks Billows BBQ Temperature Control Fan. It kind of feels like cheating!
- You can calibrate your built-in BGE thermometer by putting the tip in boiling water. Use a pair of pliers on the back to adjust the temp and re-calibrate. It’s best not to fully rely on the built-in thermometer and use a second Thermoworks thermometer in conjunction.
- Clean the grill grates right after using rather than waiting until next time. They are way easier to clean when still hot.
- Re-use leftover lump charcoal.
After your cook is over, you can re-use the chunks that are left by adding fresh charcoal to it. This is one of the big advantages of using lump charcoal and a kamado grill.
- It’s time to change the lid gasket when you see smoke leaking out the side of the lid.
- Invest in some essential BGE accessories to make your bbq life even more enjoyable with the best results possible.
Big Green Egg FAQ
There's no need to add more charcoal to the egg. Depending on how you are cooking, a full load of hardwood lump charcoal can last up to 18 hours for low and slow cooks.
You can set up the BGE for cold smoking by slowly bringing the temperature up to 200° F with the convEGGtor in place. Meanwhile, fill a large aluminum or restaurant steam pan with ice and place it on top of the convEGGtor with the food placed on the grill grates over the ice pan.
A large Big Green Egg costs approximately $859.00. Check your local dealer for current official prices.
Yes, you absolutely can. Whatever lump charcoal pieces remain from your last cook can be in the mix with fresh charcoal for the next one.
Use the Big Green Egg convEGGtor (affiliate) which is an accessory that puts a barrier between the fire and your food. The heat travels up around the perimeter of the egg, which will indirectly cook the food.