There are many words to describe who I am: husband, father, friend, and boss, but another very important description of what makes me, well me, is that I am an EGG head. Now you’re most likely scratching your head, but being an “EGG head” refers to the those of us that live the Big Green Egg life.
I was first introduced to the Big Green Egg by my friend Joe nearly three summers ago and little did I know he had been holding out on me for the previous two summers. So what the heck is a Big Green Egg? The Big Green Egg is a ceramic dutch oven, that in my opinion is the only way to grill or smoke meats and fish in the comfort of your own home. The smoke or heat is retained for the duration of your cooking, so there is no need to open and close the lid to check on your items being cooked. In fact, this is a very important step to insure that you can recreate some of the great items that I’ve been able to make on the Big Green Egg.Since I was enlightened to the Big Green Egg life, through my grilling “rebirth” I’ve managed to successfully and unsuccessfully smoke turkeys, steaks, alligator, snake, salmon, hamburgers and sausages, just to name a few things. Recently, the only time I have used my Jenn-Air grill the past two summers is to finish off some smoked chicken wings buy searing the barbecue or hot sauce.
Regardless of the temperature outside, I have “EGGed” when it is 15 below zero or 100 degrees fahrenheit. Thanks to my oversized patio table umbrella, even rain can’t keep me away from my Big Green Egg. I often say, “It’s not just an EGG, it’s a lifestyle.” And for anyone that has never tried a Big Green Egg, they just simply don’t understand. They think it’s just grill grill. Bless their hearts.
My latest smoke on the Big Green Egg was salmon fillets two weekends ago. The windchill alone was comfortably blowing in my face at 20 below zero and the air temperature was hovering around ten below zero. Clearly not the ideal way to start my day, but after taking the salmon out of a 24-hour brine and getting the EGG ready to grill, I first decided to grill some chicken and turkey loins at approximately 375 degrees fahrenheit. The turkey loin was cooked to perfection in about 45 minutes and the chicken breasts took a total of 18 minutes before they were ready to be snarfed down by my family.
After bringing down the Big Green Egg temperature to 210 degreess fahrenheit, I was ready to start smoking my salmon fillets. While salmon should be traditionally smoked with elder wood, sometimes I prefer maple wood, which is what I used for this smoke. After the smoke was billowing out of the top vent cap, I added my plate setter legs up so this smoke was an indirect smoke. When smoking, I almost always fill the drip pan entirely with ice cubes, which provides additional moisture in your meet and fish.
One of the trickiest steps in using the Big Green Egg is regulating the temperature. When i was a new EGG head, I felt like Goldilocks eating porrige. Sometimes my temperatire was too hot, sometimes too cold and sometimes just right. But it wasn’t until I was introduced to The BBQ Guru that I was able to elevate my EGG skills.
The BBQ Guru is an attachment to the bottom vent of the Big Green Egg that blows air in onto the lump charcoal and is controlled elecronically by placing a thermal probe in to the EGG’s pit. I usually clip my probe to the center of the grid I am using as the temperature near your food will be different than the thermometer attached to the outside of the Big Green Egg.
Once my salmon fillets were in the Big Green Egg and my temperature was set to 210 degrees fahrenheit, all I did was wait. No peeking into the EGG or additional lump charcoal needed and five hours later, I had perfection.