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Breaking In a new XL Egg

acrashacrash Posts: 17
edited February 2012 in Forum List

Just wanted to thank everyone on the forum for all of the advice I've read, that lead me to purchasing a new XL BGE.  I subscribe to Cook's Illustrated, and I like most of their stuff, and I was about to buy a WSM, but these forums convinced me to buy the egg.  I also started researching pellet smokers, other Kamado - style cookers, (Primo, etc.) and kept coming back to the Egg. These forums here also convinced me to buy the XL egg, because i like the flexibility of all of that space, and I plan on cooking for extended family dinners of 20+ and neighborhood parties of 100+.

So, the setup... I bought the package deal with the XL nest, egg mates, two bags of lump, the plate setter, the Egg spices, the half moon rack and drip pan, fire starters, and hickory smoking chips. I also have a electronic meat probe thermo, and I will calibrate the dome one soon.  I can't wait to cook brisket (big Texas Goode Co. BBQ fan, but I live in Utah) Pulled pork, chicken, Ribeyes, Pizza, Bread, and Turkeys to start. I have a Boston Butt and a whole Chicken in the Fridge waiting for this weekend.

Alas, I do have a couple of more questions from all of you:  What would you first cook to Break in the egg?  Any tips or start-up ideas to make it perfect?  I put a chunk of my Bonus for this year into the egg, and want to do it 'Right', so I am willing to pay to get the setup egg-cellent.

Second Question, when smoking meat, do you always use a drip pan, or just let the juices drip onto the plate setter? Any luck cooking directly on the plate setter pizzas or breads?

Final Question, any Eggheads here in Utah?

I thank you all for your help!


  • cazzycazzy Posts: 8,808
    I'm no pro, but the word on the streets is to crawl before you walk (ie don't look to sear steaks at 700+ your first cook). Cook chicken (spatchcock, chicken breast, drumsticks etc), burgers, chops. Low and slow is great too. Just for a will also get you used to adjusting the temp and just seeing how your new baby cooks food compared to traditional metal grills. As they say around here (especially Travis), "if your looking you ain't cooking".

    Visit for accessories and is very informative.

    Also, don't use lighter fluid and stay with lump. Have fun and congrats!!
    Just a hack that makes some $hitty BBQ....
  • Burn a load of lump and learn how to control the temperature with different vent openings.
    And don't put on any food until the smoke is clear
    XL   Walled Lake, MI

  • I put my XL together, watched the dvd, then seared steaks for my first cook. Watch the dvd that comes with the egg. Very informative. I've had mine for about a month. Spatchcock chicken is one of our favorites. I would suggest a wireless thermometer. Have fun!
    Mark Annville, PA
  • grill something you grill alot or you consider your best cook.  after a few cooks, the EGG will be like you new son.  

    Paul Go there. I write it.
  • walleyvwalleyv Posts: 147
    Don't let any juices get on the plate setter.  If that happens and the juices burn then that flavor will transfer to your food.
  • I dont put anything on my platesetter.  I scrape it off, or give it a good burn.  The only problem i have had has been with pizza.  didnt quite let the plate setter burn off enough before putting the pizza on, and it was purdy reverse flavorful.  

    Paul Go there. I write it.
  • If you don't mind me asking, what did you pay for the package? I'm looking for an XL as well.

     "Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great, Here's to "Down Home," the Old North State!"

    Med & XL

  • as far as the platesetter, i used to leave it uncovered, but i wrap it in aluminum foil for indirect cooks or make a homemade drip pan from the foil. easy clean up. .
    XL   Walled Lake, MI

  • R2Egg2QR2Egg2Q Posts: 1,652
    I've seen recommendations for keeping temps down under 400 for the 1st 10 hrs to help the gasket fully set. A whole chicken is good but the Boston butt cook would get you through the break-in period in one shot.

    Some cover the plate setter with foil and/or a drip pan, and some like the drippings right on the plate setter. I'm in the drip pan camp as I don't want to deal with burning off the plate setter and I'm all for easy clean up.

    I've baked some cookies on my Small plate setter before but would recommend baking on a dedicated baking stone instead.
    XL, Large, Small, Mini Eggs
    Bay Area, CA
  • acrashacrash Posts: 17
    Great advice everyone!  I'll watch the DVD, then I'll start off with a low and slow Boston Butt at 250 with some hickory chips, and then do a Chicken spatchcock style right after that. For sure no lighter fluid. Do I need a dedicated drip pan on the plate setter, or will just a sheet of foil work? I will use a baking stone for dedicated baking. I already have a ceramic pizza stone, so I will just use that for the egg. 

    @Old North - I paid about $1300 for all of that (tax excluded) The price was for the Egg, Nest, Shelves, 1 bag of lump (I paid for an additional bag of lump), BGE spice seasonings, the half moon rack and drip pan, and $25 for the plate setter. They assembled it for me.  

    Thank you! 
  • Congrats on your XL....I've had mine close to 8 months it!! I bought a Traeger instead of a egg about 5 yrs ago...I'm able to do much more with my egg.
  • I used my drip pan from my half moon rack as the drip pan for the plate setter. It isn't deep, but the XL half moon rack is big.
    Mark Annville, PA
  • Good luck with the xl...i have had mine for about a year now and got a mini for Christmas.. going for the third one at the Salado Eggfest...

    my wife made me go with the xl so she wouldn thave to get any more... :) did work out that way...

    keep it simple for a while until you get the control of the temp down and buy a thermopen for quick reads of internal temp..

    You are gonna love it...Wlecome to the cult...

    Rockwall Texas, just east of Dallas where the humidity and heat meet! Life is too short to get caught in the fast lane behind somebody slow!

    XL, LG, Sm, Mini and Weber for drink holder

  • Just burn lzmp thrw

    A muslim, a socialist and an illegal immigrant walk into a bar 

    Blogging: Never before have so many with so little to say said so much to so few.

  • acrashacrash Posts: 17

    My first cook, I dove head first into the water and decided to cook a 8.5 pound brisket.  It was AMAZING!! I slow cooked it for 18 hours at 225 dome temp.  Used the place setter with a drip pan.  The meat stayed at 178 for the final 4 hours, and I decided to pull it cause I was hungry, and I guess I didn't put enough lump in becuase the temp started falling in the egg at the end.  (probably becuase I started the coals three hours earlier before i put the meat on so I could mess with adjusting the temperature of the egg) No matter, It had such a perfect crust from the dry rub, and the inside had a perfect smoke ring, and the flavor was incredible!  Nice and tender, just as good as any BBQ I have had in a long time. I wrapped it in foil & towels for another hour, and then cooked chicken drummies direct with a new lump coals. Perfect. My sister made jalapeno cheese bread, and we ate like kings!

    Thank you all!

  • CowdogsCowdogs Posts: 489
    edited March 2012

    225 dome is a little low.  Try 250+ next time.  The reason for this is because the dome temp is usually a bit hotter than the cooking grid.  So at a 225 dome, you might be cooking your meat on a 200 cooking grid. 

    You should also calibrate your dome thermometer.  Out of the box they can be off by quite a bit.

    Sound like you're off to a great start.

  • Village IdiotVillage Idiot Posts: 6,953
    edited March 2012
    @Acrash.  I am very surprised that your brisket was tender at 178.  Normally, it has to get at least to 195.

    OK, your next purchase needs to be a mini.  You don't want to fire up that nuclear power plant for two little wieners, do you?

    If you bought your lump with your XL, you probably bought the BGE brand lump.  Go to Wally World and get Royal Oak lump (in a red bag).  RO makes the BGE lump, and the price is half.  Also, I like to use their 91% isopropyl alcohol to light the fire.  Burns clean, without odor, and the byproduct is carbon dioxide.

    Welcome to the cult.  Go to an Eggfest at your first opportunity.  You will learn a ton and enjoy it at the same time.  One is in Salado Texas next week.  That's only one state away.

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Just west of Austintatious

  • travisstricktravisstrick Posts: 4,895
    I think Mickey has taken over Gary's screen name. Either that or they traded salado eggfest inviting dutys.
    Be careful, man! I've got a beverage here.
  • Village IdiotVillage Idiot Posts: 6,953
    I think Mickey has taken over Gary's screen name. Either that or they traded salado eggfest inviting dutys.

    If I suck up to him, maybe he'll give me that mini you have your eyes on.  

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Just west of Austintatious

  • acrashacrash Posts: 17






    Here is a photo: I think it turned out pretty good!image

  • acrashacrash Posts: 17

    @Village Idiot - thank you for the tip about Wally World, great to know.  I have a family of five, so I am always cooking larger meals. I like your Nuclear reactor image!  When that thing gets going, wow - serious heat coming out.

    Did some pizzas tonight on the egg with a place setter and a pizza stone.  I didn't let the fire or the pizza stone heat up enough before I put on the first pizza. Calibrated my thermo.  First pizza, ok, took 25 mins, but dome temp about 400.  2 pizza, much better - but still a bit undercooked. Third pizza, great - excellent  got the fire up to 650. Fourth pizza, dome temp 700, 11 mins (my wife piled tons of toppings on) PERFECT.  Great crust. toppings were cooked, cheese golden.

    Thanks you all for your tips!  Great forum.

  • anwightmanwilli- what  is going on with your account?
    Conway, S.C.
  • Acrash- Nice job jumping in and getting started. I'm a big brisket guy (probably done over 100 on my egg) so I've made all the mistakes a guy can make in learning how to do awesome Q on the Egg. Your brisket looked awesome and I'm sure it was delicious so kudos to giving it a rip and pulling it off 1st try (lord knows I didn't have good results on my first). I noticed a few things in your post that might keep you from getting these great results on a consistent basis so I'll throw some of my hard earned brisket knowledge your way :) to help you get off on the right foot.

    1) Brisket and Butts always hit a "plateau" right around the 155-175 range where the temp just holds there for several hours. Sometimes it even goes DOWN a degree or 2 which always freaks newbies out. Never fear (and don't raise the temp of your pit to get the meat to come up, it will totally ruin your cook)- This is part of a very important chemical process in which all the tough and fibrous inter-muscular connective tissues are converted into collagen. This process is critical to a moist and tender butt or brisket and the secret that most backyard bbqers never fully understand. Try to never disturb your meat when the temp is holding steady in that range. Once it starts to climb out of the plateau, you can raise the temp of the pit to finish the cook quicker. I try not to do this but if you have people over or are on a schedule, I have found that it does not harm the meat to any significant degree. If you raise the temp or pull the meat while it is in the plateau, you can count on tougher, drier meat.Your foil wrapped rest probably saved you on this one as it had a chance to continue to cook in the foil for another hour. Still better to let it finish on the pit if you can.

    2) If properly brought through the plateau process, Brisket is usually done and perfectly tender between 180 and 200 (usually right at 190 for me but they can be moody). You can always tell when a butt or brisket is done (no matter the temp) when you can slide your temp probe in without any (or much) resistance from the meat. It can be overdone at this point too, so until you are really comfortable, keep the temp probe in and pull it off around 190 for brisket and around 190-200 for butts. You'll be very close to perfect in that range. Once you understand the principle of the plateau that butts and brisket must go through to become that ethereal cut of meat we all search for, you will be well on your way to perfect, consistent results every time. Yours looked awesome but with these basic principles, it will be awesome every time with no guess work. You'll be the envy of the neighborhood (get ready to be invited to a lot of parties, I have one this weekend for 30 peeps). Before I understood these principles, I can't tell you how many times I would do a killer brisket one week, then invite 15 people over the next to show off and then end up serving tough, dry brisket. I never had consistent results because I didn't fully understand the process. Now I can do them in my sleep with no thermometers etc. 

    3) for the setup to cook low and slow, always use a drip pan that is elevated an inch or 2 off the plate setter to avoid scorching the drippings (this can cause a very acrid taste to the meat). You can put water in there if you like- I do half the time. It's hard to tell if it does much but on my cook this past Sunday, I did and it was one of the best butts I've ever made. Think I'll do it again Friday for the party I'm cooking for on Saturday.  I use a jalapeno roasting rack on top of the plate setter and then put a foil pan with water in it on top of that and a V-Rack with butts or brisket in the pan (attached is a pic from my cook on Saturday night. 

    Good luck and let us know if we can help in any way.
    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
  • image
    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
  • The pic above is my low and slow setup. I use a jalapeno rack (you can see it below the pan, shaped like TX) to get a little airflow between the plate setter and drip pan. You can use water in the pan if you like (i did on this cook and it turned out great). There are tons of things that will work but just make sure you get a little space between your setter and drip pan so the drippings don't scorch. Works great for butts and brisket.

    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
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