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Help for Newbie Menu planning!

Hello!  I have had my egg for about 3 weeks and I love it.  So far the best thing I have made multiple times is homemade pizza.  My teenagers love them.  I did Boston butt last friday (with the help of people here!) that turned out pretty good... but dinner was 2 hours late!  I did a beer can chicken that was pretty good... but a little smokey and dinner was 2 hours late!  I've made some awesome steaks too. A few nights ago I made the most tender and juicy chicken breasts but the family thought they were too smokey.  So... I plan to get some ozark oak in a few days from Henapple.  I would like to plan two meals to cook over the next week.  One - a good ribeye with those brined baked potatoes that I heard about on here and maybe pineapple upside down cake.  Two- a spatchcock chicken with maybe corn on the cob and a cobbler.  Do you think that is too ambitious for a newbie?  For personal reasons I think this is going to be a crappy week... so I really want something positive to focus on and to enjoy with my family.  I just don't want to get in over my head and end up with dinner 3 hours late!

Comments

  • anzyegganzyegg Posts: 1,104
    It sounds like you've done some good cooks for a newbie. Have you tried Ribs, perhaps turbo?
  • TNeggTNegg Posts: 89
    anzyegg... no ribs yet.  My husband makes really great ribs by cooking them on low in the oven in apple cider vin and water for a few hours and then finishing them on his gas grill.  I want to make sure that when I say I can make better ribs that I have the skills to back it up!
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 13,365
    First up-the brand of lump will not have a major influence on the out-come as long as you don't get impatient and start the cook too soon- "smoke smells good, it is good"- then go for it.  Sounds like the biggest issue here is missing the target by a few hours-start earlier.  This isn't rocket science.  FWIW-
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,699
    On the butts...start early. You can ftc for 5 hours. On the corn, I pull the husk back, clean, butter and seasoning and tie back the husk. Cook till your desired taste. Spatchcock. ..raised direct @ 400. Getting Ozark Oak from henapple insures an awesome week. No more smokey flavor. See ya soon... lol.

    +1 on the ribs.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • TNeggTNegg Posts: 89
    @ lousubcap... it might not be rocket science to you but the only other experience i've had with a charcoal grill before the egg was in college when I caught my boyfriends deck on fire trying to cook him chicken!   Trust me.. I could be a test kitchen for what could go wrong.  But at least I'm persistent!

    @ henapple... I am hoping to be able to meet you monday night if that's ok with you! What does ftc mean?
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,699
    Wrap in foil, wrap in towels and put in a cooler. Keeps butts and ribs hot for hours.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 13,365
    edited August 2014
    @TNegg-full marks for giving it a go and engaging with the forum.  Gotta love the spirit.  You can master this cooking environment and it will be a sea-change for the better from that chicken cook.  
    What follows is  the great majority of an e-mail I recently sent o someone about to buy aBGE:

    The following is a link to the BGE supported (to what extent, unknown) Egghead forum.  Lots of great info here-you can use the search feature to find recipes etc.  Also if you use Google and your query, just and Big Green Egg to your search and you will get lots of links, as well.  http://eggheadforum.com/discussions

     

    Here’s a link to all things ceramic-chances are if you have a question the answer is within this site somewhere.  Check out the recipe section for some great ideas.

    http://www.nakedwhiz.com/nwindex.htm

     

    For additional links to cooking/recipe sites; here are two very good ones, depending what you are cooking:  This site contains a wealth of the science behind Q cooking along with info on about every type of meat cook you would attempt:http://amazingribs.com/

    Here’s the second one:  http://playingwithfireandsmoke.blogspot.com/

     

    After-market toys- With the BGE there are three basic styles of cooking;  “direct”-where the cooking grid is on top of the fire ring; “raised direct”-where the grid is elevated at least to the gasket-line (this setup requires after-market stuff-easiest is to get another grid and then use three fire bricks (or three empty aluminum beer cans) and place them on the grid at the fire ring and then put the second grid on top. The third is “indirect” where there is a heat deflector (platesetter or some other type stone) between the burning lump and the cooking grid.  This is the setup for low&slow long duration cooks.  I would get comfortable playing around with the BGE before any major after-market investments.  Will save you $$ in the long run.

     

    Some observations-make sure you calibrate your dome thermo-boil some water, then insert the thermo and check the temp.  If not around 210*F, then note the off-set and use the nut on the back to correct.  Then recheck.

    Temperature is a controlled by the volume of lump burning.  The volume is controlled by the air-flow thru the BGE.  In thru the bottom vent and out the top.  Make sure when you set it up that the fire box opening is aligned with the lower vent. 

    When adjusting the vent(s) to change temperature, the feedback loop can take some time.  Changes in air-flow are reflected in the dome thermo temp.  Don’t chase temperature; +/- 10-15*F is close enough.

    “Stable temperature” is a relative term.  Means you haven’t moved the vents and the temperature is steady for anywhere from 30-60 minutes.

    There are many types of charcoal that you can use.  BGE lump is over-priced.  Kroger brand (private label) lump is made by the same supplier as BGE (Royal Oak) and much cheaper.  You can also find Royal Oak at Home Depot.  GFS (Gordon Food Service) is another private label of the Royal Oak brand.  You can order other brands from http://www.firecraft.com/ . 

     The above is more than enough to get you started. 


    You may find some value in  a few pearls above. 

    Welcome aboard-


     

    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.
  • TNeggTNegg Posts: 89
    Wow.  Thanks.  I know what I'll be doing tomorrow... reading!  I do think I need to calibrate my thermometer.  I cooked a burger today at 450* for about 5 min per side and it was still pretty red in the middle... so my guess would be it wasn't really 450*. Maybe I will do that tomorrow too.  
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 13,365
    Shorts and burgers-a great double header!
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.
  • allsidallsid Posts: 492
    On the off chance you have a food saver, and a busy week ahead, consider making a few things ahead and sealing them or make them airtight in a ziplock bag.  Lots of pork things re-heat amazingly well in a warm water bath in either a foodsaver bag or a ziplock bag.  

    If you can, empower the fam for ideas too.  An overnight brine on some pork chops can be fantastic.  
    Neither of the dishes you want to make are too outlandish.  Here is how I do rib eyes, or thick steaks.  Reverse sear.  Roast then sear.  

    I just did my first pineapple upside down cake with a box mix, some melted brown sugar & butter in the bottom of the pan, and raised indirect at whatever temp the box said.  It was amazing.

    Good luck, start early, and don't take it too seriously-  

    imageimageimageimage
    Proud resident of Missoula, MT
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    Check out my book on Kamado cooking called Exclusively Kamado:
    http://bit.ly/kamadobook

  • TNeggTNegg Posts: 89
    @ allsid... that cake looks awesome.  I thought I had to use cast iron to do it so I'm glad you posted the photos.  I understand the concept of the reverse sear but I'm not sure how to time it with the potatoes. I guess do the potatoes first and start everything 2 hours earlier than I think I need to!
  • JstrokeJstroke Posts: 1,798
    TN, here are some things to think about in relation to menu planning, prep and putting food out on time. If i can tell you anything at all make sure all ingredients are on hand at the start of the week including lump and fire starters spices, rubs, sauce etc. Make sure your favorites are not running low. Example- check kosher salt and pepper grinder-. Plenty of aluminum foil,and saran wrap, ziplocks etc. create an inventory list and run the list before shopping. Running after stuff on the way home or just before you want to cook is what will drive you crazy. THEN, keep cooks simple for awhile until you figure out how your egg behaves. Chicken thighs, whole chickens and veg and potatoes are pretty cheap and make great practice.
    Columbus, Ohio--A Gasser filled with Matchlight and an Ugly Drum.
  • jtcBoyntonjtcBoynton Posts: 1,785
    Give yourself plenty of time to get the fire lit, offgas the VOCs, get the egg up to temp, and stabilize the temp. The pros here can do it pretty quick, but us newbies should allow more time.  Nothing wrong with letting the egg sit there at temp waiting for you to put the food on (burning a little extra lump is preferable to having the family waiting an extra hour for dinner to cook!).  
      
    Remember, smoke is a flavoring. Like all flavors, too much is not good. If you are adding wood in your cooks for smoke, try less. I would actually cook without any wood at first and then gradually add some to subsequent cooks until you reach the amount your family likes best.  Smell the smoke before adding food to the egg. If it smells bad, it will taste bad. If it smells good, it will taste good.
      
     
    Southeast Florida - LBGE
    In cooking, often we implement steps for which we have no explanations other than ‘that’s what everybody else does’ or ‘that’s what I have been told.’  Dare to think for yourself.
     
  • TNeggTNegg Posts: 89
    @jstroke... great ideas! I will do it. It's temping to see what every one is cooking on here and try to duplicate it!  I will get some chicken and keep practicing.

    @jtcBoynton... I am on on my 2nd bag of BGE lump and this bag had super duper large pieces.  I'm wondering if it actually takes longer for the vocs to burn off.  The worst times I've had was adding more lump after dark and trying to tell what color the smoke was with a flashlight.  I tried to go by smell but I think I already had voce in my hair and clothes! good advice.
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