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Cooking with dome open?

EggtuaryEggtuary Posts: 400
edited 2:57AM in EggHead Forum
How many of you ever cook with the dome open, and for what foods?[p]I ask because I got Bill and Cheryl Jamison's "Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining" for Christmas, and these two claim that all grilling should be done with the top off. They say that if you cook with the top down, then you're automatically roasting rather than grilling because the radiant heat from the top of the dome will continue to cook the top of the meat. They also say grilling with the dome closed is bad because it concentrates the smoke from burning fats that come off your steaks, burgers or marinated chicken. While wood smoke improves taste, they claim that all smoke generated from fat will give a bad taste.[p]What do you folks think? Agree with this? I know the Jamison books are popular with some of the people who post here, so I'm curious if any of you have changed your cooking methods as a result of their advice. I'm also curious if anybody who DOESN'T happen to own one of their books prefers to grill this way.[p]I hope everyone is having a good start to their new year![p]Mike "Eggtuary" Stone

Comments

  • HaggisHaggis Posts: 998
    Eggtuary,[p]Well, I rarely have the lid open. [p]But I also find it ironic that the material you quote says that bad flavors come from the drippings as they burn. If I remember correctly, it is exactly that - the drippings - that the gassers claimed as the reason charcoal grilling tasted so good (rather than the charcoal itself) and that the drippings falling onto the lava rocks in the gassers replicated that great flavor. (I'll note that I never found that claim to be true and quickly dumped my gasser some 20 years ago.)[p]One additional thought: even if they choose to define grilling so narrowly, what's to be gained? Do we cook over charcoal just to claim we are "grilling?" Or do we cook over lump charcoal in the Egg because it produces a superior result? I have no problem at all in being lumped (pun intended) into the group that isn't "really grilling" and I'll enjoy every bit of what I produce with my inferior techniques!
  • EggtuaryEggtuary Posts: 400
    Haggis,
    Well, it's kind of funny. They talk about how Weber (although they avoid mentioning them by name, but it's pretty clear through their frequent references) screwed up everybody's concept of outdoor grilling with their covered dome setup in the 1950's, and now everybody thinks that's how all grilling should be done. They agree that it controls flare-ups, but they think taste is sacrificed. They point to the fact that fancy restaurants cook over open flame and use no covers because they realize that covered cooking messes up the flavor for foods that should be cooked over high heat.[p]Later in the book, though, they say the Big Green Egg (yes, they actually used the name!) and other ceramic cookers are the only ones that can slow-cook chicken and still get crispy skin! So it's pretty confusing...[p]Anyway, I was curious what others around here thought. Part of the reason I ask is that I haven't been consistently blown away with the results of my steaks. I have tried the T-Rex method and some of the other ideas I've seen described on here. Sometimes I get fantastic results, and other times I'm not so impressed. So now I'm wondering if the variance had anything to do with the concentration of smoke from the steak dripping into the fire.[p]Thanks for the feedback!

  • Eggtuary,[p]I love the taste of steaks and roasts where the juices have been vaporized by a charcoal fire (or even a gas one at a pinch). IMO that's what barbeque is all about - otherwise we might as well use that range thing in the kitchen. [p]To concentrate this flavour while minimizing flare ups, I always cook with the dome/lid down. And that goes for my BGE as well as my Weber kettle and Q. See - I am learning![p]PS Memo to Celtic Wolf - For the benefit of 99% of forum members, I used 'z' instead of the more correct 's' (vaporize/minmize). [p]

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 19,279
    Eggtuary,
    sometimes i make up some basting sauce and finish ribs up with the dome open. flipping and basting til they have the apperance im looking for with some crispyness. i almost close the lower vent to help keep the heat down and do this for the last 20 or 30 minutes flipping continuosly so they dont burn.

  • Eggtuary, I have had a lot of success w/recipes in Jamison's "smoke and spice" cookbook. However, my success comes much more from the recipe than the cooking instructions. Since that was a smoking book, darn near every recipe starts with "set your cooker @ 200-220 degrees." Often, I didn't think this was nearly hot enough.
    This book may just have a grilling slant and they're trying to disinguish that from smoking.[p]As for your steaks, first consider the huge variance in the steaks themselves in whether or not you are wowed. I think every steak is different and that's part of the fun. [p]Since I learned the TREX method, that's all I do. It never results in bad smoke, even w/fatty ribeyes. During the sear, when all hell is breaking loose, the daisy is off and the smoke is blowing right out. During the roast/dwell there's not alot of burning going on because the egg is almost shut down. I always add mesquite chips during the roast and think it is what sets egged steaks apart from every other cooker.[p]My Papaw used to cook steaks for us every Thursday night on his weber--lid on. I'd give a million bucks to cook him a steak right now and watch him eat it!
    Have fun, Scott[p]

  • Eggtuary,
    Going by that definition I guess I roasted half a dozen chicken breasts last night. They were marinated in Eskimo Joe's famous Fowl Thing sauce and basted a couple of more times while cooking. Everyone in my house raves that it's better than actually eating at EJ's so apparently the drippings weren't too bad.[p]Eggsperiment and enjoy![p]Big Daddy

  • Eggtuary, I grill with the lid closed for all of the reasons already mentioned. I will add one point, with the lid open the fire gets much hotter and flare-ups are much bigger, and that is hard on the gasket, at least IMHO. Considering flavor and hardware, I don't see any good reason to grill with the lid open.
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