Big Green Egg - EGGhead Forum - The Ultimate Cooking Experience...
We hope you all got to celebrate those tasty food holidays last week, we sure enjoyed them! We are even more excited about the beginning of fall, for so many reasons, but mainly for experiencing the cool, crisp air while being outside cooking up the best recipes the season has to offer. We especially love these Beer Pork Tenderloin and Ground Beef Acorn Squash recipes! Fall is upon us, and it's a great time for getting out to one of the many #EGGfests around the country - see a list here

Winter Cooking Tips

I still consider myself a Big Green Egg rookie (this is my 2nd season) and I am new to the forum. I wondered if anyone has any tips for winter weather outdoor cooking (E.g. 20- 35 degrees F).  More specifically, do any of you veterans have any rules of thumb for charcoal level or lighting techniques that help get up to temperature quicker? I've read about people using a hair dryer to blow warm air inside, but this seems a bit over the top for me personally.

Typical winter cooking for our family includes chicken breasts, steaks and burgers direct over charcoal

Appreciate any insights.

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Comments

  • MickeyMickey Posts: 14,228
    edited January 2013

    This is fast. Cooking in less than 10 min.... The below for Large.... I found the Mini gets cooking temp in half the time.

     

    image
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini.... 5th Salado EggFest is March 14, 2015

  • I personally just use the firestarters and light 3-4 on the top and leave the lid open for longer than I do in the summer. That is just my technique.
  • JohnnyBGrillingJohnnyBGrilling Posts: 6
    edited January 2013
    fletcherfam said:
    I personally just use the firestarters and light 3-4 on the top and leave the lid open for longer than I do in the summer. That is just my technique.
    I use firestarters as well, so perhaps it's patience that I need to contend with
    :-*   Thanks!
  • Have used plain old firestarters through the past 5 winters and haven't really noticed a difference in time to temp vs summer starting.  If it's a breezy day, sometimes it gets to temp faster in the winter.
    Mamaroneck
  • My problem with cold is low and slow not start up or high temp. It's not really a problem I guess it's just such different settings on my vents when it's cold out.

    If you want a quicker start up and quicker temp up you need a torch of some kind.


    _______________________________________________

    LBGE & SBGE (big momma and pat)
  • Ragtop99Ragtop99 Posts: 1,136
    edited January 2013
    I don't notice much of a difference, other than it takes an additional 5 to 10 minutes to warm up the grill.  Wind, more than cold, seems to be a bigger variable in achieving stable low and slow cooks during the winter.

    I use firestarters as well, so perhaps it's patience that I need to contend with

    When I used firstarters, I would cut them in half or thirds.  lighting a few spots within a couple inches of each other gets a decent fire for most cooks.  If you do a lot of steaks or high temp cooks, I'd suggest a chimney or paper towel soaked in oil so that you can start good fires in multiple locations. 

    Propane torch like Mickey uses is very quick.  Looks to be more fun than firestarters too. :D
    Cooking on an XL and Medium in Bethesda, MD.
  • dlk7dlk7 Posts: 975

    I use the TS8000 in the winter and when it is raining and a looft lighter the rest of the time.

    Two XL BGEs - So Happy!!!!

    Rudderville, TN

  • smokesniffersmokesniffer Posts: 1,569
    Dress Warm ;) ;) I don't have a cold weather technique, I just light it like I do all year around. 
  • I use the looflighter and light a larger area in winter in mid 20 degree coolness.. Firebox full oif charcoal. I do notice a little longer in getting up to temps but with a good pair of one piece long johns, warm boots, hat and a buddle of your favourite warming agent you should be good to go! Cheers!

    the city above Toronto - Noodleville wtih 2 Large 1 Mini

  • I'm surprised that no one has explained exactly what the hair dryer is used for. It is not for warming the egg. The hair dryer held up against the lower vent fans the burning coals and brings the temp of the egg up extremely fast. (a few minutes). It will still take a while for the ceramic to heat up but the fire has been given a big head start. Myself, I just go out with a warm coat and a beer, Light a fire starter and walk away until I feel like checking it again. When its ready, its ready.
    Be who you are and say what you feel... Because those that matter... don't mind ... and those that mind... don't matter !
  • jfm0830jfm0830 Posts: 882
    I too am using Firestarters. Thought my mind seems to be having trouble dealing with the concept, I am finding there is really no difference in settings or time. the lowest I've cooked in so far is 12 degrees. This behavior is so different than my smoker my pea brain doesn't want to accept the fact it really can be this easy. 

    Jim
    BBQ Website: grillin' & smokin'

    Middlesex County, MA
    Three Large BGE's & Too Many Eggcessories to Count
  • ChokeOnSmokeChokeOnSmoke Posts: 1,687
    No difference at all in starting or cooking between summer and winter.  If there is, it's too slight for me to notice.
    Packerland, Wisconsin

  • TjcoleyTjcoley Posts: 2,999
    Only difference I,ve noticed is the outside of the Egg stays cooler in winter. No difference in cooking. http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1146732/brisket-in-the-snow#latest The snow on the shelf was still there 12 hours into the cook.
    __________________________________________
    It's not a science, it's an art. And it's flawed.
    - Camp Hill, PA
  • JscottJscott Posts: 174
    I have noticed no change in my technique or adjustments for cooking. I have seen a change in my beverages. In the summer, it's more like wine and gin and tonics. Now I'm in a Russell Rye or Knob Creek feeling. Always have a nice cigar, weather doesn't change this!
  • FockerFocker Posts: 1,479

    Many ways to light an egg.  I prefer cheap and convenient.  These Rutland Fire Starters can be found dirt cheap in the fall for $.50 a carton on sale.  Check out your big box store fireplace/wood stove section.  One small square is usually enough. 

    The egg shines in cold weather cooking.  A Carhartt hoody, isotoner slippers to flip on and off, and whiskey help fight the elements.  

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    Brandon
    Quad Cities
    "The most important ingredient in cooking is restraint."--Chris Bianco

  • Appreciate the candor everyone. So glad I found out about the BGE, it's changed my enjoyment of cooking. 

    Since my original post I have stocked up on bourbon and so far this has been the best way to improve my winter weather cooking experience. 
  • YEMTreyYEMTrey Posts: 1,457
    Is there any risk at all in firing up the Egg in sub freezing temps?  I'm a bit concerned about starting a fire in something where the ceramic is at a sub freezing temp.  Worried about cracking, etc.
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    "Ain't nobody gonna find ya, unless you get yourself lost."
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 14,228
    YEMTrey said:
    Is there any risk at all in firing up the Egg in sub freezing temps?  I'm a bit concerned about starting a fire in something where the ceramic is at a sub freezing temp.  Worried about cracking, etc.
    Nice thing about a life time warranty.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini.... 5th Salado EggFest is March 14, 2015

  • nashbamanashbama Posts: 102
    I cooked some pork chops last night and I was concerned about this. It was around 20 outside, so I tried to bring up the temp slowly. My questions are how cold is too cold to cook? Also, if the egg should crack because I try heating it up when it's cold, will the warranty cover it?
    YEMTrey said:
    Is there any risk at all in firing up the Egg in sub freezing temps?  I'm a bit concerned about starting a fire in something where the ceramic is at a sub freezing temp.  Worried about cracking, etc.

  • CANMAN1976CANMAN1976 Posts: 1,440
    Cracking will be fear of mine too especially with BGE Canadas reputation with customer service:(
    It's not as reliable as the customer service in the U.S unfortunatly.
    Any fellow Canucks have issues replacing cracked fireboxes etc???
    Hows ya gettin' on, me ol cock



    Kippens.Newfoundland and Labrador. (Canada).
  • 500500 Posts: 1,220
    I use the Harbour Freight Propane Torch and the Air Grill Inflator.  I can up to 350* in 10 minutes.
    Large BGE; Midlothian, Virginia
    I like Pig Butts and I can not lie.
    "Barbecue is a journey, one meal at a time."
  • I cooked at - 20 C (-4 F) last weekend and had the LBGE up to temperature in minutes. 500 F  as soon as i dropped the lid and then I dropped it to 350 for the cook after a few more minutes with the DW wide open and lower damper. No issues. I was worried about cracking as well, but i dont think it will be a problem. -35 or so i may be a little more concerned. If it heats up this fast in the winter i cant wait till summer, however i dont see 1 or 2 minutes making a big differance. I am also still very new to the egg.
    County of Parkland, Alberta, Canada
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,177
    Cracking will be fear of mine too especially with BGE Canadas reputation with customer service:(
    It's not as reliable as the customer service in the U.S unfortunatly.
    Any fellow Canucks have issues replacing cracked fireboxes etc???
    I've had no issues with warranty service. Cracked base, fire rings and boxes no issue!

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,388
    The ceramic doesn't care if it's -40F or 80F when it gets lit.  Considering it can handle temps well over 1400F, a temp swing of 1320 vs 1440 are inconsequential.  The freezing point of water has nothing to do with heating up ceramic.  On the other hand, if you get a crack or cavity in the ceramic that does fill with water then freezes, that's where you can have problems.  But no problems on heating it up.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Mr HollowayMr Holloway Posts: 2,030
    edited January 2013

    Cause ya stole my base..  :D

     I am still waiting

     Actually just called BGE Canada

     Talked to a very nice rep who is trying to get me a base

  • FockerFocker Posts: 1,479

    First time I've witnessed steam come from the sides of the egg.  This was 3 above without the windchill.  With it, easily -10*F

     

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    3648 x 2736 - 2M
    Brandon
    Quad Cities
    "The most important ingredient in cooking is restraint."--Chris Bianco

  • I cooked in -4F a few weekends ago. I don't notice a difference in the time to heat up. But I was cooking slow and low. I used a chimney starter full. I did notice that the dense cold air made it easy to regulate temp!
  • CCC74CCC74 Posts: 11
    I've never had an issue with the cold. I just cook the other day in -37 C. I did a 19.5 hour pork shoulder for New Years Eve (it was -26). I let the egg heat up to about 350-400. Then I put the place setter and wood chips in. This cools it off. Then I just adjust the vents and watch the temp for about an hour to make sure it stabilizes. Once it does, I've never had an issue with outside temp changes. I do find that it holds its temp better in the winter, and the lump lasts longer.
  • Perfect timing on this thread. I have the same question. Using the little fire starter cubes, I can get my egg up to about 350 dome temp (open lower grate, no daisy wheel). Our steak was delicious (DP Red Eye Express) but I am used to searing at a higher temp. Any thoughts or suggestions?
  • NDGNDG Posts: 867
    I couldn't get my DigiQ working on Sunday. Fan stopped so brought it in, let it warm up and worked in the house 5 mins later. I then brought it back outside and worked for minute then stopped again. Anybody experienced this issue in temps below 20f ?
    Columbus, Ohio
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