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Newbies Ask for Advise

Seasoned Egg headers,

Husband and I have ordered the XLBGE with nest, nest handler, composite tables, & plate setter.  While we wait to hear back from dealer, I have signed up for the forum and been reading around to get some idea of other necessities we may be needing.  Getting around the forum has been a little difficult since I do not belong to many and find each totally different in nature.  I wasn't sure where to post this discussion so, if I am in the wrong topic, point me in the right direction.  In reading, I am under the impression we are going to be needing a digital thermometer (?), possibly a charcoal chimney to start coals (?) and did I read somewhere about first cooks being low to get the gasket to seal properly(?)  So, without overloading this with all my Q's, just asking for some sound advise about getting started and some steering to avoid a few of the more common mistakes for a couple of greenhorns to the BGE  BBQ world. 

First and foremost, am a bit nervous about the assembly.  We live quite a distance from the nearest dealer so we will be putting it together ourselves at home.  I gather from things I've read, that the video walks you through it pretty good.  Just asking those who have done it successfully, "Are there any specific areas that can give you a problem and your advise on the matter please?"  ..  ..other than the obvious suggestion that a husband and wife should not attempt it without proper referee on site!!

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Comments

  • Hi54puttyHi54putty Posts: 1,353
    Buy a Thermapen ASAP. That's your most important accessory in my opinion. There are many ways to light the egg, just find what works best for you. My 2 favorites are a weed burner and heat gun in that order. I don't have a gasket on either of my eggs so I can't give any advice there. Welcome aboard and good luck. 
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 14,045
    edited April 2013
    PLUS 1 on: Buy a Thermapen ASAP and get a weed burner.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini.... 5th Salado EggFest is March 14, 2015

  • TwoCooksTwoCooks Posts: 35
    Thank you for quick response .. we have a heat gun and would never have thought of using it for this purpose.
  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 1,595

    I can't help you on the assembly question.

    Digital thermometer - yes - Thermopen.  A thermometer that you can leave in the meat for long cooks is also a good idea - Maverick seems to be the most popular.

    Charcoal chimney - that is one option for starting the coals and it works well - but most people just light the coals in the egg with something - a starter cube, paper towel soaked in oil, flamethrower, etc.

    Gasket - Manufacturer apparently recommends a few cooks at non-nuclear temperatures to help seal the gasket but most of us don't really know if that works or how important it is.  Many of us fried our gaskets a long time ago and our eggs work just fine.

     

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • tazcrashtazcrash Posts: 1,747
    edited April 2013
    assembly of the egg is very straight forward. Just might be more awkard on an XL cause of the weight. 
    Make sure you bend the bolts when you tighten the straps (trust me will mean more on assembly).
    Oh, and that you put the firebox opening to the front. 

    anther vote for Thermapen.  
    Bx - > NJ ->TX!!! 
    All to get cheaper brisket! 
  • nashbamanashbama Posts: 102
    I'd recommend buying an electric charcoal starter. BGE sells starter blocks for around $10 for a 24 pack. I paid $15 for my electric starter and I'm well over 24 starts with it, still going strong.

    As for assembly, I took my dealer's showroom model. It was assembled well, everything was tight and sealed. So I just handed him my cash and he put everything in my back seat.

    When I was researching prices and dealers, I found that the ones near me will deliver and assemble for you. Some were free, some charged. Ask around and see what dealers are doing near you, could come in handy with price negotiations.
  • TwoCooksTwoCooks Posts: 35
    Great responses and we are ordering the Thermapen now. TY
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 4,962
    edited April 2013
    Here is a great reference site for ceramic cookers. http://nakedwhiz.com/ceramicfaq.htm His main site is a wealth of info as well.  As you get going recognize that the search function here is very weak but adding big green egg to a google search will yield lots of hits.  And ask away here, many more than willing to help with your questions.  And you will soon find that there are many right answers to most queries.  Welcome and enjoy the journey.
    Louisville
  • RV10FlyerRV10Flyer Posts: 135

    I just bought my XL this past weekend.  It was fairly easy to assemble after watching the video and reading the directions.  The directions are somewhat verbose and confusing but just take your time and re-read as needed.  The XL is heavy but I was able to unload it from my truck, move it to the backyard, and assemble it by myself so it is not as heavy as I was expecting.  If I remember correctly, I used a 7/16” and 9/16” open end wrench and a Phillips screwdriver.  I think the most important item is to make sure the rings are the correct distance that that they are tightened properly.  You don’t want the lid slipping out and busting.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    The manual does state that you should keep the temp to 350 or below for the first few cooks.

    So far, I am using the Big Green Egg fire starters.  They are a little waxy block that you place under the lump and light; very easy, nothing else needed.  I may use one of the others methods in the future but the fire starters are all you need to get started.

    Another vote for the Thermapen.  I use it for most meats even if I cook them inside.  I grilled some salmon last night and it was cooked perfectly, thanks to the correct internal temperature

                                             


    North Texas

    XL BGE

  • shtgunal3shtgunal3 Posts: 1,887
    Assembly is not hard at all. Just go by the instructions/video and take your time.

    Don't worry about buying many eggcessories right now. Get a couple months of egging under your belt and then decide what you want/need. A lot of folks have a lot stuff they don't use because they bought it in the beginning only to decide later it is not what they wanted.

    Welcome aboard. Where y'all from?

    ___________________________________

     

     LBGE,SBGE Sweet home Alabama........ Stay thirsty my friends .

  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 8,540
    Assembly-wise: The biggest thing I have found is that it is easiest with 2 people. It looks like you have this covered.

    The lifting part is obvious; it's the alignment part that 2 people really shine. As you tighten the bands, the dome can shift forward or back. Having the other person put downward pressure on the dome helps it sit still to maintain alignment. I put my dad's XL together by myself and alignment was hands-down the hardest part with just one person.

    +1 on the Thermapen. It is expensive but pays for itself very quickly. Over cook a Prime dry-aged ribeye and know why. Don''t ask me how I know 
    ;)
  • From one novice to another, I assembled the Large Egg by myself without any difficulty. The website video is very detailed, although heavy on the disclaimers from the BGE Lawyers
  • SmokeyPittSmokeyPitt Posts: 4,812
    edited April 2013

    Assembly-wise: The biggest thing I have found is that it is easiest with 2 people. It looks like you have this covered.

    The lifting part is obvious; it's the alignment part that 2 people really shine. As you tighten the bands, the dome can shift forward or back. Having the other person put downward pressure on the dome helps it sit still to maintain alignment. I put my dad's XL together by myself and alignment was hands-down the hardest part with just one person.

    +1 on the Thermapen. It is expensive but pays for itself very quickly. Over cook a Prime dry-aged ribeye and know why. Don''t ask me how I know 
    ;)
    Ummmm...are you sure you should be giving advice on assembly?? 

    Just kidding!  Too soon after the tradgedy??




    Which came first the chicken or the egg?  I egged the chicken and then I ate his leg wing. 
    2014 Wing King's Apprentice
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 8,540

    Assembly-wise: The biggest thing I have found is that it is easiest with 2 people. It looks like you have this covered.

    The lifting part is obvious; it's the alignment part that 2 people really shine. As you tighten the bands, the dome can shift forward or back. Having the other person put downward pressure on the dome helps it sit still to maintain alignment. I put my dad's XL together by myself and alignment was hands-down the hardest part with just one person.

    +1 on the Thermapen. It is expensive but pays for itself very quickly. Over cook a Prime dry-aged ribeye and know why. Don''t ask me how I know 
    ;)
    Ummmm...are you sure you should be giving advice on assembly?? 

    Just kidding!  Too soon after the tradgedy??


    Assembly yes. Sweet new gasket ring replacement with alignment?.... No
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 10,927
    buy a thermapen and wait on everything else till you know what you need or want... welcome to the asylum...
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • SaltySamSaltySam Posts: 322

    I've had my egg for less than a year, so I'm still a greenhorn.  I know some of this advice is beyond what you've asked for, but I learned some things the hard way.  Maybe I can save you some cash/embarassment, so you don't repeat my mistakes. My biggest learning points thus far have included:

    - calibrate your dome thermometer.  Mine was way off, and my cooks got better after I did

    - cook inexpensive dishes first.  Chicken, pork chops, etc.  Use this time to tinker with temp control

    - a wide open daisy wheel and vent door left unattended for even a few minutes can put the internal temp above 900-1000 degrees.  It scared the crap out of me the first time it happened.

    - I like the electric starter more than the starter blocks.  It's windy here in Nebraska, and I had a tough time keeping the start blocks lit.  The electric starter is simple.  I've heard reports of a short life on them, but mine's still going strong.  I haven't tried a weed torch, but I imagine it would be pretty freakin' awesome.

    - You don't need to soak wood chips.  Mix them in with charcoal to get an even smoke throughout your cook

    - Ground beef absorbs a LOT of smoke.  Go raised direct, and cook at a slightly lower temperature to minimize flareups.

    - Burp that egg.  Every time, regardless of cooking temp.  Burnt arm hair hurts and stinks.

    Welcome to the club, buddy!  You'll love it.

    -

    LBGE since June 2012

    Omaha, NE

  • TwoCooksTwoCooks Posts: 35
    Thank you all for input.  We picked up all the boxes last night and transported them home.  We are anxious to get started but will wait for more agreeable weather to assemble.  Very cold and windy today.  Salty, you brought up some very valuable points we hadn't thought about plus answered a Q my husband has about soaking chips... TY
  • HogHeavenHogHeaven Posts: 243
    edited April 2013
    Yes on thermapen. But... I think a temp thermometer that measures your actual cooking temp at the cooking level is more important for cooking your meat properly. The Dome temp and the actual cooking temp are not anywhere near the same. At the start of a cook if your dome temp gauge says it is 350 degrees the actual cooking temp at the felt level will be about 310/320. So if that is the case and your recipe says at 350 your dish should cook in 30 minutes and you've planned your sides around that finish time, you are screwed.
  • SmokeyPittSmokeyPitt Posts: 4,812
    HogHeaven said:
    Yes on thermapen. But... I think a temp thermometer that measures your actual cooking temp at the cooking level is more important for cooking your meat properly. The Dome temp and the actual cooking temp are not anywhere near the same. At the start if a cook if your dome temp gauge says it is 350 degrees the actual cooking temp at the felt level will about
    Respectfully disagree here.  Of the two, the internal temp of the meat matters much more than the temperature of the cooking chamber.  Even if they are 25 degrees different...it just doesn't matter that much if a piece of chicken cooked at 350 or 325...as long as it made it to 160 internal ;)

    That being said...just go ahead and get the thermapen and the maverick and case closed! 



    Which came first the chicken or the egg?  I egged the chicken and then I ate his leg wing. 
    2014 Wing King's Apprentice
  • HogHeavenHogHeaven Posts: 243
    HogHeaven said:
    Yes on thermapen. But... I think a temp thermometer that measures your actual cooking temp at the cooking level is more important for cooking your meat properly. The Dome temp and the actual cooking temp are not anywhere near the same. At the start if a cook if your dome temp gauge says it is 350 degrees the actual cooking temp at the felt level will about
    Respectfully disagree here.  Of the two, the internal temp of the meat matters much more than the temperature of the cooking chamber.  Even if they are 25 degrees different...it just doesn't matter that much if a piece of chicken cooked at 350 or 325...as long as it made it to 160 internal ;)

    That being said...just go ahead and get the thermapen and the maverick and case closed! 

    I personally don't know a cook on the planet that would be comfortable cooking when he has no clue what temp his food is actually cooking at. The thermapen and the Maverick have 2 completely different uses. You can't use the thermapen to do what the Maverick does. As a cook... If I could only have 1, I'd take the Maverick. Thank Gawd that is not the case.
  • HogHeavenHogHeaven Posts: 243
    edited April 2013
    Also TwoCooks... I agree that the Nakedwhiz.com site is a very good website for us backyard Chef want to be's. However my personal go to site and I think the #1 BBQ site of all is Amazingribs.com. He covers the science and physics of cooking and tells you not only how to do things but explains why it is happening like that. If you want to know how to mix your own rubs he will teach you. If your want to know how to make BBQ sauces... He will teach you. If you want recipes? He has many and he was once a professor at Cordon Bleu, a school of high regard in the culinary arts. Want to know about meat science... He lays it all out for you. I like to not only know how to do things but I also like to understand why doing it a certain way is best. So I do recommend both sites. Happy Egging friends, dine well.
  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 1,595

    I'm with @SmokeyPitt on this one.

    @HogHeaven, it's not about having "no clue" about the grid temp.  The point is that having an idea (+/- 25 degrees or so) about the grid temp with an EXACT measurement of the meat temp is better than knowing EXACT grid temp and not measuring meat temp - at least to me and SmokeyPitt. 

    There are some exceptions to this - such as baking bread and cooking meats where one judges doneness by feel, but in general I'll go with what I wrote above as it will keep me from overcooking good pieces of beef.

     

     

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • henapplehenapple Posts: 10,927
    or you could just all get mangrates. I simply dial in a temp and the mangrate is a maverick, cyberq, digiq, thermapen and stoker all in one. even opens the top when the food is done.
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 1,595
    If it will figure out when my beer bottle is empty and bring me another one then I'm sold.

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • HogHeavenHogHeaven Posts: 243
    edited April 2013
    Foghorn said:

    I'm with @SmokeyPitt on this one.

    @HogHeaven, it's not about having "no clue" about the grid temp.  The point is that having an idea (+/- 25 degrees or so) about the grid temp with an EXACT measurement of the meat temp is better than knowing EXACT grid temp and not measuring meat temp - at least to me and SmokeyPitt. 

    There are some exceptions to this - such as baking bread and cooking meats where one judges doneness by feel, but in general I'll go with what I wrote above as it will keep me from overcooking good pieces of beef.

     

     


    Foggy... You go ahead and do whatever fluffs your skirt. However the point you seem to missing is that the Maverick can give the exact temp of the meat AND the temp that your meat is cooking at. The thermapen only works with the lid up and has no clue what temp your meat is cooking at. The question was IF... You could only have one of the two, which would you take. I'll take the 2 probe Maverick Everytime!!!
  • The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 11,142
    edited April 2013
    Ever cook over a camp fire or in a webber kettle? or one of those pits that say "low-med-high"? Lots of great food gets cooked on these every weekend with no clue what the temp is. I could pull the dome thermo off my egg and it would make zero difference in the quality of 90% of my cooks. I'm glad to have it as a reference but I know I can cook a great steak over a hot fire as long as I can control the internal temp

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,161
    I am having just a little trouble unnerstanding here. Say you have a rib roast that is 8" in height. What is the cooking temp of the roast? The bottom, top or middle? The difference that is referred to here is for indirect cooks. In an oven or an egg there will be some stratification. Where is the "exact temperature"?

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,161

    @TwoCooks,

    Be careful, there are some folks around here that know a lot more than they understand.

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • HogHeavenHogHeaven Posts: 243
    edited April 2013
    Ever cook over a camp fire or in a webber kettle? or one of those pits that say "low-med-high"? Lots of great food gets cooked on these every weekend with no clue what the temp is. I could pull the dome thermo off my egg and it would make zero difference in the quality of 90% of my cooks. I'm glad to have it as a reference but I know I can cook a great steak over a hot fire as long as I can control the internal temp

    I can drive better when I'm drunk and especially at night without my headlights on too... We are both ridiculous. Even the most accomplished Chef has a temp thermometer in his kitchen these days. I bet you say that you can figure out the done ness of a steak with just your fingers too. Try cooking a loaf of sourdough bread that you've been proofings and fermenting in the refrigerator for days in a BGE without a temp gauge. Do you check the air pressure in your tires by feel too?
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