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Newbie Questions.....I apoligize in advance!!

hey everyone,......it was real nice to get such a warm welcome when i joined the forum the other day.....this place looks like it's a blast!  i already got some real good advice on cooking with less smoke in my welcome thread....I use the BGE lump right now but will for sure try some of the others mentioned.

as a newbie with limited time to do site searches I was hopeful that I could post some newbie questions and if you of you have time to answer or direct me to a previous thread it would be much appreciated!  anyway, here goes some of of current questions;

I have an XL egg

1)  i have the plate setter.....i know it's a must for low and slow cooking like ribs  for the indirect heat etc.... but I have read that some folks almost leave it in all the time for everything they cook.....do you guys do that?  when do you use it or not?

2)  i have seen much mention of drip pans on here.....do you guys always use drip pans?  what are the pros and cons of that?  I assume if I am using the plate setter that I may want to place foil on top of it to help make keeping it clean easier?

3)  temperature gauges.....I used an extra gauge the other day near the grid to see if the gauge that came with the egg was accurate since it was located higher and the readings were nearly identical.....is there a need or recommendation to do something differently to ensure accurate temperature readings?

4)  the pit for the xl is rather large........so do you guys on larger eggs keep the lump filled up in your eggs when you cook or do you use lesser amounts for certain kinds of cooks?  I am clueless on this as I have mostly been a propane guy in the past but LOVING all things egg now!

5)  any recommendations for "must have" accessories?

I hate being such a newbie....but everyone seems very helpful and nice on here and I look forward to learning as much as I can from everyone!

Thanks in advance for your time.
gettin lucky in kentucky!   2 XL eggs!

Comments

  • six_eggsix_egg Posts: 594
    edited July 2013

    1. I do not leave mine in all the time. It really depends on you and what you want to achivie. Some foods I like a char taste. Some I like smoke.

    2. I do not use a drip pan but I do sometimes wrap my PS in foil.

    3. Thermapen get one.

    4. I fill as needed if I can cook the food I have preped with out adding I just light and go.

    5. Thermapen must have. If you do a lot of moving your PS when hot good gloves. I have all the AR accessories . I will say it is not cheap but it is great quality and service. Also a digiq or cyberq to help do low and slow unattended. 

    XLBGE, LBGE growing accessories.

    Want: Ceramicgrillworks 2 tier large, Dutch oven, Cyber Q Wifi

    Grenada, MS

  • (1)  I only put my PS in when I'm doing indirect (although that admittedly is frequently).  I store the PS in the Egg, though, so I'll place it back in after I finish a direct cook (which helps keep it clean).

    (2)  I use drip pans for low n' slow - a foil pan resting on foil "pucks" with water in it.  I do this so drippings (a) do not cause flare-ups and (b) do not burn and impart that burnt flavor to the cook.

    (3)  That's fine for determining the Egg temperature, but you need something to determine your food's internal temperature, and that something should, as @six_egg says, be a Thermapen.

    (4)  I tend to stir the old coals, ensure the grate and firebox holes are clean, and remove the ash before any cook.  I then top off the firebox with fresh lump.  I have a large, though; with the XL, I would imagine that it's probably not necessary to top it off every time.

    (5)  Thermapen and either a Maverick ET-732 or a Digi/CyberQ - the Maverick if you don't mind possibly having to tend your fire yourself on an overnight cook (that's what I use); the Digi/Cyber otherwise.  I'd also opine that a pizza stone and some method of raising grids provide you with the flexibility to do pretty much anything.

    [Northern] Virginia is for [meat] lovers.
  • SaltySamSaltySam Posts: 337

    1) Generally the lower the temperature, the more likely I'll use my platesetter.  If it's a low and slow, of course I'll use it.  If I'm doing a reverse sear, I'll use it for the first portion of my cook, and then remove it when I open every thing wide open for the nuclear temps.  I normally do pork tenderloins indirect (with the PS), but I've tried it direct, and raised direct.  Direct cooking results in more charring on the outside, and therefore a slightly different flavor.  It also requires a little more attention for turning the meat.  That all being said, there are no hard and fast rules.   Well...except for pizza.  I always use a PS for pizza. 

    2) You can always do a clean burn to get rid of charred drippings from earlier cooks, so a dirty platesetter isn't a problem.  If you cook with a dirty platesetter though, it might impart some nasty smoke.  I like to put a little aluminum foil over the PS, since it's cheap and easy.

    3) the biggest lesson I learned about temps (aside from calibrating my dome thermometer) was that temps aren't consistent early on in the cook.  Dome will likely read higher than grid for a while, and then as temps stabilize, they get much closer.  At low temps (below 300-ish) any variance of 15 degrees or so really doesn't matter.

    4) I only have a large, so I can't vouch for the larger fire pit.  I normally fill the pit, and then pay more attention to how many coals are lit when I fire it up. I've found that it doesn't matter how many coals are in the pit, it's how many are actually hot. I always use an electric starter for 7 minutes, unplug it, and stir the hot coals around evenly throughout the pit.  Once I get the temp where I want it, I shut adjust the draft door and DFMT.  I've left the starter in for 9-10 minutes before, and was left with a raging inferno.  With that many coals lit, it was more difficult to stabilize a lower cooking temp.  Either way, tinker with your lighting methods, and don't expect to nail it the first couple times. Eventually you'll hit your target temp.  It takes a little practice.

    5) Welders gloves (to protect your arms/arm hair from hot temps, and to remove a hot PS),  some type of cast iron skillet, maybe a pizza stone for thin crust pies.  High Q grate, instead of the factory installed cast iron grate- it clogs with charcoal too easily, and makes temp control slightly more difficult.

    Welcome to the forum!  This place rocks.

    LBGE since June 2012

    Omaha, NE

  • msloanmsloan Posts: 249
    you guys rock!  I cannot believe how helpful this community is!  I'm so glad I'm a fellow EGGHEAD!!!
    gettin lucky in kentucky!   2 XL eggs!
  • jlsmjlsm Posts: 768
    1. Half and half. Depends on what I want. Doing chicken parts indirect now, though I've done them raised direct as well. Did boneless leg of lamb direct a few weeks ago, but someone did one indirect at about the same time; I'll try that next. 

    2. I always use a drip pan with the plate setter. I don't want that grease to get into the egg. Some folks have experienced interesting grease fires, and even if it doesn't explode it smells (and tastes on the food) awful, IMHO. 

    3. No. 

    4. I don't fill the firebox unless I'm going for a long low and slow. I usually use a few new chunks of charcoal, though. 

    5. HighQue grate; insures great airflow with minimal work. Maverick ET-732; you can monitor the grid and food temps from anywhere on your property. Thermopen; cook to temp and not time. This is great for many applications in the kitchen, too. Welders gloves, though I rarely use them (and I have no hair on the outside of my forearms). 


    *******
    Owner of a large and a beloved mini in Philadelphia
  • msloanmsloan Posts: 249
    thanks!  that does also remind of me one additional question I had which was what gloves do you recommend for handling the hot stuff instead the egg?  just regular welder gloves from lowe's or some of the more specialized cooking high temp gloves?
    gettin lucky in kentucky!   2 XL eggs!
  • AcnAcn Posts: 494
    Re: gloves, I don't think it matters that much...you won't want to hold onto anything out of the egg for more than a few seconds. More important is having a plan and knowing where you want to put your plate setter and moving it quickly there.

    LBGE

    Pikesville, MD

  • SaltySamSaltySam Posts: 337
    That checks.  I have a $10 pair of Lincoln Electric welding gloves from Home Depot.  They are filthy from handling the PS, but they still work.  You buy yourself about 4-5 seconds of holding time before the heat gets to your hands.

    LBGE since June 2012

    Omaha, NE

  • RV10FlyerRV10Flyer Posts: 135
    Some welding gloves have more material/leather on the palms than others.  The more material, the longer you can hold onto hot stuff.  Just something to keep in mind if you are comparing a few different pairs.


    North Texas

    XL BGE

  • JustacookinJustacookin Posts: 190
    Just one more I have the xl thought about how much lump I would use but I have found it very efficient fill it and keep using it till it burns out or add more for longer or hotter cook's. Lost my thought to many High life's.  I think that is one thing most of us have in common.
    XL in Bloomington MN.
  • msloanmsloan Posts: 249
    thanks everyone for the additional advice!!

    cooked some chicken tenders tonight and they were delicious!  i'm loving the egg!
    gettin lucky in kentucky!   2 XL eggs!
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