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Condsidering an Egg, have a few questions

edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
I am considering an Egg and have a few questions. Our interest is in using this cooker for general baking as well as smoking and grilling. My main question is how quickly can you come up to temperature and how easily is it to maintain the chosen temp? Is the Egg just as good for baking things like potatoes and bread? If we are going to use it for lots of different things we cant afford to spend 45 minutes getting a cooker stabilized at a particular temp. Is this the right tool for the job? We dont mind spending a little more time then you would with a household oven but dont want to make each use into an event.

Comments

  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,778
    Tsuga,
    Well, baking on the Egg is like using a wood-fired oven in some ways. You need to stabilize the temperature, of course, but you need to allow the cooker itself to heat up, not just the air inside it. When I bake pizza, for example, I let the fire get established and then wait about 30 minutes for the cooker to heat up. If you want to do several things at the same time or closely back to back, you may want to think about getting two cookers, say a small and a large. A lot of owners have gone that route. You just can't expect to cook something at 500 degrees and then cool the cooker down immediately to 350 and cook something else right away. But the Egg does a wonderful job of baking potatoes, bread, pizza, tomato pies, you name it I don't mean to sound snotty, but if you want an electric oven, buy an electric oven. If you want something akin to a wood-fired oven, you need to be willing to accept how wood-fired ovens work.[p]As for simply stabilizing temp, you can have the cooker stabilized at normal temperatures within 15 minutes with a little practice. You can get a device like a BBQ Guru or The Stoker if you want to have good control without too much fussing over it. Good luck with your choice![p]TNW[p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • TroubleTrouble Posts: 276
    Tsuga,
    Different things come to mind when I read your post If you are going to light it, then cook several different kinds of things, you will come up with schemes that work best for you. For baking, you want the cleanest burning fire possible, so if there is something else to do, do the something else first. That is true unless the something else is going to drip fat onto your coals and make stinky smoke. If there are several things to do at similar temps, do those in batches. It is easy (5 minutes, maybe) to get the egg from 350 to 600, but much more difficult to go from 600 to 350. Actually, it can come down that far in about 20 minutes if it was only briefly that hot; but if it's been coasting at 600 for a while and the ceramic is all very hot, it will take longer.[p]Having said all that, I usually don't plan on cooking food until the fire has been lit for 30 minutes. So the fire lighting just happens a few steps earlier in the total meal prep process to my way of thinking.[p]Good luck--any way you go, good food is fun.

  • JohnFJohnF Posts: 31
    The Naked Whiz,
    To me, part of the fun is the putzing around with the daisy wheel and the damper. With a beer or some other liquid refreshment.[p]

  • Naked, Thanks for your reply. I don't expect gas oven performance and I'm happy to go through a little extra effort to get wood fired results as long as its not a major production which it doesn't sound like it is. When you say you can get a stabilize temp in 15 minute, is this from the time you light the charcoal? Also is it easy to hold a temperature accurately without a lot of close tending? I have the weber bullet smoker and find it takes a fair amount of attention to keep the temperature where I want it.

  • JohnF,[p]My thoughts exactly! I also like the idea of sterilizing the temp probe in rum, then discard in an appropriate container:-)
  • Kelly KeefeKelly Keefe Posts: 469
    Tsuga,
    My experience is that it takes about 30 minutes to stabilize the temperatures where I want them, not 15. (Of course, he's a Whiz and I'm just a duffer - grin!) Once I'm there though, it's usually no problem to keep it there with little additional attention. There are, of course, exceptions. Hey, it's a wood cooker not an electric oven. There is a LOT less need to the personal touch though then with a bullet smoker. The big plus is that you can load the thing up with lump and, on a large, cook 24+ hours without reloading. I will say this: Unlike almost anything else I've ever bought, I've never regretted my decision to buy an Egg, nor have I found anything yet that works better at what I do with it;which is bake, grill and low/slow BBQ. My 2 cents worth.[p]Kelly Keefe
    Jefferson City, MO

  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,778
    Tsuga,[p]Yes, with practice, you should be able to stabilize at a temp in 15 minutes. You may need to nudge things now and again, it depends on what temp and how long you will be cooking. [p]TNW
    The Naked Whiz
  • randomeggerrandomegger Posts: 194
    Tsuga,[p]The mass of ceramic makes it easier to hold temp once you get it where you want it. That and a lot of practice. Once you learn your egg's characteristics it becomes a lot easier. I had an old barrel smoker that my large egg replaced years ago. The difference is like night and day.[p]RE
  • GrilliciousGrillicious Posts: 347
    Tsuga, my experience is 15 minutes from the time I light the lump. And from day one, the thing that amazed me most about the egg, other than the wonderful food produced, is how easily and accurately it will hold any temperature. You'll be very pleased.

  • TroubleTrouble Posts: 276
    Tsuga,
    Once you know your egg, you will be able to light it and get it set to a temp in 15 minutes. A stable higher temp (550 or so?) might take 20 minutes. You might not want to put food on for another 15 it if it's a new load of lump. [p]Very little tending. I watch it while it's on the way up. Once stable and cooking is underway, a little tweaking. [p]For a specific example, one can put ribs on a clean burning, stable fire 30 minutes after lighting. During the five hour cook, I may check the temp every hour or so. I may have to tweak a vent opening; I may not. I've left the house to go grocery shopping while ribs were on. It's quite stable.[p]During overnight cooks I get up once or twice and check the temp.[p]Hope that helps. The Whiz has a tremendous web site devoted to ceramic cooking. It will probably answer questions you haven't thought of yet.

    [ul][li]TNW Site (Happy Birthday, Whiz!!!!!)[/ul]
  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,778
    Kelly Keefe,
    Ok, so I'm an optimist. :-) It depends....[p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • BYCBYC Posts: 358
    The Naked Whiz,[p]Just read your review at your site on the stoker. Do you suggest one over the other? Guru versus the stoker.[p]Thanks

  • Kelly KeefeKelly Keefe Posts: 469
    The Naked Whiz,
    No, you're a Whiz. I'm the one in the yellow prop-topped beanie - grin![p]Have a great weekend![p]Kelly

  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    Tsuga,
    It just takes a little getting used to, I found the learning curve to be shorter than the WSM, but then I already had a good understanding of fire control. I give the Egg 30 minutes warm up for my cooks. No major production, just stir the coals, light with a torch, insert grid, close the lid, and set the daisy on when it gets to temp. The bullet smoker was more work, because I had to take it apart each time to clean and reload. -RP

  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,778
    BYC,
    Nope, I didn't try to decide which is better. I think everyone needs to look at both, their features, etc. and decide for themselves. I think either will be a good choice. [p]TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • One thing I have found out that helps bring my large egg to temp on very calm evenings is to use a floor fan on low to blow into the bottom opening. We cook 2 to 3 times a week on ours and have never even had anything close to the excellent job that it does. Pizza is one of our favorites....steaks and chops cannot be matched.....You will not be unhappy with a BGE.
  • Tsuga,
    Use a mapp gas torch to get things fired up and it will save you some time up front, as the lump will get up to temp faster. I use it all the time. You should use protective glasses, though, because sometimes the lump sparks because of the intense heat of the mapp torch. They are about $35 at HomeDepot. [p]Brett

  • Tsuga,[p]It is easy to get to a stable temp for some baking but for bread, you need more than a stable temp. It would seem to me that you won't have the time to bake on the cooker but probably don't have the foggiest idea of how much time is needed on an outside wood burning oven to get it ready for baking. Maybe 1.0 hour to get the Egg ready vs 6-8 hours to get an outside oven ready sure makes this a no-brainer to me!![p]I purchased my first Egg just for baking about 7 years ago and have been very happy with the results I get each week on baking day. We usually bake about 6-7 hours and just get great results on all loaves and do both hearth baking and pan baking.[p]The large Egg with the proper setup will bake as well as your kitchen stove but will also give you that wonderful light smoke flavor which is great with any baking. Again, with the proper setup, you can take any recipe that you can find in any book, on the web, or where ever and run it at the suggested temp and if you follow the directions, you will get a perfect loaf on the very first bake. It is just bullet-proof.[p]I have posted several pictures in the past and will give you the location on one of my posts on some of the bread baking I do on the Egg. Be more than happy to help you with baking thru private e-mail. [p]Dave[p]
    [ul][li]Bread Baking[/ul]
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