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New egg owner and need help please

Hello all,
I just purchased a BGE yesterday from my local dealer. I am impressed with the design and ease of starting and temp ramp up of the unit. I believe it will be a good cooker for searing steaks. But here is my problem. I have been a charcoal user for most of my cooking out. We do a lot of camping and I use Lodge camp Dutch ovens for my baking and oven style cooking and a Lodge cast iron Hibachi for grilling. The hibachi does great for what we use it for. There are only four of us and we can generally get all the grilling we need on the Lodge. Like I said earlier I use Charcoal for most of my cooking. I have used natural charcoal before with ok results I personally did not see a HUGE difference in taste. But this was on an open grill. Ok getting to the point now. Last night I cooked Hamburgers and hotdogs I Fired the BGE up using the BGE brand charcoal. The starting process was very easy and not an issue. I preheated the grill to around 500 degrees f. Burgers and dogs went on fine and cooked rather quickly. I need to cook on it some more to find the hot spots because some burgers were med rare and some were rare but all had an almost charred look to them. I think I need to get a plate setter to help with the charring (my wife hates charred food.) Anyway I know I have rambled badly here please bear with me. The food came off fine the heat was so intense that it singed the hair on my arm from 18" away when I pulled the food off. (Be careful) so here is the root of my question. (I know finally huh) because the cooker is designed to cook closed the smoke from the coals stays in the grill. While I like a hardwood smoke flavoring the amount of smoke taste was so intense that it really overpowered the food. My wife and kids really did not care for the flavor of the meat. And I will have to say that while I like the flavor of natural wood charcoal this was even a little much for me. Also I smelled like I was at a campground all day because of the smoke which I don’t mind usually but sometimes we will go out after a meal for ice-cream ect and I do not alsways want to smell like a campfire. I know BGE recommends the natural charcoal but will it help with the smoke flavoring to use regular briqette charcoal? Also when you go to use the different wood chips with the smoke flavoring of the coal how in the world does the flavor of the chip you’re using overpower that one?
I really like the cooker and cant wait to try it out for whole chickens and ribs but if I can’t get the smoke flavoring down some then I have just bought a $700 deck decoration. Thanks for reading this looooong post. And for any help at all. Thanks a million you guys I hope to be a contributor to this forum and look forward reading your responses.[p]James Hall

Comments

  • Hangfire77,
    Welcome to the club and watch out for a guy named Chubby as he will have you drinking the Kool-Aid before you know it. Now as for your little problem was the lump still smoking when you put your burgers on? Whenever you use new lump you are going to get a lot of smoke when you first light it. Once the lump burns for a little while you will see a large decrease in the amount of smoke that comes form the egg. There is a term for what is burning off but for the life of me I can not remember it " I am only on my first cup of coffee". As for cooking burgers I usually cook mine at 375-400 dome closed. I think 500 is a little too high and that is why you charred the outside. When you lit the lump did you light it in a few places? I always light mine in 3-4 places to make sure 1) to get it up to temp quick and 2) to make sure the fire is even around the grate. I am sure others will chime in as the day goes one. Anyway time to get ready for some football. GO GIANTS!!!!

    Everyday is Saturday and tomorrow is always Sunday.
  • Hangfire77,[p]We are new eggers and I had some real concerns buying - see I bought off of one bite of a friends brisket and my saint of a husband let the egg roll on in, sight unseen. I was quite afraid of such an investment for a decoration as well, and no water feature![p]When have been overwhelmed by the wood flavor sometime it was becuase I cooked too hot and quick. I wonder if 500 was too hot for the burgers? So far we have found that the the more you use it the more 'seasoned' it becomes, and less the cooker overwhelms and the meat wins.[p]For the arm hair - this hairless lady just bought some long leather gloves at Bass pro when we go that hot. Remember to BURP IT!
  • Hangfire77,
    DANG that was a loooooonggggg post[p]I will try to help......first when cooking with the BGE make sure if you lit w/fire starters that they burn up completely b4 adding food.[p]Try cooking w/out using added wood chunks/chips...if you do add smoke for flavoring then wait for the smoke to turn a clear/bluish b4 puttting meat on the grill[p]avoiding smelling like smoke might be hard to do[p]if you read that BGE cookbook and it said you can cook in 35 seconds then ignore that[p]Patience is a virtue and cooking w/BGE will get easier and easier[p]I had never used charcoal prior to buying BGE and I feel like a pro now(1 yr 3 mos later)[p]good luck and ask ask ask[p]Jan

  • Hangfire77,[p]First, of all relax. You did not make a mistake buying the egg. All of us will tell you that. You just need some practice and you wil soon be turning out some fine food.[p]A couple of thoughts for new owners.[p]No starter fluid. Not now, not ever![p]Use natural lump. Briquettes are a recipe for disaster. The left over lump can be reused each time. Briquettes fall apart after one use. Different types of lump have a differnt amount of flavor. You just need to find one you like and practice your technique.[p]Make sure you let your fire burn down to a "clean fire." Don't rush to put on your food. Wait until there is no smoke coming from the top of the Egg.[p]Cook by temperature, not time. I think you cooked your burgers at a little too high temperature or had some flames which charred the burgers. Work on getting a nice bed of coals built up and check the temps of your burgers.[p]Get a thermapen or other good thermometer. It is harder to get perfect food without knowing the temperature of your food,[p]If you don't like smoke, skip wood chips and find a milder charcoal to use. This plus your technique will decrease the amount of smoke in your food.[p]Finally, read the naked whiz site. After you have this information, you will be prepared for the egg.
    [ul][li]http://www.nakedwhiz.com/[/ul]
  • JCinNVJCinNV Posts: 141
    Hangfire77,
    What Retired Rail Roader was referring to was (voc)volital organic compounds, which you get when lighting fresh lump,let the fire burn 20-30 min to burn it off, you get alot of smoke during this time, you will notice a differnce, the smoke will almost go away, when lighting used lump you don't have voc's because they have burned off, hth jc

  • Hangfire77,
    Welcome to the Wonderful World of the Big Green Egg. You will NOT regret your decision to buy the Egg. [p]At our store (We are a dealer) I make sure that every newbie leaves with instructions and tips that will help them avoid some of the common mistakes. I have compiled this information and you can find it and print it out by clicking the link below. [p]Also, you ARE already at one of the best places to find out how to use your Egg. On this forum. Trust me, burgers done on the egg will be THE BEST BURGERS YOU EVER ATE. You just need to get a few of the basics down . Again, check the support pages especially the tips and tricks page! [p]If you need any post sale support, you can contact me off-list by email. [p]Regards, [p]SmokinGuitarPlayer in Reading, Pa.

    [ul][li]BGE SUPPORT PAGES - fredsmusicandbbq.com[/ul]
    Fred A. Bernardo , owner of Tasty Licks BBQ Supply in Shillington, Pa. 
  • J.C. in NV,
    That was it but before my 2 cups of coffee I have a hard enough time spelling cat never mind that voc stuff. Thanks!

    Everyday is Saturday and tomorrow is always Sunday.
  • JCinNVJCinNV Posts: 141
    Retired RailRoader,
    Already had my 2 cups of coffee, or i would have been lost, still not sure i spelled it right, lol

  • JamesJames Posts: 232
    SmokinGuitarPlayer, and every one else, LOL[p]Wow what a great response. Thanks to all who answered. I will try to respond to as many as I can here. With the suggestions that were given. The lump was new. And I only waited about ten minutes to put ion the food. Also I lit the lump only in the middle so that would have something to do with the hot spots. I will take all into practice and see how it comes out. Thanks a million for all of your responses. I only hope I can give something back to the forum also.[p]James[p]Ps I would have responded sooner but every time I would try to click the link to read the responses it would just go back to the top of the forum page. Any ideas on why that happened?[p][p]
  • Sorry guys the James above is Hangfire77 I wasn’t thinking when I posted I will be more careful in the future
  • Hangfire77,
    I don't have much to add to the wonderful responses to your question. I found a pair of welder's gloves at Harbor Freight here in Portland, OR. They cover both your hand and your wrist and can be so helpful when lifting the grate or the plate setter.

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