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One last post before getting rid of BGE

cheapskatecheapskate Posts: 24
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
HELP! I finally talked myself into getting this expensive grill, only to find out that it's useless without spending almost as much again for the necessary accessories. I've held off on posting too much, because I figured I needed to go up the learning curve to start getting good results. However, after 2 months of ruining everything I've put on it, I have decided to put it on craig's list and try to recoup some money, unless I can figure out quickly what's wrong. Here are my observations on my experience with the BGE.

1) PRICING - Lots of companies try to keep the listed price low by charging extra for all the options. Nothing wrong with that at all. however, if you're considering an egg, consider this. There isn't anything you can do with it as it comes. You'll need additional accessories for everything you want to do. For indirect heat, a platesetter at $65. For baking, a stone at $45. For high heat searing, a cast iron grill (why do they even include that crappy stainless grill?). You'll have to get a stand (nest) or table before you use it, and those are expensive. The grill is below waist level otherwise, nobody would use it that way. Grill grabbing tongs, a tool to clean out the ashes, etc etc. Be prepared to pay almost double by the time you buy all accessories. Once again, not a problem, but I didn't realize it before I bought it, so just be aware.

2) Steaks/Burgers - If you like your steaks baked, the BGE is perfect. The recipe calls for heating the grill really hot (I tried 650 degrees preheated for 30 minutes, then put the steak on, close the top and bake it for 2 minutes, then turn and bake for 2 minutes, shut it down and leave on an additional 2 minutes. First off, it cooks 1 1/2 inch steaks medium with these instructions, so you have to adjust the time or get 2 inch steaks if you want medium rare. no problem, live and learn. However, I don't want my steaks baked or smoked. When you close the top, you get the taste of the lump hardwood in the meat. I love a smoky flavor on my rib roast, but not on steaks or burgers. i tried cooking at very high heat with the top open, like you would on a normal grill, but then you're just cooking on flames. There is no adjustment to raise or lower the grill a bit like on some charcoal grills. I don't want to cook on flames and burn the outside. I don't see any use for this grill to cook steaks or burgers. Can any of you tell me what I'm doing wrong?

2) Baking - One of the main reasons I got this thing was I thought it would be like a brick oven. I've not been able to break the code yet, and I've tried a number of times. With the placesetter and pizza stone in place, I've tried preheating for 2 hours and couldn't get the ceramic above 500 degrees or so. Even so, at that temp I wound up burning the crust to a crisp and the top wasn't ready. So I've tried preheating for shorter times, and wound up having to bake the pizza for 20 minutes to get it done. The longer the pizza is in the grill, the smokier it tastes. A little bit of smoke flavor on bread or pizza MIGHT be ok. A lot is definitely not tasty to me. A pizza in a wood fired brick oven takes a few minutes to cook, and is evenly cooked top and bottom. has anybody out there mastered this?

3) Low/slow - I've tried several briskets. I'm getting whole, untrimmed briskets, Choice grade. I completely clean out all old coals and ashes and start with a clean grill. I use the platesetter for indirect heat, and just a few hickory chunks for flavor. I've learned not to use many chips, as the hardwood lump coals add a lot of smoke taste to the meat. I inject the meat with a can of beef broth. I hold the temp steady at 220 or 225 and use a meat thermometer. When the internal temp of the flat reaches 180, I wrap in foil and leave it on for an hour or so, until the internal temp appears to be 200 or 205 (my thermometer only goes to 190, so I have to guess on that). The briskets come out ok at best, not the fall apart tender that some of you get. And once again, that strong flavor of the coals. I've turned out acceptable briskets, nothing approaching the competition status that some of you have. I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. The internal temp is hitting 180 after only about 7 hours on a 10 pound whole brisket, which is quicker than the recipes suggest (i use the recipe at amazingribs.com) I've checked the BGE dome thermometer against 2 different oven thermometers and it seems to be working fine. Even if the BGE does turn out great briskets, it needs to also be good for steaks/burgers to make sense for me. I'd only cook a brisket occasionally.

Did anyone else have these problems and figure out how to correct them?
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Comments

  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    My guess is your dome thermometer is off, sounds like it is cooking at a much higher temp. -RP
  • Thanks for the suggestion. I've checked it against 2 different oven thermometers and they all read the same as the dome thermometer, so I guess the dome therm is working ok. I don't know how else to check it.
  • B & CB & C Posts: 217
    Where do you live? Someone might be able to help you if we knew where you live. They could come to you or you could come to them, There are the North Georgia Eggers if you live in GA. I heard most of them are friendly, however some are suspect (Vidalia1, Sparky, and Fidel, I'm told are the worst of the bunch). There are classes that are offered by some and there are also eggfests. If you live close lets get together.

    If I were you I would probably change your handle to sound a little better and more friendly.
  • As a BGE dealer, I think your dealer should have sold you a complete package in the beginning. We sell a large complete packages that cost less than a good stainless gasser. I think its best to have all the accessories you'll need in the beginning. We are a dealer that cooks with eggs in competition and at home and that helps us educate our customers a lot. We also put on a BGE only cooking class every year to help our customers learn more. Sorry for you problems and hope you get them worked out.
  • Put it in boiling water and it should read about 212ish.
    The Naked Whiz
  • __________________________________________

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Gateway to the Hill Country

  • Sorry to hear that you are having problems. I an also new to the egg but I have never had any of the problems that you are talking about. I have always looked at cooking as an art not a science. I think of recipes as suggestions and not directions.

    My first suggestion would be to lower your cooking temps. I normally grill at about 400 and smoke around 250. I always keep my top vent open some to control the smoke taste and use the bottom vent to control the temp. Just my way I am sure that there are others who do it different.

    I have cooked just about everything that I can think on egg and have loved it. We have a 2nd place at the lake and it as a very nice gas grill and I am ready to store it at the bottom of the lake so that I can buy a 2nd egg for the 2nd house.

    Keep trying... :huh:
  • Some comments from my experience:

    - Cook your steaks to temp, not time, a few times to get a better feel for grilling on the Egg. Also, search on here for the "trex" method and give that a try.

    - Lump by itself should not impart much flavour in your food, if it is burning cleanly. Wood smoke and/or juices vaporizing on the coals bring the "smoke" flavour. Have you tried changing brands of lump?

    - Don't give up yet. Give it some more time and experiment.

    Kind regards,
    dbCooper

  • cheapskate wrote:
    Did anyone else have these problems and figure out how to correct them?

    Yes - and they asked questions and got help. I think you should eat this Egg one bite at a time. Try addressing one issue at a time. Master that then move on. Start with the thermometer calibration - don't compare to other thermos, do it in boiling water.

    If you decide to give up, good luck going forward.
  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    My ADD prevented me from reading your entire post and subsequent replies, but I caught a glimpse. The mindset that ANY extra's/accessories are required to make incredibly good food on the Egg is Way Wrong!
  • MaineggMainegg Posts: 7,787
    OK deep breath and relax. that is how cooking on the egg should be. relaxed. where are you? there might be an egger from here on the forum that can come over or you come to their house and get some hands on. my first egg was a lg and I only got the platesetter and used nothing but that for awhile $$ was a big issue for me and hubby was not impressed with me sinking more into it till we knew it really was as good as everyone said.
    In #1 I do not have a cast iron grate and we turn out perfect steaks on a reg basis. my LG is 7 years old and it still sits on three concrete blocks. I am tall almost 6 foot so yes I bend. but no biggie my med is in a nest and the mini sits on the table beside the lg. steaks I sear at about 600 for 30 - 40 seconds for nice marks then just cook a minute or two to temp of 130 for a perfect rare steak. I think a must is a GOOD thermometer. yes that is $$ BUT when you are not happy with good beef that should make you drool just remembering it then not to $$ :)
    as for the smoke flavor coming through. we use NO chunks or chips in our cooks unless it is like a brisket or pulled pork. and it takes us a good 30 minutes to be to temp with the weedburner. that is lit in three good spots and leaving the bottom draft full open and the daisy wheel off. 600 in no time and then just setting the draft back and the daisy on and letting the "bad" smoke clear. if there are not fat or dripping to burn off then we are good to go right off with the plate setter it does take us a good 30 - 40 minutes to get everything up to 550 -600 for pizzas. I do pastry's and custards and tarts and all manner of baked goods on the egg. believe me there is nothing left at the end of a meal on these. and no smoky flavor at all. really.
    my son stole one of our eggs last year and his girlfriend was pregnant and the smoke smell made her sick. he was banned from egg till they came up and I had done dinner on the egg. when she heard she turned green. but when we ate she could not taste any smoke. Michael was not letting it clear to good smoke and was not doing a clean burn if he had a messy item cooked on there. hence very smoky food. we also had them take a bag of cowboy lump and try as that is very mild and I use for most of my baking. if you want to give me a call I would be glad to help in anyway I can with your egg :) give it a chance there is a reason so many of us are here and have so many eggs. email me and I will give you my cell number.
    and fill to the top of the fire ring. try that. clean it out. clean the grate holes for blockage and try it then. also try the paper towel and oil for lighting. I Liked that better than the electric lighters. went through 4 of those before we went to the towels and then the weed burner. or do you have a mapp torch? those are good to for lighting. have you been back and talked to your dealer? some are good and some are not like anything. we cook about every meal on our eggs. and everything but lobster at that LOl Julie
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,304
    Some answers.

    6 minutes total at 600 for 1.5" steak is way too long. If you search for T-rex method, or reverse T-rex, or even hot-tubbing. Total sear time should be no more than 3 minutes, with extra time at a lower temperature, depending on the method.

    Are you letting your lump burn clean before starting burgers (or anything else)? It takes 20 - 30 minutes for most of the VOCs to burn off. Prior to that, you will likely get a harsh, and acrid flavor. There will be a little smoke flavor, though, as most lump still has a little wood left in it.

    The Egg is not really much like a woodfire oven. The stone in a woodfire will be about 900F, and the air above around 1400 F. I can't say I've mastered pizza on the Egg, but I've found that with the platesetter and stone well pre-heated, the dome temp has been around 550, but the stone, as I learned from an infrared laser thermometer, was 625. Very easy to char the pizza before the toppings finish. Most folks seem to do pizzas at a lower temperature, more around 450, for more than 10 minutes.

    My bread does better from the Egg than from my kitchen stove.

    Briskets are hard, can't say I've had a really good one yet. Moist and tender, but no, not fall apart.

    Sorry to hear your problems. For me, the Egg was not completely easy to use, and I am still refining technique after several years. However, my cooking over all has improved maybe 300%. I am usually disappointed by the Q' I can buy.
  • JoelJoel Posts: 74
    Please refer to my numbered responses as they correspond with the issue number.

    1.) Pricing - I can't disagree with you there; however, I think it's a fallacy to believe that you're going to save money in the short term by purchasing a BGE. The obvious benefit is that the egg itself and its accessories are well built and will last forever. With that being said, using the BGE isn't about saving money. I look at it this way - I use my Egg at least 5 days a week, every week of the year. It costs more to use the Egg than a standard stove/oven, it takes longer to cook than a gasser but it is worth it. The satisfaction of using man's primal skills of cooking with fire cannot be outdone.

    2.) Steaks/Burgers - There's a thousand different ways to do steaks but it all comes down to the cut of meat and how you like your steak cooked. Thicker slabs of meat will require a different technique than a thinner cut and you'll have to make the necessary adjustments. Here's a relatively simple procedure I follow for burgers and steaks under 2": get a cast iron grid, preheat to 400, and let it cook. For burgers, I cook to 160 and the steaks depend on who they're for. I've tried the sear / reverse sear methods and I've excellent results but I consider this a little more advanced for someone who's still trying the Egg out. Once you've mastered temp control, try the more advanced stuff.

    3.) Baking - I'm not sure what you're referring to when you say I couldn't get the "ceramic" past 500. Are referring to the dome temp or the pizza stone's temp? Here's my technique for beginner's pizza: Preheat to 500 (dome temp), pizza stone on top of the plate setter feet down. An excellent tip I picked up: use the Egg's ceramic feet to separate the pizza stone from the plate setter. This makes pizza cooking a lot easier and greatly reduces the chances of you burning your crust. At this relatively lower temp and separation, it takes me about 15 min to cook a thin crust pizza. Again, you'll find tons of people cranking their Egg up to 650 and cooking a pizza for 5.34 minutes with excellent results. This requires a very watchful eye and the understanding that you're going to burn a pizza every now and then. At this high temp, you've got about a 30 second window of done to burnt.

    4.) Low/slow: Like you, I cook a full packer at 225 but I don't like to cook my brisket much past 190. Again, all personal preference but I find that it's a little more juicy pulling it early.

    Overall - I think the smoke flavor can be overwhelming for some folks and can take a bit of getting used to. A tip to minimize the "smokey" flavor - preheat until the Egg exhaust runs clear. For me, this is a few minutes past preheating. I also agree with trying to find someone to show you how it's done in person. Perhaps your dealer can help you out or a local Eggfest may be beneficial.

    Good luck!
  • -flame on

    Sorry to be mean, but maybe it's you... Either that or your expectations are unrealistic. Something is wrong because there are hundreds and hundreds of folks who don't have the problems you have.

    Regardless if it's a BGE or anything else, nothing is perfect the first time out. We all experiment with our cooks, tweaking the process everytime.

    -flame off
  • jeffinsgfjeffinsgf Posts: 1,259
    First I'll say that I cooked on a medium for 8 years with amazing results before I bought my first accessory of any kind (other than a nest, which I bought with the Egg).

    There's more than one way to remove the epidermis of a feline, and sometimes you have to open your mind to the goal, instead of relying on others' directions. Spend 10 bucks on a handful of 1/4 split fire bricks and start looking at all the ways they can be used. And, by the way, those first 8 years, I didn't even have those. I controlled distance from heat source by raking the coals, not by raising the grid.

    And in the end, the Egg may not be the right grill for you. Good luck, whatever you decide.
  • Smokey taste? Are you using mesquite lump? It will always give you a smokey taste. Get some oak or orange lump and make sure they are burning clean before starting your cook. They give virtually no smokey taste.
  • Yes, I definitely had considered the possibility that the problem was with the mechanic, not the tool. I'm considered a good cook by those that know me, but with this new grill it very well may be me.

    great responses, thank you all.
  • Sorry to hear about your experiences so far. They really are great cookers after you figure out how to drive them...
  • Thanks for your reply. I live in San Antonio.
  • I have been using Frontier brand 100% Lump Hardwood coal. Thank you for replying.
  • Interesting. i didn't know you had to do something to allow the "bad" smoke to burn off.
  • Thanks. Good to hear someone else is having trouble. Still, I don't know that I want to wait 8 years to master an oven.
  • Thanks for the response. When I say I can't get the ceramic past 500 degrees, what I mean is that I preheat the grill with the platesetter/stone in place for an hour or more. the temp reads 650 to 700 degrees. To check the temp of the dome, I then shut down both vents, wait a few minutes and read the temp. According to something I read here or on the instructions, the ceramic holds the heat for a long time, so that reading a few minutes after cutting off air to the fire should be the temp of the ceramic, right?
  • GandolfGandolf Posts: 878
    Sorry to hear of your problems. You have gotten some very good advice here and I hope you find great success as I and many, many others have. However, that being said, the Egg is not for everybody.
  • I've searched on T-rex method, reverse t-rex method and hot tub. Lots of results, but I can't see where it's actually explained. What is T-rex method?
  • dtcdtc Posts: 22
    I went through the "too smokey" routine and finally realized that the type of lump is a big factor. I used Wicked Good Weekend Warrior for a while and it is a great lump but it way to smokey for me. When I want little or no smokey taste I use Whole Foods 365 lump. It is made from left over lumber, but it burns very clean. It is made by Cowboy but seems to have a much better size distribution with little dust. You might want to give that a try. As others said, you should let the fire get past the intial smokey phase before cooking. I am doing ribs today and it took a good 30 minutes before the fire was started and the major smoke was gone. Of course this is at 250. I have never tried Frontier.

    Don't give up. Once mastered, you will never go back.
  • ResQueResQue Posts: 1,045
    Here is a link to Naked Whiz's site. It has both the Trex and the reverse(Xert):

    http://www.nakedwhiz.com/recipes2.htm#beef
  • I suggest you goo back to your dealer and ask him if he has other customers that cook on a big green egg that would be willing to meet with you for some help using your egg.

    Can you cook a hamburger time and time again? then go on with chicken....wish you well what ever you decide but, I have a feeling if you get straightened out then in a years time you will be glad you kept you egg. Tim :)
  • cheapskate wrote:
    I've searched on T-rex method, reverse t-rex method and hot tub. Lots of results, but I can't see where it's actually explained. What is T-rex method?

    Here is a link for the trex method: http://www.nakedwhiz.com/trexsteak.htm

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