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Tips and tools to decrease the time from prepping the egg to cooking on the egg.

Hi all,

First I just want to thank everyone for the excellent information and advice I have received and read on this forum over the years, from recipes to techniques and recommendations on tools and accessories to get and I am hopping for a little bit more of that expertise.   

So a little background, I have had my large Big Green Egg since 2016 and have completed hundreds of cooks, from smoking ribs, chicken, turkey, brisket and pulled pork to homemade pizzas, and even baking cakes and breads so I consider myself to be fairly experienced at using the egg.  Now on to my current situation and why I am posting.  My wife typically cooks dinners for the family Monday through Thursday as she works from home and I cook Friday-Sunday.  She has recently started physical therapy for an old injury and has asked me to cook dinner on the day she has physical therapy due to pain.  I typically get home around 4:15-4:45 and would like to be eating no later then 6 but 5:30 would be more ideal as I start work extremely early.   So I need to find a way to decrease the time to go from prepping the egg to cooking on the egg and to make this process as easy as possible so I can help with homework and any other issues that may arise otherwise I am cooking in the kitchen.  

I have searched the internet and this forum and have found bits and pieces of information regarding what equipment might help me achieve the above goal.  The equipment I am looking at getting are: (1) The kick ash basket; (2) The kick ash can.  (3) The GrillGun or Su-VGun  (Haven't decided which one as I do have a use for the Su-VGun) and I plan on implementing the following tips (1) Prepping the food the day before; (2) Choosing meals that are quick to cook and (3) Prepping the egg the night before if I have time (between sports, homework and school activities).  

If anyone has any advice or suggestions please share them. I am looking forward to reading your responses.

 Thank you for taking your time to read and respond to my post.   

Comments

  • sumoconnellsumoconnell Posts: 1,853
    edited September 24
    If I need to get going quick on a cook, I only use the existing lump in the egg and don't add new.  That lump is ready to go from a VOC standpoint, faster to the good smoke.  If I had a new lump to the pile - not only does it need to fire up, it also needs to burn off for a little bit.  I usually keep the egg pretty full of lump, so doing one hot'n'fast cook is OK without adding new.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Austin, Texas.  I'm the guy holding a beer.
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 15,674
    edited September 24
    I understand that you are asking for tips/tricks re: getting an egged meal on the table, in <45 mins, while attending to homework, etc., but, that is not realistic IMO. 

    The Kick Ash basket, or can, will not expedite your cooks. I like my KAB, but it doesn't help me get a meal served any more quickly.

    If you are looking to spend some $$, then a sous vide device, or a griddle, would you get you to your goal much more effectively. The Su-V Gun would be a waste of money. A propane torch would achieve the same. You can crank out a shite-ton of great grub on a griddle, in relatively little time. Buy whichever size suits your need.

    You have all kinds of options with a sous vide device. I once loaded up my Sous Vide Supreme with 3 different proteins, and pulled one out at 24h, 48h, 72h (short ribs were the last one, don't recall what the first two were). Basically, 3 dinners ready and served, within 30 mins of getting home. You can prep beforehand, and maybe your wife could just plop the protein, etc. in at the necessary time. It seems daunting at first, but its not rocket science. Many folks here use sous vide devices, and I'm fairly certain that all the tips/guidance/tricks you need are right here on this forum. 

    You will still have the weekends for egged cooks, so that itch will be scratched. Having said all that, there are many exceptional cooks here, who routinely dish up good eats on busy weekdays. 



    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 24,357
    You can ease things up by cooking something where the left-overs can be enjoyed w/o firing up the BGE every time.  Beyond that some solid advice and comments above.  
    Louisville; "indeterminate Jim" here.  Rolling smoke in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer!
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 28,076
    egg lights easier and quicker with oil and a napkin and you just light it and go get your food and tools. the cheaper lump like b&b and cowboy light faster than long burning lump. unless im firing up a quick porkchop cook on my mini though, ill use the blackstone or gasser. @sunvolt bought a quick steak searing option which maybe someday i buy and the cost of that heatgun would be better spent on non egg options. a cheap fan placed infront of the lower vent would be quicker than the heat gun  as well
    fukahwee maine

    you can lead a fish to water but you can not make him drink it
  • lkapigianlkapigian Posts: 8,182
    ALl above is good and +1 on re-purposing you cooks, My weekend  cooks will become variants throughout the week and are "technically" not left overs. Weekend proteins can go well in a quick stir fry, or even a killer salad 
    Visalia, Ca

    LGBE- Pit's by Klose Trailer -Stumps XL Stretch - Custom Santa Maria-Modified HD Offset Smoker Reverse Flow- FatStack Smoker FS120 coming soon FatStack 500- Blackstone 36 Blackstone 22 - Custom Cold Smoke House and a lonely Brinkman Vertical Smoker
  • AcnAcn Posts: 3,739
    I know it isn’t necessarily any help to your question, but this is exactly while I’ll never be without a Weber gas grill. The Genesis is at 700+ within 5 minutes of starting and I can have quick cooks done and the grill cooled down and re-covered in the time the egg would be ready.

    Even though I’ve been working from home for 18 months now, I rarely do more than a couple of weeknight egg cooks in a month.

    LBGE

    Pikesville, MD

  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 38,169
    Mise en place all you can.
    ______________________________________________
    No cooking devices other than an Easy-Bake oven with a 75 watt incandescent light bulb.
    Virus downloading.....(*beep...bleep...whirrr...whirrr*)
    Download Complete.



  • AcnAcn Posts: 3,739
    edited September 24
    lkapigian said:
    ALl above is good and +1 on re-purposing you cooks, My weekend  cooks will become variants throughout the week and are "technically" not left overs. Weekend proteins can go well in a quick stir fry, or even a killer salad 
    This is so true, and probably a focus on planning your weekly menu is more valuable to saving time than cutting a few minutes off egg readiness.  For example, if you do an extra chicken on the egg for Saturday night; you'll have leftover you can repurpose into chicken salad or tacos/burritos/enchiladas during the week.  Make stock on Sunday and during the week 5 minutes of chopping up a mirepoix, adding some egg noodles, and 25 or minutes of things sitting on the stove you've got a tasty soup.

    Big batches of pasta sauce/chili/etc can be made on the weekend and frozen for easy weeknight meals.  Do you have a slow cooker, and could your wife start it before her PT and you finish it (chop and add any final items, herbs, etc, shred protein into bite size pieces in stew, and/or prep accompaniment)?

    I know people mock her, but Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals really helped my wife and I when we were broke grad students and would have 2 hours to get home from work, cook, eat, clean up, and get to an evening class.  

    Have a library nearby?  Check out the book Milk Street Tuesday Nights by Christopher Kimball.  It has sections for Fast (On the table in 45 minutes or less), Faster (Ready in 30-35 min), and Fastest (Done in under 30).  Again, generally not grilled, but quick and really good.

    LBGE

    Pikesville, MD

  • texaswigtexaswig Posts: 2,559
    I recently got the basket. I think it speeds things up some. And the can is super handy also. Im usually not in a hurry when I cook. I takes the joy out of it for me. 

    2-XLs ,MM,blackstone,Ooni koda 16,R&V works 8.5 gallon fryer,express smoker and 40" smoking cajun 

    scott 
    Greenville Tx
  • In summer I don't get home till 7pm now, winter is earlier. For the last two years I cooked almost every day on the medium then xl egg. 20lbs charcoal a week now. Using only used charcoal is fastest. Sometimes ready in 30min for 350f. Hard to get over that temp without a lot of used lump. Most days I have about half used and half new with used lump around outside of firebowl and new in the middle. Fastest light is with a weed burner and 15min dome open gets voc burned best. This is like previously mentioned with a lower grade charcoal, oak or maple that lights fast. 350f is 30min direct or 45min indirect this way. 450f always takes an hour indirect. I always use a drip pan and do fish, chicken and pizza in a week with no clean burn needed. If there is any voc left the fish will get it but I don't have problems with this method. Eating at 9pm+ was too much so again like mentioned I started cooking more to have leftovers the next day. Cooking every second day let's me prep the egg on off days too for a faster light the next day. 

    Cooking extra on weekends and freezing helps too

    I have a kick ash basket. It didn't make any difference in lighting time and I think prep is faster without as the xl can burn 20lbs plus charcoal before the ashes need removing. Stir, fill and light. 

    Using too much charcoal will waste fuel and not heat as fast , the basket does help a little with this on longer cooks, I got almost 8 hours at 450f last Sunday. Did bacon n eggs on skillet, then a meatloaf, then corn on cob and veggies skewers, then potatoes and finished with two fillets of trout for supper. Crazy waste of lump, basket was almost bare when I shut it down plus it was probably 6-8lbs of lump but the meatloaf and potatoes gave two days of leftovers. 

    Sorry, that got way too long.


  • I don't know how much charcoal a large holds but the medium held about one full weber chimney. That's 15min fully lit with voc's burned off and another 15 to get to 350f. It's probable enough for direct cooks in the 350-450f range in the large or added to already used lump to get cooking in 45min indirect. 
  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 14,807
    mwe2121 said:
     ...otherwise I am cooking in the kitchen.   
    This. It's only one day a week. Otherwise, some good suggestions above.

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

    Michael 
    Central Connecticut 

  • danhoodanhoo Posts: 168
    edited September 25
    What about cooking the meat for tomorrow nights meal on the egg tonight, and doing a "leftover cook" with it.

    For example, tonight, smoke a tri tip that will be done too late for dinner, but  tomorrow night have tri-tip french dip sandwiches. Rachel Rays 30 minute meal cookbook has a fast easy au jus recipe.

    While eating french dip sandwiches, smoke chicken thighs for your favorite left-over chicken recipe. 

    Pork butt on a weekend, and vac-seal for sandwiches, or enchiladas etc.

    Maybe not the same as fresh off the grill, yet still tasty and mixes up the menu.

    The cilantro garlic pork loin I've cooked was fantastic for leftovers, and may have been better the second day. I don't know about day 3 because it was gone on day 2.


    2011 large BGE | 2000 Genesis Silver B | 2019 PitBoss pro 820 | 2016 Genesis E330 (bought used in 2021)
  • I am 23min from cold needing to be cleaned to cooking with clean blue smoke after getting myself a grill torch. 

    I used to love starting things with cubes for the no rush experience … but I’ve fallen for the convenience of fires as quick or in some cases quicker than other types of grills 

    I got the torch out of the two available. It’s more powerful than the smaller one

    https://grillblazer.com/?ref=Wvh-uMs0SFUMF 

    Two Kamado Joe Classic III & a Kamado Joe Jr.  Large BGE, Mini BGE 
    YouTube: @smokingdadbbq 
    Instagram: @smokingdadbbq  

  • Thank you all for all the suggestions and tips.  Based on reading through the comments I will purchase a torch and perhaps get a kick ash basket just for the convince.  

    I typically do cook enough food for leftovers (chicken, pork or steak turned into tacos for lunch the next day/dinner) but the day that she needs me to cook is Thursdays so this will not always work.  I do save all my used lump in a 5 gallon bucket (if I need to pull it out to clean the egg out and set it up for a long low and slow or a high heat cook) so I should be able to cook with used lumps on Thursday's if need be.  

    If with the torch, advance prep/cleaning, and the use of used lump instead of new lump I can get the egg up to 350-450 stabilized in 30-40 mins cooking on the egg on weeknights may be doable.    

    The other option and the one the wife likes best is prepping food for the instapot the night before so when I get home I can just throw it in and be done.

    Once again thank you for all your input.    
  • dbCooperdbCooper Posts: 1,034
    Sounds like you have justification for using medical leave from work on Thursdays. 
    LBGE, LBGE-PTR, 22" Weber, Coleman 413G
    Great Plains, USA
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 15,674
    I posted this in another thread, but cross-posting here, since you mentioned that you have an Instant Pot. It's not egged, but it is quick. 

    Asian-style salmon, with garlic noodles:
    "The noodles are a side, I guess. Made popular by a Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco, usually served with crab or shrimp. There are a bunch of recipes out there, but I use Chef John's version, because I love that guy. Tip= reserve 2-3 cups of the pasta water, to loosen the sauce as needed. 

    https://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2019/02/garlic-noodles-roasted-garlic-crab-sold.html

    We do the salmon in the Insant Pot, but you could easily do it on the egg, or even a toaster oven. 

    - Take a salmon filet (~1lb), and place in a dish that fits inside the Instant Pot. I have 2 SS pans that fit, so I usually make 2 at a time. 
    - Add sesame oil 1 TBSP, mirin 2 TBSP, soy sauce 2 TBSP, and maybe chinkiang vinegar 1 tsp (if that's a flavor you dig). Add  2-3 scallions, chopped.
    -Pressure cook on low x 4-5mins, depending on how you like the salmon done, then release pressure. 
    - Spoon the sauce that forms in the pan over the salmon, and serve. 

    It takes longer to boil the water for the pasta, than it does to cook this meal. Its delicious, and on the table in <30mins. "

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • WeberWhoWeberWho Posts: 9,314
    edited September 26
    A good quality lump makes a world of difference for weeknight cooks. I use a weed torch from Harbor Freight and Rockwood and I can get it up to temp and stable in under 10 minutes. 

    I don't use the daisy wheel for anything above 300 degrees. I get the lump going nice and hot with the weed torch and adjust the lower vent to roughly to where I think I need it and it's usually around the temp I'm looking for 5 or so minutes later. Maybe one more little adjustment depending where I'm at for temp. My home oven isn't all that great. I didn't use it for over 10 years. I could get my large BGE up to temp quicker than my oven. 
    "The pig is an amazing animal. You feed a pig an apple and it makes bacon. Let's see Michael Phelps do that" - Jim Gaffigan

    Minnesota
  • WeberWho said:
    A good quality lump makes a world of difference for weeknight cooks. I use a weed torch from Harbor Freight and Rockwood and I can get it up to temp and stable in under 10 minutes. 


    I wish I could still find Rockwood local.  There use to be two stores that carried it then one dropped it and the other one dropped them 3 years ago but I picked up their last 5 bags for $15 a piece.  I used it for baking and any really long or hot cooks.  I now use Royal Oak lump. 

    Caliking - The instapot can't be beat when it comes to cook time and flavor.  We even bought the 3qt one so we can cook in the van on road trips and our tent trailer.  
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