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Journal and Questions of a first time egger

AronAron Posts: 170
edited 3:04PM in EggHead Forum
I just received my large BGE on Sunday and had my first cook on Monday (Labor Day). I was attempting to make a spatchcocked chicken and a flank steak.[p]Figuring that it would be tougher to get the temperature of the egg down if I did the steak first, I opted to begin with the chicken. On a raised grill extender, I cooked the small chicken (2.5 pounds) at 350 for an hour. It was dry rubbed with garlic powder and pepper only. The egg, as hoped, stayed solid at this temp once I was able to get the temperature adjusted there (took quite a bit of fiddling, as it was my first time). I checked the temperature of the chicken after 45 mins in the thigh, and it was about 150, and I was almost squirted in the eye by juice. I took it out at one hour, when the temp in the thigh read 175. The chicken certainly was well smoked—the flavor penetrated throughout. However, the chicken was quite dry, and the skin was leathery enough to make into gloves. I’m thinking that part of this problem was due to a small chicken being cooked too long but I was wondering if there was anything else that could have been the problem. What temperature should the thigh read for a cooked chicken? How about the breast? Hopefully that was the problem and can be remedied with a larger chicken that has a greater flesh to bone ratio plus monitoring the meat temp more carefully.[p]The steak came out extremely juicy and delicious. However, the main problem here was achieving a high temperature. When I first lit the egg (using the newspaper method), it was quite easy to get the temperature up to 500 or higher when I was actually shooting for the low temps. However, even after completely taking the daisy wheel top off and opening the bottom vent fully, I was only able to get the egg to about 425 and when I flipped the steak and let the air in, the egg wouldn’t even get more than 325. I know the reason for this was that there was not enough lump remaining. However, I had filled the box to the region where the firering starts (filled the bowl, but not the ring), so I figured that it should be enough. Plus, I thought the egg was supposed to save about 80% of charcoal, and I was left with only about 10% once my cook was over. The lump I used was not actual lump charcoal, but rather large hickory chunks (it was all the dealer had at the time). Is this the reason it burned so quickly? Do I just need to find regular lump?[p]Sorry for the long post, but I’m looking forward to straightening the learning curve.[p]Aron

Comments

  • Aron,
    Explain STEP by STEP EXACTLY how you light it, etc etc.
    Whatever you are doing, is wrong.
    -Joel

  • Joel Ferman,
    The first wrong was trying to use hickory (or any kind) of "chunks"....it has to be CARCOAL for cooking..chunks only add flavor..nde

  • Aron,
    You would profit very much by reading the great piece by the illustrious Elder Ward's tome on the complete subject of Q'ing...you can locate it in the Forum...nde

  • Norman Edwards,
    My roomate did a 4hr rib cook with my egg using only hickory chunks (thought it was lump charcoal, I know.... stupid) and it came out pretty well. Maybe it was a fluke, but if he did it, I don't see why our buddy Aron couldn't.
    -Joel

  • Aron,[p]about the chicken. Check out the web site below. the Naked Whiz has a pretty fool-proof, illustrated guide to doing chicken. The main thing is to cook the chicken indirect at those temps. See his web site, GFW's or TimM's for pics on how to set up an indirect cook. Other things that help keep chicken moist - brining (see the on-line BGE cookbook done by TheWise One) and/or putting butter, oils or other fats under the skin. [p]I would advise using lump for several reasons. If you pick the right brand, lump is more responsive as you open and close vents. Check the whiz's site for ratings of various brands of lump. Just add a chunk or two of real wood to your lump and you'll get the best of both worlds - wood smoke, lump control.[p]CB

    [ul][li]whiz's pages[/ul]
  • char buddy,
    Actually, I cook chicken direct on a raised grid. Spatchcocking the bird allows it to cook faster, which might aid in keeping it juicy. [p]TNW

    [ul][li]Spatchcock Chicken[/ul]
    The Naked Whiz
  • Joel Ferman,
    But did he achieve 700 degrees with hickory chunks? Probably not. The poster is mainly concerned with the inability to get to high temperatures.
    TNW

    The Naked Whiz
  • AronAron Posts: 170
    Joel Ferman,
    I lit the egg by crumbling 2 pieces of newspaper and placing them in the bottom of the charcoal grate and then adding the wood. The slide vent was completely open and I lit the newspaper and closed the lid with no top, so the egg was working like a chimney. This method produces more ash than others I know, but I need to go out and get firestarters, and I was too excited to just leave myu egg sitting outside without food in it.
    Aron

  • Aron,
    When I do whole chickens, I spatchcock them. I always use a 4 pound bird, plus or minus, and do them direct on a raised grid for an hour. That seems to get them done just about right, so I never measure the temp. Usually, breast meat should be cooked to about 165 and dark meat to 180. [p]I think your inability to achieve high temperatures was using wood instead of charcoal. Wood burns at a lower temperature than charcoal, and thus you couldn't get high temps. And burning with the vents wide open for as long as you did is probably why it burned up so fast. (However, you will probably use charcoal faster than most dealers tell you. A 20 pound bag will not last you 6 months if you cook very often.)[p]Here is a link to my page about spatchcock chicken:[p]TNW

    [ul][li]Spatchcock chicken[/ul]
    The Naked Whiz
  • AronAron Posts: 170
    The Naked Whiz,
    I never made it to 700, but this was more likely due to the fact that by the time I was ready to do the steaks, after the chicken was done, most of the fuel had been consumed. When I was trying to get the egg to 350 at the beginning, I had no problem reaching 500 and rising before adjusting my vents. Perhaps the hickory chunks burn hot and fast, but do not burn as efficiently as real lump. Perhaps I just need to get out and get real lump, most likely.
    Aron

  • The Naked Whiz,[p]Sorry about that Mr. Whiz. I did a whole chicken last night on one of Willie's chicken sitters and I did it indirect. I confused my own style with yours. [p]Anyway it came out with a golden skin, very juicy, very tasty. I'd brined it and put a garlicky oil under the skin and over the skin. [p]I've got some pasture-fed chickens coming in later this week, I'll have to try a direct cook and see what happens.[p]Your site is terrific. [p]cb
  • JulieJulie Posts: 133
    Aron,
    I use 2 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" fire starters to start my BGE (you should be able to get from your BGE dealer). I fill mine like you do to the top of the firebox with BGE charcoal. That should be enough to allow you to cook at least 4 normal times. I don't have a problem getting the temperature up unless I do not have a breeze. I have a customer who keeps a fan on low blowing towards the bottom draft door.

  • Aron,
    The egg does chicken right.
    Check out my link for a step by step journey.

    [ul][li]ravnhaus chicken[/ul]
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