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Venting...

SkidsSkids Posts: 32
edited 2:05PM in EggHead Forum
I received an e-mail from Semolina Pilchard who wrote to my hotmail account. Semolina has been incredibly helpful to me and I wanted to publicly say "Thank You." I also wanted to reply, but for some reason (not smart enough I guess) I can't reply to anyone who writes to my personal e-mail account from the formum. So with that said, I'm responding to Semolina directly in this e-mail, but I also thought to share my response with you, my new Egg Family. My hope is that someone will pat me on my little head and say, "there there, it'll be ok." Here's my response:

Thanks for the tip. I'll tell you though, I get a bit confused between what I read on the Forum and what is posted on the Naked Whiz site. There seems to be more in conflict than in concert. Take the gasket issue, which has received a lot of attention lately (or so it seems to me). The Forum writers seems to have consensus that there needs to be a "curing" yet the Naked Whiz says they have performed "tests" that clearly demonstrate that the primary cause of gasket failure is "flashback" and no "curing" is necessary. Now my confusion, no doubt, is primarily due to my lack of experience...this Saturday will be my first cook. I'm going to do ribs because I understand ribs are the safest cook...especially for a "newbie." But I must confess, I'm a bit intimidated by this gasket issue. The one thing that gives me comfort is that it is only a gasket. It may be an inconvenience, but that's about it. I've checked the alignment, did the "dollar test" and have decided that if the gasket goes, it goes. Almost everyone has said that the BGE company stands behind their product as do the dealers, so what's to worry. I can't even get a confident sense of what lump charcoal to use. Truth be told, I never heard of lump charcoal until I heard about the BGE...a dentist friend of mine gave me the G-2. Now I read in the Forum that some like this type over that type. I can't seem to find but one type to buy...the BGE lump coal and then only from those places that sell the BGE. I'm guessing folks are buying their OTBGELC (other than big green egg lump charcoal) on-line or are simply fortunate enough to have places that sell OTBGELC. I'm in Northern Virginia (Fairfax County) and either I limited to one type or I simply am oblivious to the places that sell OTBGELC. Information is a wonderful thing. Options are wonderful too. The problem is when you have too much information and too many options. Then those worlds (inter and intra-worlds) inevitably collide. I'm a product of NYC Public Schools, so maybe I'm just not educated in the ways of outdoor cooking. But darn it all, I sure am a huge fan of eating outdoor cooking. If it were just the taste of the food, I'd go out to a BBQ place and get my food, but I enjoy the "art" and "science" of outdoor cooking almost as much as I enjoy the eating of it. So that leaves a "babe in the woods" who just purchased his first Egg, who has all the excitement of a 5 year old the day before Christmas, wishing he could differentiate between what he reads in the Forum and what he reads on the Forum recommended Naked Whiz. What's a fella to do? Guess I'll just drop back 10 and punt. In other words, do as Talor Made and Nike say, "find your game" and "just do it."

OK, I feel better now. Oh yeah, one more thing; I sincerely appreciate this "Egg family" and the advise that is shared. I haven't had this much support and genuine sense of caring outside of my own family (and that of the USAF, thank you very much).

Skids

Comments

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,565
    its real cruel to send a newbie to the naked whiz site :lol: the info there is just overwhelming. there are a lot of different ways to cook on an egg and each way may yeild a different result, and every way has a follower who will preach it. best you can do is find the techniques that produce the food you want. just try and look up rib cooking techniques, there must be a thousand ways to cook them but there will only be a couple that YOU like. read everyones response and then read thru the lines and find the answer you need. im a big fly fisher and for years some very good flyfishers were critiquing my casting, took me a while to learn that most around me are trout fisherman that rarely cast further than 40 feet, they were teaching me to cast 40 feet and i wanted to cast 140 feet, their advice was all wrong. as a newbie its best to try everything once and thenn tweak in your own style, for me its a lot of raised grill direct cooks with very few inderect
  • mattmmattm Posts: 56
    I got an XL and the gasket is fine...got a med and I had a flashback and melted the gasket on the 2nd cook...still have not replaced it and it cooks fine.
    I will eventually replace it but only when I have the time and inclination...it does not limit what I am cooking on it. I never did the "dollar bill" test and I have had not problems with either cooker doing what it is supposed to do.

    As for lump, try a local hardware store...they may have another brand of lump to try. I have used various brands and can not really tell a difference in any of them...some come with big chunks in one bag and the next bag of the same brand has lots of dust and small bits. I am lucky to get most of the top rated brands (Per Naked Whiz) so lump has never been an issue for me.

    While there are purist on this forum and there is lots of helpful advice, there is no better teacher than you just getting some lump...whatever you can get your hands on, and cooking what you like. Sure you can get raised grids, temp controllers and all that but I bet you can turn out some good eats on a plain jane BGE if you practice and get your technique down.

    The great thing about the egg and this forum in particular, is that there are countless add-ons, recipes, alterations, methods, opinions. That said, if you try to follow each bit of advice you will go crazy and broke. That said, I do recommend you look into EggAccessories.com after you get comfortable with the basic egg.

    So what if you burn out a gasket? So what if your lid does not pass the dollar bill test? So what if all you can get your hands on is BGE lump? You can still cook 99% of what you probably want to cook and all will be fine.

    Finally, as for the "curing" of the gasket, I do not buy it...just my belly button....er...opinion
  • RascalRascal Posts: 3,844
    What schools in NYC, may I ask?
  • FidelFidel Posts: 10,172
    Truth be told, there is a lot of conflicting advice. A vast majority of it is good, and that which may not be good is with good intentions. Fact is, there is more than one way to skin a cat, much like there is more than one way to toast a gasket, more than one way to cook a slab of ribs, and more than one brand of lump.

    My advice, and I do not at all profess to be any sort of authority, is to use the BGE brand lump. It is a very good product that lights easily, burns cleanly, produces little ash, has a sweet smoke, and is readily available. It works.

    Some people do use other brands that they prefer because they may be less expensive, easier to find, or in their opinion is a better product. I say you can't go wrong using BGE brand lump. If you want to expand your horizons, search Ace Hardware stores, BBQ specialty retailers, and Wal-Mart for other brands of lump charcoal.

    You're going to be fine, just fire it up, cook your ribs, and if you make any mistakes learn from them. Most of us are still learning and adjusting our recipes and methods after decades of cooking BBQ and many years of using the BGE.

    Good luck, and there are no stupid questions. If you are confused by replies then stand up and say so. Use your intuition to decide which one makes the most sense to you.

    I will stick my neck out and say I have never read any bad advice or methods on the Naked Whiz site, or on WessB's site, or on thirdeye's site, or on Celtic Wolf's site (among a few others that I am probably forgetting). Those guys know what the heck they are talking about.
  • Skids,

    Welcome to the Egg community. With regards to lump in your area, try Whole Foods for a cheaper alternative to the BGE lump (yes - I did say cheaper and Whole Foods in the same sentence). Their store brand lump isn't bad, and is about $6 for a 8.8lb bag. It's what I normally use, since my wife shops there often and brings it home for me. It comes in an orange bag, and they usually have it scattered around the store, including at the registers and at the meat counter. I can't vouch for the Fairfax store, but I was in the WF in Silver Spring this week, and they had it.

    Your local Home Despot or Lowes should also sell lump. They usually have the Cowboy brand, which comes in a brown bag.

    As for the gasket, it's not that big a deal. I do a lot of high temp cooks as well as low and slow cooks, and while mine is a bit charred after 2 years of pretty constant use, it is still functional. Read the flashback page on the Whiz's site and you should be good to go.

    Enjoy!

    -John
  • HaggisHaggis Posts: 998
    There are a number of BGE users in your area, including Mad Max Beyond Eggdome (easier just to say "Max"), The Virginian, and Chris Capell (who runs Dizzy Pig - dizzypigbbq.com,) all of whom are active on this forum. There are others on the right (whoops, make that "north") side of the river as well. Look around and you'll find us.

    The Whiz's website is the best resource on the 'net but think of it as reading a graduate school text book rather than a primer. You don't have enough preparation to understand the whole thing but you do have enough smarts to understand some of it and, as you gain experience, you'll understand more and more.

    Gaskets are a topic here because its the one area where ceramic cookers rely on potentially faulty technology. Gaskets are important only if you need really precise temperature control - if you are grilling as you did on your gasser or your Weber kettle, they just don't matter much. Don't sweat the gasket issue unless you do some really hot cooks that take temps up to the 800-1000 degree range. You'll eventually figure out whether the gasket is important to you in your style cooking I have a large with a perfect gasket and a medium with a leaky gasket. Since temp control is important to me only on slow smoking and longer roasts, I use my large for those purposes and use the medium for my steaks and burgers.

    Lump charcoal is available all over the place. Try Wegmans, Whole Foods, your local chain hardware, Walmart (although they tend to buy early and not replenish after July,) many pool supply or garden supply places, and even some large Asian grocery stores (there are plenty of those in NoVa.) Don't look for BGE - only Egg dealers carry it - but look for Royal Oak, Cowboy, or private brands. One of the NoVa folks can probably help you with more specific locations.

    Good luck, and enjoy the ribs!
  • The Forum can be like drinking from a firehose. There are more ideas and opinions than I can process. After a while, you learn the preferences and a little of the personality of individual posters. With experience, you will find some are more compatible with your own interests.

    But the most interesting part? Many if not most of these folks say they have day jobs, including me. Don't believe it! We are all just hanging around our computers lurking and posting while waiting for the next opportunity to cook.

    Paul
  • Big'unBig'un Posts: 5,909
    First of all..WELCOME!! Don't worry about the info overload on the charcoal. You'll start to see more and more now that you are more in tune to it. It's kind of like when you purchase a new car, you start to see the same car everywhere. If you'd like a change of lump, ACE hardware carries Cowboy brand and will deliver to your nearest store at no cost. Walmart typically carries Royal Oak..and so on.

    If you have any questions bring them here and someone will help.

    The Naked Whiz site holds a plethera of info that you will find helpful. I personally don't know about "curing" the gasket. The initial slow heat up may help it seat better.

    When it comes to the egg you will see the info continue to expand. With all of the new eggers, comes new methods and new recipes as well as the great new personalities. Sit back and read, and certainly share your experiences. We are all continuing to learn together. Please be a part of that!
    Big'un
  • Jupiter JimJupiter Jim Posts: 3,225
    Hi Skids,
    I agree with you and the other post. You will find the Egg is very easy to use. You will develop your own techniques and other ideas from the forum.
    As far as lump I have found the search for the perfect lump to be just crazy. I started with BGELC and had no problems, it was IMHO great lump. When that was gone I went to Wallyworld, got some Royal Oak and that was also great.
    The whole time just craving some of the famous Wicked Good that is not sold in the S Florida area. While visiting my kids in Atlanta I tracked down an Ace hardware and got 10 bags, finally lump heaven. Well it had a strange smell and I just did not like it at all. I would like to try it again but will not go out of my way to find it. I suspect that it was stored at the hardware with other odors or in a damp area that allowed it to pick up the bad smell.
    My research has taught me that the Royal Oak lump at $5.27 per bag is a great value.
    I do so appreciate all the posts from the forum and read it daily, great minds, caring people, great ideas.
    Relax and just start cooking with your new Egg and may your Ribs be great.
    Jupiter Jim

    I'm only hungry when I'm awake!

    Okeechobee FL. Winter

    West Jefferson NC Summer

  • momcooksmomcooks Posts: 247
    I read here first for so long I was terrified when I actually got my egg. So I just jumped in, and so far everything has come out pretty good. You can survive by starting out using it as you would your regular grill or oven till you fine tune it.

    I don't think I ever saw anything about curing the gasket, I did watch the DVD too. Otherwise I may not have done steaks 3 nights in a row for my first cooks. They were just so good. I've also had a flashback after several months of cooking. (teach me to think it won't happen) Aside from not needing to pluck my eyebrows, the gasket is still intact. I even bought an extra gasket in fear of ruining it.

    I'll buy any kind of lump I can find. I know I was having a hard time finding any for fall and I got advice on here. Smiths will carry their Kroger brand for me all winter. I still have some Royal Oak, so I haven't used that yet.
  • There,there; it'll be okay. (Glad to oblige) ;) I think the USAF might be working you too hard. Has it been awhile since your last leave? :whistle:

    Welcome to the cult.

    Mark
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 6,064
    As far as I can tell, there are two kinds of gasket failure, both of which I've had. Very high temperature cooks force hot gasses against the felt. If there are any gaps (as in, it doesn't pass the dollar bill test) the felt will burn rather quickly. In some cases it might melt, and turn into a sort of plastic-ey cinder. In the other case, fairly high temperatures cause the adhesive on some new gaskets to go liquid. Either the gasket falls off as you open the lid (happened to me) or, worse, when you go back to the colled Egg, its glued shut.

    Neither of these is a really big problem. Gaskets are cheap, and only take about 15 minutes to change. Some people do without them entirely. Mine have been at the edge for maybe 6 months, but still hold the seal well enough that when I shut down the charcoal goes out, leaving me lump for the next cook.

    Check out the Whiz's charcoal database. There are some brands that have too much sparking for hot cooks. I bought a couple of bags of a brand I used last year, "Frontier," forgetting that it sparks really badly. Pre-heated the Egg for a pizza, and when I opened it, the stone and platesetter were covered by a fine ash. It wouldn't stop sparking till the temperature was down around 325, way too cool for a good pizza.

    You'll have great fun learning to make BBQ. With a little practice, you are likely to make ribs better than most of the joints you may visit.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i concur with your final decision to "just do it."

    any question here will be answered by twenty different responses. best thing to do is jump in and cook. there wasn't any one of us here who knew what they were doing on the egg when they were in your position. and most here will admit the learn (or unlearn) something every day.

    welcome aboard
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    re: "We are all just hanging around our computers lurking and posting while waiting for the next opportunity to cook."

    ain't that the truth! just hitting the desk at 10:30 after rising at the crack of nine, taking a shower, and reading the paper in the sun.

    i need a real job, but being self-unemployed has its bennys! except for the poverty, i mean.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Ar-CeeAr-Cee Posts: 105
    Where are you at in Northern Virginia. I'm down in Lake Ridge. If you want, email me and I will send you my phone number or give you a call. I am only a few months ahead of you and have gaskets that I don't worry about (thanks AZRP)because my egg "just keeps cookin". I have made the loops finding what is where in the area, read pounds, and tried alot of the recipes posted here with great success. (I have also created a bunch of food that I don't talk much about). This is a great community and there are often several correct answers to same question. Thanks and Welcome... RC
  • Beanie-BeanBeanie-Bean Posts: 3,092
    Skids,

    I didn't know anything about the gasket curing advice, and the first things I cooked on mine were some NY Strips, done TRex style! I still have the original gaskets on that cooker (good ol' #1) and trade weekly TRex cooks with Ross in Ventura. Gaskets are a bit flatter than they used to be, but no separation or melting so far. Just some normal wear.

    I hear ya, man...just got a Ferrari and you were told not to drive faster than 55 MPH. Ask Sammy about that one...:)

    Enjoy your cooker, and continue experimenting and posting!
  • SkidsSkids Posts: 32
    Mostly Queens (just off the Throgs Neck) but also in Long Island.
  • HossHoss Posts: 14,600
    Kroger in my area carrys lump,but only Kingsford.The Wal-mart here has Royal Oak for a dollar less.$5.27 per 10lbs.
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    ‘You nailed it on the head’ – you will be OK.

    If you have a question, problem, bad cook or good cook just post. There will be a lot of help there for you.

    The information will never be released but there have to be thousands and thousands of eggs sold (can’t even put in a time frame). A few of those folks come to the forum and look. Even fewer come an post. Most of us have different backgrounds from different walks of life. What is interesting to me is how their non egg lives combine with egg life and from that some great information flows. It really is amazing and one can learn a lot egg and non egg.

    In all these eggs that have sold over the years the vast majority of people do not have problems with their gaskets. There are a few folks that are having problems with their gaskets. If the egg holds low temps, doesn’t leak smoke too much and gets to high temps then, really, who cares and those folks wonder what in the heck is the big deal about gaskets. A few of the folks are having problems with their gaskets, they leak, can’t hold a low temp, can’t get to very high temps. These folks are having problems.

    I am one of the folks that are having problems. I would love to be in the group of people that don’t have problems and wonder what’s all the hubbub. I am also the kind of person who wants to know why and I like learning new things. If I understand the why and resolve MY problem. With that I have decided to do some testing on my own.

    Personally I don’t think the curing is valid. With that said, it doesn’t hurt to not take the egg much over 550° dome temp (calibrated dome temp).

    Lump… Just tell folks where you are at and where they get their lump. You will have plenty of sources.

    Royal Oak private labels lump for other companies. You can get lump testing and reviews from The Naked Whiz site. Kroger lump is Royal Oak.

    Enjoy your egg and ask if you have questions. As you can see above you will get a lot help.

    GG
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    Kroger is Royal Oak. Out here our Smith's Food King is a subsidary of Kroager, they will order the Kroger brand for me any time I want. It takes about a week to receive the lump.

    I need to re-check TNW site but I believe the new Kingsford is supposed to be pretty good stuff.

    GG
  • RascalRascal Posts: 3,844
    I went to PS 71 in the Bronx (now Rose E. Scala; Pelham Bay area), JHS 101 in Throgg's Neck (now Henry Bruckner) and then Aviation HS in Queens). Small world!
  • ChubbyChubby Posts: 2,955
    You have mail!

    Evans
    I spent most of my money on good bourbon, and bad women...the rest, I just wasted!!
  • HossHoss Posts: 14,600
    The Kingsford I tried was great.The RO is good too.I have a friend that owns a Country store that gets me 10 lb. bags of RO for $4.43 a bag so I quit using the Kingsford.
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