Big Green Egg - EGGhead Forum - The Ultimate Cooking Experience...
Welcome to the EGGhead Forum - a great place to visit and packed with tips and EGGspert advice! You can also join the conversation and get more information and amazing kamado recipes by following Big Green Egg at:

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Youtube  |  Vimeo
Share your photos by tagging us and using the hashtag #EGGhead4Life.

In Atlanta? Come visit Big Green Egg headquarters, including our retail showroom, the History of the EGG Museum and Culinary Center!  3786 DeKalb Technology Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30340.

charcoal taste and chicken legs

I've had my LBGE since July and use had been limited since my wife was pregnant and the smell of charcoal/smoke sent her morning sickness through the roof.  Needless to say, egging had been curtailed but we've since had our daughter and I've started again.  The first couple of cooks I did were burgers and hot dogs (oh so exciting) on some left over lump.  

The left over lump was mainly Wicked Good Weekend Warrior, but was having issues starting due to what was probably some dampness and plugged air flow holes.  I added some Royal Oak (red and green bag) to help it along, and was able to get up to about 350F, even with the bottom vent wide open.  Good enough for some burgers and hot dogs...

Decided to do some chicken legs last night.  Cleaned out the old lump as well as all the clogged holes and refilled with a bag of Cowboy from Home Depot.  Was able to get up to temp quickly, actually overshot to 550F with the increased air flow.  Cooled the egg down to 400, and had nice clear smoke going before putting the chicken legs on.

I used one of the hanging racks for the legs, and it was raised direct.  Cooked to about 175F IT with clear fluids running, put a little bbq sauce on for another 10 minutes.  My wife took two bites and for her the charcoal taste was overwhelming.  I didn't think it was that bad, but then again I had been standing out breathing it in for a while, plus I like the charcoal taste.  

I did do raised direct, could it have been from the fat dripping off and flaring up or just the Cowboy lump being more charcoal/smokey in flavor?  Will probably do a clean burn with the rest of the Cowboy lump and retry the chicken legs with the WGWW that I have remaining.  Would be a nice direct test, but any thoughts?

On a side note, did marinate half the legs in regular Allegro and the other half just straight on.  The skin looked nice and crispy, but didn't turn out that way.  Should I have gone to a higher IT than the 170's?



  • WGWW seems to be one of the least smokey flavored lumps.  My wife can tell when I use something different, especially with chicken.
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 7,674
    Lotta people complain about the Cowboy being smokey/charcoal taste. I've never used it so I have no experience.

    Rowlett, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings


  • MO_EgginMO_Eggin Posts: 186
    Last bag or two of Cowboy that I've used have had a much stronger smell (almost chemical like) during the initial VOC burn off.  It has taken much longer (hour +) to get to a point where the smoke did not smell foul, well after there was no longer the thick white smoke.    
    LBGE, St. Louis, MO
  • Charlie tunaCharlie tuna Posts: 2,191
    The only thing that can cause this much nasty tasting chicken would be VOC's and if you overshot to 550 degrees, i don't think the VOC's would be around??  Chicken sucks up amy smoke tastes.  I never have done a clean burn, and i have never had this type of problem and i cook a lot of chicken!  I kind of over cook my chicken -- breasts to 165 and thighs/legs to 185 internal.
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 14,015
    I feel you on the pregnancy issue. I am in the same boat. 

    However, it sounds like you did everything right for elimination of "smokey" flavor, so I would estimate that it was the lump. I have heard issues with Cowboy but I have used WGWW, and find it to be quite mild. Try again with that. Make sure the air holes are clear and light the WGWW in multiple places. It is one of the harder lumps to get going, based on reviews.
  • SmokeyPittSmokeyPitt Posts: 9,867
    It sure seems like you did everything right.  One tip is to just trust your nose.  Put your hand over the top of the egg and smell it.  If your hand smells good...the food should taste good.   I have had occasions where it just seemed like it was taking a while for the funk to burn off (even when the smoke was clear).  

    I have used cowboy several times and I'm not crazy about it.  It is difficult to light and takes a while to stabilize.  After enough time though it always smells good.  I have observed that the egg always smells better the longer it burns.  

    Which came first the chicken or the egg?  I egged the chicken and then I ate his leg. 

  • HDmstngHDmstng Posts: 192
    tonight am going to do burgers and hot dogs again, so that should be a good test for the cowboy vs the WG/RO blend used a prior.  Don't mind using the WG if I have to, but since it seems Ace no longer carries it (even online), not sure where else to get it here in Cincinnati.  
  • fasteddiemfasteddiem Posts: 212

    Royal Oak is solid stuff. I'm in Cincinnati and can help you get some RO cheap with my Restaurant Depot Membership. Send my a private message and I'll can get you a card. Are you interested in going to the Porkopolis (Cincinnati) Eggfest on July 13th?

    Happy Eggin'

  • FockerFocker Posts: 8,297
    edited April 2013

    I think your acrid off taste was due to the grease burning in the unshielded drip pan.  Don't believe it is lump related if you had a "clear smoke going". 

    You might try putting an indirect shield under the drip pan for protection, with a small airspace inbetween.  Small, wadded up foil balls work great for this.  I sometimes add a little bit of water to the grease pan for wings at 400 indirect, just enough to keep the grease from burning.

    For the skin with the those leg racks, the drip pan is inhibiting the rendering of the skin by shielding the heat, and so is their close proximity.

    Last 15 min or so, I'd remove the legs from the holder, and finish raised direct until crisp. 

    Quad Cities
    "If yer gonna denigrate, familiarity with the subject is helpful."

  • HDmstngHDmstng Posts: 192
    Thanks for the offer Eddie and I hope to be able to make it to the 2013 Porkopolis!  In fact, I purchased my Egg at Porkopolis last year.  If there hadn't been the Eggfest, I would have ended up with a Kamado Vision from Costco.   :-/   

    Focker, I had had some of the left over chicken a couple of days later and I could then taste the smoke flavor, it was definitely not acrid tasting.  It really isn't a bad taste (in my opinion), I've had smoked chicken before and like it and that is what it tasted like.

    As for the holder, I had removed the drip pan after initially using it.  It was a pain because the legs of the leg holder kept slipping off the grate, definitely not a 'grate' design.  Still trying to get good crispy skin on my chicken though, rarely have time to let it sit in the fridge uncovered.  Still have 20 legs in the freezer, so plenty left to practice.

    As for the smokey flavor, will give the WG a try as well as RO separately, but have a feeling my wife is going to settle in on WG.  Another tip I read about was not using the daisy wheel when grilling and I had it on to help control temps.

    Thanks again,
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986
    @HDmstng.. Nice rack. Where did you get it?
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • BeaumontyBeaumonty Posts: 185
    Two tips for crispy skin that I use is insure the fat can render off and that the skin is relatively dry of wet marinade.  If you have marinade effectively, the flavor is in the chicken so wiping off the liquid has a minimal impact on the meat.  Plus, you're saucing it up at the end.

    The second thing I would suggest is to poke holes in your skin with a toothpick and shove a few whole garlic cloves under the skin. Doing so allows the fat to leave the toothpick holes and air on both sides of the skin crisp it up.  I know the holes seem antithetical to the whole "don't poke meat" but it's done pre-cook; I learned it from Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen.  
  • SmokeyPittSmokeyPitt Posts: 9,867
    henapple said:
    @HDmstng.. Nice rack. Where did you get it?
    I saw one like that at Home Depot

    Which came first the chicken or the egg?  I egged the chicken and then I ate his leg. 

  • HDmstngHDmstng Posts: 192
    Beaumonty, more good tips to try!

    That rack was from Home Depot.  Only drawback to it is the legs won't sit easily on the grid without the drip pan in place. 
  • SmokeyPittSmokeyPitt Posts: 9,867
    HDmstng said:
    Beaumonty, more good tips to try!

    That rack was from Home Depot.  Only drawback to it is the legs won't sit easily on the grid without the drip pan in place. 
    You could always take a drill to the drip pan and turn it into a rack :)

    Which came first the chicken or the egg?  I egged the chicken and then I ate his leg. 

  • CasekeibsCasekeibs Posts: 13
    I've been struggling with similar issues with the acrid smokey flavor. Thanks for the posts. BTW what is WGWW? I picked up my Egg at Porkopolis last year and have had marginal success convincing my wife that it was a good Father's Day present simply because of the overly smokey flavor on burgers and yardbird. I've been reluctant to try anything else really. Any CVG Eggers out there offering remedial training on fire starting and other techniques? I'll bring the drinks and meat!
  • CasekeibsCasekeibs Posts: 13
    I figured out the WGWW part, now I want to buy some. Anywhere in CVG sell the stuff? Amazon has 11# bags for $21 plus shipping. Is it worth it? Or should I stick with RO or the gourmet stuff I buy at Kroger?
  • sumoconnellsumoconnell Posts: 1,423
    +1 on fockers post. Chicken grease smoking can get a nasty taste, I can see folks mistaking it for fresh charcoal.
    Austin, Texas.  I'm the guy holding a beer.
  • HDmstngHDmstng Posts: 192
    Hey Casekeibs - I also got my Egg at Porkopolis last year.  Not sure where you can get WGWW around town anymore as Ace has stopped carrying it.  I purchased my one and only bag online through Ace.  

    I haven't done chicken in quite a while, haven't really Egged much lately either with a 4 month old and wife going through back surgery last month.  I did go back to Royal Oak and the last couple of times I have cooked with it, my wife hasn't had much of an issue with the smokey flavor.  

    I think making sure the smoke is clear before putting the food on and if smoke flavor is an issue, keeping the DW off.

    BTW, did you go to Porkopolis this year?  I went and had a blast!
  • CasekeibsCasekeibs Posts: 13
    I've been buying the green bags of lump,at Kroger for $5.99. It's a little speedy, for the size, but it does alright. I think I'll just go back to Royal Oak from Wardway though.. I didn't make it too the fest this year, I had to work all weekend, ironically enough, I've spent he whole weekend 10 minutes away from the BGE headquarters in Atlanta, with no car to drive there. It's a fun place to visit if you ever get the chance, the folks are cool and very helpful. I met Big Moe there last time I was in town. I think the key to the smokey flavor is to let the coals turn grey/white, and I'm going to try a drip pan with indirect heat. I'm sure it's the drippings that are causing the problem. I'm looking forward to my High Que grate coming this week too. Which part of town do live?
  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 8,347
    I think Doc does all his direct, no drip pan. I do mine indirect with a drip pan, the setter in. I use a higher dome temp, 450º or so, skin does crisp, but as noted above, dry it off before you cook it. 
    Delta B.C. - Move over coffee, this is job for alcohol!
  • HDmstngHDmstng Posts: 192
    I'm in West Chester, you?
  • CasekeibsCasekeibs Posts: 13
    Far west side, Bridgetown.
  • CasekeibsCasekeibs Posts: 13
    BTW, I stopped in to Wardway over here on the west side and asked them if they'd look into stocking Wicked Good. They're gonna look into it. I suppose I should make that a unique CVG post.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Click here for Forum Use Guidelines.