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couple of questions for eggsperts

Electric DonElectric Don Posts: 28
edited 12:41AM in EggHead Forum
Sunday afternoon I decided to do a "sear/dwell" on a 6 lb. boneless prime rib. I heated my XL to about 675, put a newly seasoned (key point) cast iron griddle on my regular porcelain grate. The turn after about 90 seconds was fine. Then after another 90 seconds, the griddle was on fire (too much oil when I seasoned it, I suppose). I recovered the prime rib with no problem, the fire on top went out when I closed the lid. Then - first question - it took about 30-40 minutes to get the dome temp down to 400 degrees. Any ideas what I did wrong? The side vent was open about 1/8 inch, with the rain cap on top. At 400 degrees, I slapped on the place setter and the temp came on down to 350, where I cooked for about 1-1/2 hrs, letting the dome temp drop on down to 325. The roast was on a v-rack over a drip pan. Good news - the prime rib was fantastic! - pretty good char, and a nice medium rare - I took off at 132 degrees on the Maverick probe. [p]Now the second question - I think my grill grate was damaged, I suppose by the heat from the cast iron griddle. Several of the bars are very rough - like a very coarse sandpaper, kind of white speckled, and it looks like it might be the porcelain buckling or coming off. Does anyone have a similar experience? Is my grate ruined, or should I go ahead and replace it? And with what? [p]I know too many questions, and sorry for the long message, if anyone is still reading. [p]I'm still learning, and really appreciate all the help I've had from this forum - both the questions I've asked as well as all the great menus and other advice that go back and forth. [p]Don B (Electric Don)[p][p]


  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    Electric Don,[p]You did nothing wrong. Well except that oil seasoning thingy.[p]It will take some time for the ceramic mass to lose it's heat. That is the beauty of the Egg.[p]I would see if you can wash off the grate first. Easy Off Oven Cleaner works wonders.[p]As for seasoning cast iron: Lard, Bacon Grease, Shortening, or Oil. In that order and the latter is a last resort.[p]dutch-5.jpg[p]Put in your egg upside down. Bake at 450-500 till jet black and shut the egg down. Let the egg and the cast iron cool together. Repeat as necessary.[p]dutch-6.jpg[p]Many people will tell you easier ways, but this dutch oven has in it's lifetime cooked savory, sweet and acidic foods. It only had to be re-seasoned because it was left in a damp environment for a few years.[p]dutch-1.jpg[p]After a cook lightly brush it will vegetable oil. Whip off any excess.[p]Never Ever get Soap any were near it.
  • Celtic Wolf,[p]Thaks very much - that's very helpful. I'll start over with the seasoning on the cast iron. And I'm not sure about the grate, but I'll try your suggestion on that as well. I might come back to you again on that one. [p]I guess one should never stop trying to learn - but at least it's a lot of fun. [p]Best regards,[p]Don B.

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Electric Don,
    don't know how big the griddle was, or how long it was on... but if it were on for a while, and the dome said 675, it was a LOT hotter under the griddle. dome temp is the temp of the air above the grid, and doesn't measure the radiant heat of the lump. when something is between the dome thermo and the lump, your temps below the object (griddle in this case) can be MUCH hotter. lump burns at a pretty fixed temp, 1200 minimum.[p]if you had the thing cruisign at better than 600 for a while, that would account for why the porcelain got blasted off. under the griddle it could be literally twice as hot as dome temp. a big griddle restricts air flow. that means the fire needs to be much hotter in order to get dome temps to nuke levels. lots of folks fry gaskets doing pizzas at "only" 500-600. but the fire below is much hotter and the platesetter directs much of the heat to the gasket (when it's not raised, that is).[p]the other reason i think you may have been hanging out at 675 too long is it sounds like the ceramic heated up for too long. only "too long" that is if you want to drop back to 400 quickly.[p]also "an 1/8" shut isn't even close to "almost shut". that 1/8" was enough to keep you above 400 because you had such a great draft from being at 675.[p]if you want to go quickly to 400, shut it completely down. otherwise, just the barest sliver top and bottom. i like some venting, and rarely completely shut down if i'm trying to drop dome temps.[p]lastly... i don't think it was the oil which caught on fire, or it would have caught on fire from the start. the rib eye is a fatty cut, and the fact that you had a griddle and not a grid means the fat had no where to go, so it collected on the griddle and caught. you did get to witness one of the great things about the egg, though. flare up just do NOT occur if the dome is shut and you have the airflow dialed in correctly. there's no spare O32 to fuel the fat fire, so it goes out, while the lump is unaffected.[p]i'd skip the griddle. you'll get sear marks from the regular porcelain grid. if you are bound and determined to use cast iron, use a grid (not griddle) or try less fatty cuts. you wouldn't have as much fat from a NY strip, and even less from tenderloin.[p]HTH[p]

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • The Naked WhizThe Naked Whiz Posts: 7,780
    Electric Don,
    Regarding the cooling down bit, if you don't let the Egg stay at the hot temperature for very long, it will cool down very nicely. However, if you let it stay at the high temperature for a long period of time, you allow the ceramic to heat up and this will make it harder to cool down the cooker. When you are searing, you don't need the ceramic to be hot, you need the fire to be hot. So if you are going to do a Trex thing where you sear, then wait for the cooker to cool, then roast, you should start searing as soon as your fire is ready and not let the ceramic heat up any more than necessary.[p]Another option, of course, for a roast is to roast the meat first and sear last. This is what Alton Brown advocated in his show where he cooked the prime rib in an over inside of a flower pot. [p]Good luck!

    The Naked Whiz
  • The Naked Whiz,[p]Thanks for those thoughts. I did start cooking as soon as the dome hit 675, and probably left it there for no more than 5-6 minutes. Of course, I did have the fire on the griddle (the crisis I described), but the dome never rose above 675 degrees. So I guess next time I'll shut the thing completely and see how long it takes to cool down. [p]Thanks again for your comments - I use your site quite a bit, and it's always very helpful.[p]Don B.
  • stike,[p]Thanks very much. I guess I underestimated the difference between "just a crack" and 1/8 inch. I think I'll try just closing it next time - it's obvious some air gets in there anyway. [p]A follow-up question. If indeed the porcelain glaze on the grid is cracked or at least headed that way, does that mean I should go ahead and get a new grid (I'm talking about the cooking surface). I've heard people talk about getting a cast iron cooking grid - or maybe stainless steel. Or just use this one until it gets rusty? Would appreciate any thoughts on that. [p]Don B.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Electric Don,
    i just got a new stainless grid after 4 years.[p]i'll be honest. i couldn't tell you if my original porcelain was gone or not. my original grid was black and covered in schnutz. don't worry about it[p]if the grid is hot enough, it doesn't need to be porcelain, stainless, cast iron, or even just oiled. your meat will still flip. if it sticks, well, it ai'nt ready to flip.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • stike,[p]Thanks again - that's pretty much where I was headed. [p]Incidentally the griddle is huge - it barely fit on the XL grid, so I'm sure you're right about the massive temperature build-up. Actually I would have seasoned it inside, but neither oven would hold it! [p]I appreciate your help. [p]Don B
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