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Entries in Big Green Egg (50)


Review: Bubba Keg

BubbaKeg-RED-logoIf you're a regular visitor here, you know that I cook on a Big Green Egg.  I've become quite enamored with the Kamado style cooker and it's neat to see that there are a growing number of companies that recognize the benefits of this design and have begun to introduce their own versions.

Recently, I was contacted by the folks over at Bubba Keg.  These are the folks who make travel mugs & coolers shaped like beer kegs.  It seems they have introduced their variation on the Kamado theme.  The basic design isn't much different from the big players in this space but it's constructed of double-walled steel with oven-grade insulation rather than ceramic.  



There are a couple of features that I thought were interesting:

  • The cookers comes standard with a few items that are optional on the Big Green Egg:
    • Cast Iron Cooking Great
    • Ash Tool
    • Side tables
  • Then there are a few features that look to be unique to the Bubba Keg
    •   Hitch adapter for transporting the cooker via a standard receiver hitch.  This is very cool and makes the cooker ideal for tailgating, camping, etc.
    • A metal stand with large wheels.  The small wheels on the BGE nest are problematic when moving the cooker.
    • It's also lighter than the ceramic cookers, but I guess that makes sense given the construction.
    • This thing even comes with a built in bottle opener!

There are a few things that I'd like to know more about.  There's no mention of a platesetter or an accessory to create the barrier between the cooking crate and the fire.   This seems pretty common on the competitors.  In fairness, I've never tried to smoke without the platesetter on the BGE but it makes sense to me to have a barrier between the food and the fire.  I'd also like to get a better look at the detachable tables and the top damper.  I can't tell from their website or video what those parts are constructed of.

Bubba Keg is making an effort to introduce this style of cooker to a more mainstream audience by partnering with Hope Depot for distribution and in my mind that's a good thing.

I'd sure like to provide a more thorough hands-on review of this cooker so if the folks at Bubba Keg would like to send me one I'd be happy to oblige!  8>)



Rib Pickin' - Spareribs or Babybacks

rib-cross-sectionIt had been awhile since I'd done ribs on my Big Green Egg, but with the weather hovering around ~70 degrees I decided Saturday was a perfect day to fire up the cooker.  So off to the store I went for some ribs.  When I got there, all that was available were spare ribs.  Now I usualy cook baby backs but didn't feel like hunting all over town for them so I just went with St Louis style spare ribs.

 What's the differnece?  Well, baby backs come from "high on the hog" and are typically smaller and more tender.  Spareribs on the other hand come from the belly of the hog, are larger, and typically have more fat.  You also have to deal with a flap of meat on the bone side of spare ribs and a strip of meat and cartilage along the edge.  You can find spareribs with the extra flap and cartilage removed by the butcher.  These trimmed spareribs are often referred to as "St. Louis Style".

Spare Ribs Spare Ribs

Baby Back Ribs Baby Back Ribs
While the spare ribs turned out okay, my family let me know in no uncertain terms that they prefer the "other kind".  So from now on, I'll stick to baby back ribs even if I have to chase all over town to find them.



Leaving the Nest - Egg Table Final Update

I thought I'd post one final update to the construction of the table for my large Big Green Egg. We finally got the BGE placed in the table and cooked on it for the first time. And it's awesome!

Here's a shot of the BGE in it's final resting place:

Egg in Place In an earlier post, I talked about some of the finishing touches.  We did run into one snag.  If you notice in the photo, the paver that the BGE is sitting on is not flush as was intended.  We discovered that the spring hinges on the dome actually rotate downward slightly when opening the lid and we hadn't allowed enough clearance for this.  So we had to make accomodations for that by raising the egg slightly by inserting slats under the paver. 

Favorite parts:

  • having an "electric" table
  • grilling light
  • huge work surface

Things to consider next time:

  • possibly use larger casters
  • consider where to store the platesetter (I'm thinking a wire shelf suspended under the bottom shelf would work great)

All in all, I think it turned out really well.  I have to give special thanks to Zino & Davidhoff for all their help.  Without them, I would have probably just bought the BGE table or thrown together something that wouldn't have been nearly as nice as this table.

Are you building a table or cart for your Egg or other cooker?  Drop us a comment and let us know how it turns out.



Leaving the Nest - Egg Table Construction Part 5

If you've been following along, you know that the table has taken shape mostly from materials that were already at hand. This includes some of the "finishing touches" that I talked about in a previous post.  The finishing touch that I'll talk about today is another of those that sprouted from things we had lying about.

If you're like me, you often find yourself cooking overnight.  Now I haven't invested in a Stoker or a Guru (yet), so I will typically check the cooker throughout the night.  This drives the need for illumination.  So we decided that this table should be wired for electricity.  This would allow us to mount a hardwired grill light and electrical outlets that will someday accomodate one of the aforementioned fire control devices, an electric knife, etc.

I ordered a permanently mountable grill light from the good folks at Amazon.  Zino had an all weather recepticle and the necessary wire, conduit, and the like.  So here's what we came up with.

Power cord for the table - just plug in an extension cord Power cord for the table - just plug in an extension cord

All-weather electrical outlets All-weather electrical outlets

Illumination for all night cooking Illumination for overnight cooking
So as you can see, the table is done with the exception of installing the BGE.  We're ready to roll this bad boy outside and start using it.  I'll update the project one more time when we get the cooker installed and let you know how it turns out.



Leaving the Nest - Egg Table Construction Part 4

We're coming down the home stretch on the construction of the table for my Big Green Egg. The framing is complete and now we're finishing the lower & top shelves. The hard part of the top shelf is cutting the giant circle for BGE to sit in. So we installed most of the top decking but only the middle board on the end where the Egg will sit. This was simply for an anchor point to be able to draw the circle.

Getting ready to draw the circle Getting ready to draw the circle

And here we are with the whole cut for the Egg.

Now thats a big hole! Now that's a big hole!

We also framed a spot to insert a ceramic tile work surface.

Top shelf framing Top shelf framing

We're getting close to wrapping up the project.  All we have left are the finishing touches.  Hopefully I'll be able to provide pics of the finished product in the next post.



Leaving the Nest - Egg Table Construction Part 3

Construction continues on the table for my Big Green Egg.  I've looked at tons of tables built by other users and the ones that I like the most are the ones with what I'll call "finishing touches".  So, Davidoff, Zino & I decided that we were going to focus on really finishing this thing off nicely.

One of the areas that we decided needed a finishing touch, is the lower shelf where the BGE will sit.  Since the bottom of the BGE gets hot when in use (duh!), it's important to have a non-flammable material between it and the wooden table.  Now most folks accomplish this with a landscape paver, ceramic tile, etc.  and our plan is no different.  However, we decided that the table would look much nicer if we inset the paver into the bottom shelf rather than simply place it on top of the shelf.  Let's face it, landscape pavers look great on a patio but they're not much to look at as a piece of furniture.

Here's the "finishing touch" that we came up with for this feature.

Frame & Bracing for Paver Frame & Bracing for Paver

Paver inset Paver inset

Flush mounted paver Flush mounted paver

So the BGE will sit on a flush mounted paver.  I like this finishing touch.  Stay tuned for more udpates on our progress.



Leaving the Nest - Egg Table Construction Part 2

Construction of a new table for my Large Big Green Egg is underway.  As I stated in a previous post, most of the materials for this project come from the things my two compatriots and I had lying around.

  • I had 2x4 lumber left over from framing my basement
  • My neighbor Davidoff had casters from a long forgotten and never attempted project
  • Davidoff also had a landscaping paver that we will inset on the lower shelf to hold the egg.
  • Zino, my other neighbor, had an entire box of ceramic tile that we'll inset as a work surface on the top shelf
  • The 1x4's used in the framing are also scrap pieces that I had lying around.
  • We'll purchase the decking for the shelves and a 1" dowel that we plan to use as a handle on one end.
  • We have a couple of tricks in mind that'll be really cool and set my table apart from the crowd and those may require an additional purchase.

Zino has quite an extensive shop in his basement with at least one of every kind of tool we'll need for this project.  So that's our work location.  Here are a couple of shots of the early construction.

Right & Left Ends Framed Right & Left Ends Framed

Completed Frame Completed Frame

Dowel for a handle at one end Dowel for a handle at one end

I'll update the construction as we go.  As I said, stay tuned for a couple of really neat features that we plan to incorporate into the design.



Ready to leave the nest

If you cook on a Big Green Egg or a similar ceramic cooker, you probably started with the egg nestled snuggly in a "nest". That's simply the stand with casters that holds the egg at a usable height. Many of us also opted for the flip-up tables to provide a work surface near the egg.longtable

However, you quickly come to realize that even this is not enough work surface. Personally, I added a side table and still find myself juggling cooking utensils, pans, aluminum foil, BBQ sauce etc.

So I began to consider purchasing one of the tables from the Big Green Egg folks.  However, after consulting with a buddy of mine we determined that we probably had enough stuff lying around to build one on our own.  We set about finding plans for a table, collecting the items that we already had, and determining what additional parts we'd need.

We located plans at a couple of places.  Big Green Egg has plans available here.  We also consulted The Naked Whiz for plans as well as a nice gallery of tables other folks have built.  We landed on a modified plan based on everything we read and learned because we needed to take into account that we were starting with lumber, casters and paving stones that we already had lying around.

Over the next few days, I'll post our progress and photos.  I'm pretty excited about leaving the nest and moving the egg into a more permanent home.  Stay tuned!



How I spent my snow day, or Pork Loin on the Big Green Egg

snow-day-eggHere in the midwest, we got quit a blast of winter last night.  I woke up this morning (actually the school woke me up to tell me there was no school) to ~3 inches of sleet & snow on the ground.  So I elected to exercise a little flexibility afforded to me by my employer and work from home.  Around lunch time, my neighbor called to say he had a pork loin in the freezer and since we were both home it seemed like a good excuse to cook.

So around 3:30pm I fired up the Big Green Egg.  I shoveled just enough space outside of the garage to be able to roll the egg outside.  In nothing flat, I had a 275 degree fire with an indirect setup.  We put the pork loin on and retired to the warmth of our respective homes.

sliced-pork-loinBy 6:00pm, the pork loin was at 160 degrees internal and I declared it ready to eat.  I cut a hunk off for my trouble and left the rest for my buddy.  I mean heck, he provided the meat.  I had also done some sliced potatoes tossed in olive oil and a little grill seasoning (I call 'em Cheater Fried Potatoes).

It's kinda cool to be able to work from home while tending the fire and having a fresh meal off of the cooker in mid-week.  Other than grilled chicken or burgers, I don't get to enjoy mid-week cooking very often.

plated-pork-loinHow'd you spend your most recent snow day?  Drop me a comment and let me know.



Tip: Dealing with Flashback on the Big Green Egg

Ever seen the movie "Backdraft" ?  It's a movie about firefighters and an arsonist who builds fires that are starved for oxygen and eventually create a flashback when a rush of air is introduced to the smoldering embers.  This can (and does) happen when cooking low and slow.  I can't speak for all the different types of cookers on the market, but for sure the Big Green Egg can create this event.

A friend of mine, a fellow Egger and a pretty darned good photographer, caught the phenomenon with his camera. 

flashback Thanks to Phydeaux Deauxmayne for the photo

This usually occurs when you're attempting to reduce the cooking temperature by tightening the vents on your cooker and reducing air flow.  You can minimize the liklihood of this happening by "burping" your egg before opening it wide.  To do this, raise the lid just slightly in order to control the rush of air into the cooker.  Hold the lid there for about a three count before completely opening it.

If you're not in the habit of burping your egg when opening it, you'll get in the habit quickly once you've had your first flashback.  I only had to loose the hair on my arms once before I learned my lesson!  8>)