I joined a cult yesterday. It’s been coming on for a while, but it finally happened.
I bought a Big Green Egg.
My venerable New Braunfels Black Diamond Smoker owed me nothing, having served me well for 15 years. The trouble was, it was just not getting used as much as it should have. It needed constant tending. The metal was too thin to really act as a really good thermal sink and air leaked all over the place. These were all things I knew when I bought the thing on the eve of my wedding, but I was finding myself not lighting it up because I was just too tired to deal with it. What was once a source of pride being able to coax a nice piece of smoked meat off the smoker became a pain in the butt? What can I say. I’m getting old.
About a year ago — with my 50th birthday staring me in the face — I decided I needed to make a change, smoker-wise. After a lot of research I settled on the Big Green Egg (‘BGE’ in Egg Cult Circles). It has what I want. Decent capacity, but the ability to go low and slow for hours and hours and hours. I just couldn’t go gas or electric. I’m OK with lump and chunks, and everything I saw about the BGE said that it was as close to ‘fire and forget’ without cheating.
I bought mine through Wardway Fuels on the west side of Cincinnati, and it may be one of the best retail experiences I’ve ever had. I had specific questions when I walked in the door, and I got a young guy in his twenties who knew the product inside and out and answered the questions I had, expanded on them when there was something I missed and was the very opposite of a hard-sell. I walked out of there after about 20 minutes and I knew I’d be buying one from them.
It turns out they co-sponsor an event called Porkopolis Eggfest that’s kind of a Woodstock for BGE owners. One of the wrinkles is that the Eggs that are used are all demos, and since they’re used a couple of times you can pre-order one for a discount. Since these things aren’t cheap, it’s a pretty good deal. I wound up having to wait a couple of months to pick mine up and yesterday was the day. I’m really glad I did this the way I did. I’ve been reading obsessively, but I wanted to talk to folks who really knew how to make them sing. Man, did I ever luck out. Chef JJ from Chef JJ’s Backyard in Indianapolis was a featured speaker who gave several demos throughout the day. I learned so much from him in just a couple of hours, especially about lighting a fire and not turning the inside of Egg into a crematorium.
We brought the Egg home last night. This morning Carla and I took it out of the car and assembled those custom pieces I ordered that weren’t in the standard setup for Eggfest. I was thrilled to see that Wardway had prepared the Egg in such a way that my assembly was a piece of cake. The sucker is certainly heavy.
Today I’m smoking some country ribs. They don’t take long, and I knew I wouldn’t get a fire going before 2 PM. It actually wound up being 3PM, but they’ve been on for 4.5 hours. They should be fantastic.
Next post? A post-mortem on Smoke #1.