If ever there was a year we needed nice weather for Memorial Day Weekend this was it. Winter sucked. We’ve had some cooler days this spring, but there have been some spectacular ones as well. And this weekend? Just stunning.
Normally I’m a little grumpy when the cats get me up early on a weekend. Today it actually worked out pretty well. Porter and Dunkel tag teamed and had me out of bed by 6AM. Made up a big mug of coffee and came downstairs to get the Egg set up for the day. By 7:00am I had the fire lit off and by 8:00am the butt was on the Egg. No drama getting the fire going.
Our local Ace Hardware has become a Big Green Egg dealer and they carry the BGE-branded lump charcoal. Holy crap is that stuff expensive. Easily double what I pay for a bag of the GSF or Royal Oak I normally buy. The thing is, I’ve not been happy with the last two bags of those I used. Lots of ash. Weird temp spikes. Tons of small pieces. I knew I was going to pay a premium for the BGE stuff, but figured one time wouldn’t kill me.
I thought I made a mistake when I opened the bag. The lump sizes are are relatively uniform, but the size is smaller than I was expecting. As I added the fuel I worried about the smaller sized-pieces packing together and screwing up the airflow inside. Four-and-a-half hours into the smoke I’m not worried about that. The fire lit off great, and the smoke was clean from the start. More remarkably, there was almost no visible smoke by the time I put the meat on and nearly none visible all day. If you aren’t into smoking that may sound like bad news, but it’s actually good news. That means the stuff that’s burning is combusting fully. Visible smoke is largely soot, and soot isn’t what you want. I’m feeling better about spending the money. If the ash production is low, that one bag could last me a while. It would make it a better value at that point. The jury is out. (I’d love to be able to try some Humphrey, but I don’t know where I can find it in Cincinnati. Anyone know?)
The rub was on the meat for about 22 hours and the pan it rested in is now the water pan. I’m liking having that extra thermal body between the fire and the meat (besides the plate setter). My grid temps have been mostly hanging between 243 and 252 (with a high of 255 and low of 225). The spices in the water aren’t going to really contribute much to flavor, but it sure makes the patio smell good.