Now that you’ve just bought a Big Green Egg and joined a half-century of the brand’s hardcore ceramic cooker enthusiasts, you're probably wondering just how to get started. There’s only one thing left to say:
Green means go!
The Large EGG has its place in a comfy nest table on the corner of our new deck, and it’s already living here like its name is on the mortgage. It is the ambassador of oval, the sultan of smoke, the king of the kamados. (Didn’t Mork travel in an egg a long time ago on “Mork and Mindy”?) We’re ready to barbecue ceramic grill style.
This was a birthday present, and as tempting as it was to enjoy a FREE Tavern Burger at Stillwaters on Beach Drive here in St. Petersburg, I wanted nothing more than to break in our new EGG with an American classic: a thick, juicy ribeye. We’re a modern family with one meat eater and one vegetarian, so our perfect debut dinner also includes Turmeric Teriyaki Tofu strips, just-shucked corn on the cob, and asparagus spears slathered in olive oil.
1. Clean Out Any Ash From Previous Cooks
You don’t have to worry about cleaning your EGG before you shove off on its maiden voyage, whether yours is brand-new from the dealer or a gently used model like ours. But you do need to take note of its condition before breaking it in. It’s nice and clean! There are no ashes in the bottom. You’ll want to have your cleaning game ready for upcoming cooks, because ash removal means better air flow while a clean grate means great taste.
2. Get All The EGGsessories
Or at least as much as you can afford. I want to be best friends with my local Vision Ace Hardware folks because as a Big Green Egg gold dealer they’re going to be my go-to whenever I need support and new EGG accessories stuff. Eggsessories included a jumbo bag of the brand’s oak and hickory lump charcoal. I grabbed several handfuls and made a reasonable pile, but not overdoing it considering the first cook is for just us two. We will explore the world of different fuel and wood flavors here, but for now we’ll stay in-house and just get going. (Don't forget to checkout out my guide for the 12 must-have Big Green Egg accessories.)
3. We Have Ignition
I also bought a box of 24 SpeediLight charcoal starter cubes and I splurged on an EGGniter, but the butane version for about $80 rather than the electric one that costs $15 more. Alas it requires butane injected upfront, so I turned to my trusty BIG multipurpose lighter that I used for years on the average gas grill, and it worked perfect, making me realize I wasted money on the EGGniter. You don’t need it, just get the cheap BIC long lighters.
4. Start Your Fire And ... Watch It Rain
Let’s be honest, into every Big Green Egg lover’s life a little rain must fall. So naturally here in Florida the late-summer skies opened right after the flames were lit. I mean torrents. I have the cast iron daisy wheel top, and I opened the vents just enough to get the fire going but also for some water to slow me down. It finally passed over and now the coals are cooking. It’s taking longer than I expected for the temperature to rise, especially with limited air flow due to the heavy rain, but each one will be better.
5. Prepare Your Ingredients
There will be a time and place for incredible sauces, representing every region that does BBQ grilling in its own perfect ways. But not for me on this night, not now, not here. I just want a perfectly natural and delicious ribeye in its own flavor, just a little salt and pepper. The extra-firm Turmeric Teriyaki Tofu was sliced into thick strips and marinated in teriyaki soy sauce and a little olive oil, with a sprinkle of ground turmeric and black pepper. Any veggies will do but the colors of corn on the cob and asparagus were just right for us. (Looking for recipe ideas? Here's our list of the 25 best Big Green Egg recipes.)
6. Bring Your Grid Lifter And Patience
The most valuable tool for me on Opening Night was definitely this grid lifter. I was still dealing with some rain, and needing to prod the charcoals a bit as it was starting to spread. Then it was all about patience. Right away it’s a reminder that good things take time when it comes to BBQ smokers, especially if you are used to turning on gas and cranking out quick cooks. Future cooks on this BGE grill will include more sophisticated temperature control, usually with a thermometer placed into the meats (but not touching the bone), and probably using either the dual wireless thermometer (Ace was out of this one today) or EGG Genius with an app for monitoring and managing the temperature.
I’m going to totally nerd out on that. But for tonight, with just the cast iron grate over the coals, it’s just a big thick steak and I’m cooking the traditional way. I wish I had part of the EGGspander right now so I could have cooked this cowboy style, as the flame is too far from the steak, so it’s taking longer than I expected. Opening the vents wider, especially the bottom vent, speeds up the coals.
The moment I was waiting for: A photo of a perfectly charred ribeye in the middle of my grate on a Big Green Egg. At this very moment, literally no other BBQ chef on Earth reigns supreme. You can’t get better than this! But the moment is ephemeral and now it’s time to use a large spatula and tongs to remove the food and bring it inside.
8. Serve And Enjoy
This dish called for a nice Chianti, and we toasted to our new Big Green Egg and the boundless future ahead for backyard BBQ. We have a mini bernedoodle who is going absolutely nuts over the smell, and if you’re like us there will be parts of this steak chopped up and inserted into his boring dog food.
9. Cool Down
It’s honestly a shame to leave those beautiful orange coals for the night, but just close vents and the Big Green Egg extinguishes itself. Those same lumps will be there for the next cook, requiring a little shakeout and the ash removal tool. Brush the hot grate clean, a quick step.
10. Cover And Repeat
I bought a universal cover at Vision Ace Hardware , and it has the nice BGE logo on the right side with the left side raised to provide room for the EGG top. The morning after the cook, I place this on our charcoal smoker and look forward to the next barbecue. It’s not a perfect fit, but it will work for use over and over again, with a cooker that will likely outlast me. The next cook will be just like having a birthday all over again.