10 March 2021
Big Green Egg FAQ – Part 2
The most frequently asked questions and answers about cooking on the Big Green Egg
It happens to everyone that sometimes not everything goes smoothly when cooking. Perhaps you sometimes wonder how to perfect certain dishes using a handy trick, or you have a question about an ingredient. In order to bring the cooking results on your kamado to an even higher level, we have collected the most frequently asked questions about cooking on the Big Green Egg. Improve your knowledge and skills with these tips and tricks.
My homemade bread is hard. What am I doing wrong?
Your bread or the crust can become very hard when the temperature of your EGG is too low. It then takes longer for your bread to be cooked through, meaning it will have a hard crust. Therefore, always make sure that your EGG maintains a proper and constant temperature and, just to be certain, check whether the thermometer on your dome also indicates the proper temperature. You can do this by calibrating the thermometer. If you are baking at a high temperature and the bottom crust of your bread is burning too quickly, then it might be a good idea to use an extra Baking Stone. The two stones will prevent the underside of your bread from burning and, in the process, hardening Finally, you should also try baking your bread in a Dutch Oven. These heat the sides of the bread directly, with moisture only being able to escape at the top of the bread.
My dough is very sticky. Do I have to add extra flour?
No, not immediately. Extra flour may be a last resort. Make sure that you have kneaded the dough properly and allowed it to rise sufficiently. After rising, press the air out of the dough by kneading it for another 2 to 3 minutes before shaping the dough.
There is moisture in the dough that can make the dough very sticky. But when you knead the dough well, the flour in the dough will absorb this moisture better. Adding extra flour is then unnecessary.
How do I get crisp skin on my chicken?
The secret to crisp chicken skin is to thoroughly pat it dry right before cooking. You can also try cooking your chicken indirectly as highway chicken . By grilling the chicken indirectly on the skin, you make optimal and longer use of the contact heat from the Cast Iron Grid and the skin will not burn but instead become deliciously crisp.
How do I get the pork belly rind crisp without it burning?
Crisp rind is a combination of time and a few simple tricks. With the sharp point of a skewer, pierce the rind with as many small holes as possible, the more the better Then place the pork belly in a pan with the rind facing up and slowly pour approximately one litre of boiling water over it. This opens up the structure of the rind. Then pat the meat dry, generously sprinkle the rind with coarse sea salt and place it uncovered in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The salt will extract the moisture from the rind.
The following day, cook the pork belly, with the salt on it, for approximately 3 hours at a temperature of about 120 °C with the convEGGtor, a Drip Pan on top of that and then the Stainless Steel Grid. Remove the pork from the EGG and rub off the salt. Make crosswise incisions in the rind and cook the pork belly for another 15-20 minutes with the rind facing up at 190 °C. Your rind is now already very crisp, but you get it even crispier! Finally, fry the pork belly for a few minutes under pressure in a skillet. You create this pressure by placing a second skillet or the lid from a Green Dutch Oven on the rind. Enjoy!
How can I serve everything hot at the same time? For example, a low & slow piece of meat with delicious ratatouille or grilled vegetables.
The ultimate solution is to purchase the 5-Piece EGGspander Kit. This Kit provides you with all sorts of possibilities by combining different cooking techniques at the same time and creating extra cooking capacity. You can place your ingredients on 3 different levels. If you don’t have an EGGspander (yet), then first cook your meat and keep it hot by storing it in a clean cooler, as this has a considerable insulating effect. Increase the temperature of your EGG and cook your desired vegetable dish or side dish. Right before your vegetables are done, briefly place the meat next to your vegetables on the grid. Time to eat!
My pizza crust burns on a regular basis. How can I prevent this?
There are a few things to keep in mind when baking pizzas:
- The Baking Stone must be hot when you place your pizza in the EGG. That may sound strange in terms of a burnt crust, but that is not the case. When the Baking Stone has not been preheated, it then takes too long before your pizza is done, as a result of which the crust burns.
- Also make sure that there is a proper proportion between the thickness of your pizza crust and the topping. A thin crust should have less topping than a thicker crust. This way you make sure that the preparation time and the cooking time of your pizza are in balance.
- Maintain a temperature of 275 to 300 °C when baking pizzas. Also make sure that you bake thin crust pizzas with a shorter preparation time at a higher temperature than pizzas with a thick crust at a somewhat lower temperature.
- If you use a convEGGtor Basket, then your Baking Stone sits higher in your EGG than when you are not using a basket. As a result, the chance that your pizza crust burns is less because you use more of the radiant heat that comes from the ceramic dome. In this situation, this indirect heat is more intense since it travels a shorter distance because your product sits higher in the EGG.
Finally, one extra pizza tip if you are into pizza parties and have an EGGspander: In the Large model, place your Baking Stone for the Large model on the regular grid. Insert the Multi-Level Rack and place a Baking Stone for the Medium model on top. This way you can bake 2 pizzas at the same time!
What is the difference between various types of onions and when do I use which type?
- Yellow onion: rather intense flavour and ideal for cutting in rings and for frying (delicious on your hamburger!), stewing or grilling as slices.
- Red onion: nice and colourful with a milder taste than the yellow onion. Because of its colour, the red onion lends itself well to pickling. Do keep in mind that the pickled product must be cooled before you add it to the onion, since a hot sour liquid can make the onion oxidate and turn brown.
- Shallot: refined flavour and easy to digest. Your eyes will tear faster when cutting shallots than when cutting other onions. Therefore always use a very sharp knife in order to minimise this risk as much as possible. The refined flavour of the shallot makes it very tasty, both raw as well as fried or stewed.
- White onion: somewhat sweeter, but with a sharper flavour than the yellow onion. Use the white onion when you want to give your dish a more pronounced onion flavour.
- Sweet onion: slightly sweet and mild flavour. This onion is also called Cevenne onion because they often come from the French Cévennes region. The sweet onion is perfect for roasting. This type of onion contains a relatively high amount of natural sugars that caramelise wonderfully while roasting.
- Spring onion: young onion with a mild, subtle flavour. For this reason, spring onion is often used raw as garnish. You can also heat spring onion, but, if so, add it at the last minute to your dish and only grill or fry it briefly. If cooked too long, the wonderful flavour is quickly lost.
Do you have to first cook your vegetables, such as, for example, asparagus, before you grill them on your kamado?
You do not have to precook green asparagus before grilling. You can even eat them raw. However, white asparagus should be precooked briefly in order to achieve the proper sear. The general guideline is that you should immediately grill vegetables with a high water content and short cooking time. You should precook vegetables with a longer cooking time, but it is even more delicious to instead roast them in a wrap of aluminium foil before grilling. This method allows you to get the maximum flavour out of your vegetables.
How do I ensure that my wooden satay skewers do not burn?
There are a number of ways to prevent your satay skewers from burning. Soaking them in water beforehand, however, is not one of them and will not help the situation much. You can, however, wrap the ends that are not covered with ingredients in a piece of aluminium foil. That can require some tinkering and make sure that pieces of foil do not fall from the skewers. It is easier to use metal skewers, but please note that these (just like aluminium foil) become red-hot. In this case, an EGGmitt or tongs is/are essential.
But the simplest solution when using beautiful, wooden skewers is the Cast Iron Satay Grill, where the ingredients lie on the grill grid above the glowing charcoal and the ends of the skewers are protected due to the special design.
When you have a 5-Piece EGGspander kit, combined with a Half convEGGtor Stone and (preferably) a Half Cast Iron Grid, you can also set up your EGG in such a way that you can cook directly and indirectly at the same time. Then place the uncovered part of the skewers above the indirect part with the Half convEGGtor Stone in order to prevent the skewers from burning.
Can lemongrass be used instead of a satay skewer for all types of skewers?
Lemongrass goes really well with the flavour of prawns, chicken, pork and fish. But you can also baste your ingredients with sprigs of rosemary. The rosemary is a delicious combination with lamb, pork and fish. First pierce your ingredients with a regular satay skewer to make basting easier and make sure that any ingredients you add also go well with the flavour of the lemongrass or rosemary.
What is the ultimate tip for cooking a T-bone steak with the perfect sear?
A T-bone steak consists of 2 different parts, both with a different cooking technique, the entrecote and the tenderloin. Because the elongated shape of the entrecote requires a somewhat longer cooking time than the round tenderloin, you can very easily manipulate the cooking by partially grilling the tenderloin “wrapped”. This way, you protect this part against the direct heat. For this purpose, place a slice of onion and some fresh herbs on each side of the tenderloin and wrap it in a slice of bacon. Grill one side of the T-bone, remove the bacon, herbs and onion and then grill the other side.
How do you stop the proteins in fish from coagulating during the cooking and preparation?
The texture and proteins of fish differ from those of meat and are more sensitive to heat. When you cook your fish on your EGG at a temperature that is too high, then the proteins are released in the form of shimmering pearls. This protein coagulation occurs at a temperature of 62 °C. The greater the difference between the temperature of your EGG and the desired core temperature of your product, the greater the chance of protein coagulation. Therefore, never cook your whole fish, fish fillet or fish steak at a temperature that is too high. The chance of protein coagulation is reduced by cooking the fish indirectly at a lower temperature.
Should I use olive oil, butter or sunflower oil when frying or grilling?
Sunflower oil has a higher smoke point than, for example, olive oil. This means that you can heat it to higher temperatures. When you want to fry something really crispy at a higher temperature in a skillet, then use sunflower oil. And when you want to clean the grid with some kitchen roll and also grease it at the same time, then you should also use sunflower oil.
Brush vegetables, meat and fish with olive oil before grilling. The reason for this is simply because it is more delicious and, because these ingredients contain moisture, the oil will not burn either.
Combine a splash of olive oil with a knob of butter when frying in a skillet. The smoke point of olive oil is higher than that of butter so you can fry at a higher temperature than when you only use butter. The benefit of adding butter is not only the extra flavour, but your ingredient is less likely to stick to the pan.
Which tools and accessories are a must when cooking on my EGG?
Depending on what you are cooking, a conVEGGtor and a Cast Iron Grid are important basics and a core thermometer is also handy for many dishes. But real must-haves in your outdoor kitchen are an EGGmitt, sturdy BBQ tongs, a set of good knives and finally: a bottle of wine and love for the product.
Should I sprinkle salt and pepper on my ingredients before or after frying or grilling?
Add salt, pepper and other spices before cooking. Because the spices heat up during cooking, their aromas are released so that your ingredients become even more delicious.
Do keep in mind, however, that salt draws moisture from your ingredient so it is best to add salt right before cooking.
What is the difference between fresh and dried garlic and do I have to crush or cut garlic?
Fresh garlic is more aromatic, crisper and has a more mild flavour than dried garlic. You will also have less of a problem with garlic breath. The advantage of dried garlic, however, is that you can keep it longer and at room temperature. Fresh garlic should be stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Fresh is therefore preferable, especially when you want to roast the garlic. Regardless of whether you use fresh or dried garlic, it is always best to cut it. Crushed garlic oxidates quickly, and particularly fresh garlic, loses its freshness. To make cutting easier, you can crush the cloves before finely chopping them.
Practically all fresh ingredients are available all year round nowadays. Does it still make sense to use seasonal products?
Absolutely, at Big Green Egg, we are big advocates of local seasonal products. Ingredients in season are at their best. The quality, flavour and ripeness all benefit, but as a bonus, they also have the best price at that time. When an ingredient is not in season, it often comes from abroad. Therefore, if possible, cook with local products so that the flavour, the environment and your wallet all benefit.
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