26 April 2018
How do I maintain my egg?
It’s hardly rocket science. The better you look after your Big Green Egg, the longer it will last and the longer it will keep looking good. The question is how. Peter Bootsma, Big Green Egg expert since the early days, explains the maintenance required for each component.
CAST IRON DUAL FUNCTION METAL TOP
If you are using your Big Green Egg for the very first time, make sure that the dual function metal top is properly seasoned. If you don’t, the metal top could attract dirt. This is how to season it. Heat your EGG to a temperature of 180-200°C and place the dual function metal top on the grid in the EGG. Place the ceramic snuffer cap on your EGG and close the draft door (this will cause the temperature to drop slightly and the charcoal will go out, but this is not a problem). Leave for one hour, after which the cast iron will have changed colour. Once the dual function metal top has cooled down, rub on some Crisco or vegetable oil, such as peanut oil. This is what we call seasoning. Bring the temperature back up to 180-200°C. Replace the dual function metal top on the grid and close the EGG with the ceramic snuffer cap. Close the draft door and leave the dual function metal top to season for about an hour while the EGG cools down. Repeat this seasoning process once or twice a year to keep the dual function metal top in good condition.
Another good tip is to replace the cast iron dual function metal top with the ceramic snuffer cap after cooking. This will help to keep the metal top in great condition.
BASE & DOME
Clean the outside of the ceramic base occasionally (I do this more often as I use my EGG almost every day) using water and soft soap. This is easier to do if the EGG is still slightly warm.
You can maintain the inside of the lid by occasionally brushing it with a steel brush.
If you clean the outside of the ceramic base with soapy water, you could clean the outside of the lid at the same time.
STAINLESS STEEL GRID
It is easiest to clean the grid when it is still slightly warm. The Dual Brush Grid Scrubber is the best tool for the job. After scrubbing, just rub it with a wad of paper. I always store my EGG immediately after using it, when I am not really in the mood for cleaning. When I fire it up the next time, I clean the grid as soon as it starts heating up. This takes no time at all, and cooking on the EGG is so much better without any leftovers stuck to the grid.
CAST IRON GRID
Cast iron is a wonderful and tremendously strong material, but it is also brittle. This means that it does need a bit of extra attention every now and then. Besides cleaning, which is done in the same way as the Stainless Steel Grid, the Cast Iron Grid also needs to be seasoned like the dual function metal top. I explained exactly how to do that in the section on the dual function metal top. Be sure to always use a Grid Lifter when placing the Cast Iron Grid in your EGG.
This will prevent you from accidentally dropping the heavy grid on your fire ring, causing this to crack. Always allow the grid to heat up gently in your Big Green Egg (in other words, do not place a cold grid in a very hot EGG) to prevent any cracks due to a sudden extreme temperature difference. This can be done by placing the grid in the EGG while this is heating up. This puts less strain on the cast iron.
If you regularly move your Big Green Egg around, the nuts and bolts could shake loose, so they need to be tightened every once in a while. Occasionally cleaning the frame with water and soft soap will do it the world of good. It will also look more attractive.
The convEGGtor is designed in such a way that it ensures a good airflow and excellent heat conductivity. As the convEGGtor allows only indirect heat to pass through, it transforms your EGG into a fully-fledged outdoor oven. If you want to prevent the convEGGtor from becoming dirty while cooking, place a drip tray on top of it. If you forget to use a drip tray, no worries. Just heat your Big Green Egg to 250°C with the convEGGtor inside and all the dirt will burn off. When there is no more smoke coming out of the dual function metal top, that means that it is clean enough. If you want to clean it more quickly, you could use the Dual Brush Grid Scrubber
The felt in your Big Green Egg has two functions. It acts as a cushion, preventing damage when closing the EGG, and it also creates an airtight seal. If the felt becomes too hard, it will no longer function properly and needs to be replaced. This is done by first removing the old felt. Scrape the underlying ceramic clean using a sharp knife or putty knife and remove any residue using 80-grit sandpaper. Finally, wipe clean with a kitchen towel. You can now apply a new band of felt. When you have finished, the best thing to do is leave the EGG with the lid closed for 24 hours, then fire up your Big Green Egg gently to ensure that the layer of glue adheres well to the ceramic. The felt should be replaced about once every two years.
You can calibrate your thermometer to ensure that it continues to function properly (i.e. continues to indicate the right temperature). First detach the thermometer from the dome. Bring a pan of water to the boil, place a skimmer on the pan and push the pin of the thermometer through one of the holes in the skimmer. It should indicate a temperature of 100°C. If it doesn’t, use the adjusting nut on the back to set to 100°C. Afterwards, hang the thermometer in a container of ice water (water with ice cubes). After a few minutes, place it in boiling water again. If it has been properly calibrated, the temperature should rise to 100°C again.
HEAT UNTIL WHITE?
Let’s start by getting rid of a misconception here. You sometimes hear EGG users say that they stoke up their Big Green Egg until white or clean. They do this by submitting their EGG to extremely high temperatures for a very long time. However, the more you use the Big Green Egg, the blacker it will become. As a consequence, it will function more effectively and become more stable. For me, as a Big Green Egg fan, this seems to be the most important thing.
The hinge is made of steel, the advantage of which is that it moves with the ceramic. However, this means that it tends to expand or contract when the temperature changes. As a consequence, you will occasionally need to check the hinge and refasten it. While doing so, you should also check that the band hasn’t dropped. If it has, you need to realign it (the manual describes exactly how to do that). The heat ensures that the moving parts of the hinge become rough, resulting in friction and a possible loosening of the bolts. At the same time, you could spray the hinge with WD-40 or another silicone spray and wash the steel using soapy water.
FIRE BOWL AND FIRE RING
This is easy. These components require no maintenance.
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