09 September 2019
The versatility of a kamado
There is a reason for buying a kamado like the Big Green Egg. You buy it because you love outdoor cooking and the tasty flavour it adds to your food. Curious whether you are making the best use of your kamado’s versatility? Check out the cooking techniques described below and discover all you can do with a Big Green Egg.
The grilling technique
A Big Green Egg is ideal for grilling, which is one of the basic techniques. It is a preparation method where you cook the ingredients briefly at a higher temperature. This means that you have to stay close to your EGG in order to flip your ingredients over in time, and to turn them to create a nice grill pattern. A great way of obtaining this grill pattern is to use a cast iron grid.
Grilling, the direct method
When grilling, the dome temperature is usually set between 180 and 250°C. And whatever food you’re grilling must be positioned directly over the glowing charcoal. This is why grilling is also referred to as the direct method. The exact temperature depends on the type of food you’re about to grill. For example, a steak can handle a higher temperature than a fragile fish fillet.
The slow cooking technique
Slow cooking stands for endless BBQ sessions at a relative low dome temperature, often set between 70 and 120°C. The Big Green Egg is ideal for this and it would be one of the reasons for acquiring a kamado in the first place. As the cooking device uses very little charcoal there is little need to add more as you go along.
This cooking technique is particularly suitable for large pieces of meat and whole fish and poultry. Thanks to the low temperature the meat cooks slowly, making it very tender and juicy. This is due in part thanks to is the excellent atmospheric humidity in the EGG. Slow cooking is an indirect way of cooking for which you always use a convEGGtor. There is no need to turn the food items because the airflow within your EGG and the heat reflected by the ceramic ensure that it’s cooked throughout.
A slow cooking method
Once the temperature is stable, you are free to go do something else. Do you want to prepare pulled pork? Place the meat in the kamado before you go to bed. It basically looks after itself. Thanks to the slow cooking method the preparation time is far more flexible than with grilling, for example. Leaving it to cook for an additional fifteen minutes or even longer won’t make much of a difference.
This is why slow cooking sessions are regularly combined with the smoking technique. What is important here, is that you add the smoking wood at the start of your session before the possible formation of a crust.
The smoking technique
This technique was once developed to preserve ingredients for as long as possible. Nowadays, this is no longer necessary. However, because smoking the ingredients will add extra flavour it is still a popular cooking technique, allowing you to cook the ingredients at the same time.
Short and long smoking sessions
There are various ways of smoking foods on your Big Green Egg. For the shorter smoking sessions a handful of wood chips are sprinkled on the glowing charcoal. You use chunks for the longer sessions. In both cases, it is customary to use a convEGGtor keeping the dome temperature between 65 and 90°C. This gives your ingredients plenty of time to absorb that delicious smoky flavour.
Opting for grilling planks is a different technique altogether. Here the product is placed on the (soaked) plank that you place on the grid, without using the convEGGtor. The glowing charcoal will make the plank smoulder giving off that subtle smoky flavour. In order to achieve this effect, you generally maintain a dome temperature of between 175 and 225°C when using a grilling plank.
The stewing technique
Stewing is a form of slow cooking where use is made of a Dutch oven. Similar to a cooker you can first sear your ingredients at a dome temperature of approx. 200°C. Without the convEGGtor, because placing it in the EGG and adding moisture to your stew at a later stage, the dome temperature will immediately drop substantially. And this is exactly what you want! At the same time, slightly reduce the opening(s) of your draft door and dual function metal top and/or rEGGulator to achieve a temperature of approx. 100°C.
Why stew in a kamado?
You may wonder what the benefit is of stewing your dishes in the Big Green Egg (in addition to the fact that it is just great fun to cook on your EGG). After all, one uses a pan for stewing. The trick is not to place the lid of your Dutch oven on the pan – either not at all or only during part of the preparation time. This will give your stew a nice smoky flavour.
The steaming technique
Steaming is a cooking technique that is not yet used that often, which is a shame! Since you can easily and quickly turn your EGG into a steam oven. It is a healthy preparation method where your ingredients are cooked in the steam of boiling water. Do note that quite a lot of steam can be released when you add the hot water and open your EGG.
Steaming in your Big Green Egg
When steaming, the dome temperature must always be above 100°C in order to keep the water on the boil. The general principle here is to pre-heat your EGG, including convEGGtor and Drip Pan. You pour boiling water in the Drip Pan, place the grid and ingredients in your EGG and close the lid. The hot steam will circulate around the ingredients and cook them.
There are however exceptions to the rule. Small shellfish and oysters can be easily cooked without the use of a ConvEGGtor and Drip Pan – a preparation method that is often confused with grilling. The shell forms a natural heat shield preventing the mollusc from coming into direct contact with the glowing charcoal. The moisture in the shell will heat up, which is how shellfish are cooked.
The baking technique
Within the world of kamados, baking is a broad concept to be subdivided into the direct and indirect method. With the direct method you could place a skillet on your grid acting as a frying pan. You can also bake using the multifunctional cast iron plancha. With the smooth side up, you can use it for baking. With the ribbed side up, the plancha can serve as a grilling plate.
Stir-frying on your Big Green Egg
You can also use your EGG for stir-fry dishes. For this purpose, you place the wok (without convEGGtor) on the grid or hang it in the 1-Piece convEGGtor Basket. This creates the ideal conditions for preparing a tasty stir-fry dish, at a higher temperature, which most cookers cannot achieve. And the bonus? Again, that tasty flavour accent.
The Big Green Egg as oven
Baking according to the indirect method is practically the same as baking in a hot air oven. Here one uses the convEGGtor to cook using hot air circulation. So from now on you can bake a delicious tart, cake, bread or Flammkuchen in your EGG, using your favourite recipe.
And what about the perfect pizza? You can bake it in your Big Green Egg as well. You can easily take the dome temperature up to 275 to 300°C, ideal for baking pizzas. Opt for the setup in which you place the convEGGtor and the grid, with the Baking Stone on it, in your EGG. It will make the base delightfully crispy!
More EGG recipes
Do you want to further explore the many cooking techniques? Check the recipe database and search per cooking technique. In this way, you can always bring something tasty from your EGG to your table and enjoy your Big Green Egg even more.