The Big Green Egg is ideal for smoking products and dishes to perfection. You’ll make an unforgettable impression on all your guests with the characteristic aroma and subtle taste of hot-smoked food. Are you wondering how smoking works in the Big Green Egg? We will be happy to explain everything to you!
Smoking? Use the convEGGtor!
To achieve the best result, we recommend that you use the convEGGtor when smoking in the Big Green Egg. The food will be protected against the direct heat of the glowing charcoal. The convEGGtor enables you to easily reach the desired low temperature for smoking, which you then keep stable, accurately to the degree, for a long time using the rEGGulator on top and the air regulator at the bottom of your EGG. If you will smoke with a grilling plank, then you do not have to use a convEGGtor since the grilling plank acts as a heat shield and the plank will smoulder, which produces smoke.
Proceed as follows:
Step 1: If you will smoke using a grilling plank, then first soak the plank in water for one hour. You do not have to soak Wood Chunks in advance. You can soak Wood Chips, but it is not necessary. If you want to know what is the best type of smoking wood to use, read this blog: Smoking wood, what to use when?
Step 2: Fill the Big Green EGG with charcoal and starters and ignite the starters.
Step 3: Heat the EGG to a temperature between 100 and 150 °C. Hot smoking is usually done at low temperatures between 60 and 110 °C, but the temperature in the EGG will drop another 40 °C when you put in the convEGGtor. You can continue to smoke at higher temperatures with a grilling plank, but also keep in mind that the temperature will decrease somewhat when you place the soaked grilling plank on the grid in the EGG.
Step 4: Scatter the Wood Chips on the glowing charcoal or place the Wood Chunks between the glowing charcoal. Position the convEGGtor in the EGG with the feet facing upwards, place a Drip Pan on it and then place the Stainless Steel Grid on top of that. The drip pan will catch any juices and fats that would otherwise fall from your ingredient onto the ceramic surface of the convEGGtor.
Please note: of course, the EGG will still be hot, even though smoking is done at a relatively low temperature. Therefore, always use fire-resistant gloves (e.g. the EGGmitt or the Silicone Grilling Mitt) or the Grid Lifter to place the accessories.
Step 5: Place the ingredient or the dish that you want to smoke on the grid and close the lid of the Big Green Egg. The temperature of the EGG will now drop somewhat. Wait until the temperature is stable and adjust it, if necessary. You can do this by further opening or closing the air supply underneath the ceramic base and the reEGGulator on top. When the openings are increased, the temperature will increase, when the openings are decreased, the temperature will decrease.
Step 6: Check whether your ingredient or dish has been properly smoked and is done. There are two ways to do this. You can either time the cooking (smoking) process or you can measure the core temperature of the food. The smoking times and core temperatures depend on what you are smoking and the weight of your ingredient, as well as your personal preference. In other words, experiment to your heart’s content! Tip: Large pieces of meat are better smoked for only part of the total cooking time, otherwise the smoke flavour will be too intense.
The Temperature control page features a useful table with preparations, weights, temperatures and times for various cooking techniques in the Big Green Egg. In order to measure the core temperature of an ingredient, you can use the Quick-Read Food Thermometer, the Dual Probe Remote Thermometer or the Instant Read Thermometer.
Step 7: Once your ingredient or dish is ready, remove it from your EGG and then enjoy!
Wood chips/ Wood chunk and flavours
For the best smoking result, we recommend that you use Wood Chips or Wood Chunks. Wood dust is used for cold smoking and will burn too fast with hot smoking. The smoke generated by wood chips or wood chunks in the EGG imparts characteristic flavours and aromas to your ingredients and dishes. This allows you to play around with the flavour of your smoked ingredients and dishes.
The type of wood chips or wood chunks used also influences the flavour. Some varieties are more intense than others and the one type is better suited for smoking meat, while another may be more suitable for fish or fruit. A number of guidelines are given below:
Apple adds a mild sweetness to fish, crustaceans and poultry such as chicken and turkey. It also works well with pork and veal.
Cherry goes with everything with its mild fruity flavour. It is excellent with fish, lamb, all types of game, duck, beef and pork. Bell pepper and red fruit are also good matches with cherry wood.
Pecan gives fish and poultry a nutty flavour. It also goes well with mackerel, beef, dark poultry, duck, game and milk chocolate.
Hickory has an intense smoky and strong flavour. It works very well with beef, seasoned pork and all types of game, as well as for smoking nuts. Use hickory especially for spicy smoked dishes such as the American BBQ classics like pulled pork.
Mesquite gives steaks and chops a delicious spicy flavour. It goes well with seasoned beef, pork and game. It is often used for pulled pork and brisket.
Oak has a medium intense aroma and is suited for all types, especially large pieces of meat. Beef, in particular, goes well with oak wood, which is also, like as Hickory, perfect for briskets.
This blog has a useful table with the different types of wood (including ash, oak, beech and whisky), flavours and applications. You can filter on smoking techniques on our recipe page to get inspiration for your next smoking session.
A Big Green Egg is very safe to use provided the EGG is used for its intended purpose and certain guidelines are followed. You must always be very careful when working with fire or heat. The same applies to working with a Big Green Egg! While using your EGG, heed the safety tips below and be careful when igniting the charcoal and working with the glowing coals and hot surfaces and materials. That way you can enjoy using your Big Green Egg and savour the mouth-watering flavours of all the tasty dishes.
Do not use the EGG indoors
Do not ignite the EGG indoors or in a space with insufficient ventilation. Although some professionals may use the EGG in their kitchens, this is always in accordance with the building regulations and requires the presence of professional ventilation and a fire fighting system.
Take local regulations into account when EGGing outdoors
Cooking on an open fire is not permitted everywhere. If you are on a campsite or having a picnic, you must comply with the local regulations, temporary or otherwise. It is possible that cooking on an open fire is allowed but that special rules apply – for example, in relation to the distance between the cooking appliance and certain objects.
Do not use lighter fluid or other combustible fluids to ignite the EGG
The Premium Organic Lump Charcoal of Big Green Egg ignites very quickly when using natural starters or an electric lighter. Do not use briquettes, lighter fluid or other combustible fluids. This could cause the warranty to lapse and it could also impair the flavour of the products to be cooked.
Keep the mesh of the draft door closed
By keeping the mesh closed, you prevent any sparks escaping from the EGG and avoid the risk of burning charcoal falling out of the EGG, however small this risk may be. You only need to slide the mesh open when removing cold ashes.
Never remove or move the fire box if it is hot or contains hot charcoal
The ceramic material of the fire box retains heat for a long time. Wait before removing or moving the fire box and/or the charcoal in the fire box until you are sure that both the charcoal and the fire box have cooled down fully.
After igniting the EGG, place the dual function rEGGulator on the chimney
Without the cast iron dual function rEGGulator, the temperature in the EGG will rise substantially without you being able to control it.
Never look into the chimney when the EGG is in use
The chimney is not a viewing window. Never look into it when the EGG is in use or when the charcoal is burning because the hot air rising from the chimney could cause serious injuries.
Be careful when touching the outside of the EGG
Although a Big Green Egg will not become as hot on the outside as a steel barbecue, for example, it will still feel hot when in use or before it has cooled down. Always keeps children, pets and combustible materials away from the EGG.
Use the proper accessories to lift the grids
When the EGG is in use, the grids in the EGG (the Stainless Steel Grid and the Cast Iron Grid) become hot. That is why you should use the specially designed Grid Gripper or the Cast Iron Grid Lifter to grasp and lift the hot grids.
Be careful when removing used accessories
Always apply extreme caution when removing hot components and accessories from the EGG, such as the convEGGtor or the Flat Baking Stone. You should always use heat-resistant gloves such as the EGGmitt or the Silicone Grilling Mitt, as well as the right tools, in order to prevent burns. Stainless steel, cast iron and ceramics can become extremely hot. Place used accessories on a non-combustible surface where they will not be touched accidentally and cause burns.
Always be aware of a fire hazard!
Never leave a working EGG with an open lid unattended. When the EGG is being used, beware of any dry leaves, wooden floors and other combustible materials in the direct vicinity. They could present a fire hazard if they come into contact with sparks or hot charcoal. Also keep a close eye on your surroundings when using the EGG. Fire can be hazardous to people, animals, property and nature.
Preventing a backdraft during or after use
Once the charcoal in the EGG is burning, you must first open the lid carefully about 5 centimetres a few times before opening it fully. This allows air to flow into the EGG slowly, preventing a backdraft from occurring. Be very careful when you open a hot EGG with a closed dual function metal top and draft door, as the sudden inflow of air could cause dangerously high flames. If this does happen, close the lid immediately to extinguish the flames, then carefully open the lid a few centimetres several times before opening it fully. We recommend that you always wear heat-resistant gloves and that you ensure adequate personal protection.
Never extinguish the charcoal using water
If you close the draft door after use and cover the chimney with the ceramic snuffer cap, the charcoal will die down in about 20 minutes. This means that you never have to use water or any other extinguishing agent.
Big Green Egg has done everything possible to ensure the safety of the appliance when in use. However, the users themselves are responsible for their own safety and that of their environment. Users must always act prudently and handle the EGG and the accessories with caution.
If you would like to receive your dose of inspiration by e-mail, then register for our monthly newsletter Inspiration Today and add some more flavour to your inbox. That’s all you have to do to receive the most delicious recipes, inspiring seasonal menus, practical tips and much, much more!