For those that don’t know of the Big Green Egg, there is some confusion when they approach the Happy Belly Curbside Kitchen food truck, which has the Big Green Egg logo on their truck. Some ask, "Do you put eggs on your food?" However, for the followers of the popular kamado-style grill, Happy Belly food truck is their curbside calling.
Terry Hall, the owner, partnered with the company and his food truck is the only one in the world that grills with a Big Green Egg inside the kitchen. "I have always been a huge fan and the flavor that it gives food cannot be done any other way, a little smoky, very tender."
Beyond the benefits of having Big Green Egg’s flavor in all his menu items, the mutual partnership centered around Happy Belly’s values to support local whenever possible. Big Green Egg is a local Georgia-based company. The ingredients Hall uses on his food truck support the local community: bread from chef Linton Hopkin’s restaurant Holeman & Finch, grass-fed beef from Verger Farms, and fries that are aged for 70 days.
That’s right, 70 days. They come out of the ground and are incubated for 60 days to decrease the sugar level, which also reduces the complex carbohydrates. Then Happy Belly hand-cuts the fries and on the 70th day they are ready for customers to order, fried in 100 percent pure soybean oil, free of gluten or trans-fat.
"That shows a statement of a commitment to what we do, if we’re willing to go that far with french fries," Hall says. "I think there was a mentality for food trucks to see how cheaply and quickly things can be done. But we decided to put the highest quality products out there, charge a fair market value, and we’ll build customer loyalty based on flavor. And that worked. Sure we have a $9 hamburger, but it is the best ground beef you can get your hands on. We called the farmer on Friday and get the cow on Monday. There is no middle-man. It goes straight from the farm to the table."
Or in this case, farm to curb. Hall and his wife Dawn, who is co-owner, built the company out of the frustration of trying to find fresh, made-from-scratch food on the go. He found a gap in the food truck market and realized no one was serving organic, natural foods, and no one focused on special diets. If you look at Happy Belly’s menu, you’ll see listings beside each item for vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and paleo options.
"It gives me pleasure to know that we don’t have to turn anyone away, we never have to say we can’t accommodate any request for special diets," said Hall.
New on the menu for summer is a pulled pork sandwich with bourbon BBQ sauce, sliced mango, and peach chutney and a vinegary slaw on a rosemary ciabatta bun. For the leaf eaters, a "superfood salad" with kale, blueberries, oranges, strawberries, apples, walnuts, and sage dressing is sure to give you a powerful kick of antioxidants.
The Big Green Egg cooker is a versatile kamado grill/smoker/oven, if you know how to use it well. Here are 10 tips to help you make the most out of yours.
1. Start with a full load of natural lump charcoal.
Start with a full load of natural lump charcoal. That means 5 pounds lit with a paraffin fire starter cube or an electric lighter. No chimney needed (the Egg’s unique design makes it sort of an oversize chimney). And never use lighter fluid.
2. When lighting the charcoal, have all the vents wide open and keep the lid open the first 7 to 10 minutes.
When lighting the charcoal, have all the vents wide open and keep the lid open the first 7 to 10 minutes. Then close it to bring the Egg to the desired temperature. This will take 15 to 20 minutes (a bit longer in winter).
3. Once the Egg is hot, “burp” it before opening it completely.
Once the Egg is hot, “burp” it before opening it completely. That is, raise the lid a few inches to release some of the heat, then lower it. Do this a couple times. This keeps you from getting blasted by a “back flash.”
4. For direct grilling (of steaks, chops, burgers, etc.), preheat the Egg to 600 to 700 degrees.
For direct grilling (of steaks, chops, burgers, etc.), have all the coals lit, open the bottom and top vents wide, and preheat the Egg to 600 to 700 degrees. Sear the steak on the grate for 2 minutes per side (giving a quarter turn after 1 minute), then lower the lid. Here’s where the genius of the Egg comes in: The juices drip on the coals, sending fragrant smoke up to the steak. The lowered lid traps the smoke and seals in the moisture. It also speeds up the cooking time—7 minutes in all should do it.
5. For indirect grilling and smoking, install a convEGGtor.
For indirect grilling and smoking, install a convEGGtor (a.k.a. plate setter)—a heavy three-legged ceramic plate that fits in the top of the bottom section of the Egg’s firebox. Insert it upside down (that is, with the legs up and the flat section down).
6. For slow-smoking, add the normal measure of charcoal.
For slow-smoking, add the normal measure of charcoal. Mix in 2 handfuls (1 to 1-1/2 cups) hardwood chips (for a regular size Egg, 3 handfuls for the XXL), which Bruce Bohannon, Big Green Egg cooking instructor, does not bother to soak ahead of time. Scatter the chips over the charcoal, then push them between the coals with a poker. Using a paraffin fire starter, light only 3 or 4 coals in the center. Then close the lid and adjust the vents to obtain the desired temperature (225 to 250 degrees). Another ingenious feature of the Egg becomes obvious here: The lit coals in the center gradually light the surrounding coals and wood chips. The fire spreads slowly to the periphery, giving you as much as 16 to 18 hours of heat and smoke on a single load of charcoal.
7. For a stronger smoke flavor, toss 3 chunks of hickory or other hardwood on top of the unlit coals.
8. Invest in a Big Green Egg Barbecue Guru to further control the heat.
To further control the heat, invest in a Big Green Egg Barbecue Guru. This battery-powered thermostat regulates the airflow through the bottom vent, allowing you to control the cooking temperature almost to the precise degree.
9. Yes, you can cold smoke in an Egg.
Yes, you can cold smoke in an Egg. Set it up for slow-smoking and preheat to 200 degrees. Fill a large pan with ice and place it on the convEGGtor, then place the food to be cold smoked over it.
10. Use the following guide for approximate cooking times.
You want approximate cooking times? Use the following guide for an Egg preheated to 225 degrees:
Big Green Egg: Over the Top Chili
Set the EGG for indirect cooking with the convEGGtor at 275°F with pecan smoking chunks. Place the Dutch oven in the EGG to preheat.
Mix the Classic Steakhouse Seasoning and beef thoroughly in a bowl and form into a ball and set aside.
In the Dutch oven, add the olive oil and cook the onion, jalapeno and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes. Once the onion mixture is ready, add the tomatoes, chipotle pepper and sauce, cumin, Big Green Egg Ancho Ancho Chili & Coffee Seasoning , cayenne pepper, and chili powder. Mix all the ingredients together.
Add the EGGspander Multi-Level Rack to the EGG and place the ball of beef on the grid directly above the Dutch oven. Cook until the internal temperature of the meat hits 150°F, about 2 hours. Remove the meat from the EGG and break into small pieces. Add the beef and the beans to the Dutch oven and cook for another 30 minutes or until the beans are heated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Top with Fritos, sour cream and shredded cheese. Enjoy!
3. Turkey Potato Skins
Potato skins are the perfect snack for Game Day. Here’s a new take on the classic crowd-pleaser. Stuffed with turkey, drizzled with BBQ sauce, and topped with a dollop of sour cream, this innovative take on the classic will have people asking you to make it every Sunday throughout the summer. Better stock up!
- 6 small to medium-sized russet baking potatoes (total 3 pounds)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup cooked turkey, chopped
- 4 ounces grated cheddar cheese
- 6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- Big Green Egg Vidalia Onion Sriracha Barbecue Sauce
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced (include the greens)
- Set the EGG for direct cooking without the convEGGtor at 400°F/204°C.
- Pierce the potatoes a few times with a sharp knife. Rub with olive oil.
- Bake for about an hour until the potatoes are cooked through. They should give a little when pressed.
- Remove the potatoes from the EGG and let them cool. Cut potatoes in half horizontally.
- Use a spoon to carefully scoop out the insides, leaving about ¼ inch of potato on the skin.
- Brush olive oil over the outside and interior of the potato skins again. Sprinkle with salt.
- Cook for 10 minutes on each side (20 minutes total). Remove and let cool enough to handle.
- Mix together the turkey, cheddar cheese, and crumbled bacon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stuff the skins with the mixture.
- Return them to the cooking grid, and bake them for an additional 2-4 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Remove from heat.
- Drizzle with Big Green Egg Vidalia Onion Sriracha Barbecue Sauce. Then top with sour cream and green onions. Serve immediately.
Big Green Egg Series: Making Pulled Pork in Your Egg!
Pulled pork! Now that you have the Big Green Egg, your entry into BBQ just got a whole lot easier. You don’t need to worry about fire management and temperature control the Egg will take of that so you can focus on the cooking.
So what is Pulled Pork? Wikipedia describes it as “a method of cooking pork where what would otherwise be a tough cut of meat is cooked slowly at low temperatures, allowing the meat to become tender enough so that it can be “pulled”, or easily broken into individual pieces. Pulled pork is found around the world in a variety of forms.”
I absolutely love pulled pork.
It is by far my favorite thing to do low and slow. It is extremely forgiving and a great way to get started in the world of BBQ.
The cut of meat used to create this velvety goodness is known as a Boston Butt. Oddly, this cut is from the top portion of the pig’s shoulder, not the rear. There are a few theories on how this cut earned its name, but that’s a story for another day. Right now, let’s get to cooking this butt from the shoulder of the pig.
The process for pulled pork on your Big Green Egg is straightforward. Let’s take this one step at a time.
Hardware you’ll need in addition to your Egg, meat, and charcoal:
- Disposable Aluminum Foil Half Pans
- Instant-read Thermometer
- Clean and Dry Cooler
- Gloves for Handling Hot Meat
- A Sharp Knife
The Boston Butt is perfect for pulled pork. It is loaded with intermuscular fat as well as connective tissue. The fat inside helps to baste the meat internally, keeping it moist as it cooks. The connective tissue breaks down to gelatin during the low and slow cook. All this combines to give an amazing flavor and one of the most wonderful mouth feels ever!
Boston Butts are available at most mega-marts, and they are inexpensive. The ones in the store typically weigh somewhere from 6-10 lbs. They may also be referred to as other names. If you’re not sure, ask the butcher. If you want to really go for it when it comes to meat quality, you can’t go wrong with
Natural Boston Butts tend to have a large fat cap on one side. This fat cap needs to go. With a sharp knife, take shallow passes across the fat cap until it’s gone you want to see the meat. If you can’t see the meat, neither can the smoke and spice. I like to trim and season the Butt the day before.
On a side note: you can hang onto this fat for use in making some fresh breakfast sausage or render it into some low-grade lard if you like. The fat freezes well.
Let’s take a minute and talk about a few ways to get some spice on the Butt. One way is to buy a commercially produced BBQ rub. Sprinkle that on and you’re good to go. However, I prefer a different approach. I want to have better control of the flavor. I also want to have better control of the amount of salt that I get on the meat. Control the salt? Why? Well, if you can only pick one thing to get on your meat, it should be salt. At the end of the day, salt and fire make some amazing stuff. Everything else is a bonus.
If you’re going to use a ready-made rub skip down to The Cook you do not want to double salt your meat.
Once the meat is trimmed I apply Morton Course Kosher salt at ¼ to ½ teaspoon per pound of meat. NOTE: If you’re going to use table salt, CUT THAT AMOUNT BY ½. Due to the size of the salt crystals, there is more salt in a measure of table salt than in kosher. Trust me on this.
Once the salt is on there, apply your spice mix. This can be whatever you like. Typical BBQ rubs contain sugar, paprika, onion, garlic powder, cumin, and black pepper, amongst other things. Don’t be afraid to get creative. I personally avoid sugar and carbs, so when I did the butt for this article I used 5-spice, onion powder, and black pepper. There is no wrong way to BBQ. You want to completely cover the meat with the spice rub. At the same time, you don’t want to cake it on.
With the Butt seasoned up, wrap it up in plastic kitchen wrap and get it in the fridge for the night.
The Boston Butt is a BIG piece of meat. It’s going to take some time to cook. As I mentioned earlier, it’s extremely forgiving. You can cook this using a wide range of temperatures. It will do well with the Big Green Egg running anywhere from 225°f to 275°f or beyond. It’s possible but difficult to mess up.
Load your Big Green Egg with a good load of lump charcoal and get your fire going. If you need to know about how to do this please review my article, “How to Lay a Fire and Control the Temp in Your Big Green Egg.”
A word or two on wood for smoke
For me, lump charcoal gives a nice wood flavor. If you want more than that, add some wood chunks to your charcoal. Head to your local home improvement store and pick up a bag of cooking wood chunks they will be in the charcoal aisle. Apple, cherry, and pecan are all good choices. If you want a bit stronger go with hickory. If you want smoke to the max, get yourself some mesquite wood.
Keep in mind that wood type is not that important in the big scheme. You have the lump charcoal making smoke, all your spices are going you might very well be adding a sauce to the pulled pork. At the end of the day, the type of wood you’re using is a minor part of the equation. If you’re using it, add two or three chunks into your charcoal bed before lighting.
Place a disposable foil pan on top of the convEGGtor to catch the dripping and help with the clean-up
From the Fridge to the Egg
Once the fire is established, drop in your convEGGtor. I place a disposable foil pan on top of the convEGGtor to catch the dripping and help with the clean-up. Install the cooking grate and get the Egg running smoothly at the temperature you want. All cookers run just a little different from one another. My Egg likes to run at 250°f, so I go for that. Your Egg may run well and steady at 235°f. That’s okay work with where your cooker wants to be. Many folks in the BBQ world think 225°f is a magic number. Trust me, it’s not. Once you have the temp stable, get your Boston Butt out of the fridge and onto the cooking grate. Go straight from the fridge to the Egg.
How long will this take?
Let’s talk a bit about timing. BBQ is full of contradiction. We say in BBQ that the meat is done when it’s done. We cook by the temperature of the meat, not by the amount of time in the Egg. While this is very true, we also know that BBQ can be done on a timeline and served when necessary. Here’s how we accomplish this…
As a general timeline, a Boston Butt takes 1 ½-2 hours per pound to cook at 225°f. If your trimmed Butt is 7 lbs. you’re going to need 14 hours to cook it (+- 30% ). We will be able to shave some time off this by wrapping the Butt in aluminum foil during the cook. We do this when the Butt reaches the point of the “stall”.
The stall is when the moisture in the meat rises to the surface and evaporates, much like how a person sweats when it’s hot out. This is a natural cooling process. Evaporative cooling affects large cuts of meat, like a Boston Butt.
In the first few hours of the cook, the internal temperature (IT) will rise quickly. If you’re curious what internal temp any protein you’re cooking should reach, check out our BBQ Calculator! Once the IT gets to around the 150°f mark, the Butt will stall. The temp will sit there around 150° for hours. The I.T. may even drop a bit. It will sit in a stall if there is moisture in the meat that can evaporate. Do not adjust the temperature of the Egg! Let it be.
You have two options. You can ride out the stall OR you can wrap the meat tightly in aluminum foil and stop the evaporative cooling. I suggest you cook a Boston Butt both ways at some point. Practice makes for improvement.
For today’s cook, we are going to wrap. We’re going to leave the butt unwrapped and in the stall for a good long time. Once you’re about seven hours into the cook, take the meat off the Egg and tightly wrap it in aluminum foil. Don’t rush when you do this. Take your time and get that foil on the meat tightly. Even a slight gap between the meat and the foil will allow for the butt to keep sweating. Get it on good, then add another layer just to ensure you’ve got it covered. Again, don’t rush. You have time to get this right.
Even a slight gap between the meat and the foil will allow for the butt to keep sweating.
From here on out, check the IT with your instant-read thermometer (you know we like the Thermapen here) every 40 min or so. You’re looking for an IT of somewhere around 199°f to 203°f. Check more often as you start to get close to your finish temp range.
Once to get the IT to where you want it, remove Butt from the Egg and get it in a clean and empty cooler. Leave the foil on it. If an aluminum foil pan does not fit in your cooler, place some paper towels in the cooler first. This thing is going to leak some juice and this will aid in the cleanup. Close that cooler up and let the Butt sit in there for at least a half an hour. You can leave it in there for several hours if needed. It will hold at a safe temperature for an extremely long time.
So, how does all this help us hit our serving time? If you set your schedule up to have the Boston Butt done 1 to 1 1/2 hours before you serve, it will be in the cooler hot and ready to pull at dinner time! When that time comes, get that Butt in a foil pan and start pulling. The bone should slide right out, and the meat should start to break into pieces. Just get your gloved hands in there and start pulling.
The bone should just slide right out.
There are so many things you can do with pulled pork, from sandwiches to BBQ pizza. Pulled pork is affordable, freezes well for future use and is always a hit with family and friends. If you spend the time with your Big Green Egg and a Boston Butt or two, you are well on your way to making better BBQ than you could ever imagine.
Thanks so much for checking it out! Until next time, happy grilling.
GrillGirl Contributor, Jon Solberg.
Jon Solberg, Expert Outdoor Cook who Makes His Own Charcoal!E njoys long walks on the beach and good comedy….. Just kidding! A student of all things outdoor cooking, both low and slow or hot and fast. Charcoal, wood or gas it doesn’t matter. Not a big believer in the dogma of outdoor cooking. Continually looking for different ways. Loves to restore grills and smokers of all kinds. Born and raised in Mid-Michigan and understands there’s no offseason in live fire cooking.
**Affiliate links have been used in this post which means I could make a small commission if any products are purchased. I only recommend products I personally use and endorse. (Robyn)
That was tasty! Now let’s get into some real fun with the Big Green Egg’s accessory tools and expansion kit, like the EGGspander Multi Level Cooking System!
Attention Big Green Egg Obsessives: Have We Got a Recipe for You
If you’re a Big Green Egg obsessive, you know that these grills can seamlessly transition from low and slow to blazingly hot, thanks to their thick ceramic walls and vents that let you control airflow. But you might not know that this gloriously shellacked pork shoulder from James Dumapit, former chef de cuisine at Aaron Franklin and Tyson Cole’s new Austin barbecue spot, Loro, is practically begging to be cooked in one. Inspired by the classic Cantonese barbecued pork dish known as char siu, this marinated pork shoulder is cooked in a closed Egg until tender, then glazed over a blast of heat that creates addictive crispy bits all around the outside.
“We could have given you a smoked pork shoulder that takes all day and gets super shred-y,” says senior food editor Chris Morocco, who tested the recipe. “But the goal here is something more unexpected. We wanted the meat to be consistent throughout, but not have it take so long that it would bum you out.”
The Egg, of course, has a longer lifespan of heat than a chimney full of coals. Plus, you can control and adjust the temperature, as opposed to ultra-hot flames that gradually cool down as time goes on. But that doesn’t mean you can’t actually make this recipe if you don’t have a Big Green Egg. The solution? The pork shoulder goes in an oven for the majority of the time and then finishes on a grill.
You don’t need a Big Green Egg to make this pork, but it does make all the cooking happen in one place.
The ingredients are the same and the time involved is the same—it’s just a matter of starting the meat in a 350° oven, as opposed to a 350° Big Green Egg. See, the oven is as controlled of an environment as the Egg. But then instead of cranking up the heat in that same vessel, you light up your grill (either gas or charcoal is fine in this case), transfer the pork shoulder to that, and let the flames work their magic to create the glazed, crackly, caramelized crust that sets this dish over the top.
“You’re going to lose some amount of smokiness, because your oven doesn’t get smoky, and it doesn’t spend too much time over open fire” Morocco says. “But it’s still truly worth doing.” Let’s just say that the iterations made in the test kitchen with the oven and grill combination disappeared exceedingly quickly. Point being, either way you make it, just call it pork candy.
Big Green Egg Baby Back Ribs
Ingredients for this recipe are simple: yellow mustard, BBQ rub, and of course the baby back ribs!
Trim any excess fat and remove the membrane from the bone side of the ribs.
Apply a small amount of mustard as a binder for the BBQ rub then generously season the front and back of the ribs with the rub. For this cook, I used one of my favorite rubs Dizzy Pig Dizzy Dust.
For this cook I preheated the Big Green Egg to 225° and used 2 chunks of hickory wood and 2 chunks of apple wood.
I placed the ribs inside and had an aluminum drip pan sitting on top of my ConvEGGtor to catch the drippings.
Leave the ribs alone for the first hour. After that check on them every hour and spritz with a mix of apple juice and apple cider.
Between 4 – 5 hours start checking the ribs to see if the meat has pulled back from the bone and they pass the “bend test“.
Now bump the temp to 275° and pour some BBQ sauce on the ribs. Using a brush apply evenly to the surface of the ribs. Let the sauced ribs cook in that higher temp for 10 minutes or so until the sauce sets.
Set your Big Green Egg up with the convEGGtor plate on the Egg for indirect cooking. Heat your Big Green Egg to 225°F and place a pan of water on the convEGGtor. Add wood chips, such as apple or hickory, to your charcoal for added smoke flavor.
Rub your brisket all over with yellow mustard to help the spice rub adhere to the brisket. Once the brisket is covered in mustard, cover the brisket with BBQ rub and rub the seasoning into the meat.
Place the brisket on the egg with the fat side up on the Egg. Cook for a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes per pound leaving the Egg at 225°F the entire time. If desired, you can flip the brisket over to fat side down for an hour before tenting (next step) to evenly color the brisket.
With 2 hours of cooking time remaining, remove the brisket from the Egg, place it on a sheet of aluminum foil, and pour red wine into the foil pouch. Close the pouch and cover with another sheet of foil. Place back on the Egg and cook for the remaining 2 hours until the internal temperature is about 200°F.
For a 5 lb. brisket, your total cooking time would be 6 hours and 15 minutes. To determine when to flip and tent the brisket, work backwards from the total time as follows: the final 2 hours are in the foil tent, so the brisket goes into the foil after 4 hours and 15 minutes. The brisket gets flipped an hour before going into foil, so it gets flipped at 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Once the brisket has reached 200°F (approximately), remove from the Egg, and let rest for 15 minutes. Remove from foil and slice thin slices against the grain of the brisket. Enjoy on sandwiches!
Big Green Egg Vertical Roasted Chicken
For this cook you’ll need a Vertical Chicken Roaster, Drip Pan, and a Digital Thermometer.
BGE Set Up
Direct with the Vertical Chicken Roaster sitting inside the Drip Pan.
Cook at a dome temperature of 400 – 425F
Grill with the Dome closed until internal temp reads 165F. About 70 – 90 minutes
The prep for this cook is pretty straight forward. Rinse off your chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. Rub it with olive oil (or any other oil you prefer), and season to taste. I am still hooked on the Dizzy Pig line, so that’s what I usually use! Once it’s liberally seasoned, leave it loosely covered in your fridge for at least an hour (longer is better, overnight if possible). This will let the salt in your seasoning pull some moisture out of the skin, basically a mini dry brine. The end result will be crispy finger-lickin’ good chicken skin.
The only other trick to this cook is how to put the chicken on your Big Green Egg Vertical Chicken Roaster The best way that I have found is to cook the chicken with the legs up. It cooks a little slower, but the thighs and breast will be done at the same time. So, I usually cut a small slit in by the neck to get the chicken to fit upside-down on the Vertical Roaster. I call this “hand-stand” or “butt up,” and I’ll never cook a chicken any other way. It comes out just perfect.
We want to get good color on the skin without scorching the chicken. Set your Big Green Egg to cook Direct, but place the Vertical Chicken Roaster in a small Drip Pan.
We serve this pork with either Zoe’s Greek chopped slaw, crunchy slaw, or the best coleslaw for BBQ. We always serve this with Gourmet Gruyere Cheese Grits and yummy baked beans. And we always put out lots of white and red BBQ sauce, Wickles pickles, and Full Moon chow chow. Not a finer feast will you enjoy anywhere.
PLEASE VOTE: Which sauce do YOU prefer
white or red. Leave in comments. I am WHITE all the way.
If you make this, please let me hear how you like it. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy.