Let's try this again.


So my first attempt at smoking didn't go quite as well as hoped. Don't get me wrong - the food tasted ok, but I wasn't happy with having to babysit that Tinker Toy smoker for 22+ hours. So, I sold it.

Well, after having enjoyed more than my fair share of smoked foods compliments of my boss, I decided to give the smoker another go. I bit the bullet and bought my very own Big Green Egg.

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The Big Green Egg is truly impressive. It weighs in at nearly 150-pounds. The range of use is phenomenal - it will smoke "low-n-slow" (at 220F) for hours on end, without having to babysit it or restock the charcoal. Open-up the vents, remove the diffuser and it'll rocket up to 1000F.

It's efficient; a single load of hardwood lump charcoal (about 3-4 lbs worth) has lasted through 4 sessions of grilling and/or smoking. It produces almost no ash as the lump charcoal burns.

I guess that's what you get when you make a smoker from solid ceramic. :-)

Here's the Egg in action - this was from my first session:

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And, unlike that tin can Brinkman smoker from before, my first session with the egg when unbelievably well. I cooked-up some boneless skinless chicken breasts and literally squealed when I sampled the results. I've never had chicken that was so moist, tender, and delicious. Wow.

So, last weekend, I really put the Egg to work. I had purchased a few additional upgrades for the Egg; a set of heavy duty, pre-seasoned cast iron cooking grates (they weigh-in at 21-pounds), and a super precise dual-zone remote thermometer set from ThermoWorks.

On Saturday night, I threw in the cast iron cooking grates, added some hickory lump wood, opened-up the vents, and let the Egg get up to around 800F. The room temperature tenderloins were salted, peppered, and ready for the heat.

Within 6 minutes, the steaks were done to a perfect medium rare. I closed the vents on the Egg, tossed on some asparagus, let it cook/sear for 2 minutes and enjoyed a stellar dinner.

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On Sunday morning, I woke-up fairly early and prepped the Egg by removing the cast iron grates, installing the "place sitter" - a large ceramic diffuser plate, and setting the original stainless steel cooking grate in place. In went a handful of apple wood chunks, and I brought the Egg up to around 280F.

A well seasoned 5-lb pork shoulder went onto the grate, temperature probes were inserted, the dome was closed, and I went about the rest of my day, which included a nice 3-hour bike ride, some running, and some weight lifting. Thanks to Ian, I was able to have him make some critical temperature adjustments while I was out and about.

I returned home, checked the temperatures of the pork and the smoker, and made a few vent adjustments. This is the intake vent opening - as you can see, the vent is only open about 3/8" of an inch:

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And this is the top vent - it's barely even open:

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Even with those vents just barely open, the smoker was still running a touch warmer than I would have preferred - here, you can see that it was sitting at around 300F inside of the dome area. I would've rather had it at 275-280, but oh well.

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The shoulder was close to being ready, but the anticipation was killing me. It was all I could do to keep from lifting the dome and sneaking a peek, but I resisted. The only thing I could do was make the wait a bit more tolerable by grabbing a beverage and taking a seat on the deck. Thankfully, the weather was awesome.

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And, before I knew it, the pork shoulder hit a wonderful 195F, so it was finally time to open the dome and inspect the results.

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Doesn't that look amazing?

I carefully removed the shoulder from the grate, wrapped it in foil, and let it rest for a good 30 minutes. When I unwrapped it after the rest, the bone literally fell out on its own. Oh man...

A couple of forks made short work of the shredding duties, and before I knew it, there was a full plate of incredibly succulent pork shoulder waiting to be devoured.

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It was so moist and so flavorful that there wasn't a need for any sauce. I measured-up a 5-ounce portion and literally inhaled it. It took some serious will power to keep from eating the entire plate...

The leftovers were quickly consumed - a few salads topped with pork and a few lunches with pork and steamed veggies emptied the yield. :-)

I think I'm going to smoke a turkey breast this weekend, and will probably grill up a few other goodies as well. I can't wait.

It just goes to show you get what you pay for... a $59 electric smoker can't compete with something like the Green Egg... If you enjoy grilling, do yourself a favor and investigate a Green Egg for yourself.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steve published on May 18, 2012 12:25 PM.

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