Thursday, July 9, 2009

Big Green Egg, Eggheads: Japan's Kamado With a Western Touch

I learned about Big Green Eggs a few hours ago. I've been grilling for years, but somehow this western take on Japan's traditional kamado escaped me.

Digging around, I found these two YouTube videos: which give a pretty good look at the Big Green Egg products and how they're used.

"Big Green Egg Ribs"
GPMPoolandSpa, Youtube (April 25, 2009)
video, 9:59

"Big Green Egg - Grilling Demo Video"

bbqguys, Youtube (August 3, 2006)
video, 3:42

This video shows that the Big Green Egg has a temperature gauge: a feature that the more gadget-happy grillers should like. I know: the 'safety first' articles say that meat thermometers are somewhere between important and vital to safe food preparation.

I've seen a meat thermometer: and I think there's one in the kitchen. But I've never used one while grilling. I keep track of how the meat's coming by it's appearance, how it feels when I press it with the edge of the spatula, and a test cut.

Back to Big Green Eggs.

Big Green Eggs: Around for Decades, Now New and Improved

Reading what the manufacturer says, the Big Green Egg is the biggest thing since sliced bread. The Big Green Egg company website bills its product as "Big Green Egg, World's Best Smoker and Grill.
"Welcome to the Big Green Egg, the Original American Designed Ceramic Cooker. Derived from an ancient clay cooker called a 'kamado,' the modern Big Green Egg has undergone many improvements since it was introduced in 1974. Especially significant is replacement of the clay used in early models with durable space-age ceramics developed specifically for Big Green Egg to make the EGG® virtually indestructible under ordinary cooking conditions...."
A CNN article about Big Green Egg grills and "eggheads," as BGE fans are called, is what tipped me off to the existence of the Big Green Egg. The article featured Adam Frey, who lives down south (from my point of view), in Bloomington, Minnesota. I got the impression that the reporter was impressed that someone would grill when it's a few degrees above zero, Fahrenheit.

To clear up a possibly-ambiguous statement in the article, a Big Green Egg isn't necessary to enjoy grilling during a Minnesota winter. As Mr. Frey observed, "...'Extreme cold isn't an issue as long as you dress warm,' Frey said. 'I have and will continue to cook out every day if possible.'..."

That's about the way I approach grilling. A Big Green Egg isn't in my immediate future, though. I'll freely admit that what I've seen and read about them is impressive: But with price tags running up to $900, I'll stick with my Char-Broil® grill and its LP gas tank.

Here's part of that article, with a link to the rest -

"For Eggheads, grilling is a way of life"
CNN (July 9, 2009)

"The average temperature in Bloomington, Minnesota, in January was 6.4 degrees Fahrenheit. But that didn't stop Adam Frey from grilling outdoors and burning through 80 pounds of charcoal during the month.

"Frey received a Big Green Egg -- a ceramic cooker that serves as a smoker, grill and oven -- for Christmas last year. Since then, he has devotedly grilled six or seven days a week.

" 'Extreme cold isn't an issue as long as you dress warm,' Frey said. 'I have and will continue to cook out every day if possible.'

"The oval-shaped grill has amassed a cult-like following since it was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1974. Fans of the grill call themselves Eggheads...."


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