Tag Archives: Big Green Egg

3:00 am and all is well

28 May

I am so far behind on chronicling my grilling and BBQ adventures that I may never tell all of the stories of the past month. That, however, is not why I am posting at 3:15 a.m.

Indeed, I am up at this hour because my biological clock had me up at 2:00 a.m. and I took the opportunity to check the temperature on The Professor’s small Big Green Egg, on which we had deposited a decidedly large Boston Butt, 4 hours before after my arrival from Turk Lake, Michigan. The temperatures had dropped below my comfort zone, which was not totally unexpected since the Professor had eschewed the Minion Method of lighting the lump charcoal for this Smith Boy’s Memorial Day Butt Cook, and had instead dumped a chimney starter of lit charcoal into the Egg. So, the charcoal supply in the Egg was exhausted a bit sooner than normal. No problem. I just sat the grill grate on the chimney starter, removed the plate setter with the help of some welding gloves and replenished the charcoal supply with a healthy dose of unlit lump. The temperature inside the Egg quickly recovered, and the Smith Boys are once again on the proper path to BBQ Nirvana.

I am a bit curious where the Professor’s charcoal grate has wandered off to inasmuch as the charcoal is resting on the bottom of the firebox, but the Kamado-style cookers can be very forgiving and versatile tools so the cook appears no worse off at the moment for the absence of the charcoal grate. Still, we need to find that rascal.

Now that I have discovered the iOS app for WordPress, perhaps my adventures can be more timely posted on my humble blog.

So, 3:30 and all is well in the BBQ world. I think I will head back to bed. The Egg has settled back into cooking temperature and that big ole’ butt has a ways to go.


Update: the butt went into the foil at 5:30. The internal temp was about 185, which was higher than I would have estimated for a butt of that size, but Thermapens tell no tales. At 7:30, the butt was at 202, and the Thermapen probe fell into the meat. “Done!” The Egg is steady at 180 after closing down the vents, so we are using it as a cambro until time to pull the pork. Happy Memorial Day to all, and especially to our “cousin” Capt. Kate Hinds, USAF. Come home soon, Kate.


Steak of the Day: Petite Sirloin

23 Jan

The beef industry has been trying to create more value for sellers by locating parts of the animal that are tender enough to cook like a steak (hot and fast) but which are outside of the traditional areas of the animal from which grilling steaks generally come (the short loin, the rib, the top sirloin). Some of these cuts are really tender and tasty, like chuck-eye steaks. Others are flavorful but maybe not quite as tender, like flat-iron steaks. And yet others are still a mystery, like the petite sirloin steak.

I was at a local grocer’s “warehouse” sale a month or so ago and the store had these steaks on sale for what would be a decent price if they were worth eating, so I took a chance and bought a package of them. The package contained 6 individual steaks and weighed in at just over 6 ounces each on average. Since I’m on a quest to still eat what I want, but to eat more reasonable quantities, I figured they were worth a try.

Tonight was the first cook of one of these little steaks. I am led to believe from http://www.all-about-meat.com that “Petite sirloins are nothing more than a glorified sirloin tip steak off the round.” That tells me that the steaks are a bit chewier than the steak of my childhood, the top sirloin and that they would benefit from a marinade.

Looking through the pantry I had a bottle of Dale’s Seasoning – a soy based meat marinade, heavy on the salt, that seemed to be a good choice for the little steak. I got it in a bath of Dale’s and lit the Mini Big Green Egg.

In a few minutes, the Mini-Egg was cruising at 500 degrees, so the “petite” steak went on the grill. The plan was to do about two minutes on the first side, flip, cook for two minutes on the second side, and repeat, then temp the steak and see where we were. I figured it would take about 8 minutes to get the little steak to my preferred temperature range of 125 to 130 degrees internal.

I cooked the first side for 2 minutes, flipped, and cooked the second side for two minutes, then flipped again, rotating the meat 90 degrees from the first side to get some nice looking grill marks. After about 6 minutes, I got a feelin’ and checked the temperature with my Thermapen. The temp was already north of 130 so off the grill it came.

The result? Chewy, but with nice flavor. The marinade was a little stronger than I had hoped, probably because I let the steak marinade a few minutes longer than normal and the steak was thinner than I normally cook. Not to say that it was bad or unpleasant – to the contrary – it paired nicely with some cheese grits from the night before.

I’ve got five more of these little steaks in the freezer and they will be fun to cook. I will be SURE to get them off the grill between 120 and 125 and I’ll whip up a slightly different marinade, like Mojo seasoning with a touch of Worcestershire sauce. These little steaks also would be quite good sliced thin for fajitas or coarsely chopped for street tacos.

In the lower hierarchy of “value steaks” I put them behind chuck-eye steaks and top sirloin steaks, about on a par with flat-iron steaks from the chuck. Let price be your guide, treat it gently and cook it rare to medium rare and you’ve got yourself a worthwhile meal in my opinion and experience.

The Professor’s (Pork) Loin

15 Jan

It’s not that I’ve not been cooking the past week or so. Rather, my cooks haven’t been very exciting – just our weeknight staples: boneless, skinless chicken breasts marinated in mojo, steaks from the freezer, that sort of thing – that aren’t particularly unique. My techniques aren’t anything to blog about, and I’ve been a little tired at the end of the day to write about the particular grill that got chosen for that night’s dinner. So, I’ve been a little lax on updating the blog lately.

This weekend, however, has provided ample blog fodder – this post, which follows the smoking of the Professor’s loin – pork loin that is – and one for later in the week that touches on what NOT to do in a couple of situations. But for now, let’s take a look at the Professor’s loin……..

Earlier in the week, I got a text from my brother (the Professor) telling me that the results of his annual physical was that his sugar was high and this triglycerides were not in whatever range they were supposed to be in. The doctor prescribed some meds, along with “diet and exercise.” Faced with the prospect of making certain lifestyle changes (mainly, watching what he eats and actually walking to his golf ball every day), the Professor did what Smith men always do when staring into the face of something unpleasant – he cooked pork! More precisely, he cooked a bacon-weave wrapped pork loin on his Big Green Egg.

Below is a (slightly edited) blow-by-blow of the process:

Professor (in response to my comment about his diet): What diet? Goin on the Egg at 1:00 p.m.:

Esq: I’d say that looks like a steady diet of PIG! Pull at 140 degrees. What’s your egg temp?

Professor: 250?

Esq: Sure. Anywhere from there to 325 should be good. :Pork Loin will cook pretty fast so don’t get too far from the Egg!

Professor: OK, will report in.

Professor: I gotta get a bigger egg!

Esq: My garage – got a medium for ya! The loan will shrink up a bit. At 250?

Professor: Almost. About 225. May have to pull off the indirect set up and heat her up.

Esq: Nah. A big chunk of mean will cool the cooker down for a while. Be patient and you may want to put some foil under the ends so they don’t cook too fast on the overhang.

Professor: Got some apple juice in a pan under the grate.

Professor: 230 and holding. Will leave alone.

Esq. (90 minutes after the loin went on the Egg): What’s your meat temperature?

Professor: 90.6

Esq: Time to relax with an adult beverage.

Professor: On my 2nd! Should I pull and wrap at 140?

Esq: Yep! Just cover loosely. Don’t wrap too tight. Rest 20 minutes. Will be a bit pink in the middle but still moist and tender.

Professor: OK. I figure 2 hours more.

Esq: Probably not that long. I figure 2.5 hours total; maybe 3. On at 1:00?

Professor: 1:45 before the temperature got right. Will check it at 4:00.

Professor (at 3:00): Meat at 105; Egg at 250. Like the Thermapen! (At 3:20): Meat 115; Egg 250.

Esq: Looking good! Looks like about the meat is going up about 5 degrees every 10 minutes; another 45 to 55 minutes sounds good.

Professor (at 4:10): Ends are at 140; middle at 132.

Esq: Getting close. I might foil the ends while the middle comes up to temp. Won’t be long now.

Professor (a few minutes later):

Bacon wrapped loinon the egg for 3 hours at 230 or so. PERFECT! Now, what to do with a hot Egg?

Esq: You could BBQ a chicken! Done? How did it taste?

Professor: Had a nice smoke ring; tasted smokey and was very tender.

Esq: Good! Did everybody like it?

Professor: YEP!

So there you go – a not so very exciting narrative about my brother’s pork loin! Actually, there is some good stuff in here. First, the pork loin is a large chunk of meat that has very little fat on it or running through it. It benefits mightily from a brine or the addition of some fat for the cooking process. The Professor’s bacon weave helped baste the pork loin during cooking and kept it from drying out. Second, pork loins don’t need “Low and Slow” cooking in the sense that a butt needs that treatment so the connective tissue can break down. Many people cook pork loins at a higher temperature – between 350 and 400. That’s fine, but as the Professor’s results attest, pork loins can do equally well with a lower and slower approach. Still, the time period will be relatively short (like the Professor’s three hour cook). Finally, a pork loin is a tasty treat for an afternoon cook and, as I suggested to the Professor today, the leftovers are wonderful on sandwiches. A quick mix of balsamic and mayo or some Tomato Chutney with a couple slices of pork loin on a soft, toasted bun is a wonderful meal any time of the day. A nice slice of pork loin, with some deli ham, pickles and mustard are the makings of a Cuban sandwich – one of my favorites!

So, not the most exhilarating post, but one that documented a fun afternoon and a wonderfully tasty meal!

Standing Rib Roast on the (Little) Big Green Egg by the Professor!

7 Jan

The title of this blog is “Smitty’s Que Crew” and it purports to follow the grilling and BBQ exploits of the Smith Brothers. So far, in the first twenty or so posts, the only Smith Brother whose exploits have been followed have been mine – the lawyer of the family – hence the handle “BBQ, Esq.” However, there is another Smith Brother who is pretty proficient with a grill, and who recently acquired a small Big Green Egg. He has been experimenting with the Egg and each cook has been better than the one before. The other Smith brother, the elder of the two of us, is a retired college professor, hence the handle I am bestowing upon him, The BBQ Prof.

Over the holidays, each of us bought and froze a couple of standing rib roasts while they were reasonably priced. We each froze one or two and had one or two sliced into steaks and froze the steaks.

Tonight the Professor thawed one of his roast and fired up the BGE. I had armed the Prof with a set of loose instructions or suggestions on how I might approach the SRR on the BGE, and I armed him with a new RED Thermapen at Christmas, but for this cook, he was on his own.

He rubbed up the SRR with a heavy coating of salt and pepper and brought the BGE up to about 300 degrees using the plate setter and the drip pan and on onto the Egg went the SRR.

Through the magic of text messages, I got frequent updates throughout the process:








“On the Egg at 300…”
“Egg temp at 250 and holdin….”
“Meat Temp at 90…. Egg holding steady”

“Meat at 110…..”
From his son, the Production Supervisor for the evening “Meat at 120”
Then, from the Professor – “125. Off and Rest…”
Finally, “AHHHH MAN! Best I ever had. Bar none. I love da egg.”

Sounds like the Professor has graduated the school of basic Eggin and is moving on into advanced Egg Theory!

In the meantime, I was firing up the brother to my brother’s Egg, my own small BGE, for a little contest between a rib-eye and a t-bone.

Here is the t-bone resting while the rib-eye finished up:


After tasting a few ounces of both and considering the taste, tenderness and texture of each, I determined that the winner was ….. ME!

Good night of cooking and Eggin’ for the Smith Brothers!

A Three Cooker Day…..

4 Dec

We’ve all heard the reference to a “Three Dog Night” (referring to the weather, not to the 1970’s era rock band of the same name). Yesterday, I had a “Three Cooker Day,” which is much better than a chilly “Three Dog Night.”

I started the day by cooking lunch for the World’s Most Wonderful Wife and me on the BGE Mini, then cooked a nice NY Strip Steak and Bourbon/Maple Syrup Glazed Sweet Potatoes on the new-to-the-Grill-Garden Primo XL Oval (more on that cooker in another post), and then wrapped up the day with an overnight Boston Butt cook on the Kamado Joe. I just put the butt in foil at about 170 degrees internal a few minutes ago.  Any time I can put together an opportunity to cook on three of my favorite cookers in a 24 hour period, that has got to be a good day!

Here is the link for the sweet potato recipe:  http://www.weber.com/grillout/recipes/sides/bourbon-glazed-yams-with-mint. It is highly recommended. We didn’t have any fresh mint leaves, so we skipped those, and due to supply limitations, I substituted three tablespoons of Maple Syrup (dark amber) for three tablespoons of the corn syrup. Since it was just Melissa and me for dinner last night, I cooked only one sweet potato. I’m saving the unused glaze for some pork loin chops later in the week. We’ll also bake the other sweet potatoes with those pork chops, but that will be another post…..

Conference Championship Cooking

3 Dec

Today is the big “Conference Championship” day – SEC, Conference USA, Big 10, etc., and since I’ve not had a chance to grill anything since early in the week, I was anxious to get starting with the day’s cooking. Luckily, the weather decided to cooperate with a gorgeous, brisk, late fall day here in the Heart of Dixie.

I hadn’t cooked on my Mini Big Green Egg in a while and noticed that when I was unloading the Primo, the Mini was looking a little sad, so I decided to grill some lunch today for Missy and me.

Missy is a vegetarian; I am not. But I got it all worked out in my mind (to borrow a phrase from the contractor who built our home a decade or so ago) to cook a pizza for her and a couple of sliders for me. It would be the first time I had tried pizza on the Mini, and because of the size, it would definitely be a “personal” pizza.

I lit the Wicked Good lump with my long handled propane torch, then put the 2 8″ pizza stones I got from Amazon.com on the grill grate to heat up. I came inside and started working on the pizza: about a third of a ball of pizza dough from Publix, some freshly shredded mozzarella, some Bertolli tomato and basil sauce and some fresh basil. By the time the pizza was ready, the Mini was reading about 475 in the dome and the stones were hot.

I had decided, however, to cook my little burgers first so I used my welding glove to remove the heated stones and slide them under the Mini and cook the sliders. They didn’t take long to cook since the Mini was rolling at about 550 – 600 without the stones on the grill. Once cooked, I sat the sliders aside, put the stones back on the grill, and slid the burgers under the cooker on a small plate to keep the warm.

The pizza slid nicely onto the top stone thanks to my pizza peel and a little flour. I gave it about 15 minutes with the temperature in the dome running about 400 degrees. The pizza was thicker than a traditional Pizza Margherita so I didn’t wait for the temp on the BGE to come back to a hotter temperature. I added the basil leaves when I figured the pizza had about 5 minutes to go. The smell coming from the open top vent of the Mini was wonderful!

When the crust was nice and crisp (but not dark) and the crust was starting to brown around the edges and the cheese was nice and bubbly, I pulled the pizza and took it inside to Missy. She declared it “very good” and proceeded to make the pizza very personal indeed by eating the whole thing – I had at least hoped for a bite to see how the fruits of my labors had turned out – but I “made do” with the little sliders on toasted buns (that I toasted directly on the pizza stone after I took the pizza off).

A successful effort and a good lunch for all. Next, to fire up the Primo to cook dinner……