Let’s be realistic – out of all the kamado grills in the US, the Big Green Egg has definitely been the most consistently popular one. It had taken the nation by storm in the early ‘70’s and has never looked back since. But as with any other piece of equipment, grilling or otherwise; it requires proper maintenance. And that’s why we’ve decided to help you out with a couple of useful tips, and basically everything you need to know about maintaining your Big Green Egg ceramic grill.
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What’s a kamado grill?
You’ve probably heard of the Big Green Egg, or seen one before you’ve bought it; after all, it’s been a staple of American barbecues for decades. But while you might know that it’s a kamado grill, what does that actually mean? We’re here to fill you in!
Basically, the kamado is definitely not the usual type of barbecue. Its main advantage lies in its ability to regulate airflow within the grill and its unique oval shape. If you have a ceramic kamado, its strength is also the fact that it reflects and insulates heat really well.
How does it work?
While you’re cooking, you’ll have to close the lid. This is something you do after every action you take, and it’s the same for every single cooking technique out there. Once the lid is shut, the oval shape of the kamado grill enables a hot air current to generate inside. See in gas only minimal air is allowed to escape, the heat will circle around what you’re cooking – something like a convection oven running on charcoal.
So, by shutting the top lid, you’re basically making sure that minimal heat is lost in the process, and the ceramic material is there to maintain the temperature you want. Obviously, this gives you a larger degree of control over the process of cooking; certainly larger than with any other type of grill.
Why buy a Big Green Egg kamado?
But even once you’ve decided that a kamado grill is what you need in your life; you’ll definitely want to search for the very best out there. And in that case, why is the Big Green Egg the right choice for you? Well, there are plenty of reasons – from the exquisite results it produces to the incredible ease of use it provides.
Basically, the Big Green Egg is the pioneer among kamado grills in the US. It was launched all the way back in the 1970’s,and remains unique in the kamado market. As we’ve mentioned above, kamado grills are important because of the ceramic materials that they’re partially made of. And the Big Green Egg has NASA-grade ceramic material, as well as a double-glazed layer that’s completely impervious to weather.
But what does that mean for the average user?Basically, you’ll save a ton of money on charcoal, because its heat-trapping abilities make it much more economical. And you don’t have to worry about leaving it in extreme heat outside, or in bad weather. Plus, the temperature within the grill itself is incredibly stable, and prone to precise control.
In essence, the Big Green Egg kamado grill is a good choice because of its quality ceramics and the tried and proven manufacturing process. All of this results in a longer lifespan compared to similar kamado grills. Though, only if you maintain it with the proper care.Which is why we’ll go over some of the stuff you need to know about that below.
Dual Function Metal Top
So, we can already see it – you’re using the Big Green Egg Ceramic Grill that you’ve bought for the very first time. Before you start cooking, though – you’ll want to familiarize yourself with some stuff. First of all, you need to be certain that you’ve seasoned the dual-function metal to p roperly. Should you miss out on doing that, dirt could gather on the metal top. So, how do you season it?
Firstly, heat the Big Green Egg to around 180°C and put the metal top in the Egg, on the metal grid. After that, put the snuffer cap on the Big Green Egg, and shut the draft door. Bear in mind, this will result in the temperature slightly dropping, but that’s no issue. After that, leave it for an hour – in that time, the cast iron should change its color.
Once everything has cooled down, you can rub in some vegetable oil – like peanut oil – or Crisco. That’s what the seasoning basically is. Then, raise the temperature to 180 degrees once more. Take the metal top off the grid and close your Big Green Egg with the snuffer cap that’s ceramic. After shutting the draft door, leave the Egg to cool down for about an hour. This is a process you should repeat a couple of times each year, if you want to keep the metal top in decent condition. Alternatively, replace the metal top with the snuffer cap each time after you’ve finished cooking. This will also keep it in good condition.
The Dome and the Base
You’ll also want to keep the outside of the Egg’s ceramic base clean. This doesn’t require any fancy cleaning supplies;soft soap and water will be good enough. Naturally, you don’t have to clean it every day – it all depends on how often you actually use it. But regardless; if you want the cleaning to be as easy as possible, do it while the Egg is still at least a bit warm after you’ve finished cooking. As for the inside of the Egg’s lid, you can maintain it by simply rubbing it using a steel brush.
The Iron Grid
As advanced grill cooks may know, cast iron is a great material, and it’s wonderfully strong; but on the other hand, it can be quite brittle too. And if you want to keep it in fine shape, you’ll have to give it enough attention from time to time. Sure, cleaning is important – but just like the metal top, you’ll need to season it every now and again as well.The process is fairly simple, and basically identical to the seasoning of the metal top. But when you put the iron grid back in the Big Green Egg, make sure to always have a grid lifter handy.
That’s important because it’ll lessen the chances of you dropping the grid on the fire ring by accident, and cracking it beyond repair. And for the same reason, make sure not to place the grid in a heated Egg while the cast iron is cold. If you have such a big difference in temperature, the iron may also crack; you want to avoid putting such strain on the material.
Taking care of the felt
There’s felt in each Big Green Egg, and it has two basic but important functions. For one, it’s there as cushioning between the parts, preventing any damage from happening as you close the Big Green Egg.But also, it’s there to act as an airtight seal. And if this felt hardens too much, you’ll have to replace it; otherwise, it has no use in the Egg. So, how do you go about doing this?
First of all, you’ll need to remove the old,hardened felt. Then, take a putty or a sharp knife, and scrape any remainders off the ceramic that’s underneath. Lastly, you’ll want to use sandpaper to get rid of any residue that might be left. After that, simply wipe it with any towel you’ve got laying around the kitchen. Now, you can stick a new felt band in place of the old one.
But, once you’ve done that, you want to keep the lid of the Egg closed for the following 24 hours. Then, fire it up gently,to make sure that the adhesive has attached to the ceramic properly. If you maintain the rest of the Egg properly, the felt should last you about two years.
Cleaning the frame
If you move the Egg around regularly, there’s a chance that the bolts and nuts might shake loose. In order to avoid that,give them a tightening from time to time, especially if you notice something being wobbly. Also, you want to clean the outside surface of the frame with soap and water occasionally; after all, a good cook wants their Egg to look aesthetically pleasing, and clean.
Once you’ve read up all of this regarding the maintenance of your Big Green Egg Ceramic Grill, one though might pass through your mind – is all of this too much of a hassle? Naturally, for people who haven’t owned a kamado grill before this, that might seem so. But in reality, such maintenance is important for absolutely any type of kamado grill that you can buy.
And among them, the Big Green Egg Ceramic Grill is simply the most reliable option. Plus, once you invest in buying one, you’ll definitely want to keep it usable for as long as possible, instead of buying a new one each couple of years due to negligence. With that in mind, go out and get one right now,and preserve it well – your barbecues are sure to be the envy of the neighborhood!