I'm sure this is not the definitive account of using the Egg. I'm probably more certain that is is an account of how forgiving the Egg is to those just learning it. Regardless, I asked for advice and took a lot of it. Here's what I did.
Starting the night before, I de-membraned 3 racks of baby back ribs and coated them generously with "John Henry's Texas Pig Rub"
, which is OK enough; sweet, salty, paprika-y, peppery. I wrapped them in foil and put them in the fridge. I then took two spatchcocked chickens, and I marinated one in Cornell Marinade
; the other I rubbed with "John Henry's Texas Chicken Tickler"
, which is also pretty good. The one I left covered and marinating overnight, the rubbed one I left uncovered in the fridge (except I put paper towels over it, we're not barbarians after all).
I started the Egg up around noon, and stabilized it at 265*ish as per the instructions for the "3-1-1" method, which will become clear. I tossed a heck of a lot of soaked cherry wood chips in there, and it was smoking like Cheech & Chong. I set up for indirect, put the ribs on the rack at about 12:30, and sat out on the deck. During this time I made a tomato salad and some coleslaw, did some dishes, etc. Egg temps fluctuated a little, I'm still learning, but I kept it between 250 and 280, it was only up to 280 for about 4-5 minutes. I checked them around 2:30, and temp was about 160*, so I let the temp drop for the last 30 minutes to around 200. At 3PM I wrapped them in foil and put them back on the Egg at 250* steady; it fluctuated between 225 and 250. At 4PM I took them out of the foil, coated them in Dinosaur BBQ Sauce
, and put them in the oven at 225* for another hour (hence 3-1-1, 3 hours indirect/1 hour wrapped/ 1 hour direct), while I addressed the chicken.
A little after 4PM I converted the Egg to direct heat, tossed on a couple more handfuls of soaked cherry wood chips, stabilized it at 350* and put the chickens on. While they were working I made a pot of water and put on some corn. After about 45 minutes I checked the breast, it was a tick over 165 (like 168), and the juices ran clear, so I pulled the birds. Guests arrived moments later, we sat and talked from the kitchen to the deck while I assembled serving platters and Mrs Mosca set the table.
Result? Damn good. Mrs Mosca is usually circumspect when it comes to new things: "Good chicken," she said unprompted (she was eating the Cornell). And "I'm not a rib person, but I'm going to have another of those." The ribs were very tender, they were close to "fall off the bone" but the meat itself had tug to it. (An aside to edwmax, I think the foil stage had a lot to do with keeping the higher temp from drying them out; they were steaming pretty good in there. The last hour in the oven uncovered, I think that was just to take the water out of the bbq sauce).
The chicken was exactly what I expected, one bird (the Cornell) was very tender and juicy and mildly flavored throughout; the other was tender and juicy and had a nice crisp and spicy skin. (Again to edwmax, as you can see in the pictures these were pretty big birds. 45 minute is probably just about right.) I forgot to snap a shot of the Cornell chicken; here's the rubbed bird.
I think the lesson I learned is mostly that due to its nature, the Egg is reasonably forgiving of higher temps. I'm used to doing my ribs low and slow as ed had described, 225* max. Chicken was always 325* in the oven. The Egg holds moisture in. That doesn't mean I got it right, I think, but it means there is a really wide range of what gives good results with this tool. In the end I didn't ruin anything, far from it, and my dad and his gf both gushed more than what I would expect from politeness (which I've had before, I've plated some bummers with them present). In the end, I learned a lot and still got to serve the meal to appreciative guests. Next time I can make some adjustments and tweak some extra texture and flavor.
Oh; tomato salad. Take about 2 lbs of heirloom tomatoes, one seedless cucumber, a clove of garlic, a bunch of scallions, and "some" salt and pepper, whatever is right for you. Chop them all up (squeeze out the seeds from the tomatoes and discard them) and coat with balsamic vinaigrette, chill for a couple hours. Remove from the fridge about an hour before serving, serve kind of close to room temp.
<message edited by Mosca on Sun, 05/29/11 10:36 PM>