Tag: Big Green Egg

The Kamado Style Grill

For centuries, people have cooked in clay vessels.  Evidence of clay cooking vessels have been found all over the world.  From the tandoor cooker in India to the mushikamodo in Japan, it’s believed that these are the precursors to today’s kamado style cooker.

Kamados became popular in the US after World War II.  Today, there are a number of companies making kamado style cookers using ceramic and refractory materials in their construction.  Big Green EggKamadoCalifornia KamadoPrimoGrill Dome all make a kamado style cooker.

There are many advantages to this style of cooker:

  • Temperature Control – once the ceramic material comes up to temp, it retains the heat for hours and doesn’t require a large fire to maintain that temp.
  • Low Fuel Consumption – as stated above, since the ceramic is radiating retained heat, only a small fire is needed for low temperature smoking.
  • Moisture – this style of cooker does not require a pan for water or other liquids.  The ceramic retains the moisture in the cooking chamber and produces moist & flavorful results
  • Grill or Smoke –  Of course you can cook indirect on lots of grills, but few afford you the ability to smoke or grill equally well.

Of course there are some drawbacks to any product, and the kamado style cooker is no exception. 

  • Capacity – Although you can add additional cooking grates higher into the dome, there’s no getting around the fact that capacity can be an issue if you often cook for large groups.
  • Portability – These things are heavy.  As such, they’re not great for tailgating, camping etc.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my current setup for BBQ is a large Big Green Egg.  Personally, I find that the advantages to a ceramic cooker grossly outweigh the disadvantages.  Having said that, I do find myself wondering what my next cooker will be.  I think I’ll always have a BGE, but I could see adding something to my arsenal for larger cooks.  A Stumps maybe….or an FEC-100?  Stay tuned!



Braddog’s Journey

Growing up in the southern half of the US, I’ve always loved good BBQ.  Now BBQ in the south has lots of variations (we’ll cover that in a later post), but I grew up with a taste for Memphis style BBQ.  For the uninitiated, Memphis style BBQ is slow smoked with a dry rub.  BBQ Sauce is strictly a condiment and pulled pork sandwiches are served with a sweet slaw.

 But I digress.  My uncle was the family BBQ’er and he became a pretty fair hand at smoking turkey, beef etc.  But I don’t think he ever pulled off really good pork butt.  It was after I got married that I decided to try my hand at BBQ.

I started, like a lot of people do, with a Brinkmann bullet-type, water smoker.  I tried both the charcoal & electric varieties.  I turned out some decent chicken, but really good pork butt & ribs eluded me.  I decided that I must need a better cooker, so I moved up to an off-set New Braunfels. This was an impressive looking unit compared to the bullet smoker and much more involved.  I could make the entire neighborhood crave BBQ with the smell of hickory smoke, but still good pork butt & ribs eluded me.  In fact, I sold the pit and gave up the quest for a couple of years.

About 5 years ago, I decided that I would try to do pulled pork for the family reunion.  My dad had a brand new gas smoker that he’d never used and offered it up for my use.  I had spent my BBQ exile reading a lot of information on the internet about BBQ and knew that I probably hadn’t approached the elusive pork butt & ribs the right way.  So when presented with this opportunity, I was prepared.  In fact, that day was a defining moment for my BBQ career.  When I put a huge tray of pulled pork on that buffet table and saw the reaction of my extended family, I was hooked.

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That year, my bride presented me with a gas smoker of my own and we enjoyed some really nice BBQ over the next couple of summers.  But with my interest growing, I couldn’t enjoy this hobby in the winter using the cooker that I had due to the winter weather we have in the mid-west.  It was about this time that a co-worker introduced me to the Japanese Kamado style cooker.  Cold weather, rain, wind, none of these were a problem with the ceramic cookers.  After 6 months of yearning for a ceramic cooker, I acquired my large Big Green Egg.  This is what I cook on today and it affords me year round enjoyment of my favorite past time and favorite food.        

The journey has been a lot of fun.  Like many folks, I’ve always got my eye on my next cooker. When I know what the next destination is on my BBQ journey, you’ll be the first to know.Cheers,