I ran across this ‘chap’, Neil Rankin, when I went looking for comparisons between Weber-like grills and kamado cookers like the Big Green Egg for you.
He’s got a great background with broad experience, having been a chef in England at Michelin-star restaurants and at BBQ joints.
Now, he’s become a real big fan of the BGE.
In this video he does a great job not only comparing the Egg to Weber-like grills and offset smokers, but he also verifies it’s the only restaurant-level charcoal cooker.
You’ll notice that the grate in his Big Green Egg is cast iron. He makes a big point of saying how that really helps obtain the Maillard reaction effect on steaks. In case you’re not up on your chemistry…and I’m one of you…it’s the chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that are created by heat. Caramelization is the browning of sugar by oxidation under heat—and meat does contain a small amount of sugars. Therefore, when you combine the two, you get a rich, complex caramel and butterscotch flavor. Now you know why the best steakhouse steaks taste great.
There are also some great tips in this video:
- When and how to use the plated setter. He even talks about using it as a flat-top surface for cooking things like burgers and fish!
- Why use a cast iron grate instead of the standard wire one? Take a close look at how he cooks his steak. Normally, Eggers will put the steak on, close the dome and cook for about 2 minutes; open the dome, flip the steak, close the dome again and cook another 2 minutes; then close both vents and cook for another 2 minutes. The way Rankin does it is how a professional chef does it to get the Maillard reaction I mentioned earlier. He does it by flipping the steak often so that most, if not all, of the surface of both sides of the steak gets charred on the grate, rather than just a couple of grate marks we’re used to seeing. Also, notice that when he flips, he moves the steak to another part of the grate. That’s because it’s a lot hotter than the section the steak was just on. That’s key to getting the best-tasting finished product.
Which of the tips did you find most useful? I would love to hear from you.