The Big Green Egg
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The Big Green Egg is the brand name of a kamado-style ceramic charcoal cooker.
The word "mushikamado" means "steam cooker" (from "mushi" meaning "to steam", and "kamado" meaning "cooker, oven, or kiln") The mushikamado was a device designed to steam rice and used by Japanese families for ceremonial occasions and took the shape of a round clay pot with a removable domed clay lid. It featured a top damper and bottom draft door. The mushikamado first came to the attention of the Americans after World War II when US Air Force servicemen would bring them back from Japan in empty transport planes. In the late 1960s manufacturing started in the Americas. The Big Green Egg Company was founded in 1974 by Ed Fisher and is based in Tucker, Georgia in the USA. Production of the Big Green Egg takes place in Monterrey, Mexico, by the company Daltile.
The shape of the EGG is designed to contain the heat with only a small vent at the top to create a draft to keep the fire going. Today’s EGG is manufactured from high fiber ceramics developed for the space shuttle program designed to reflect heat and this allows temperatures of up to 650 degrees Celsius (1200 Fahrenheit) to be reached. The external surface has a high gloss ceramic glaze applied to provide crack and weather resistance.
The Big Green Egg is a charcoal barbecue - the manufacturers recommend lump wood charcoal because alternatives such as charcoal briquettes contain many additives that can contaminate the flavour of the food. The sealed design of the grill results in a slow burn that uses small amounts of charcoal compared to a regular grill, and lump wood charcoal also creates little ash.
Big Green Eggs can be used for smoking or grilling and with the addition of accessories can bake bread or cook a pizza. Big Green Eggs are manufactured in five sizes with the largest being able to cook either, two 20-pound turkeys, 24 burgers, 11 whole chickens, 12 steaks or 14 racks of ribs vertically.
In addition to the outer ceramic shell there is draft opening to provide air to the ceramic firebox in the base of the unit. There is a daisy wheel damper unit on the top to give air flow control and therefore temperature regulation. An accessory called a plate setter can be placed above the firebox - this prevents direct cooking of the food when using the unit as a smoker. Between the base and the lid is a felt gasket that maximises moisture retention during long cookouts.
Every October there is a global gathering of Eggheads called “EGGtoberfest” that was traditionally held at the company's headquarters in Tucker, GA, starting in the year 1995. In recent years, it has been held at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The 2008 EGGtoberfest drew 1,500 attendees from all 50 states plus other countries. During EGGtoberfest over 200 Big Green Eggs are used to cook recipes with lots of samples, and interaction from the group. EGGtoberfest 2013 was moved to Stone Mountain Park in Stone Mountain, GA, and will return to the same venue in 2014.
- "History of the Kamado Barbecue Grill". Kamado.com. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
- "Natural Lump Charcoal". biggreenegg.com. 2007. Retrieved 2010-06-17.
- Levitt, Jonathan (2007-05-23). "Put all your grilling in one Big Green Egg". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-11-09.
- "Egg Sizes". Biggreenegg.com. Retrieved 2013-01-09.
- "Big Green Egg, World's Best Smoker and Grill". Biggreenegg.com. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
- Hewett, Jennifer J. "Georgia Magazine". Georgia Magazine. Retrieved 2009-02-20.