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Using a Big Green Egg grill

Ramona King

Using a Big Green Egg


How to set up and cook on a Big Green Egg

Give us sunny (but not too hot) weather, a grill and a bucket of cold beer and we're set for some weekend fun. We're not particular about that grill type — whether its a simple Weber kettle, a fancy gas set-up with all the bells and whistles or a large ceramic kamado, we're happy. 

We recognize, however, that not all grills are immediately intuitive. Big Green Eggs, one of the most common (and Southern-made!) kamado-style grills, do require a bit of know-how and practice before you're grilling, smoking and even baking in them like a pro. Lucky for you, and all of us newbies out there, Chef Jeffrey Gardner is that pro, and he's here to walk us through the proper Big Green Egg set-up.

But first, a very quick primer on kamado-style grills. These grills are inspired by clay, egg-shaped cooking vessels, credited to the Chinese Qin Dynasty and used frequently in Japan starting as early as the 3rd century. Today, these cookers and grills are typically made using heat-retaining ceramic and come with all kinds of racks and accessories. While Big Green Egg is one of the most common brands, you'll find plenty of others with a quick Google search or trip to a hardware store.

Once you've got it home, here's how to get it set up and ready for action.



Ready to cook? Any and all of your favorite grilling recipes can be made on a Big Green Egg (or any other kamado-style grill), but it is particularly well-suited to smoking and other low-and-slow cooking styles. Here are a few of our favorite recipes to try this weekend, and all summer long:

Big Green Egg Smoke-Roasted Chicken
Smoked Cauliflower with Chimichurri
Grilled Beer-Brined Pork Chops
Apple-Bourbon Brined and Smoked Pork Chops
Grilled New York Strip Steaks
Grilled Bacon
Marinated Grilled Skirt Steak

Video: Ramona and Travis King

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Chef Jeffrey Gardner is a native of Natchez, Miss., and a graduate of Millsaps College and Johnson & Wales University. He lives in Atlanta and has served as sous chef for popular restaurants South City Kitchen Midtown and Alma Cocina. In 2013 he became executive chef for East Cobb restaurant Common Quarter and was named one of ten “Next Generation of Chefs to Watch” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. He has appeared on TV shows including Food Network’s Chopped and Cooking Channel’s How to Live to 100, and also filmed a series of healthy cooking videos with retired pro wrestler and fitness guru Diamond Dallas Page. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling the world with his wife Wendy, watching game shows and “spending all his money on Bruce Springsteen concerts.”

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Kate Williams is the former editor-in-chief of Southern Kitchen. She was also the on-air personality on our podcast, Sunday Supper. She's worked in food since 2009, including a two-year stint at America’s Test Kitchen. Kate has been a personal chef, recipe developer, the food editor at a hyperlocal news site in Berkeley and a freelance writer for publications such as Serious Eats, Anova Culinary, The Cook’s Cook and Berkeleyside. Kate is also an avid rock climber and occasionally dabbles in long-distance running. She makes a mean peach pie and likes her bourbon neat.