You don’t stop eating come winter, so why stop grilling! After all, there is no better tasting steak, chop, or burger than one cooked on a Big Green Egg. Here are a few tips to make your winter grilling easier and more enjoyable.
Eggs are Meant to be Used Year-Round.
I’ve met people that think they can’t use a ceramic grill in the winter for fear that it will crack. Their concern is that the hot fire will fracture the cold ceramic components. I’ll admit that this was a concern for me at first. However, a recommendation from an old hand at kamado-style grilling eased my mind. He said he kept his heat convEGGtor inside during the winter. That makes sense and is easy to do as it is lightweight and small. Plus, once it has had any grease burnt off and has cooled down, it’s easy to handle. My friend only takes it outside once the grill is fired up and ready to cook. That way, there is no fire temperature shock that could crack the plates.
Okay…But What About the Egg Itself?
Again, my friend supplied the logical answer. He starts by building the fire slowly, using one fire starter and a small amount of lump charcoal. This way, he heats the grill, the fire box, and the ring gradually, reducing any stress from heat. After just a few minutes, he adds the rest of the charcoal. By then, the grill is heat primed and ready to use.
Is this necessary? Probably not. Eggs are fire-kilned and incredibly durable. However, there is nothing wrong with being cautious. If that makes winter grilling more fun and stress-free, then so be it.
My Lid is Frozen Shut. Now What?
I’ve had this happen several times, usually after I forgot to cover it after it had cooled down. It rained or snowed, moisture collected in the gasket area, then the temperature dropped. Presto … the lid was sealed up tighter than a fully stretched drumhead. I’d get out the hair dryer and apply gentle heat around the gasket area, muttering a few choice words. Usually, after five to ten minutes, I could pop the lid free. However, I was concerned I would pull the gasket loose when the lid gave and was probably lucky it didn’t happen. I knew there had to be a better way.
I have since tried something that works much better. Take a small flat wood chip and place it on the bottom gasket before lowering the lid. Looking at the Egg, I put it at the six o’clock position, behind the handle. This creates a small gap between lid and the main Egg body. Importantly, the chip should be thin so that the gap is small. Once the grill is cool, re-cover, but leave the chip in place in case moisture gets under the cover. The worst-case scenario is that the chip freezes to the gasket. I’ve never had this happen. Fortunately, if it does happen to you, it’s just one spot that will need the hair dryer assist. In just seconds, you’ll be in business!
But the Lower Air Vent is Frozen, too.
It’s simple. Just leave it open a fraction of an inch. It doesn’t take much air to help the fire get going and it will quickly free up for full adjustment. The only drawback is that by leaving it open a tiny bit, you’ll continue to burn charcoal. Of course, using the proper amount of charcoal for your fire will help reduce waste. Then again, you can always set a reminder on your phone for the next morning to open the vent.
Grilling on a Big Green Egg is a year-round experience. You’ve got the coolest, neatest smoker grill in the world, so don’t put it away for the winter. Celebrate it and don’t wait for spring. That’s months away.