I prefer my burgers Ron Swanson style. Some meat (I prefer 5oz) on a bun. You may add cheese if you like (I like).
Sounds like your friend needs to learn how to use the BGE properly. I had a flash or two when I first started using the grill, but soon learned how to keep them from happening. You're right though, temperatures that high are not to be trifled with.
@imwalkin I've never had trouble finding lump charcoal at local stores. Any BGE dealer will carry their brand of lump. I've also found lump charcoal for sale at several grocery stores. My favorite brand is Red Oak and I actually find it at Wal-Mart, oddly enough they carry it year round where I live.
I like Red Oak because, unlike several other brands I've tried, the charcoal is made entirely from oak wood. Everything else I've tried contains several different types of wood. The oak imparts a more distinct flavor, it's just a preference though.
Baguettes. To my shame I can never achieve the crumb that I want. They're so fresh, cheap, and convenient at the bakery down the road it's just not worth the trouble for a mediocre result.
Ciabatta, foccacia, pugliese, and other traditional styles... I ace them every time. The baguette continues to elude me.
I have a BGE and use it for pizza with great success. With some practice you can stabilize the temperature at 850 - 900 degrees. It takes 60 - 90 minutes for the grill to be heated properly, and will maintain the temperature for around an hour with no additional charcoal.
As for the discussion about lighter fluid taste, there are alternative methods for lighting the charcoal. Using natural lump charcoal further eliminates the lighter flavor present in many briquettes. I use a chimney myself, it's quicker and easier than lighter fluid.
I used to use the plate setter as the cooking surface. I found that the bottom of the pie was burning long before the top was done. On a whim I went to Home Depot and bought a concrete stepping stone that was about 1.5" thick. After a little modification the stone fit on my grill, and works like a champ. I think the masonry concrete is less dense, so it does not transfer heat as efficiently as the plate setter.
My only ongoing issue is that the high temperatures wear out the Nomex dome gasket, I usually have to replace mine every year.
Short of building a stone oven, I haven't found a better home solution for stone oven fired pizza.
I've been working on mastering my ciabatta for quite some time.
Our Valentines tradition is cioppino and this year is no exception. In the last few months I've discovered a previously unknown affinity for baking bread, so I'm trying my hand at making baguettes to go along with the cioppino. This will be baguette attempt number 4 and I'm optimistic about the results.
Related to pizza, I'd like to see an article about how long/hot different dough hydrations should be cooked and how the hydration affects the final product. It seems like this topic gets hit here and there but a full dedicated article would be immensely helpful.
Thanks for the input! I'm really digging the meat with fruit concept from PlumGaga. I just thought of a fontina and prosciutto stuffed pork tenderloin with sweet fig sauce. Maybe I'll make some blue cheese mashed potatoes for some funky tang. As an appetizer I'm thinking about making some cajun shrimp & grits. I'll figure out some greens and bread to add in there, but that gave me some great direction, Thanks!
@dbcurrie: I think "aversion" was too strong. This couple definitely has a "meh, we don't care for it" attitude. They're always great about trying whatever food I make them and are surprised about how much they like it. Their diet consists mainly of fast food and hamburger helper so I try to expand their horizons every time they come over. They're just less adventurous on the seafood horizon so I try to take it more slowly there.
NY Strip. Rare. On my Big Green Egg. Which will cook these Peter Luger steaks incredibly.
I've had a Big Green Egg for 2 years now and I swear by it. I've had it up to 1200 degrees on several occasions for some crazy pizza experiments. One thing I learned early on: The pizza stone will crack if the temperature gets above 700 or so. I ran across a solution to this problem at one of the BGE forums (don't remember which one). Use the platesetter flat side up and distribute several 3/4in copper pipe elbows around the edges to set the pizza stone on top of. This creates an insulating air layer that keeps the stone from going north of 1500 degrees while the air temp is around 700. So far I haven't had any melted copper but I've been cautioned about it several times, try at your own risk.
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