Outdoor Elegance Lays a Big Green Egg Just in Time for Father’s Day, Barbecue Season

June 7, 2010
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Doug Sanicola and xxxxx enjoy some male bonding after preparing a delicious turkey with the help of the Big Green Egg.

Doug Sanicola and Anthony Arano enjoy some male bonding after preparing a delicious turkey with the help of the Big Green Egg.

Man found out millennia ago that meat tastes better cooked, but only more recently did the same species discover that cooked meat and a host of other items that can be smoked, seared, grilled, roasted or baked — from pizza dough and cookies to pulled pork — taste better on a Big Green Egg.

That’s good news with Father’s Day and barbecue season upon us.

“We might as well break it to your right now,” said Ed “Egghead” Fisher, who founded the Big Green Egg more than 30 years ago in Atlanta. “Your kitchen oven is about to become a high-priced storage cabinet. So versatile is the Big Green Egg ceramic cooker that may you never use your indoor appliances again.”

Doug Sanicola, the owner of Outdoor Elegance in La Verne, wasn’t convinced until a couple of years ago when a Green Egg distributor came calling.

“I know how to cook and I’m a chef and I love to barbecue, so I said bring me one as a demo and let me try it,” Sanicola said. “They brought it in and we made breakfast sandwiches on it, like Egg McMuffins, then tri-tip and chicken. All right, send me one, I said. I took it home and cooked on it two more times. I bought a dozen of them.”

The tipping point came at Thanksgiving when his wife Sharon baked a 20-pound turkey the conventional way in their kitchen oven and Sanicola cooked his in his Green Egg. “Everybody just came back to mine,” he said, downplaying their turkey cookoff rivalry.

The proof was, well, in the turkey and in the ensuing sales. “I sold a dozen Eggs after people tasted my turkey,” Sanicola said.

Smoking up a storm at Outdoor Elegance

Smoking up a storm at Outdoor Elegance

While the Big Green Egg has a relatively modest history, ceramic cookers, the inspiration for the elliptically shaped barbecue goes back centuries, at least to China’s Qin Dynasty (221 B.C – 207 B.C). Then the Japanese adopted these domed cooking vessels in the third century C.E. and called them “kamados,” which has been translated to mean oven, stove, heater, or fireplace.

Now travel to the 20th century, when U.S. servicemen after World War II, began bringing home the odd-shaped cooking vessels that they had encountered during their Pacific tours of duty. In the early 1970s, Fisher was treated to a Kamado-style meal and declared it “the best food he had ever eaten,” and set out on a quest to import the kamados from Asia and improve them if he could.

Although the kamados produced great results, Fisher was troubled that the fired clay cookers would become brittle or crack if they got too hot or after a few years of use and exposure to the elements.

“About this same time, Georgia Tech was actually making space tiles for NASA, so Ed went to them and found what they were using,” said Anthony Arano, with Sierra Select, the Big Green Egg distributor for the Southwest, who was demonstrating the Big Green Egg at Outdoor Elegance by serving up a continuous supply of chicken wings, turkey, tri-tip, jalepeno poppers and cookies.

Fisher adapted the high-density ceramic technology for his Big Green Egg. The distinctive green color of the porcelain, which never fades or discolors, is fired at 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Big Green Egg enthusiasts are just as fired up. The Egg is a multitasker, eliminating the need for several outdoor appliances that each perform a specific type of outdoor cooking. It can sear at 750-degree temperatures like an infrared grill, slow-smoke over a 200-degree charcoal and wood fire like an old-fashioned smoker, and roast and bake to crusty perfection like a brick oven. And, because the heat is retained, circulated and radiated so evenly inside the well insulated vessel, a cumbersome rotisserie is never needed to achieve evenly browned, rotisserie-like results.

Would you prefer the dark or the light meat?

Would you prefer the dark or the light meat?

The Green Egg isn’t just a catchy marketing name. “It actually has a green story behind it,” said Arano. The Big Green Egg is fueled with natural lump charcoal, which is made from a variety of 100 percent hardwoods that are charred in a closed oxygen-free kiln. What emerges is lumpy, irregularly shaped pieces (hence the name lump), called charcoal. This natural lump charcoal burns hotter than traditional briquettes, and because there are no by-products, it burns clean. Most traditional charcoal briquettes are made from scrap lumber that has been charred, ground to a powder, and combined with ground coal, limestone, starch binders, fillers, and petroleum-based additives to make them easier to light.

A $30 bag of Big Green Egg lump charcoal will last six weeks, based on using the cooker three times a week. “That’s because you get just a 5% ash rate,” Arano explained.

The Big Green Egg uses fire lighting cubes, made of compressed sawdust coated with paraffin wax to ignite the lump charcoal. To ignite the lump charcoal,

Regulating the Big Green Egg’s temperature is easy by monitoring the external gauge and adjusting the air flow in the Dual Function Metal top and the draft door in the base of the Egg. For lower temperatures, reduce the airflow by minimizing the openings; to boost temperatures, open the dampers wider.

While the Big Green Egg has become a hot seller for Outdoor Elegance, the all-in-one grill, smoker and oven is not too hot to touch because of its superior insulation.

“Even though it may be 400 degrees on the inside, it will be warm on the outside,” said Outdoor Elegance General Manager Tom Kay. “You could touch it and not burn yourself.”

The Eggs, which come in five different sizes ranging from a 30-pound Mini to a 205-pound extra large, come with all kinds of “Eggcessories,” pleasantly increasing the versatility and convenience of the cooking experience. Perhaps, the most versatile accessory of all is the Plate Setter, which is a flat, ceramic disk that is used when you don’t want direct exposure to the flame and heat. It can be used to turn your Egg into a brick oven for baking bread, pizza and desserts, a convection oven for roasting meats and vegetables, or a smoker for making down-home barbecue.

Built like Fort Knox, the Big Green Egg comes with a lifetime warranty. “We’ve actually had people show up, saying my dad bought this 30 years ago, and I want to refurbish it,” noted Arano.

“What else can you say,” he added. “The product is eggceptional, no make that, eggtraordinary.”

For more information, visit Outdoor Elegance at 3795 Damien Ave. in La Verne or call (909) 592-5711.

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