So says celebrity chef, Bertus Basson, owner of acclaimed restaurant Overture and judge on Ultimate Braaimaster.
We gave Bertus a Big Green Egg to play with and asked him for his honest opinion. Here’s how he rated this revolutionary approach to outdoor cooking.
Was the Big Green Egg easy to light?
Oh yes, it’s really simple to use but don’t make the mistake of throwing in too much charcoal. Just half a bag of charcoal is enough to cook for hours and hours.
What is your favourite thing to cook on the Big Green Egg?
I think my favourite so far has been Bourbon basted, Slow-cooked Pork Ribs. I basted a strip of pork rib with a mix of bourbon, sugar, Worcestershire sauce and some secret ingredients, got the Egg on a low setting and left the ribs for 2 ½ hours. “Low and slow” is how ribs should be cooked. They were succulent and delicious and had absorbed all of that wonderful, smoky flavour. I also like cooking steaks on the Egg and it’s so simple – a bit of seasoning rub on the steak, whack up the heat to 400 OC and cook to taste. The steak comes out seared and crisp on the outside and red and juicy inside – just how a great steak should be!
What exciting dishes are in the pipeline?
I’m planning to slow cook a whole pork shoulder in the Egg. At low temperatures, the Egg can continuously cook for 14 hours on half a bag of charcoal which is be perfect for this dish. We’ll use some hickory wood chips to give the whole roast a delicate, wood smoked flavour. I’m also keen to try planking a whole fish.
It’s a cooking method where you take a whole plank of wood such as cedar, soak it overnight in water, then place it in the Egg and put a whole filleted fish on top for about 20 minutes at low heat. I think a salmon cooked this way would be absolutely superb.
What’s the best thing about the Big Green Egg?
There are lots of great things but my top three are;
- You can have a cook-ready braai in 15 minutes and that’s great for when you want to braai but you don’t want to wait for ages for the coals to reach the right temperature.
- The temperature control really is excellent. You can cook a roast chicken at a medium to high temperature, then lower the heat right down, add some wood chips and slow smoke for a further 20 minutes to get an amazingly hot, crisp smoked chicken.
- Then there is the versatility. You can easily cook an entire meal for 14 people by using raised layers and cooking your meat, veggies and anything else using the space in the dome as an additional cooking area. And you can bake, make crisp delicious pizzas, even desserts.
Would you recommend Big Green Egg?
Absolutely – it’s the bomb! It’s an all-in-one charcoal cooker on steroids that can cook just about anything in any way. It’s only drawback, and this would apply to most outdoor cookers, is that it’s not very portable. If there was a portable version that could give the same results, I’d take it with me everywhere!
Editors note: Bertus was using a large Big Green Egg with <list accessories>