Each year All Alfresco, the Dublin retailer of the Big Green Egg oven, throws a Customer Appreciation Day party with fabulous food cooked in their signature barbeque.
I discovered the Big Green Egg Dublin shop by chance one day as I was exploring Dun Laoghaire (I blame James Joyce because there’s a museum dedicated to him there within the Martello tower). The shop is located in Glasthule, a beautiful part of Dublin with a village feel that reminds me of Islington in London. There are so many independent retailers, which is refreshing.
As a lover of barbecue, slow-cooked and smoked meat, bread and wood-fired pizza, I was intrigued to learn that you can cook all of the above with a Big Green Egg.
The Customer Appreciation Day is a lovely opportunity to meet other people who have been using the Big Green Egg and to sample some dishes while tasting organic wine from The Wine Buff. The Wine Buff shares the premises with All Alfresco and has a wide selection of organic and bio-dynamic wines. We sampled a fabulous French red, Château La Fauconnerie Montagne St Emilion, 2016, with rich oak notes, full of tannins. I couldn’t help treating myself to a bottle of red wine afterwards, a slightly cheaper Tempranillo from La Mancha Viña Alambrada, Spain.
Star of the show was the food, expertly cooked on the Big Green Egg by Rory Morahan, The Druid Chef. As well as offering catering services, he has also appeared on national and international television and worked with a number of celebrities. He lavished us with a Christmas dinner fit for a king (or queen): turkey, stuffing, chestnuts, Brussels sprouts, cranberries and oranges, and roast potatoes. Of course to cook this feast he used the 2XL, the largest oven in the range. He told me the turkey took two hours to roast in the Big Green Egg, and the result was soft and juicy meat.
The Big Green Egg Is a Wood-Fired Oven, Tandoori Oven and Barbecue
For those unfamiliar with the Big Green Egg, “know as the Ultimate Cooking Experience” it is a charcoal-fired oven where you can barbecue meat, fish and vegetables as well as grill, roast low & slow, bake and smoke. It is extremely versatile and easy to clean (it works similarly to a self-cleaning oven), and it comes with a lifetime guarantee. It can reach temperatures of 300-400 degrees Celsius.
The Big Green Egg is popular with both acclaimed chefs and home cooks who wants simplicity, versatility and convenience.
It is branded as a complete outdoor cooking system, designed to optimise thermal conduction with an air-tight seal and optimise airflow through a top vent and flow draft door at the bottom. The external temperature (snow, rain or wind) will not affect the internal temperature of the EGG.
The ceramic material used to manufacture the oven has been developed by NASA. All the manufacturing is done in Mexico. The Big Green EGG uses patented components and insulating ceramics to retain and moisture to prevent foods from drying out.
To fire the oven you can choose oak and hickory natural charcoal for barbecuing or woodchip for smoking.
Cooking in a ceramic oven is a traditional method for fast-searing or slow cooking. Japan and India, in particular, started using ceramic ovens about 3,000 years ago. The Japanese call ceramic ovens ‘kamado’, which means earth and/or oven. The kamado ovens became popular in the US when American soldiers serving in Japan brought them back home as souvenirs. The first Big Green Egg store opened in Atlanta, Georgia almost fifty years ago, in 1974.
Cooking with the Big Green Egg
If you love Tandoori chicken, for example, but have never cooked it at home before because your domestic oven doesn’t quite give you the same results as a Tandoori oven in a restaurant, now you can have it whenever you fancy it. Same applies for pulled pork, as you can use the oven as a slow cooker.
The main draw for me to use the Big Green Egg is that you can make wood-fired pizza and bake bread because the heat from the natural charcoal radiates in a convective flow within the thick ceramic walls of the EGG dome, allowing the food to bake quickly and evenly. Another use of the oven is for smoking meats. I really want to explore different culinary avenues and experiment making naan bread, sourdough, Neapolitan pizza and even cakes. I am also thinking about Tandoori chicken, pulled pork, brisket and all the loveliness of barbecued meat.