When to smoke
If you've cooked over charcoal, you've already dabbled in smoking. That smoky element is part of what makes the EGG special. But there are certain recipes that benefit from having the smoke levels ramped up even further.
Not only does smoking on your Big Green Egg make your food delicious, it's also a sure-fire way to impress guests. Fact. Here are some tips for starting out.
Hot or cold?
Your first decision is whether to hot or cold smoke in your EGG. Hot smoking gently cooks your food while infusing it with smoky flavour. Cold smoking, meanwhile, adds flavour but without affecting the texture of your ingredients — perfect for cheese or cured fish. Whichever you're looking to try, we've got you covered.
To set up for hot smoking
If you're hot smoking we would recommend soaking your chips or chunks beforehand, particularly for a Low & Slow cook. This will guarantee a longer, steadier burn. Load & light your EGG, and wait until the ceramics have warmed up. Add in surfaces as required, and bring your EGG to the same temperature that you would if you were cooking the dish normally. When you're ready to cook, scatter a handful of the pre-soaked woodchips or chunks to the charcoals. Add your food to the EGG and close the lid.
To set up for cold smoking
Fill a pan with woodchips and a splash of water then place in your Fire Bowl. Use an EGGniter or firestarter to light the woodchips. Create a little teepee of wood chips around the lit area. Add your Stainless Steel Grid and your chosen ingredients (ideally placed away from the heat source). Close the dome and shut both vents almost entirely. Smoke for as long as your recipe requires.
Chips or chunks?
You'll achieve different results depending on whether you use chips or chunks, which variety of these you go for, how many you put in and when you add them. Fear not. The results are likely to be delicious whatever you do but it's worth experimenting to discover your preferences so that can start tailoring your smoke to your food.
Chips release a quick, sharp burst of wood smoke — ideal for shorter cooks. They are a good option if you are worried about an ingredient taking on too much smoke too, as you can start with a little then add more to the coals as needed. For longer cooks or for a more intense, smoky flavour (for the chuck in our Smoked Beef Naan recipe for example), you may want to opt for chunks.
There's a range of flavours to choose from too. As a rule of thumb, Mesquite and Hickory pair well with bold ingredients that can stand up to them such as red meat, Apple and Cherry go great with pork and Pecan is the perfect allrounder but especially good for adding a nutty aroma to desserts.
Sometimes less is more. Rather than filling your EGG with wood smoke from the start, consider adding chips or chunks at the end of a cook as a final seasoning (or ignore both and opt for an Alder Plank instead, which will give you subtler results). It's also worth thinking about whether the entire dish benefits from smoke or whether it would be better to only smoke an element of it. Take our Moussaka recipe: it would be tempting to smoke the whole thing but we prefer to only smoke the aubergines, onions and garlic to allow the lamb and cheeses to shine.