Custom Fabricated Accessories for Big Green Egg®
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XL Adjustable Rig
The XL Adjustable Rig fits Big Green Egg's XL cooker.
There is only one thing better than a big cooker and that is a big cooker with big options. We worked with the Big Green Egg® XL for over five years developing ways to expand its versatility. We started with the original Woo, created the Flip Rings and now we hit on something really special with the XL Adjustable Rig.
In a few words, the XL Adjustable Rig (XL Rig) is a simple to use "multi-tasking" platform. The XL Rig is easy to set-up, will not hinder airflow, weighs less than 5 pounds and can live in your cooker. Plus, it is fabricated from 304 Grade Stainless Steel and fabricated in the USA.
The nuts and bolts of the design are:
The XL Rig can sit:
directly on the fire ring,
atop the XL Woo2/XL grid set-up, or
atop the XL platesetter/XL grid set-up.
The XL Rig's overall height is 6 inches.
The XL Rig's top ring diameter is 19.25 inches OD and the bottom ring diameter is 23 inches OD.
The four Crossbar Levels are: 1.5, 3.0, 4.0 and 4.75 inches above the fire ring.
The opening between the front two brackets is approximately 16.5 inches, wide enough for 3 racks of babyback ribs.
The XL Rig is fabricated using Stainless 5/16-inch round bar and 3/16-inch plate.
Our 16"x20" Stainless Oval Grid is designed to slide in/out and sit atop the XL Rig.
Our 20" Stainless Round Grid is designed to sit atop the XL Rig.
One pair of Crossbars is included. Crossbars are fabricated from 1/4-inch Stainless round bar.
A Slide Guide fitting the bottom two Levels is an available option.
Need to Measure: We recommend you take two quick measurements before ordering. This is the simplest way we've found to make sure the XL Adjustable Rig fits your cooker. First, measure the distance from the top of the fire ring to the felt rim on the base. The measurement should be approximately 3 inches. Second, measure from the daisy wheel opening to the Big Green Egg® XL grid sitting on the fire ring. The measurement needs to be approximately 16 inches. Your Big Green Egg® XL needs to have both measurements (approx. 3" & 16") in order for the XL Adjustable Rig to fit. More on the measurement process can be found here.
Before continuing, we thought it best to answer a couple of the more popular questions.
What size objects fit inside the XL Adjustable Rig? Any round object (ceramic stone, pan or grid) must have a diameter less than 18.5 inches. To slide between the front brackets, the object's width must be less than 16.5 inches.
What does Level 1.5, 3.0, 4.0 and 4.75 mean? These Levels correspond to Crossbar settings on the XL Adjustable Rig. The Levels are measured in inches from the top of the Big Green Egg® fire ring with the XL Adjustable Rig sitting on the fire ring. For example, when we recommend placing a grid on XL Rig Level 1.5, it is the same as putting a grid 1.5 inches above the fire ring. Level 3.0 is 3 inches above the fire ring. Level 4.0 is 4 inches and Level 4.75 is 4.75 inches above the fire ring.
Can the XL Adjustable Rig create an indirect (platesetter like) configuration? Yes, with the addition of our 17.5" Ceramic Stone or 9"x19" Ceramic Half Stone, the XL Adjustable Rig can be set-up to create an indirect (platesetter like) configuration. We recommend the 17.5" Stone as your primary, day-to-day, Stone. Big Green Egg's XL stone is too big and not recommended for use with our XL accessories. Smaller Stones can be used if properly supported.
Can the XL Rig be used with the XL platesetter or XL Woo2? Yes, the XL platesetter needs to be sitting in the notches. The XL Woo2 can sit in the notches or atop the fire ring. The XL grid sits on top of the XL platesetter or XL Woo2. The XL Rig sits on the XL grid.
What size grids can be used with the XL Rig? Our 20" Stainless Round Grid is designed to sit atop the XL Rig. Our 16"x20" Stainless Oval Grid is designed to fit inside the XL Rig at the various Levels. Both Grids are fabricated with 304, EPQ Quality, Stainless Steel and have an Electro-polish finish for improved surface performance. The Oval Grid slides between the XL Rig's front brackets.
Whether, you are new to ceramic cooking or an experienced veteran, we truly recommend you purchase one of the Combo packs to save yourself some cash. The Combo Packages can be found in our Shopping Cart, here. Many customers have reported back to us that the Rig is their "go-to" set-up platform and for some, given the wide variety of available accessories, the only platform they need.
Before discussing how to set-up the XL Adjustable Rig, it might be best to look at how the XL rig works. The XL Rig has 4 Levels, pictured below. These numbered Levels correspond to Crossbar settings and are measured in inches from the top of the fire ring. All you need to remember is: A level is so many inches above the fire ring. For example, when we recommend placing an Oval Grid on XL Rig Level 1.5, it is the same as putting that grid 1.5 inches above the fire ring. Level 3.0 puts a grid 3 inches above the fire ring. Level 4.0 is 4 inches above and Level 4.75 is 4.75 inches above the fire ring. Note: The top ring positions the 20" Round and 16"x20" Oval Grid 6 inches above the fire ring.
A pair of Crossbars holds the grid(s), ceramic stone(s) and/or drip pans at each Level. The XL Adjustable Rig comes with one pair of Crossbars. The XL Slide Guide is an option for Levels 1.5 & 3.0 and allows you to slide the XL Oval Grid in and out. This is a nice option as it provides easy access to the lower grid. There is no real need for a 4.0 or 4.75 Level Slide Guide.
Pictured below left are a pair of Crossbars on Level 4.0 and an XL Slide Guide on Level 1.5. Pictured below right is a sample set-up: One Grid Indirect. The XL Slide Guide holds the 17.5" Ceramic Stone on Level 1.5. The Crossbars hold the 16"x20" Oval Stainless Grid on Level 3.0. Benfits of this set-up are (1) plenty of room for lump, fill the entire fire ring, and (2) ample room along the Stone's edge to access the lump, add smoking chucks during a cook without moving anything. The grid could go on any Level above the Stone.
Enough housekeeping activities, let's look at some set-ups!
Searing & Blackening
When grilling on the XL Big Green Egg®, we recommend two approaches. The first approach uses a very hot fire to sear, blacken, char or saute'. Our preference is to perform these cooks close to the lump, either atop the fire ring or inside the fire ring where the heat is greatest. The XL Adjustable Rig is not our preferred set-up for these cooks but our XL Spider and XL Woo2 accessories are. To learn more about the XL Spider, click here
and for the XL Woo2, click here
The second grilling approach is similar to roasting, where the cooking temperatures typically range from 300 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. With this approach, the goal is to create a light crust, cook to an internal temperature, render fat or crisp skin. Examples of these cooks include: grilling brats without breaking the casing; finishing steaks to doneness after a sear; crisping chicken skin; and rendering bacon fat on ABT's. Our recommendation is to complete these cooks by raising the grid above the fire ring. The XL Adjustable Rig and XL Woo2 are our equipment choices for raising the grids. Again, the XL Woo2 details can be found, here
By raising the grid above the fire ring, temperature control is less demanding. Simply, you minimize your chances to burn the food. Plus, using tongs and turners to handle the food is much easier. Some veteran cooks advocate that reflective heating off the dome and/or convective heat patterns within the Big Green Egg® dome enhance grilling in the dome. We have not proven the reflective or convective theories but each makes for interesting conversation. We can confirm that many Adjustable Rig owners have reported back to us that: When "roast" grilling, the cooking methods are easier and the end product is characteristically better, when the grid is raised above the fire ring.
Creating a raised grid set-up with the XL Adjustable Rig is quick to-do. Just drop the XL Rig directly on the Big Green Egg® fire ring and add the cooking grid(s). Pictured below left is our 20" Round Stainless Grid atop the XL Rig. Pictured below right, is again, the 20" Grid and our 16"x20" Oval Stainless Grid on Level 3.0. The Oval Grid is set-up with the Slide Guide, so it can slide in and out. There is approximately 2.5 inches of headroom above the Oval Grid.
Here are a couple key points regarding direct set-ups with the XL Adjustable Rig sitting on the fire ring:
Level 1.5 is below the felt line. So to access a grid here, you'll need to remove the top grid or pull the XL Rig out of the cooker.
If rotating grids is key, then we recommend using two 16"x20" Oval Grids. Both grids fit atop the XL Rig and slide on the Slide Guide. Just to note, it will probably take you longer to read these couple points than it will take you rotate the grids. Rotating grids is as easy as: slide the bottom grid out; slide the top grid in; and place the bottom grid on top.
The 24" Big Green Egg® XL grid can be placed under the XL Rig. However, whenever possible, we prefer not to use the Big Green Egg® XL grid under the XL Rig, as it hinders access to the lump.
It's easy to access the lump or add smoking wood and such. Chances are you won't even have to touch anything other than the wood chunk(s). See picture above with the 3.5" wood chunk.
Sitting on the Big Green Egg® fire ring, the XL Rig's top ring positions the grid 14.75 inches from the lump grate and 7.75 inches from the top center of the dome.
To get a direct cook even higher, the XL Adjustable Rig can be elevated above the fire ring. Simply place the XL Woo2 and 24" XL grid under the XL Rig. Pictured below left is a Sliding Grid set-up with the 16"x20" Oval Grid on Level 1.5 and the 20" Round Grid on top. The set-up creates 4.0 inches of headroom above the lower Oval Grid. This set-up solves the problem where Level 1.5 is below the felt line, first key "dot" point above.
Pictured below right is a set-up where the Big Green Egg 24" XL, our 16"x20" Oval and 20" Round grids are equally spaced. The Oval Grid is at Level 3.0, creating 2.5- inches of headroom between grids. Again, the center Oval Grid can Slide in and out.
Here are a couple key points on using the XL Woo2 under the XL Rig for direct set-ups:
Sitting on the fire ring, the XL Woo2 elevates the XL Rig approximately 2.5 inches higher in the dome. It's approximately 5.25 inches from a grid atop the XL Rig to the top of the dome.
Sitting in the Big Green Egg® platesetter notches, the XL Woo2 elevates the XL Rig approximately 1.75 inches higher in the dome. It's approximately 6 inches from a grid atop the XL Rig to the top of the Big Green Egg dome.
Given the top grid height, the dome thermometer may need adjusting. The best solution is a remote thermometer. More on thermometers can be found, here.
The Big Green Egg® XL grid prevents access to the lump.
One question we get often is: What is the best height for "roast" grilling? Well, there is no "best" height, as everyone's goals, habits and cook procedures are slightly different. With the XL Adjustable Rig, it is just nice to know you have several options to raise the cooking grid.
Grilling Tip: It happens every now and then, we fail to hit the target grilling temperature at the grid. If you are new to ceramic cooking, a couple reasons for failing to hit the temperature are: (1) miss the settings on the lower slider vent or upper daisy wheel; (2) forgot to mix the old and new lump; (3) let the temperature run up; or (4) try to stretch the back end of a long low and slow with a quick grilling cook. So, if you find that you missed the target cooking temperature at your initial grid height, simply move the grid up or down to another Level for a quick fix.
Barbeque - Indirect Set-Ups with One Grid
Barbeque is typically created using low cooking temperatures and slow cooking times. For most low & slow cooks (ribs, briskets, butts), the cooking temperatures generally range from 200 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooking times can vary from several hours to a full day. The best way to recognize when a cook is done is by meat tenderness or internal temperature. We recommend you shy away from using the "so many hours per pound" method to calculate cooking times. Barbeque is just on of those lazy cooking methods that answers to the ole saying.........it's done when it's done!
To barbeque in the XL Big Green Egg®, the essential accessory is a heat diffuser: Something that controls how the heat rises up through the cooker. The more common heat diffusers in use today include: ceramic stones, platesetters, fire bricks, pans, skillets and metal disks. Using a heat diffuser in ceramic cooking is universally called an indirect set-up. Our preferred indirect set-ups in Big Green Egg® use ceramic stones. Why ceramic stones can be found, here
. The go-to Stone for the XL is our 17.5" Ceramic Stone. We designed and fabricate it specifically for the XL Big Green Egg®.
Recommended One Grid Indirect Set-Up: For one grid indirect cooks, we recommend placing the XL Adjustable Rig directly on the fire ring and build the entire set-up on the XL Rig. This puts the cook in the top half of the dome where the temperatures are most consistent. It's approximately 7.5 inches from the grid to the top center of the dome. Plus, if you need to get at the lump, all you need to do is put on hand protection, pull the XL Rig out and the XL is empty. See below, Tips & Techniques Section, for more on pulling the XL Rig.
If you prefer to keep the Drip Pan off the Ceramic Stone, a second set of Crossbars can hold the Drip Pan. We recommend setting the Drip Pan on Level 3.0 to maintain sufficient air ciculation under the grid.
You can create a one grid, indirect set-up using the XL Woo2, Big Green Egg® platesetter, XL Spider or XL grid, as pictured below. However, these set-ups are not our first choice. Candidly, there is no reason to complicate a simple one grid cook with extra pieces. Plus, whenever possible, we recommend against using the Big Green Egg® XL grid, as it prevents easy access to the lump.
Barbeque - Indirect Set-Ups with Multiple Grids
These are the large indirect cooks. It is the same types of food as with single grid barbequing, just more food on more grids. The barbeque set-ups are basically the same as the grilling set-ups, except it is now indirect with lower cooking temperatures on the XL Big Green Egg®.
To create multi-grid, indirect set-ups, either the XL Spider, XL Woo2, XL platesetter or XL grid is needed to hold or be the indirect piece(s). Depending on the cook and equipment, you'll have flexibility on how or where the grids are set. The only set-up that can't go three grids is when the Ceramic Stone is set-up on the Big Green Egg® XL grid. Working the set-ups is not difficult. We recommend you play with the pieces before actually cooking. It won't take you long to figure out how the pieces compliment each other and what set-ups fit your cooking style.
Each row of pictures below follows the same sequence from left to right. The first picture is a set-up in the Big Green Egg® XL cooker. The middle picture is a 3 grid set-up. The far right, third, picture is a 2 grid set-up. Our recommendation is not to fret over all the potential set-ups. Just recognize that with the XL Adjustable Rig, having options is a good thing.
The XL Woo2 paired with our 17.5" Ceramic Stone is a preferred option for creating an indirect set-up. The XL Woo2/Stone creates an indirect set-up similar to the Big Green Egg® platesetter. Plus, the XL Woo2 raises the XL grid to the felt line for direct cooks and it includes a built-in XL Spider. To create an indirect set-up under the XL Adjustable Rig, simply: (1) set the XL Woo2 on the fire ring; (2) add the 17.5" Stone (18" drip pan optional); (3) add the XL grid atop the XL Woo2; (4) set the XL Rig on the XL grid. More on the XL Woo2 can be found, here
The Big Green Egg® XL platesetter raises the XL grid about 1/2 inch from the felt line. For the best XL Adjustable Rig configuration, the XL platesetter should sit in the notches atop the fire ring.
The XL Spider and 17.5" Ceramic Stone combo is a straightforward approach to setting up indirect with the XL Adjustable Rig. Plus, the XL Spider can be used to create other grilling set-ups close to the lump. If vertical spacing is critical, the XL Spider may be the best set-up option. More on the XL Spider can be found, here.
Using the Big Green Egg® XL grid is the most cost effective method to set-up indirect with multiple grids. It is also the most limiting when it comes to flexibility. There is no viable 3-grid, indirect set-up, as the indirect piece sits on the XL grid.
Managing the Vertical Space Continuum
How about that for flashy Section Title! If it got your attention, then it did its job because this Section is important.
The one thing our XL pieces give you is flexibility on how to set-up a cook. Almost everyone can set-up a one grid cook: Set the grid on the fire ring and start cooking. With multiple or raised grid cooks, it can be a bit tricky for some. So, to help take the guesswork out of configuring set-ups, we thought it best to review a couple key points. The best way to do this is with numbers, as the numbers are what to remember. If you can get comfortable managing these three numbers, you should be able to handle just about any set-up configuration.
The first number is 13. It's 13 inches from the fire ring to the top of the dome. Actually, it's a little more, but 13 is a good conservative number. So remember, 13 inches is the space available vertically to create a set-up. Oh, and also remember, 13 inches is only at the center of the sloping dome.
The second number is 4. Generally speaking, port butt or brisket packers require 4 inches of open space above the grid. So remember, butts and packers require 4 inches of space between and above grids. The 4 inches does not include space for the grid. Grid space is additional space.
The third number is 2.5. Generally speaking, when laying ribs (babyback, St. Louis or spares) flat, they require 2.5 inches of open space above the grid. So remember, ribs need 2.5 inches of space between and above grids. Again, space for the grid is not included in the 2.5 inches.
We use butts/packers and ribs because they are popular cooks and at the opposite ends of the "fat/thin" food spectrum. To help streamline the set-up process, the Levels in the XL Adjustable Rig provide the 2.5 and 4.0 inch grid spacing.
Like most things, there are exceptions to every rule. Our exception is with 13. The Big Green Egg® XL platesetter, XL Woo2 and Big Green Egg® XL grid sit above the fire ring, so they need to be included when creating set-ups in the 13 inch vertical. Well, the exception is the XL Spider because it sits below the fire ring. So, if you need more vertical headroom, the XL Spider might be a solution. Just remember, on really long cooks, you may need to watch the lump to maintain fuel.
And like most things, there are short answers. Our short answers are:
With buts and packer briskets, three grids is not possible. The curvature of the dome prevents a useful third grid.
With ribs, three grids is possible: 24" Big Green Egg® XL grid on the bottom, 16"x20" Oval Grid on Level 3.0 and either the 16"x20" Oval or the 20" Round Grid atop the XL Adjustable Rig. Note, on the top grid, it's two full babyback/St. Louis or one spare. On bottom XL and middle Oval grid, it's three full babybacks/St. Louis or one spare per grid. These are full racks, not partial or cut racks.
Half direct and indirect set-ups are easy to achieve. Just add our 9"x19" Half Stone on the XL Crossbars or XL Slide Guide. Remember, the XL Slide Guide only fits Level 1.5 and 3.0, lowest two settings. The height of the Half Stone, how close to the grid, is your call. On the XL Crossbars, the stone must be set on the left or right side. On the Slide Guide, it can go just about anywhere.
If you are one who constantly worries about running out of lump or lives in a very cold climate, you can overfill the Big Green Egg® fire ring to fuel a long low and slow cook. The photo, bottom left, shows the indirect set-up on Level 3.0. DO NOT use this much lump for grilling or high temperature cooks. Pictured is over 10 pounds of lump in only the Big Green Egg® XL fire ring.
If you are a fan of jerky, it is feasible to load four grids on the XL Adjustable Rig, pictured above right. The XL Rig set-up includes 2 Slide Guides, 1 pair Crossbars, 3-16"x20" Oval Grids and 1-20" Round Grid. The indirect set-up is up to you but pictured is the XL Spider, 17.5" Ceramic Stone and 18" Drip Pan. Total Grid area is over 1,150 square inches, almost 8 square feet. You could add the Big Green Egg® XL grid on the bottom to get a fifth level.
Tips & Techniques
One thing to check out is our thermometer information, especially how to set the thermometer when cooking high in the dome. If can be found, here
. This will insure accurate temperature readings during a cook.
One of the features of the XL Adjustable Rig is how fast it can be removed from the XL Big Green Egg®. The first step in removing the XL Adjustable Rig is to have your landing area ready and reasonably close. The second step is to wear adequate personal protection. The third step is actually removing the XL Rig: Grab under the XL Rig's upper ring and lift the XL Rig up and out of the XL Big Green Egg®. Keep the XL Rig level. Remember, these items are hot, so it's worth repeating, have the landing area close by and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and other equipment.
Please note, depending on how you have the XL Adjustable Rig loaded, this can be a heavy lift. The XL Rig, 17.5" Ceramic Stone and 20" Round Grid collectively weigh over 22 pounds. So, if you feel the lift is beyond your abilities, we recommend you do not attempt it. It's not worth dumping a load to save a few minutes.
Sometimes with direct grilling, the lump can create hot spots across the grid. You can minimize the effects from the hot spot by spinning the grid. To spin a round grid, just set the tongs at the grid center and turn.
If you think you may change over from a direct to an indirect set-up during the cook, we recommend setting the XL Crossbars or XL Slide Guide before starting the cook. Then all you need to do is add the indirect piece when needed. Preplanning is always helpful.
If you are not using an XL Crossbar during a cook or have an extra XL Crossbar set, one can be used as a wiggle rod to shake the ash from the Big Green Egg® lump grate during a cook. Slip the XL Crossbar through the Big Green Egg® lower slider opening, hook into one of the open grate holes and lightly push/pull. The motion will shake the ash from the grate openings, improving airflow.
This ends the XL Adjustable Rig narrative.