Adjustable Rig for the Large Big Green Egg® - Half Stone Set-Ups
How to use Half Stones on the Rig for two zone cooks
We were one the first to promote the benefits of using a half stone set-up in ceramic grills. The half stone is used to create two cooking zones when grilling. The first zone is direct (no stone) with the heat rising straight up from the lump and over the grid above. The second zone is indirect with the half stone knocking down the rising heat and producing a non radiating, lower temperature over the grid above.
The half stone set-up is handy when you need a holding or staging area during the cook. The most common example is grilling steaks from rare to well done. You can sear the steaks together and use the half stone configuration to hold the rare steaks until the more well-done steaks are ready. Another example is having the half stone under veggies on a raised grid.
We learned two key points from our decade plus experience with this type of set-up.
1st Point: If the stone is not directly under the grid, you are missing the true benefits of the set-up. As little as three inches between stone and grid can make a huge difference on quality and performance. The goal with the half stone is to produce a constant temperature zone (minimal thermal gradients) over the grid above. The best way to achieve constant temperature is with the stone right under the grid. We have three Rig options on how to position a half stone right under a grid.
We recommend our 8"x16" (16" Half) Ceramic Half Stone. We prefer this stone as it matches up nicely to the 18" large grid. We achieve similar performance with the 15" Half Ceramic Stone. We offer the 15" Stone in 2 half stones. So for some, the 15s may be a more economical solution, as they can be used for full low & slow, BBQ, cooks too.
Option 1 uses our Half Stone Hanger and one Rig Crossbar to hold the half stone. The cooking grid is our 9"x18" Stainless Half Grid. The set-up goes to the backside of the Rig, so access to the grid below is unencumbered.
The Hanger is a triangular wire form that hangs from the top of the Rig and holds the Half Stone. A Crossbar supports the back-end of the Hanger. The Half Stone is less than one inch under the grid. That is topside of the stone to topside of the grid. The set-up goes together quickly.
2nd Point: The second point we've learned over the years is the importance of spacing. If you want total access to the grid below, you need at least 4" - 5" of open space between pieces. Anything less and it is very difficult to manage the cook on the lower grid.
With a grid on the fire ring and using the Hanger (half grid set-up above), you have approximately 4-1/2" of open space between the top of the lower grid and bottom side of the stone. Plus, the front portion of the grill is wide open, providing unobstructed access to the lower grid.
Pictured below is the Rig sitting on Big Green Egg"s large cast iron grid. It's a great set-up for searing steaks and having a warming/staging level above. The Rig is 6" tall, so the top grid is 6 inches above the lower grid.
The Half Stone slides in and out easily. It's a convenient way to change between direct and indirect set-ups. No need to handle anything but the Half Stone.
Option 2 uses the Half Stone under a full grid. Pictured below left, the Rig Crossbars to hold the Half Stone. The 18" egg® grid is atop the Rig. The only restriction to this set-up is the Half Stone must be set to one side.
Option 3 places the Half Stone directly on the lower grid, picture below right. Having a grid under the Half Stone provides 360° stone placement and depending on Crossbar placement, the lower grid can be up and off the fire ring.
A 4th option is possible but does not use the Rig. It uses the Spider & 15" Half Stone under a grid on the fire ring, pictured below. The 15" Half Stone is a good fit inside the fire ring, as most fire rings are less than 16" ID.
Note, the 8"x16" Half Stone is too big for the large egg® fire ring and does not fit the Spider.