Adjustable Rig for the Large Big Green Egg® - Low & Slow
How to set-up the Rig for low & slow on the Large Egg®
Barbeque is typically created using low cooking temperatures and slow cooking times. For most low & slow cooks (ribs, brisket & pork butt), the cooking temperatures range from 225°F to 275° F. 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 determine meat doneness. Barbeque is just one of those lazy cooking methods that answers to the ole saying . . . "It's done when it's done!"
With ceramic cookers, the essential accessory to create mouth-watering barbeque is a heat diffuser or indirect piece. A heat diffuser or indirect piece protects the underside of the food from burning during the extended cook times. Using a heat diffuser or indirect piece in ceramic cooking is universally called an indirect set-up.
Our preferred indirect set-ups use ceramic stones. More information on ceramic stones can be found here. To summarize the ceramic stone page: Stones come in various sizes, lend themselves to multiple configurations, are durable, match the round shape of the cooker and have no legs to hinder airflow.
Lump can burn in excess of 1200° F, so it's important to use the proper heat diffuser. Our stones are produced with high temperature cordierite formulas, have 5/8" minimum thickness and are made in the USA.
Pick the stone that best matches the cooks you do most often. Then, add other stones as your abilities and needs grow.
Depending on your primary needs, we recommend either the 15" Round or the 13”x17” Oval Ceramic Stone. The 15" Round matches up nicely to the fire ring's diameter, our 16" Stainless Drip Pan and the 18" egg® grid. Plus the 15" can be purchased as two half stones, providing added grilling possibilities.
If your primary barbeque is ribs, briskets or two pork butts, then the 13"x17” Oval Stone is your best match. We specifically designed the Oval Stone to provide full indirect protection under these long meats.
Single Grid Barbequing:
Low & Slow (BBQ) cooks on the Adjustable Rig are the same processes as grilling, except now we add a ceramic stone and utilize lower cooking temperatures.Pictured below are the more common set-ups. The typical set-up has the 18" egg® grid atop the Adjustable Rig and the ceramic stone below on the Rig Crossbars. Generally, this set-up handles: two butts, two full racks of ribs, two spatchcock chickens, or 12-14 pound brisket packer.
15" Stones: Pictured below left, the 15" Round Half Stones are at the lower Rig setting. Here, the stones are 1.5 inches above the fire ring. Having a stone above the fire ring provides better air movement than a ceramic piece sitting directly on the fire ring. If you really want to open up the cooker, you can put a stones on the Rig's middle setting, 3 inches above the fire ring, pictured below right.
Half stones open up more possibilities with half direct/indirect set-ups. More of this can be found in the Half Stone Section but here are a couple pictures.
A drip pan is handy to catch dripping. Catching the drippings will make the next cook easier and quicker - no need to burn off the crud. Our drip pans are stainless steel and tapered to help promote better air flow. They will tarnish but won't melt. Our 16" Round Stainless Drip Pan is a great match for the 15" Half Stones.
We do not recommend aluminum drip pans, as the cooker can reach temperatures to melt aluminum. High temp mistakes do happen.
Some folks prefer to elevate the drip pan above the stone. It's easy to do with a second set of Crossbars or Slide Guide. Info on the Slide Guide can be found at the Sliding Grids Page. Pictured below is our 16" Round Stainless Drip Pan on the 15" Stone. Foil the pan for easy pan clean up.
13" x 17" Oval Stone: We exclusively designed the Oval Stone and Oval Foil Ring to extend indirect protection under long meat cuts, specifically ribs and brisket. The Oval shape provides maximum protection with minimal impact on air circulation. If you suffer from burnt ends on long meats, then the 13"x17" Oval is your fix.
For most cooks, the Oval Stone and Oval Ring sit at the Rig's lower setting. At this setting, the stone is 1.5" above the fire ring and 3.5" below the 18" grid atop the Rig. The Oval Foil Ring needs to sit on the Oval Stone.
If you need extra headroom above the grid (turkey cooks), you can forgo the 18" egg® grid and use the 13"x17" Oval Stainless Grid on the Crossbars. The Rig's felt line setting provides an extra 1.5" of headroom. The middle setting adds an extra 3" of headroom.
Pictured below is a brisket packer cook using the 13"x17" Oval Stone, Foil Ring and Oval Grid. The brisket packer was a little more than half way through the cook when the picture was taken.
Remember, the indirect set-up requires an extra pair of Rig Crossbars or a Slide Guide. For Thanksgiving, imagine the turkey in a roasting pan instead of the brisket. It is the perfect turkey set-up.
Here are a couple barbeque cooks using a single grid, indirect set-up on the Adjustable Rig. Note, the lines on the spatchcock chickens are grid impressions from flipping the birds skin side down. We start the birds for about 10 minutes skin side down and direct (no stone) to jump start the skin rendering.
Indirect with the Spider:
Using the Large Spider is another way to set-up indirect with the Adjustable Rig. We only recommend using the Spider for big cooks: 4 pork butts, 2 briskets, or 6 racks of ribs.
The Spider has legs and drops two inches into the fire ring. The Spider holds our 13" Round Ceramic Stone and 14" Round Stainless Drip Pan, creating the indirect set-up.
As you can see with the stone on the Spider, the air circulation is virtually unobstructed for 360 degrees around the entire stone. It is this unobstructed airflow that makes all ceramic stones our preferred indirect (barbequing) method in ceramic grills. Depending on your egg® fire ring, the Spider is 3 or 5 leg. See the Spider section for more detail.
(Important) Since the inside diameter of the Large Big Green Egg® fire ring is 15-1/2" to 16", we strongly recommend limiting a full stone's maximum diameter to 13". This 13" limitation insures proper airflow by maintaining at least one inch gap between the stone's outer edge and fire ring's inner wall.
We offer a 13" Stone and 14" tapered Stainless Drip Pan. The key to using a 14" tapered pan is the pan's top rim only measures 14" and is at the top of the fire ring.
Whenever possible, build the indirect set up on the Rig. This way, the stone is above the fire ring for better airflow. Plus, if you need to access the lump, just lift the Rig out. No need to handle anything other than the Rig.
More on the Large Spider can be found here and below in Multi Grid Barbequing.
Barbequing on two or three grids is possible with the Adjustable Rig. It's the same types of food as single grid cooks, just more food. The set-ups easily accommodate two packers; four butterfly (spatchcock) chickens and at least six baby back or St. Louis style ribs or pork butts.
For thin meats (ribs), it is possible to build the entire set-up on the Rig. Pictured below left is 13"x17" Oval Stone at the Rig's lower level. The 13"x17" Oval Grid is at middle level. The 18" egg® grid goes atop the Rig.
The one set-up we don't recommend is the 13"x17" Oval Stone directly on the fire ring. As you can see, the 13"x17" Oval Stone will not fit inside the fire ring or on the Large Spider.
Big meats cooks (4 butts, 2 briskets, 6 racks of ribs) require the Spider and 13" Stone to set-up indirect.
You can fill up to 1/3 of the fire ring with lump. It's not a problem but for peace of mind, we suggest monitoring lump usage on very long cooks.
Most Flexible Multi-Grid Configurations
Our sliding grid configurations are an effective way to manage grid spacing and still have easy access to the grids and lump. Pictured below left and center are two butts with two full racks of ribs.
Pictured below right are four full racks of babyback ribs. With the four racks of ribs, you can slide the lower grid out. More on the Rig Extender and Sliding Grids can be found here.