Adjustable Rig for the Large Big Green Egg® - Sliding Grids
Sliding Grids on the Rig - no other matches it for managing a cook!
The Rig Extender and Sliding Grids provide a user-friendly way to manage multiple grids or foods on the Large Adjustable Rig. The set-ups are flexible and interchangeable to accommodate a wide variety of cooks. Along with the Adjustable Rig, the key pieces are:
- Rig Extender - creates a platform above the Rig;
- 16" Sliding D and/or 13"x17" Oval Grid(s) - grids to slide;
- Slide Guide - rails to slide the Oval Grid in/out of the Rig; and
- Ceramic stone for low and slow, BBQ, cooks.
The chicken and rib videos below provide a quick look on how the pieces work together. The set-ups in the videos are the same, except for the top grid on the Rig Extender.
- In the chicken video, we used the 16" Sliding D Grid atop the Extender. We used the D grid because it pushes back and opens up access to handle the chickens on the lower grid.
- In the rib video, we used a 13"x17" Oval Grid atop Extender. We used the Oval Grid because it is long enough to hold the full rib racks. Plus, using two oval grids , we can quickly rotate the grids without handling the four rack of ribs. Note, full rib racks won't fit on the 16" D Grid.
Let's take a quick look at the pieces.
The Rig Extender sits atop the Adjustable Rig and extends the top cooking position from 6" to 7.5" above the fire ring. It is an effective way to raise the grid high into the dome where the food can take full advantage of the dome's reflective and convective heat patterns. It is our preferred position for the pizza stone or grilling food that burns easily.
The 16" Sliding D Grid pictured below is designed to slide backward on the Rig Extender. The Grid's shape is the letter D. Pushing the D Grid back opens up the grill for better access to items below, as pictured below. The cool thing is you don't have to lift the grid off to access the lower grid.
The D Grid & Extender provide the perfect elevation for grilling veggies while searing steaks below. After searing, you can move the steaks up to the D Grid and finish roasting them to the desired doneness. Or, if you are a fan of the reverse sear, the D Grid/Extender is the perfect spot to start the roasting while the lower grid heats up for searing.
Although not mandatory, the Slide Guide makes life much easier when sliding the Oval Grid or Stone in or out of the Rig. The Slide Guide supports the Oval Grid or Stone as it moves over the Crossbars. Without a Slide Guide you'll need to teeter the Grid or Stone from Crossbar to Crossbar. Trust us on this one, you'll want the Slide Guide.
Set the Slide Guide like you do the Crossbars, see above. The welded Crossbar on the Slide Guide goes to the back of the Rig. The front Crossbar (not welded) is included with the Slide Guide and goes across the front brackets.
13" x 17" Oval Grid
The 13" x 17" Oval Grid can sit atop the Rig Extender. The Oval Grid requires the Extender's front Crossbar for support. Position the Oval Grid on the Extender so the dome closes over it. That's it for placement.
As mentioned, the Oval Grid easily slides in and out of the Rig on the Slide Guide. Popular placement is at the felt line, upper notches. No need to handle the Rig at this level.
Use two 13"x17" Oval Grids when grilling or BBQing similar meats. Two Oval Grids work great when you want to rotate grid positions. Use two Oval Grids when BBQing long meat cuts - ribs or brisket.
How it all comes together:
The Rig Extender holds the top grid. The top grid is either the 16" D or 13"x17" Oval Grid. The D Grid is handy on active grilling cooks as it slides back and opens up access below. The 13"x17" Oval Grid is beneficial on BBQ cooks as it holds long meats (ribs) and can quickly rotate positions with another Oval Grid.
The Oval Grid is too long to push back and open up access below. Likewise, the D Grid is too short to hold long meats (full rib racks).
For most high temp grilling with two grids, a grid on the fire ring and the 16" Sliding D Grid atop the Extender is best. The set-up provides two temperature levels. Popular cooks include searing steaks with veggies roasting up top. Or, grilling hamburgers below with the buns and kids hot dogs up top.
Using two Oval Grids is a handy way to keep similar but different foods separated. An example cook is chicken wings seasoned with different rubs. The two grids saved us several times from mixing things up while entertaining. You can also grill above the felt line with two grid, see corn picture below. Good set-up when needing to grill at oven-like temperatures.
For low & slow, BBQ cooks, the ceramic stone goes on the Rig's lower setting. The 15" Round or 13"x17" Oval Ceramic Stone is recommended. With most cooks, the grids will be two 13" x 17" Oval Grids. Meat size will dictate which level you set the lower Oval Grid and Slide Guide. For big meats, pork butts or brisket, the lower Oval goes at the Rig's middle setting. With thin meats, ribs or wings, the Oval Grid can go at the felt line for easy sliding.
Three Grids with Lower Two Grids Sliding:
Of all the set-ups we outline on the site, this is the Grand Daddy - 3 Grids with 2 Sliding. It’s not hard to master as long as you have a reasonable understanding of ceramic cooking and the Adjustable Rig. It does require a watchful eye as you will need to rotate the grids during the cook. We recommend taking notes until you are proficient with the cook(s).
The most common three grid cook is ribs. Other foods can be cooked on three grids but the food needs to fit the approximate 2.75" spacing between grids.
What you need: Adjustable Rig, Rig Extender, 2 Slide Guides, 3 Oval Grids, Spider, 13" Round Ceramic Stone and 14" round Stainless Drip Pan.
Key points on this set-up are:
- You need a work area outside the cooker.
- The Adjustable Rig and Rig Extender hold the three Oval Grids.
- The Spider holds the indirect piece(s): 13" Stone and 14" Drip Pan.
- You can work the upper two grids without removing the Rig.
- To work the lowest grid, the Rig must be removed from the cooker.
- There is approximately 2.75" of space between grids.
Ribs on the Sliding Grids:
A typical pork rack has 11-14 bones and runs up to 18" in length. At 17.5" long, the Oval Grid is long enough to handle the racks. The load capacity per set-up is highlighted in the chart below. Fitting St. Louis style ribs depends on trim width but two racks per grid is typical.
|# of Racks per Cook||Spare Ribs||Loin (Baby) Back||St. Louis|
Our preference is quality over quantity. So even though some folks may outperform the # racks per grid listed, we stick with what's listed.
We like smoking full racks for a couple reasons:
- Maybe it’s just us, but there is something about displaying or handling full racks that half slabs just can’t match. Maybe it’s the way a full rack dwarfs a dinner plate. Or, maybe it is how a full rack handles or hangs from the tongs. We’re not sure why but guest anticipation is always greater with full racks vs. half slabs.
- It is easier to keep up with full racks than twice as many half slabs. Have you ever wondered with tongs in hand: Hmmm, did I flip/rotate that rack or where did that one (special) rack go? And, what about filling a grid to capacity only to find when flipping or rotating later, the ribs don’t fit.
- With foiling, fewer racks mean fewer aluminum sheets. This means the cooker is open less and mistakes (torn foil, shortage with braising liquids) are less likely to occur.
Couple Rib Pointers:
- If you need to keep track of a special rack, we recommend putting a toothpick in the rack and/or taking a small piece of aluminum foil and looping it over the Oval Grid’s front edge. This way you know where the special rack is located. Remember, the sliding grids concept is “move the grids and not the ribs”. So, the rack can stay put with the foil marker.
- Cooking ribs is relatively straightforward. It’s a matter of recognizing how the racks on each level are progressing and then rotate accordingly. During your first cook or two, we recommend that you start by dividing each stage’s cooking time by the number of grids and rotate equally. For example, on the 3-1-1 method the first stage is three hours. So, rotate at 1.5 hours with two grids and every hour with three grids.
- The top ribs can baste the lower ribs.
Technical Points on Sliding Grids:
Please note, the 18" egg® grid does not fit atop the Rig Extender. Also note, the Rig Extender and 18" egg grid can not be used together atop the Rig.
Important: Since the Rig Extender puts a grid high in the dome, it may be necessary to shorten the dome thermometer's length inside the dome. Shortening the length is easy to do by moving the thermometer's spring bracket from inside the dome to outside the dome. More detail on adjusting the dome thermometer can be found here.
Setting the Extender on the Rig is easy. Set the "U" hook (on back leg) so it straddles the Rig's back vertical support. This is pictured below right. Then, lower the Extender's four other legs on the Rig's top ring. That's it! You might be wondering why the hook? The U hook prevents the Extender from spinning on the Rig.
The removable Crossbar at the front of the Extender provides front support for long objects. Use it with the 13"x17" Oval Grid or 16" pizza stone. No need to use the Crossbar with the 16" Sliding D Grid: It gets in the way.
The D Grid's dimensions are configured on a 16" diameter grid with the short (flat) side measuring 14.5" deep. The D Grid's two legs run outside the Extender and keep the D Grid properly positioned on the Extender.
To set the 16" D Grid, all you do is place the D Grid on the Extender with the D Grid's flat edge toward you. To push the D Grid back, use tongs or bump the grid back with your fingers. To bring the D Grid back over the Extender, all you do is close the dome. We demonstrate this in the chicken video.
Care must be taken when sliding the D Grid along the Rig Extender. The dome can act as a stop when sliding back. Whenever possible, keep the D Grid's weight distribution slightly forward of center (toward the grid's flat edge). No need to lubricate anything as the smoke and grease from the cooks automatically lubricate the rails for easy sliding. Checkout the chicken video and you'll see how stable the D Grid is on the Extender.
Use the Extender's center bar (push back guide) as a visual stop guide when pushing the 16" D grid back. It will only take a couple practice pushes to master sliding by making a mental note of the Grid's back position in reference to the center push back guide. To bring the D Grid back over the Extender, all you do is close the dome.
Set-Ups Used in the Chicken and Rib Videos:
In both set-ups, we stared with:
- Large Adjustable Rig with Crossbars
- 13" x17" Oval Stone (15" Half Stones Optional) on Rig's lower setting
- 13" x 17" Oval Grid with Slide Guide in the Rig.
- Rig Extender atop the Rig.
On the chicken cook, it was the 16" Sliding D Grid atop the Extender. The D Grid pushes back to open up access to the lower Oval Grid.
On the rib cook, it was a 13" x 17" Oval Grid atop the Extender. The Oval Grid is long enough to hold ribs and with two Ovals, we can easily rotate the ribs.
The only other difference between the two cooks is the lower Oval Grid position. With the chicken the lower Oval was set at the Rig's middle notch setting. This gave ample room above the grid for the spatchcock chickens. With the ribs, the lower Oval Grid was at the felt line setting, so we can slide it in and out.
Check the videos again!
Recommendations on Lifting a Loaded Rig:
- Cup your fingers under the Adjustable Rig’s upper ring, use your thumbs to hold the top Grid/Rig Extender in place, lift up and out. Move slowly and keep the Rig level. Set it on the work area.
- To return the loaded Rig to the cooker, reverse the steps you took to remove the Rig.
- When rotating grids, it’s best to rotate in one direction: top down or bottom up. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of rotating the same way during all cooks.