3 Irresistible Burger Recipes to Make You the Hero of the Party

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There’s hardly any food more “American” than burgers and fries, and in this blog post I'm sharing three impressive grilled burger recipes to make your next party memorable. 

Keep reading to learn how to make these three mouth-watering burgers:

  • American Smashburger. Double-stacked smashburger with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and fry sauce, etc.
  • Swiss Onion Cheeseburger. Caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, and Swiss cheese, etc.
  • Avocado Bacon Burger. Slices of bacon, avocado, and tomato, a drizzle of ranch, and a slice of gouda cheese, etc.

If you don’t like my combination of toppings, you know what to do. ? My goal is to inspire you with some ideas to help you make a burger your guests will thoroughly enjoy!

Do you need any supplies or tools for your summer barbecues? In our retail store we carry a wide variety of smokers, grills, charcoal, pellets, sauces and seasonings, and many other outdoor cooking supplies to help you cook for your guests with 100% confidence. Call us at 717-355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA (store hours at the bottom of this page).

For this cook, I'm using my XL Big Green Egg fired with Nature-Glo Lump Charcoal and a handful of Myron Mixon Orchard Blend Pellets.


American Smashburger

This burger punches a lot of flavor, covered in melty American cheese, then finished with several classic burger toppings.

The big idea with a smashburger is the more intense flavor added by griddle cooking them with jagged edges. Frying the burger browns the entire surface of the meat, which ramps up the flavor, and the jagged edges provide even more surface for browning. Build a double-stacked burger for twice the amount of that awesome, crispy deliciousness in one sandwich!

  • Burger: 1/4-pound ball of ground beef seasoned with Killer Hogs AP Rub
  • Toppings: American cheese, pickles, tomato, onion, lettuce, fry sauce, and ketchup
  • Bun: Conventional burger bun

You might have noticed that my smashburgers got a bit thick for stacking. If you can keep them at 1/4" thick, the double burger will be more practical for stacking and give you that higher browned meat to inner meat ratio we’re looking for.

See "Cooking the Burgers" below for my notes on grilling the burgers.

Homemade Fry Sauce

You can purchase a premade fry sauce or mix up your own using this recipe:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dried onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon white vinegar

Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl and season it with salt and pepper to taste. Add some heat with a dash or two of hot sauce if you'd like. Set the sauce in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

What sets the Big Green Egg apart from other types of cookers is how efficient and easy to use it is. It uses very little charcoal and enables you to cook using any cooking style you want all on the same grill!

Here at Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply we're a platinum Big Green Egg dealer which means we keep all 7 sizes in stock along with more than 100 Big Green Egg-branded accessories to expand the capacity and functions of the Eggs.


Swiss Onion Cheeseburger

If the American smashburger is the guy at your party who’s the center of attention, always making people laugh, this Swiss onion and mushroom burger is the person who doesn’t say much, but has earned the respect of everyone who knows him.

This burger could honestly be an entree without the bread. The sweetened onions and the mushrooms complement the meat so well, it's like eating a home-style meal between two pieces of bread, and the arugula gives it a perfect freshness.

  • Burger: 1/3-pound burger patties seasoned with Butcher BBQ Grilling Addiction on both sides
  • Toppings: A slice of Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, and arugula
  • Bun: Brioche bun

Prepping the Toppings

Onions. Slice an onion and cook the rings in a skillet on the stove top with a teaspoon of sugar, a tablespoon of oil, and salt to taste. A medium-sized onion makes enough for at least 3 sandwiches, but don’t worry about them going to waste, as they are delicious on eggs and other foods too in case you have leftovers. Preheat the oil, then drop in the onions and the salt and sugar. Cook them over medium-low heat for 30–45 minutes, until they are as soft as you prefer. Stir them as needed to keep them from sticking.

Mushrooms. Saute sliced shiitake mushrooms with a tablespoon of oil and salt and pepper to taste. It will take 1–2 ounces of raw mushrooms per sandwich.

See "Cooking the Burgers" below for my notes on grilling the burgers.

Do you need any supplies or tools for your summer barbecues? In our retail store we carry a wide variety of smokers, grills, charcoal, pellets, sauces and seasonings, and many other outdoor cooking supplies to help you cook for your guests with 100% confidence. Call us at 717-355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA (store hours at the bottom of this page).


Bacon Avocado Burger

This burger is perhaps the “trendiest” one of all three. It has a lot going for itself—the smoothness of the avocado, crunchiness of the bacon, tangy notes of the ranch, and freshness of the lettuce and tomato really make this one memorable. The Gouda cheese is a touch of class too, but feel free to swap this out for pepper jack, Monterey Jack, or your favorite cheese.

  • Burger: 1/3-pound burger seasoned with Butcher BBQ Grilling Addiction on both sides
  • Toppings: Gouda cheese, bacon, avocado slices, tomato, ranch dressing, lettuce, and mayonnaise
  • Bun: Brioche bun

Prepping the Toppings

You’ll want to start cooking the bacon before you start grilling the burgers. Our favorite method of cooking bacon is on a pizza pan in the oven at 400 degrees F. Just fill the pan with slices, single layer, and cook it until it’s done to your preference. It takes about 1-1/2 slices of bacon per sandwich. Peel and slice the avocado just before serving so they don’t turn brown.

See "Cooking the Burgers" below for my notes on grilling the burgers.


Cooking the Burgers

I picked up some fresh CAB 80/20 ground beef at my local grocery store for these. (Use ground beef with at least 15% fat for burgers). I didn’t mix anything into the meat to make the burgers. The meat came in 1-pound packages, so it was easy to divide each one into 1/3 and 1/4-pound portions.

Grilling the 1/3-Pound Burgers

Divide the meat into 1/3 pound portions, then work the meat into a ball before you form the patties to help the meat hold together, but don’t overwork it. Then form them into patties with a burger press or by hand.

After the burgers are formed and seasoned, set them on the grill grate directly over the fire. After a few minutes, they should start forming a bit of a crust on the bottom side. Flip them over, and cook them until they are done to your liking. Transfer them to a pan for serving.

Cover the burgers with a slice of cheese as they are finishing on the grill or set the pan in an oven on low until the cheese is melted.

Grilling the Smashburgers

For the smashburgers, we divided each pound of ground beef into four balls. Season the top and bottom of each ball liberally with something like Killer Hogs AP Rub or Butcher BBQ Grilling Addiction.

I'm using a set of upside down GrillGrates on my Big Green Egg, but you can also use a cast iron skillet on your grill or a stand-alone griddle.

Set the balls on the cooking surface and press them flat with a spatula, no more than 1/4” thick. If the surface is very hot, it will only take a couple of minutes to brown the first side. When they are ready, flip them over and smash them again. Let them cook until they are done and transfer them to a pan.

Cover the burgers with American cheese as they are finishing on the grill or set the pan in an oven on low until the cheese is melted.

When Are They Done?

We recommend following the USDA guidelines of cooking ground beef until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (well-done) because the meat has been ground and potentially contaminated throughout the burger. However, if you are careless and take them past 160 degrees, they can quickly turn dry and unpleasant to eat. That’s why I always like to use my instant-read thermometer when grilling burgers, so I can easily remove each one as it finishes.

Personally, I like to remove them from the grill 5–10 degrees under the target temperature, as they will likely rise a few degrees from carryover cooking, and I'd rather be a bit on the low side than to overcook them. However, remember that you violate the USDA guidelines at your own risk.

Toasting the Buns

After the meat is off the grill, oil or butter the buns and toast them face-down on the grate for a few seconds.

Assembling the Sandwiches

As you're grilling the burgers, it's nice to have a helper preparing the toppings, then as soon as the burgers are done and the buns are toasted, you can start making the sandwiches. You will find the lists of the toppings we used in the order we layered them above.

Crispy shoestring fries served with ketchup or fry sauce and a big glass of sweet tea complete this meal quite nicely in my opinion!


Firing the Egg for Direct Heat

Here are the tools I use to Fire my XL Egg:

I use the Kick Ash Basket, which contains the charcoal and makes it easy to shake out the ashes and tiny pieces of charcoal after or during a cook, giving the remaining coals in the firebox more oxygen.

Here are the steps I use to fire the Egg for direct heat:

  1. Shake out the ashes and top off the basket with new charcoal. Nestle 2 or 3 fire starter squares into the charcoal. (For this cook, I wanted the fire on the one side, so I only lit the left side and 2 squares was plenty.) Light the squares and make sure the charcoal is arranged so it will light quickly.
  2. Open the bottom vent all the way and leave the lid open for a few minutes to get it started. Use the screen vent in the bottom to keep embers inside the grill.
  3. If you have a BBQ Dragon Fan, clip it onto the rim of the grill and fan the flame. In about 6–8 minutes that area will be ripping hot. Remove the fan and mix the charcoal, if necessary, to spread the heat evenly in the area you'll be using. Add the grill grate, then close the lid and open the top vent. 
  4. Stabilize the temperature in the grill. For this cook, we're shooting for 350–400 degrees F, so once the temperature is close to what you’re looking for, slide both vents to around 1" open and then adjust the top vent as needed to stabilize it.
  5. Clean the grate with the Smokeware Ash Tool (and a brush if needed).
  6. Just before putting on the burgers, throw a handful of smoking pellets onto the fire for some extra smoke flavor.

Note: The Egg is designed to cook with the lid closed. If you keep the lid open, the fire may get hotter than you want it, and the fire can also discolor the handle on the outside of the grill when the lid is open.

Is your patio calling for a Big Green Egg?


Mastering Temperature Control in the Egg

It will take some time to master temperature control, but it works on this ​principle: ​Give the grill more air to raise the temperature and give it less air to lower the temperature. This is done by adjusting both the top and bottom vents.

If you understand this principle, you can figure out how to make it work in any scenario. Depending on how you fired the grill​, you may need to ​​adjust the vents differently. ​​Keep in mind a higher cooking temperature requires more air than a lower one. For most cooks, you'll be running with the vents between 1/4" (a pencil thickness) and 1-1/2".

What if I can’t get the temperature up to where I want it?

If the grill doesn’t climb up to the temperature you need with the vents all the way open, you’ll need to fire it hotter. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Add more charcoal if needed
  • Leave the lid open longer to get it hotter or use a BBQ Dragon Fan to fan the flame.
  • If you require an extremely high temperature, light the charcoal and blow the Dragon through the bottom vent with the lid closed and the top vent open to get the grill over 600 degrees.

Remember it takes more time to heat the walls of the grill than it does to only heat the air inside the grill. If the grill itself is not hot yet, you’ll loose a lot of the heat when you open the lid, so there are some advantages of letting it heat up for 30 minutes before cooking. This is mainly a concern for bigger cuts of meat or when you want to cook at really high temperatures.

Once the grill is up to temperature and you have it dialed in, it should take very little adjustment to finish the cook. If you have any question or are struggling to maintain temperature in your grill, feel free to call or visit our store for free advice on how to master temperature control.

Do you need any supplies or tools for your summer barbecues? In our retail store we carry a wide variety of smokers, grills, charcoal, pellets, sauces and seasonings, and many other outdoor cooking supplies to help you cook for your guests with 100% confidence. Call us at 717-355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA (store hours at the bottom of this page).

​About the author: Lavern Gingerich is a writer and the digital marketing manager for Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply​.

My Grandma’s Pecan Pie in a Big Green Egg

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Outdoor cooking is no longer just about the meat. Any kind of indirect heat smoker that can hold a baking temperature can be used for cooking dishes you normally wouldn’t think of cooking outdoors, including my grandma’s amazing pecan pie!

In my opinion, no Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday is complete without homemade pie. Pumpkin is high on the list for many, but pecan pie is my all-time favorite, so I decided to show you how easy it is to cook a pecan pie on the Big Green Egg and take it a notch above the ordinary.

This would make an excellent dessert for your holiday meal or any time of year, really.

Do you need help cooking your holiday meals? We believe amazing barbecue is not just for celebrities. Visit our store for everything you need to cook outdoors, including free and friendly advice from fellow barbecue enthusiasts. Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

The Crust

My wife made the crust for this pie from scratch using the following recipe. It’s gluten free and delicious! The oat flour gives it a delicate, crumbly texture I really like.

Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 cups oat flour
  • 6 tablespoons oat fiber
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2/3 cup cold butter, grated
  • 1/4–1/2 cup ice water

Combine the first four ingredients in a medium bowl, and then cut in the butter until it forms small crumbs. Add enough water as you’re mixing it to turn it into a dough consistency.

This recipe makes two crusts, so separate the dough into two equal parts. Roll each one thin between two pieces of wax paper, remove the top piece of wax paper, and flip it onto a pie dish. Cut the excess crust off with a butter knife and crimp the edge with your fingers.

If you are used to making your own pie crusts, you might have a favorite recipe already. Or if you don’t want to make your own crust, you can always purchase a 9-inch shell at the grocery store and still enjoy the wonderful wood-fired flavor we’re getting ready to enjoy here.

The Pie

My mom passed this on from her mom, so it’s been in my family for quite some time. Once you taste it, you’ll understand why!

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecan halves or pieces

Beat all the ingredients, reserving the pecans. Stir in the pecans and pour the mixture into a pie crust.

At this point, you can bake the pie either in the oven or in your smoker. I’m using the Big Green Egg with a target temperature of 375 degrees F.

To fire the Egg, I used Rockwood charcoal with a chunk of pecan smoking wood. Light the charcoal with wax fire starter squares or a hand-held torch and a BBQ Dragon.

I used the Flame Boss to control the temperature (more on that below).

Once the charcoal is well lit in one or two spots, add a chunk of smoking wood, set the convEGGtor in the grill to set it up for indirect heat, and rest the cooking grate on the convEGGtor.

Close the lid and adjust both vents to wide open. Use the screen vent in the bottom to keep embers from escaping the bottom of the grill.

Once the temperature is within 50 degrees of your target temperature (325 degrees), it's time to hook up the Flame Boss or start adjusting the vents to stabilize the temperature.

If you are using the Flame Boss, see my notes on how to set it up below. If not, slide both vents to 1” open and then adjust the top vent as needed to stabilize it at 375 degrees. See my notes on temperature control below if you are having trouble dialing in the temperature.

Bake the pie in the grill for 40–50 minutes or until the filling has set and is only a bit jiggly.

Temperature Control in the Big Green Egg

If you're new to this, it will take some time to master temperature control, but it works on this principle: Give the grill more air to raise the temperature and give it less air to lower the temperature. This is done by adjusting both the top and bottom vents.

How you fire the grill and what your target temperature is will affect how you adjust the vents, but if you understand the principle, you can figure out how to master the temperature in any scenario. For most cooks, you'll be running with the vents between 1/4” (a pencil thickness) and 1-1/2”.

In this cook, I used the Flame Boss to control the grill temperature. This cool gadget is like cruise control for your charcoal grill. It electronically adjusts the air flow to keep the temperature steady and also monitors the temperature of up to three different pieces of meat. You can connect it to your network for monitoring the grill and meats from your phone too. 

Note: As you can see in the photos above, I set up the Flame Boss while the grill was getting hot, but it works best to wait until the grill is within 50 degrees of your target temperature.

Install the adapter in the bottom vent, plug in the power cord, pit probe, and fan, hook the fan into the adapter, clip the pit probe onto the grill's factory thermometer probe, and set the pit temperature on the Flame Boss to 375 degrees F.

Close the bottom vent so the only air going into the grill is through the Flame Boss adapter. The Flame Boss works with forced draft, so close the top vent to about 1/16" open.

Flame Boss Tips:

  • If the temperature creeps above what you have the Flame Boss set, you may need to close the top vent a little more (no less than a sliver).
  • If the temperature won't rise to the set pit temperature, slide the top vent open in tiny increments until the Flame Boss can do its job.
  • Be careful not to let the Egg get too hot. The Flame Boss is designed to raise and maintain the grill temperature, so it has a hard time lowering a runaway fire by 50–100 degrees.

Cool the pie a bit before serving it. I prefer it cooled overnight in the fridge and served the following day. This is an advantage if you have a small smoker and don’t have room for the entire meal. You can easily make your pies a day or two early and surprise everyone the day of your family gathering with a delicious wood-fired dessert.

If you’ve never tried a smoked dessert, I hope you try this one. It’s “easy as pie,” and the flavor is perfect for anyone who loves that classic wood-fired flavor!

Do you need help cooking your holiday meal? We believe amazing barbecue is not just for celebrities. Visit our store for everything you need to cook outdoors, including free and friendly advice from fellow barbecue enthusiasts. Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

​About the author: Lavern Gingerich is a writer and the digital marketing manager for Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply​.

Holiday Recipe: How to Smoke a Prime Rib on a Big Green Egg

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Are you excited about cooking a holiday meal this Christmas that will linger in the memories of those who enjoy it with you? Or planning a fancy-ish menu for a party or business conference?

Smoked prime rib roast is perfect for a festive meal or when you want something more elegant than grilled chicken or smoked brisket.

If this is your first time smoking a prime rib, it may feel intimidating, but my tips and tricks in this recipe will help you smoke a prime rib you can be proud of. Even if it isn’t perfect it will be delicious, and you might even surprise yourself!

A beef roast cooked by this method is best cooked to medium rare or medium doneness. If some of your guests don’t appreciate a good steak, they might not care for this dish either. My suggestion is to prepare a second meat option, such as chicken or pork. If you’re cooking a holiday meal, you could offer a double-smoked ham with a cranberry glaze.

Have any outdoor cooking questions? Need some supplies for cooking a holiday meal on your smoker or grill? We'd love to help! Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA during store hours (listed at the bottom of this page).

Purchase the Roast

I purchased a whole 18-pound boneless ribeye roast. If that’s too much meat for you, you can get one cut down to five or six pounds. If your grocery store doesn’t have any in the display case, talk to the butcher about breaking one down for you. They might even tie it up for you.

The roast I cooked was a choice grade from Sam's Club. Their prime grade ribeyes (referring to the grading system, not the cut) are nearly twice the cost per pound and they were out of stock, so I decided to go with choice.

If you can find prime grade and want to spend the extra money for better marbling, it would give you more exquisite results, but for most people on a budget, choice offers the best balance of cost and quality.

I like to prepare the meat the night before I plan to cook it for two reasons: First, it gives the dry brine time to work its magic in the fridge, and second, we won’t have to worry about spending an hour prepping the meat the day of the cook. If you’re cooking this on a special day, you might be glad the meat is ready to season and set on the smoker.

Trim

Take your time to trim the roast because you want to build up a tasty bark that won't need to be discarded at serving time.

Carefully trim off the fat cap and the silverskin. Remove anything on the surface of the meat that you don’t want to eat so that the bark can build directly on the meat.

The meat will cook more evenly if it’s shaped like a cylinder. If the meat is oblong or tear-shaped, I recommend you tie some loops around the roast with cooking twine every couple of inches to hold the roast into a more round shape. The twine also helps keep the muscles from separating during the cook and heating unevenly.

Dry Brine

This step helps to keep the final product more juicy.

Salt the outside of the roast all over with kosher salt. It takes roughly 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat. You can substitute kosher salt with table salt (use 1/4 teaspoon per pound). You can also just eyeball it if you’re careful not to cake it on too much.

Set the roast in a pan, cover it with plastic wrap, and set it in the fridge overnight, or at least four hours.

Season

I seasoned the entire surface with Oakridge Carne Crosta Steakhouse Rub, a coffee-infused seasoning designed to create an irresistible crust on beef roasts and steaks! The directions say you should apply the rub at least 30 minutes before putting the meat on the smoker.

If you prefer mixing your own beef rub, you can use this one:

Meathead’s Cow Crust

Mix the following ingredients in a bowl and season the meat with it, or elevate the flavors by turning it into a paste, which amplifies the flavors of the rub. Simply add 1 part water to 1 part dry rub, pour the paste on the meat, and rub it in. The meat may be put on the smoker immediately.

  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary leaves, lightly crushed or broken
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme or oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon American paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle or cayenne powder

Makes enough for 10–12 pounds of beef. Multiply as needed.

Smoke

For this cook, I’m using my Big Green Egg XL. My roast has just enough room on this size grill. I fired the Egg with Rockwood lump charcoal and and three chunks of pecan smoking wood.

Have any outdoor cooking questions? Need some supplies for cooking a holiday meal on your smoker or grill? We'd love to help! Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA during store hours (listed at the bottom of this page).

Cook the roast with indirect heat at 225 degrees F until the center is within 10–15 degrees of your target temperature. I was aiming for medium-rare in the center, so my final target temperature was 135 degrees.

Mine took 3-1/2 hours to reach 120 degrees. As an estimate, figure 30–40 minutes per inch of diameter.

How to Fire a Big Green Egg for Indirect 225 Degree F Cooking

  • Add enough charcoal to fill the Kick Ash Basket, or if you’re not using a basket, up to the top of the firebox ring.
  • Open the top and bottom vents all the way. Use the screen vent in the bottom to keep embers from dropping out the bottom of the grill.
  • Light two wax fire starter squares (available in our store) and cover them with several pieces of charcoal.
  • Replace the convEGGctor and cooking grate.
  • Close the grill lid after about 10 minutes and wait for the temperature to rise.
  • Once the temperature is within 5–10 degrees of your target temperature, slide both vents to around 3/4". Watch the thermometer for 10 seconds and determine whether it’s going up or down. Make vent adjustments as needed to dial it in. (Give the grill more air to raise the temperature and less air to lower the temperature.) For this cook, I was running with the top vent open about 1/4” at the widest part and the bottom vent at roughly 1/2” open, but that will depend on how the grill is fired and how long you open the lid. It should not take major adjustments throughout the cook to keep it on track.
Pecan Smoking Wood

Pecan Smoking Wood

Rockwood Lump Charcoal and Wood

Rockwood Lump Charcoal and Wood

Top Vent Open All the Way

Top Vent Wide Open

Bottom Vent Open All the Way

Bottom Vent Wide Open

At Cooking Temperature

Grill at Target Temperature

Bottom Vent Adjusted to Stabilize Temperature


The goal is to finish the center without drying out the meat near the surface, so it’s important to use a low and slow method. Aim for 225 degrees to be safe.

The biggest challenge in cooking prime rib is getting a consistent internal temperature in all parts of the roast. There are basically three reasons for this:

  1. One end tends to be smaller in diameter than the other.
  2. The roast comes tear-shaped.
  3. Heat has to travel through the surface of the meat to cook the center.

To overcome this, we will heat it up very gently to minimize overcooking the outer ring of meat before the center is ready. Tying the roast with cooking twine also helps it cook more evenly.

I set the roast directly on the cooking grate with the convEGGctor under it, but if you would elevate the roast and put a drip pan containing some liquid under it, that could help insulate it from the heat so it might cook more evenly. If you are using a different style of smoker, and the heat is very intense at the lower grate level, keep the heat low and make sure it doesn’t burn.

The key is also to make sure you don’t overcook the meat! Check the internal temperature about 45–60 minutes into the cook and then every 30 minutes or so. If you don’t have a leave-in thermometer, use an instant-read thermometer, such as the Thermapen MK-4. If the bottom side of the meat starts getting too dark, turn it to help it cook more evenly.

Sear

Once the center reaches 120–125 degrees, remove the strings and sear the roast over direct heat for several minutes per side. Be very careful not to char it. You only want to deepen the color and release the oils in the rub.

Strings removed and ready for searing:

For this step, I opened the vents on the Egg all the way and removed the convEGGctor. I should have only opened the vents partway because my fire was pretty frisky, so I couldn’t leave it on direct heat as long as I wanted to. As you can tell in the photos, I actually blackened part of it accidentally. It’s embarrassing to admit a mistake like this, but if I can help you avoid the same mistake, that’s worth something. 

Remember, keep a very close watch on the meat during this part of the cook!

If the fire isn’t too hot, you can sear it for a total of 20 minutes, turning it all around to cover the whole surface during that time.

Double check the internal temperature to see if it has reached your target temperature of 130–135 degrees for medium rare.

For some reason, one side of my roast cooked faster than the rest, so I have a band of about medium doneness along that edge. It’s not on the edge that was facing the fire for the first phase of the cook, so I’m not sure what caused that, unless it happened when I was searing that side.

The comforting fact is that using a quality piece of meat and dry brining will help keep the parts that are a bit more done from drying out. In fact, I almost prefer the texture of a medium doneness to a shy medium rare.

It’s hard to get it perfect every time, so I hope you are inspired to relax and enjoy the adventure!

Slice and Serve

As soon as the roast is done searing, slice it into ½” thick slices and serve it with the sides you’ve prepared. Some sides our family enjoys are chunked and roasted potatoes, sweet potato fries, skillet-fried or steamed vegetables, and garden salad.

If you’re planning a holiday meal on your smoker, consider tackling a prime rib! It seems intimidating but it really isn’t that hard. Even if you’re new to it, using the tricks I’ve showed you, you should be able to smoke a delicious and memorable prime rib for your family this Christmas!

You can make a homemade seasoning blend with herbs and spices or make it easy on yourself and pick up a bag of Oakridge Carne Crosta Steakhouse Rub here at our store. This stuff has a coffee flavor and is designed to put an amazing crust on beef. Once you smell and taste it, I think you’ll fall in love with this seasoning and want to keep some on hand for your grilled steaks too!

Have any outdoor cooking questions? Need some supplies for cooking a holiday meal on your smoker or grill? We'd love to help! Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA during store hours (listed at the bottom of this page).

​About the author: Lavern Gingerich is a writer and the digital marketing manager for Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply​.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe on the Big Green Egg

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Credit for this delightful pumpkin cheesecake recipe belongs to Reagan Cawley. Reagan and her parents are regular chefs at our Eggfest here in New Holland and they teach our annual turkey fest. Their dedication to cooking and attention to detail is always outstanding. 

Since a very young age, Reagan has been making great impressions on her family and guests with her baking skills, such as baking a perfect soufflé at age 10 for her mom’s birthday party! Reagan served this pumpkin cheesecake at our turkey class this year, and we loved it so much we decided to share it here on the blog.


Instead of cooking this cheesecake in the oven as it’s usually done, I cooked it in my Big Green Egg to give it a wood-fired flavor. The crust picked up a subtle smoke flavor that elevates this amazing cheesecake to a remarkable level. If you haven’t tried smoking a dessert yet, you are missing out on a delicious treat!

Because of all the pumpkin in this cheesecake recipe, it is less dense than a typical cheesecake, but rich enough to make an elegant dessert for your Thanksgiving holiday meal or any fall season meal.

The maple glaze perfectly complements the buttery crunch of the crust and the smooth pumpkin-flavored filling for a tantalizing combination that makes tastebuds sing!

Ingredients

Crust Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup

Regan’s original recipe was intended for cooking the cheesecake in an oven. I’ve rewritten it for baking the crust and cheesecake in a Big Green Egg, but you can also bake it in your kitchen oven using my notes below.

Her recipe also calls for cooling the cheesecake in the fridge overnight. Matt, our resident cheesecake enthusiast, recommends freezing the cheesecake for nicer slices. I’ve also included some professional slicing tips which Matt learned from his friend John, who has scored multiple perfect scores in dessert contests.

Do you need any supplies or tools for your outdoor cooking? Call us at 717-355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA (store hours at the bottom of this page) for rubs, sauces, thermometers, gloves, gadgets, charcoal, pellets, and everything else you need to cook outdoors. You can also browse hundreds of products in our online catalog.

Directions

Step 1: Fire the Big Green Egg to 325 Degrees F

To fire the Egg, I topped of my Kick Ash Basket with Rockwood Lump Charcoal and nestled two wax fire starter cubes into the charcoal. With the lid open and the top and bottom vents fully open, I lit the fire starters.

Let the fire burn for 10–15 minutes, then close the grill lid with the vents fully open. Once the temperature rises to within 25 degrees of your target temperature (in this case, 300 degrees), adjust the top and bottom vents to about 3/4” open.

Give it some time to settle in and adjust the top vent as needed to raise or lower the temperature. To lower the temperature, close the vent further; to raise the temperature, open the vent a bit wider.

Step 2: Wrap a Springform Pan in Aluminum Foil

Wrap a 10-inch springform pan in 18” aluminum foil to protect your pan from getting colored from the smoke. The foil is also necessary for the water bath later in the process. Fold the sides of the foil to form a sheet just wide enough to reach the top edge of the pan. Be extremely careful not to tear the foil because even a pinhole will let water seep into the cheesecake.

No springform pan? If you prefer to use an aluminum cake pan instead of the springform pan, that’s fine too. You won’t need to wrap it in foil, but make sure you grease it well with unsalted butter (next step).

Step 3: Prepare the Crust

Brush the inside of the pan with some of the butter. Stir the remaining butter with the crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, packing it tightly and evenly.

Are you gluten-free? To make this recipe gluten-free, I used Schar Honeygrams in the 5.6-ounce boxes. It took 5 packs of 6 crackers each to make 2-1/2 cups of crumbs.

Put the crackers in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin or use a food processor.

Step 3: Bake the Crust

Set the pan directly onto the cooking grate in the Big Green Egg and close the lid (or in your oven). Cook it until it turns golden brown or for 15–20 minutes. Cool the crust on a rack.

Step 4: Mix the Filling

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. I used a 7-cup electric teakettle.

Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add the remaining 2-1/2 cups of sugar, then beat it just until it’s light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed.

Beat in the sour cream, then add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, salt, and spices. Beat until just combined.

Pour the mixture into the cooled crust.

Step 5: Bake the Cheesecake

Set a full-size aluminum pan (or roasting pan bigger than the cake pan) onto the Egg’s cooking grate, then position the springform pan into the center of it. Pour the boiling water into the foil pan. The water should cover at least one-third of the cake pan’s height.

If you’re using the oven, set the cake pan into a roasting pan and gently place the roasting pan in the oven without sliding the oven rack out, then pour the boiling water into the roasting pan.

Bake the cheesecake until the outside of the cheesecake sets, but the center is still a bit jiggly. This should take about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Step 6: Cool It

Remove the cheesecake from the Egg and set it on a rack to cool at room temperature for 1–2 hours.

A cheesecake can collapse in the center if you cool it too quickly, so if you’re baking it in an oven, turn off the oven and open the door briefly to let out some heat (or prop the door open with a spoon). Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 more hour, before cooling it on a rack at room temperature.

Step 7: Glaze It

Simmer the glaze ingredients in a small pot over medium heat for 10–15 minutes, stirring it constantly, until it thickens.

Run a blunt knife around the edge to loosen the cheesecake from the ring.

Pour the glaze over the top of the cheesecake. Some of the glaze will run into the crack around the outside edge if you loosened it properly.

Step 8: Freeze It

Cover the cheesecake with aluminum foil and freeze it for at least 8 hours or overnight. Keep it frozen until you’re ready to slice it.

To keep the foil from dipping into the glaze, place a round dinner plate upside-down on top of the springform pan before wrapping it in foil.

Step 9: Serve It

Remove the cheesecake from the freezer just before slicing it. By the time you get the slices plated and served, it should be thawed perfectly.

Unlock and remove the springform ring, then slice and serve the cheesecake. If desired, place a dollop of whipped cream on each slice.

Professional Slicing Tricks

  • A clean hot blade makes the best cuts. Heat your knife (a 12” slicer knife works perfectly for this) under hot running water. Run the hot water over the knife blade for approximately 5 seconds on each side. Wipe the blade dry with a paper towel and cut the cake in half.
  • Rinse and wipe the knife clean with a paper towel.
  • Reheat and dry the knife again, using a clean paper towel, then cut the halves into quarters.
  • Repeat the cleaning and heating steps for each cut. It’s easier and faster to make nice slices if you cut each half separately.

Making a cheesecake sounds complicated, but it’s worth every ounce of effort required. Whether you’re a cheesecake master or this is your first time making cheesecake, I hope you’ll give this recipe a chance. I think you’ll be surprised with how easy it is to completely wow your family and guests with a smoked pumpkin cheesecake.


Thanksgiving Recipe Library

About the author

Lavern Gingerich is the digital marketing manager at Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply. He enjoys helping barbecue enthusiasts avoid making mistakes on the smoker or grill and master amazing barbecue quickly.

Official Method: How to Smoke a Turkey in the Big Green Egg

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In this guide, I will show you how to wet brine and smoke a holiday turkey worth remembering in a Big Green Egg using the "Official MCBBQS Turkey Method."

Download the recipe in PDF format for easy reference here:

Whether you are new to smoking turkeys or wishing to improve your technique, this smoked turkey recipe will give you some proven tips and tricks for smoking a turkey that your guests will love!

So if you are ready to say goodbye to dry and boring turkey, let's dive in!

Do you need help cooking your holiday turkey? We believe amazing barbecue is not just for celebrities. Visit our store for everything you need to cook outdoors, including free and friendly advice from fellow barbecue enthusiasts. Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

In this story, I am cooking a 16-pound heritage breed turkey from Fossil Farms. I am using my XL Big Green Egg fired with Rockwood lump charcoal. I wet brined and seasoned the turkey, then smoked it until it reached my target temperature.

I didn't make any gravy, but if you want to step things up a notch, you can collect the drippings in a pan during the cook, then strain the drippings and use what's left for a delicious gravy on mashed potatoes and turkey.

Buy a Heritage Breed Turkey

If you're cooking turkey only once a year, it only makes sense to invest a bit of extra effort into making it the best you can! The first step in cooking an incredible holiday turkey is by choosing a Nicholas turkey from Fossil Farms.

  • These turkeys are raised humanely in free-roaming environment. 
  • They are 100% natural and were fed a vegetarian diet of farm-local corn, rye, oats, alfalfa and soybean meal.
  • They are raised to the specifications of the “Never Ever Program”, where antibiotics, hormones and steroids are never used. 
  • They are minimally processed, which means they are perfect for brining, putting you in control of how salty you make them.

In summary, these turkeys are not only exceptionally tender and juicy, but also clean, so you can be confident about the meat you serve around your holiday table. Our customers have shared rave reviews about these turkeys, and I'm confident you'll be blown away by the quality of these if you follow the method below.

We carry these whole turkeys from Fossil Farms over the Thanksgiving holiday and are taking orders now. The price is $3.99/pound for fresh turkeys. Choose between 12-14 pound or 16-18 pound whole turkeys.

Step 1: Order a Nicholas Turkey

To place an order for Nicholas turkeys, email Matt at matt2122@meadowcreekbbqsupply.com, call us at (717) 355-0779, or visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

What size turkey should I cook? I prefer turkeys in the 12-18 pound range for smoking. If you need more meat, cook multiple turkeys instead of getting a bigger one. Figure roughly 1-1/4 pounds of raw weight per person unless you want leftovers or are feeding big eaters.

If you buy a frozen turkey, plan ahead so you won’t be stressed over thawing and prepping it in time. It takes approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds to thaw a turkey in the fridge.

Here is the 16-pound heritage breed turkey I am cooking for this recipe.

Trim the Turkey

Remove any packaging, including a pop-up thermometer or tie on the legs, and the giblet bag. 

Cut off the wing tips.

Trim the neck skin back, being careful to leave enough there to cover the meat. Turn the breast side up for trimming because this posture pulls the skin back.

Trim the flaps of skin and fat by the rear cavity and remove the tail.

Brine the Turkey

When cooking a turkey that is minimally processed, such as from Fossil Farms, brining makes a huge difference in how juicy and tender the meat is.

For this recipe I am showing you how to wet brine a turkey. The challenge of wet brining is 1) keeping the meat submerged in the liquid and 2) finding a container big enough to hold a turkey without taking too much room in the fridge. The Briner Bucket makes it easy.

The first step is to mix the brine. Our top recommendation is Oakridge Game Changer Brine and Injection.

We recommend using a 1-pound package of Game Changer per turkey. The directions on the package make 4 quarts of brine, which should be enough for a 12-pound turkey.

For a larger turkeys, you can simply add more water and ice to cover the turkey. Here are the ratios I used for the 16-pound turkey to make 6 quarts of brine:

  • 1 package of Oakridge Game Changer
  • 4.5 quarts water
  • 3 pounds of ice (each pound adds about 1 pint of water)

Mix the brine with 1 quart of water in a small pot and heat it enough to dissolve the mix. Pour the brine, remaining water, and ice into the Briner Bucket and mix it thoroughly to cool the water. Add more cold water as needed to cover the turkey.

Put the turkey into the brine and set the bucket into the fridge for one hour per pound of turkey.

Remove the turkey from the brine and carefully loosen the skin covering the breast and between the rear cavity opening and the legs so that you can season the meat directly later. Take your time to avoid tearing the skin.

Set the turkey in the fridge on a pan uncovered for 10–12 hours to draw some of the moisture out of the skin to help it get more crispy.

Season the Turkey

Our top seasoning recommendation for turkey is Dizzy Pig Mad Max Turkey Seasoning, and that's what I'm using for this turkey. If you haven't tried it yet, you need to... It will give your holiday meals the kick they need, jazz up your gravy and stuffing, and help you celebrate in style!

Season the entire bird with a moderate layer of the rub.

Shake some seasoning into the opening under the skin against the legs. Be careful not to add an excessive amount and use your fingers to spread the seasoning around.

Gently pull back the skin covering the breast and sprinkle the meat with seasoning, then work some seasoning further underneath the skin with your fingers.

This is what the turkey should look like at this point:

Cook the Turkey

Fire your smoker at 325 degrees F. Turkey doesn’t benefit from low and slow cooking, and the higher temperature will give you a more crispy skin and cook the turkey faster, which results in a juicier turkey.

In this cook I’m using my XL Big Green Egg and have it fired with Rockwood Lump Charcoal. I set up the grill with the convEGGtor for cooking with indirect heat.

This is what the charcoal looked like when I opened the bag. Notice the large pieces at the top of the bag!

To fire the Egg I dumped in enough charcoal to fill the Kick Ash Basket and lit two wax fire starter squares. The fire was ready to go in around 30 minutes without using a BBQ Dragon. Then I threw in 3 chunks of pecan wood for some flavor.

Next, I set in the convEGGtor and the cooking grate as shown here:

Start with both vents wide open. Use the screen vent in the bottom to keep embers from dropping out the bottom of the grill.

Once the temperature is within 50 degrees of your target temperature (275 degrees), slide both vents to 3/4" open and then adjust the top vent as needed to stabilize it at 325 degrees.

It will take some time to master temperature control, but it works on this principle: Give the grill more air to raise the temperature and give it less air to lower the temperature. This is done by adjusting both the top and bottom vents.

If you understand this principle, you can figure out how to make it work in any scenario. For example, depending on how you fired the grill, you may need to adjust the vents outside the range I suggested above. Keep in mind a higher cooking temperature requires more air than a lower one. For most cooks, you'll be running with the vents between 1/4" (a pencil thickness) and 1-1/2".

Set the turkey on the grate breast side up.

Now we're cooking...

He's gonna be tasty!

How to Know When Turkey Is Done

The USDA minimum recommended temperature for turkey and chicken is 165 degrees F. You can safely cook the turkey breast until it reaches 160 degrees and let carryover cooking take it up the rest of the way. Breast meat is very lean, so if you take the breast meat higher than that, it will not become better, but start drying out instead.

We prefer cooking the dark meat (legs and thighs) to at least 180 degrees for a better texture and appearance. It’s okay to remove it from the smoker once the thickest part of the thigh reaches the recommended temperature, but you’ll find that, while the meat is safe to eat, it will usually still be clinging tightly to the bone.

One of the keys to cooking the ultimate turkey is to not overcook it. Yet, the white and dark meat are two different types of meat and they often don’t both reach our target temperature at the same time. So how can we hope to cook the perfect turkey?

Most articles on smoking a turkey don't address this issue, but here are some tips and tricks to help you overcome it:

  • Brining widens the window of perfection, so the meat is more forgiving, whether you are cooking the turkey whole or in parts.
  • To give the legs a head-start during the cook, you can take the bird out of the fridge one hour before cooking and put a bag of ice over the breast. The thighs will start warming up a bit, and the breasts will stay cold. This sounds odd, but it works!

In this recipe we've brined the meat, so we're aiming to get the whole thing done without overcooking any part of it. If part of the bird gets a bit higher than we wish, the brine will help keep the turkey juicy.

How long does it take to smoke a turkey? Cooking at 325 degrees F, it will take around 10 minutes per pound. My 16-pound turkey took 2 hours and 45 minutes, almost exactly 10 minutes per pound. This time estimate should hold out for different size turkeys, but remember it could take longer, so try to keep the serving time a bit flexible.

If you are cooking an unbrined turkey, add 1 or 2 minutes per pound to the cooking time.

I use my instant-read Thermapen MK4 for checking the internal temperature of the meat.

In this cook, the dark meat rose above the temperature I was looking for, but the brine helped to keep everything juicy. I could have watched it more closely and moved the upper part of the turkey toward the edge of the grill partway through the cook, but I just left it in one place and it was awesome, even though the dark meat got hotter than I was shooting for.

Serve the Turkey

Once the turkey reached the right temperature, I transferred it to a platter for carving.

Now for the best part... the finished product. The meat was tender, juicy, and flavorful!

The back (side toward the fire) looked incredible.

Slice the breast lobes off the carcass:

Slice the breast against the grain:

Carve and serve the legs and wings whole or pull the meat. If the skin is crispy enough to your liking, you can chop some of it and mix it with the pulled meat.

Are you looking forward to cooking a turkey that will get raving reviews from all around your holiday table? It’s not rocket science, and if you put some effort into planning your cook, it just could be the best turkey you've ever cooked!

Did you know we are much more than a BBQ store?

One reason we open our doors each morning is to help ordinary people discover how to cook amazing barbecue! Feel free to call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, Pennsylvania to talk with one of our knowledgeable staff who will be happy to help you with your outdoor cooking questions.

Shopping List for Cooking This Turkey Recipe:

  1. Nicholas Turkey
  2. The Briner Bucket
  3. Dizzy Pig Mad Max Seasoning
  4. Oakridge Game Changer Brine

Download our printable turkey recipe in PDF format and keep it handy while you're cooking...

Also, if you haven’t yet, check out our more in-depth supplies and equipment guide for cooking a turkey here.

About the author: Lavern Gingerich is a writer and the digital marketing manager for Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply.

Bacon-Wrapped Apple-Stuffed Tenderloin on the Big Green Egg

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I first tasted a bacon-wrapped apple-stuffed pork tenderloin at our 2019 Eggfest. I don't remember which Egghead made this recipe, but I was impressed with the blend of flavors from the pork, salty bacon, and sweetness of the apples. I’ve made this recipe a couple of times for family and friends and decided to try my hand at it again to share with you here.

Getting this recipe to look great on the plate is a bit challenging, but I think you’ll be impressed with the outcome.

Do you need any supplies or tools for your outdoor cooking? Call us at 717-355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA (store hours at the bottom of this page) for rubs, sauces, thermometers, gloves, gadgets, charcoal, pellets, and everything else you need to cook outdoors. You can also browse more than 500 products in our online catalog.

Recipe Steps

  • Butterfly the tenderloins, cutting within 1/2" of each end.
  • Add the apple pie filling.
  • Arrange 8 pieces of bacon on your cutting board.
  • Lay the tenderloin on top and roll it up.
  • Cook it indirectly at 325 degrees F until the meat reaches 145–150 degrees in the coolest part of the tenderloin.

Ingredients

If you don’t have enough people around to eat this much at once, you can easily halve or quarter it.

I purchased these 2-pack pork tenderloins from Sam's Club.

A pork tenderloin usually has a wide edge and a narrow edge. Slice into the narrow edge to get a deeper "pocket". Cut as deep as you can without severing the two sides.

I used store-bought apple pie filling with whole slices. Arrange the apples in the pocket with some of the glaze.

Season the outside of the pork tenderloin with your favorite pork seasoning. I used John Henry's Texas Pig Rub.

I've tried spiraling one piece of bacon around the tenderloin at a time, pinning it on with toothpicks, but it's time consuming and difficult to get it looking good and I don't like to hassle with the toothpicks. Here is a method I've come up with that works pretty well.

Arrange 8 pieces of bacon next to each. They should touch, but not overlap. 

Set the tenderloin on top of the bacon at an angle as shown here with the thinner end even with the edge of the bacon and the thicker end extending beyond the bacon "mat" on the other side. 

The tails of the bacon should extend beyond the tenderloin (roughly 1" on the thinner end and 2" on the thicker end).

Wrap the bacon tails over the tenderloin.

Continue wrapping the bacon around the tenderloin by rolling the tenderloin. As you roll, keep some tension on the bacon. As you roll, maintain an angle so that the bacon spirals on the tenderloin, covering the gaps on the first layer.

The tenderloin should make a complete revolution and finish right side up with the bacon tails on the bottom. Sprinkle a bit of seasoning on the top if you wish to.

These are ready for the grill now.

For this recipe I’m using my Big Green Egg and firing it with Rockwood Lump Charcoal. I set the Egg up for indirect heat and my target temperature was 325 degrees F.

Do you need any supplies or tools for your outdoor cooking? Call us at 717-355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA (store hours at the bottom of this page) for rubs, sauces, thermometers, gloves, gadgets, charcoal, pellets, and everything else you need to cook outdoors. You can also browse more than 500 products in our online catalog.

To fire the Egg, I nestled 2 wax firestarter cubes into the charcoal and lit them with the bottom vent fully open. I kept the lid open for 10 minutes or so to get the fire going quicker, then I added the convEGGtor and cooking grate and closed the lid with the top vent open all the way.

After the temperature climbs within 50 degrees of my target temperature, I start adjusting the top and bottom vents. For cooking at 325 degrees, adjust both vents to about 3/4"–1" open and then make adjustments to give it more or less air as needed to dial in the temperature.

The Big Green Egg is an excellent choice for direct heat grilling, indirect smoking, as well as baking desserts and casseroles. It's well insulated so you can shut it and kill the fire on demand, which makes it perfect for someone who occassionally needs more space, but also wants to cook for 2–4 people.


The goal is to cook the meat without drying it out, render enough fat in the bacon to make it delicious, and to soften the apples. It took a little less than 1 hour to cook these.

I didn’t rotate these or do anything with them as they were cooking, so it was quite easy.

Probe the thickest parts of the tenderloin with an instant-read thermometer, such as the Thermapan MK4 to know when they are done. Remove them from the grill once the coolest part of the meat has reached 145 degrees F and the bacon is done.

Alternate cooking method: You could cook these with direct heat if you turn them as needed to keep the bacon from burning too much. The meat would cook faster, but it would take more tending and have less time to acquire a smoky flavor than my method.

If you’re only cooking one or two of these with direct heat, it would be easy to build a fire on one side of your grill and cook them indirectly for a while, then move them over the fire, rotating it every few minutes to crisp the bacon on all sides.

Optional filling: If you want more apple flavor, you can heap on the apples. I prefer having just a little to flavor the meat, but it’s totally up to your preference as long as you can contain the apples in the bacon. You could also chop the apples finely for a different texture.

I’ve made this recipe several times now and the last time I made it, the apples did not soften as much as they should have, so you may want to cut the apples into smaller pieces or use pie filling with diced apples instead of slices.

When serving these, slice them in 1/2” slices or the thickness of your choice.

After it’s sliced, everything will want to fall apart and thick juice from the apples or pie filling glaze will run out on your cutting board, so don’t expect an elegant presentation, but the flavors really do make up for it!


Are you interested in upgrading your grill?

The Big Green Egg is versatile and durable and designed to grill, smoke, roast, and bake.

Giveaway: Big Green Egg Grill

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Enter for a chance to win a Big Green Egg grill with upgrades worth $1,382. To enter the drawing, simply join our email newsletter through the form below for specials, giveaway announcements, recipes, and other resources to help you cook delicious, mouth-watering barbecue. Once you've entered, refer your friends and complete the other actions to get more entries!

Note: Fill out this form to enter even if you're already subscribed.

How to Smoke Pulled Pork on a Big Green Egg

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Are you getting ready to smoke your first pork butt (AKA “Boston butt/pork shoulder”)? Or looking for ways to improve the pulled pork you serve to your family and friends?

In this recipe we reveal a few easy steps you can follow to consistently produce mouth-watering pulled pork… Because who likes chalky dry pork that must be drowned in sauce to make it edible?

It’s not that hard to turn out pulled pork where every bite is amazingly tender with a delicious balance of smoke, seasoning, and meat—if you know how.

I am using an XL Big Green Egg for this recipe, but any kind of smoker you can set up for indirect heat would work. This recipe is for bone-in Boston butts, but boneless ones would work too.

A Boston butt, commonly known as a pork butt, is the upper portion of a whole pork shoulder. Usually they weigh 7–9 pounds, but some grocery stores only carry smaller pieces. If your grocery store doesn’t carry them, check out a larger grocery store or a discount club such as Sam’s Club or a local butcher shop.

Step 1 (optional): Inject the pork shoulder.

You don’t have to inject, but it’s a great way to add more flavor. At Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply, we like to inject our pork shoulders with Oakridge Game Changer Injection. Inject the meat, then pat it dry.

Step 2: Season the pork shoulder.

Option 1: Season it lightly with Killer Hogs Hot Barbecue Rub, and then season it heavily with Myron Mixon Original Meat Rub.

Option 2: Season it generously with equal parts of the following: Meadow Creek Gourmet Seasoning, Meadow Creek Black Pepper Brisket Rub, and Meadow Creek Spicy Seasoning. A shaker such as this one works great for mixing and dispensing rubs.

Let the pork shoulder sweat at room temperature for 15 minutes or set it in the refrigerator for 1–2 hours.

Step 3: Set up your smoker for cooking with indirect heat at 275 degrees F.

I’m using an XL Big Green Egg and Nature’s Glo Lump Charcoal.

Fill the firebox with charcoal. The peak of the pile should be about as high as the middle of the top ring the ConvEGGtor rests on.

I’m using a Kick Ash Basket which makes it easy to separate the ashes from the unburnt coals after each cook.

Add 2–3 wood chunks (apple, cherry, or pecan are perfect for pulled pork).

Open the bottom screen vent all the way and light the charcoal. Once it’s well-lit, close the lid and open the top vent all the way.

Note: Use the screen vent in the bottom to keep embers from dropping out the bottom of the grill.

Set the ConvEGGtor and cooking grate in place.

Arrange the meat in the center of the grate and close the lid.

Once the heat in the Egg rises to 225 degrees, start fine-tuning the vents to dial it into 275. Start by adjusting the bottom vent to 1" and the top vent to 1/4" (the thickness of a pencil).

Keep an eye on the temperature and open the vents more for a higher temperature and less for lower temperature as needed. It shouldn’t need much adjusting throughout the cook to keep it on track once it’s where it needs to be.

Step 4: Wrap the pork shoulder

Once the pork shoulder reaches an internal temp of 170 degrees (should take around 6–8 hours), it's ready to wrap. The two-step method described here will retain more of the juices that are cooked out of the meat and speed up the cooking process, making it easier to achieve tender, mouth-watering pulled pork.

First, wrap it in Cling Classic plastic food wrap (at least 10 revolutions), alternating the direction of the wrap a couple of times and folding in the sides as you go, to form a good seal.

Most household plastic wrap is not thick enough to use in a smoker and will melt against the meat which is a health hazard. The one we sell works well for this method.

Next, wrap the shoulder in two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil.

Step 5: Cook until done

Return the meat to the smoker and continue cooking it at 275 degrees until the center of the meat reaches 200–205 degrees F (should take another 2–3 hours).

The Thermapen MK4 is lightning fast and easy to clean.

Step 6: Hold it

Remove the pork shoulder from the smoker and keep it wrapped for at least one hour.

If you need to keep it warm for several hours, set it in an empty ice chest and fill in the empty space with a towel or two. This will keep the meat warm for at least four hours.

Step 7: Time to eat!

Put the shoulder in a rimmed dish (such as a 9x13 cake pan) or a large bowl and remove the foil and plastic wrap.

Transfer the shoulder to another dish or bowl to pull it.

Drizzle the juices from the first container over the meat.

Good pulled pork is irresistible without sauce...

But a drizzle of sauce adds a nice touch. Here I used Meadow Creek Hickory Smoked Sauce, one of my all-time favorite sauces.

Sandwiches with cole slaw and potato chips are always a great way to serve pulled pork, but there are many other ways to use pulled pork. A few we like are pulled pork quesadillas, cheesy pulled pork chip dip, and pulled pork scrambled eggs with sautéed peppers, hash browns, and avocado on the side.

About the author: Lavern Gingerich is a writer and the marketing manager for Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply. He runs a digital marketing agency which helps barbecue brands grow their businesses.

Grilled Tri Tip on the Big Green Egg

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Are you looking for a delicious grilled tri tip recipe that will impress your guests and keep them coming back for more? Are you ready to take your backyard barbecue to a new level?

In the video above, Malcom Reed of Killer Hogs shares how to grill tri tip on a Big Green Egg charcoal grill.

Tri tip roasts are a delicious cut of meat from the lower triangle portion of a sirloin. They are a lot like steak, but with a longer cook time because of their size.

In this video Malcom starts with smoky indirect heat and finishes it with a good hot sear. After the tri tip is cooked, he slices it for serving and adds chimichuri sauce to the top for a juicy and delicious appetizer or entrée.

We’ve outlined the steps in the video along with screenshots to help you cook an award-winning tri tip on your first try.

For this cook Malcom Reed uses a Big Green Egg, ChefAlarm, and Killer Hogs Steak Rub. All of these supplies are available in our store.

Ingredients:

For Chimichuri Sauce:

  • 1 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (1/2 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice (whole lemon)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Chimichuri Sauce Instructions

  • Pour one cup of finely chopped parsley leaves and one cup of finally chopped cilantro leaves into a medium sized mixing bowl.
  • Add minced garlic to bowl.
  • Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and red wine vinegar.
  • Stir ingredients together and slowly drizzle in olive oil.
  • Season with kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

Step by Step Instructions for Grilling Tri Tip

Step 1: Coat the meat with olive oil.

After drizzling, spread the oil out evenly with your hand so that it works as a binder for the seasoning.

Step 2: Season both sides with Killer Hogs Steak Rub.

Killer Hogs Steak Rub is a coarse rub that will add a nice crusty coating to the meat. Let rest for about an hour so the rub has more time to bond with the meat.

Step 3: Prepare the Big Green Egg for indirect grilling.

Set up the Big Green Egg for indirect cooking and fire it to 250°F. If you don't have a Big Green Egg, set up whatever grill you have for dual zone grilling.

Step 4: Place the tri tip on the center of the grate and set your Thermoworks ChefAlarm to 115°F.

Cook the tri tip with indirect heat for approximately 25-30 min until the internal temperature reaches 115°F. A ChefAlarm makes this easy. Just insert the probe, set the alarm to 115°, and wait till the alarm tells you it has reached your desired temperature. 

Use a chunk of pecan wood for light smoke.

Step 5: Remove the meat and prepare your grill for direct heat.

Set up the Big Green Egg for direct heat by removing the tri tip and taking the heat deflector out. Adjust the vents to get the temperature up to 500°F. This will take a few minutes.


"When you're cooking hot on a ceramic grill, always crack the lid fist and let some of the heat off because it can flash on you!" —Malcom Reed


Step 6: Sear the meat

Sear the tri tip for about 4 minutes on each side until the internal temperature reaches 130°–135°F.

Step 7: Slice the tri tip.

Remove the tri tip from the grill and let it rest for 10 minutes. Slice it thinly against the grain as shown below.

Step 8: Add the chimichuri sauce and serve.

Spread a layer of sauce along the slices and let your guests take the pieces they want along with a little pile of sauce.


"Cooking a tri tip is easy. The hardest part is sourcing it. When you find a tri tip, your work is done." —Malcom Reed


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About the author: Henry Hertzler is a writer and social media manager at Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply.

Shrimp and Parmesan Steak on the Big Green Egg

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On a recent date with my wife, I ordered a shrimp and parmesan sirloin dish at Applebee’s. I enjoyed the food, but afterward got to thinking about how good it would be to cook the same dish at home on my Big Green Egg. I had high expectations for the homemade version of this dish, and it far exceeded every one of them. I can’t think of a finer meal to feed your loved ones or guests, and it’s a meal I will certainly be making again.

Applebee’s tops a sirloin steak with pan-fried shrimp and parmesan sauce. Here I’m using ribeye steak, which in my opinion is much better. I was able to snag some Prime grade ribeyes on sale at Sam’s Club, but Choice grade would be fine too. I grilled the shrimp on a perforated pan next to the steaks. The homemade parmesan sauce was a real clincher on this dish.

The size of shrimp I used was 41–60 per pound. You can use as many shrimp and whatever size you please. There should be plenty of sauce in one batch for two steaks. If you’re cooking for more than two people, don’t be afraid to make extra cream sauce. It’s excellent on a lot of other foods too.

Meal for Two

  • 2 ribeye steaks (1 inch thick)
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag of shrimp, deveined
  • Parmesan sauce (see below)

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To get started, gather your ingredients and fire your grill so it can heat up while you’re preparing the sauce and meat. This is going to be an epic meal, but it requires some careful planning for everything to come together.

For this cook, I used the Big Green Egg and fired it with Rockwood Lump Charcoal. I lit the charcoal with a fire starter square, then fanned the coals with the BBQ Dragon for 8 minutes to get the fire hot. By then the fire was quite hot, so I removed the Dragon, shut the dome, and adjusted the vents to halfway open to start dialing in the temperature.

Note: Use the screen vent in the bottom to keep embers from dropping out the bottom of the grill.

As the grill is heating up, peel the shrimp, toss them with a couple of tablespoons of melted butter, and season them with Meadow Creek Gourmet Seasoning or your favorite seafood seasoning. Give the steaks a good seasoning of salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and Killer Hogs Steak Rub on both sides. As soon as the sauce is made and the grill is hot, we’re ready for action!

To make the sauce, bring the cream to a boil in a small pot or saucepan, then reduce the heat to medium low for about 10 more minutes. While the cream is heating up, prepare the other sauce ingredients. I have a small herb garden with fresh basil, but you can also use dried basil instead if that’s easier for you to get. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and set the heat to low to keep the sauce warm until the meat is grilled.

By now the Egg should be getting up to temperature. Try to stabilize it at 650 degrees F by adjusting the top and bottom vents. Slide the vents open further to raise the temperature and ease them shut to lower the temperature.

Put the steaks on the grate directly over the hottest coals. Grill them for 4 minutes on each side, then check the internal temperature with an instant-read probe thermometer to see exactly when they reach medium rare (130–135 degrees F). The timing will vary slightly based on the weather, the size of the steak, and exactly where they are placed, but 4 minutes per side should make a good medium rare steak. 

If you are concerned about grill marks, after the first 2 minutes on each side, rotate them 45 degrees and slide them to a new position on the grate.

Put the shrimp in a perforated grill pan to keep them from falling through the grate and set the pan on the side of the grill where the heat is less intense. They will cook very quickly, in as little as several minutes.

Make sure you have something handy to put the shrimp and steak into the moment they are done. The fire will be scorching hot and the meat will cook quickly. A long-handled spatula works for handling the shrimp and long-handled tongs for the steaks.

Transfer each steak to a serving plate, then top each steak with a dozen or more shrimp and a layer of sauce. Or sauce the steak and then add the shrimp if you prefer a presentation with the shrimp on top.

Serve immediately.

This dish is pure excellence and goes well with grilled or steamed vegetables, potatoes, or whatever you like with your steaks. 

I hope you have the chance to share this dish with someone special in your life and enjoy it as much as I did.

About the author: Lavern Gingerich is a writer and the digital marketing manager for Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply.