Two-Level Raised Cooking With a Big Green Egg

I believe in making the most of available space, whether it’s storing herbs, stacking pans … or cooking in a Big Green Egg. The Egg has a big dome that normally has nothing in it. Most ovens have two shelves, why not the Egg as well?

Find out how to add a second cooking level to a Big Green Egg, Kamado or BBQ with a few nuts, bolts and washers.


Important update: since publishing this post, I’ve created a better, more flexible design for the Minimax. Please look at this updated blog post for more information. The principles of two level cooking in the post you are currently reading are still valid.

Like an oven, a Big Green Egg can have a second level added to cook more food at the same time. This makes it more flexible, especially the smaller Minimax model. The picture below is a good example of maximising the space using a second level, cooking for four people in a Minimax:

Cooking four double cut pork chops in the Minimax

That’s not the only reason to add a raised cooking platform though. The Egg’s dome radiates some heat downwards. The closer the item being cooked is to the dome, the quicker it will be done, and potentially more evenly cooked. This is the same principle as raising the pizza stone into the dome with fire bricks.

A Minimax Egg with a raised cooking surface

In experiments with spatchcock chicken, the skin was noticeably tastier and crisper when cooked on a raised platform (edit: as you can see from the comments at the bottom of this blog post, a reader actually tried this with positive results). The picture below shows a chicken cooked raised into the dome, the sweetcorn being cooked under the chicken.

Chicken with cripsy skin cooked raised into the dome

I did the same thing with the large Egg, using a grid from a medium Egg and 150mm M8 bolts, nuts and wing nuts, with M10 washers. For this I made a stand that was not fixed, using four legs. As there is more height in the large, I used wing nuts so that the height could be easily adjusted. This rig sits on top of the Egg’s grid rather than is attached to it.

Large Big Green Egg with a raised cooking surface
Plenty of space for two level cooking or having a drip tray
Two pork shoulder cooking in the large Egg

Commercial Products

There are companies, such as the Ceramic Grill Store, that manufacture a wide range of products to achieve this. The CGS Adjustable Rig in particular adds a vast level of flexibility to the Egg, as it comes with many customisation options. Worth checking this out, only reason I haven’t is that we are on the wrong side of the pond. The YouTube clip below shows the rig in action:

Stainless Steel, Galvanised and Zinc

I used stainless steel materials. There are those that claim zinc/galvanised items should be avoided as zinc fumes are poisonous. Others counter, stating they have been using zinc-plated steel for years and aren’t dead yet, nor even have a headache.

The facts are that zinc boils at 907°C/1664°F which a BGE shouldn’t get to. Zinc does however melt at 419°C/787°F and I have had an egg close to that … although only for cooking pizza, using fire bricks. Even so, I went for stainless steel components.

It’s a personal choice.

4 thoughts on “Two-Level Raised Cooking With a Big Green Egg

  1. Sean

    Was skeptical about the crisper skin claim, tried it last night with a spatchcock chicken. It’s true, and it cooked in 50 minutes, normally around 70 minutes. Thanks for the article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Chris. If you’re using the standard Big Green Egg temperature gauge, ensure that the tiny groove halfway down the shaft is inside the dome, otherwise your temperature readings will be inaccurate. Good luck with the Egging!

      Like

Leave a Reply to Adam Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.