Story and recipes

On a cool early morning in March, Pioneer Park in Englewood was crawling with EGGheads, a cult of foodies devoted to cooking on Big Green Egg ceramic charcoal grills.

Flavored charcoal and wood smoke wafted out of dozens of Kamado-style barbecue cookers. Participants in the inaugural Southwest Florida EggFest cooked up everything from ribs to chicken wings, and brownies to bread pudding to serve to tasters who paid $30 to $40 to enter the event.

Over 400 people purchased advance tickets to the fundraising event for the Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary. Three Egg chefs presented cooking demonstrations, sharing tips and tricks.

The event took a year to plan and is the brainchild of Rotary President Jim Hinck. He and his brother bought a Big Green Egg for their dad, and attended a similar EggFest in northern Florida.

The Rotary club partnered with Big Green Egg distributor Patrick Ireland of Indigo Swimming Pools and Outdoor Living to coordinate the event, which was the first in Southwest Florida.

About 600 people attended, and Hinck said some came from as far away as Jacksonville and Merritt Island on the east coast.

“The food was just outstanding,” Jim Hinck said of the variety of offerings from 20 registered cooks.

His brother Tom Hinck of Barbecue Bourbon Boys served up juicy and tasty “Foghorn Leghorn Pineapple Bourbon Chicken Wings” at his booth.

Road trip

Retired educators Jim Stevenson and Marsha Miller made the trip down from Western Maryland to Florida to visit relatives in Ocala. They have traveled all over the country to EggFests, sharing their enthusiasm for the quirky cookers.

In Englewood, they were cooking up "Oh My! Mini Biscuits” in one of their four Big Green Eggs. Stevenson whipped up a mouth-watering maple glaze, using a makeshift mixer powered by a cordless drill.

“It is good,” Stevenson said of the maple glaze. “It makes you want to lick your eyebrows.”

They were also cooking up “Little Pig, Little Pig on a Stick” grilled, thick-sliced bologna. On the way home, they planned to stop and cook at another EggFest on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

“We make it a vacation,” Miller said.

Stevenson said he tells people two things when they’re thinking about buying a Big Green Egg.

“One, make sure you have lots of friends,” he said, because you’ll want to share all the food you make when you get the hang of cooking on one. “And it lasts forever, so have somebody you can will it to.”

Three celebrity chefs, including Instagram star Big Green Craig from Georgia, put on cooking demonstrations in a tent on the grounds. One used a wok in the grill, and the demos showcased the versatility of the cookers.

Versatile and easy

Chris Gentry of Gentry’s Barbecue in downtown Orlando is a fan of the cookers, and sells a line of rubs and sauces online and out of his restaurant. He also cooks on Big Green Eggs at home and lauds their versatility.

“You can do anything you want on them -- slow, fast, hot,” Gentry said.

Rotary club member and builder Ron Walker of Walker Homes said this was his first cooking event. He enlisted a friend to help him get a pile of ribs started at 4 a.m. in an XXLarge Big Green Egg. Smoke was pouring out of the giant egg and the ribs were nearly ready for the tasters who started filing in at 10 a.m.

Eggs range in price from about $400 to $4,000, depending on the size and grilling options.

Walker said he grills on the Eggs at home and cooked a savory prime rib for Christmas dinner for his family.

“You can cook anything on them. It seals in all the juices and they are easy,” Walker said.

Next door, longtime Englewood Area firefighter Roman Grabowski was fixing “Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf,” sausage and peppers and brownies on the Eggs. He has three Kamado cookers at home.

“We love our Eggs,” Grabowski said.

Vicki Dean is a freelance writer based in Venice. She can be reached at


Oh My! Mini Biscuits


3 cans Pillsbury Grands flaky biscuits

Red sanding sugar

Maple Glaze

4 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon McCormick Maple Flavor


Big Green Egg setup: Indirect, standard height grid with Woo, plate setter legs up with temperature at 375 degrees.

Cut refrigerated biscuits into quarters. Place into sprayed mini muffin pan and bake until light brown. Dip pieces into the maple glaze, top with sanding sugar and serve on skewers or in serving cups.


Cast Iron Filet Mignon


Filet Mignon – Thick

Kosher Salt


Steak Seasoning


Whole Garlic Cloves

Fresh Rosemary

Oil (your choice)


Set up your Big Green Egg for direct grilling and preheat to 500 degrees. Place cast iron skillet on the grill grate during preheating. Cast iron needs time to preheat.

Rinse filet under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. One hour before cooking, coat filet with a moderate coating of kosher salt and rub it in. (Don’t forget the sides.) The salt will dissolve into the steak creating a super flavorful steak. Put your filet back in the fridge.

Set the filet out at room temp for 15 to 20 minutes. Add salt, pepper and steak seasoning to taste.

Once the Egg is up to temperature and cast iron skillet is hot, add a couple tablespoons of oil to the skillet and add your filet. Hearing a good sizzle is a good sign! Don’t press it down or move it. Let the skillet and the steak do the work. Sear your steak for 2 1/2 minutes. Flip, and sear the second side for 2 1/2 minutes. Flip again, add your garlic, 2-3 pats of butter and a couple sprigs of rosemary. Close bottom vent and cap the top vent. By closing the vents you are turning your direct grilling setup into an oven. Cook for 2 1/2 minutes (or until your desired internal temp) with the vents closed. Remove skillet from the Egg. Tilt pan so that the juices run to one side and use a spoon to baste your steak. Remove the steak from the skillet, tent with foil and allow the steak to rest for approx 10 minutes.


Roasted potatoes

2 tbsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 lbs russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

3 to 4 tbsp Big Green Egg Citrus & Dill Seasoning

1 medium garlic clove, minced

Freshly ground black pepper

Small handful fresh parsley leaves, minced


Set the EGG for indirect cooking with the convEGGtor at 450 degrees.

In a Dutch oven, heat 2 quarts water until boiling. Add the salt, baking soda and potatoes and stir. Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until a knife meets little resistance when inserted into a potato, about 10 minutes after returning to a boil. [Tip: Parboiling the potatoes in the baking soda/salt water breaks down their surfaces, creating a starchy slurry that adds crunch.] Drain the potatoes carefully and let them rest in the Dutch oven for a minute to allow excess moisture to evaporate. Transfer to a bowl.

In the still warm Dutch oven, combine the olive oil, Citrus & Dill Seasoning, garlic, and a few grinds of black pepper in the Dutch oven and add to the EGG, stirring frequently until the garlic just begins to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from the EGG and add the potatoes. Season to taste with a little more salt and pepper if needed, and toss to coat, until a layer of potato paste has built up on the potato chunks.

Transfer the potatoes to a Cast Iron Skillet, spreading them out evenly. Transfer to the EGG and roast without stirring for 20 minutes. Turn the potatoes, using a metal spatula to release any stuck-on potatoes. Continue roasting until potatoes are deep brown and crisp all over, turning and shaking them a few times during cooking, 30 to 40 minutes longer. Remove from the EGG, place in a serving dish and sprinkle with a little more Citrus & Dill Seasoning and fresh parsley. Serve immediately.