Note: This post is a part of GrillGirl’s Big Green Egg Series, a deep dive into the popular Kamado style grill and all that it offers. Follow along on this adventure if you have ever been curious about getting an Egg or want to better understand how to get the most out of your Egg.
BURP YOUR EGG!
Let me tell you what that means, then let me tell you why you do it.
Here is a safety tip straight from Big Green Egg’s website which refers to “burping”:
AVOID BACKDRAFTS or FLASHBACK
“Once an EGG is lit, always carefully vent or ‘burp’ it before opening the dome fully by cracking it slowly a few times about an inch or two first – this allows the incoming air to enter slowly and helps avoid a flashback. Use extra caution when opening a hot EGG with closed vents, as the sudden rush of air can cause a dangerous flare up. If you have a flame flare-up – quickly close the lid and the air vents to control the flame, and use extreme caution when re-opening your EGG. It is always advisable to wear heat resistant gloves, and to take care to protect yourself. DO NOT allow children to play near a hot EGG or to open the dome!”
Let’s break this down a bit. BGE uses the two terms here: “Backdraft” and “Flashback.” These terms are not the same but many folks use them booth when referring to this phenomenon. What actually is happening is a backdraft but since folks do use both terms, I believe BGE is covering all their bases.
Man, that image is an attention getter, right? Many thanks to Big Green Asian Egg for allowing us to use that image.
Smoke is full of fuel, hydrocarbon, and other volatile organic compounds. Fire needs three things to burn: oxygen, heat, and fuel. Remove any one of those three things and you have no fire.
When cooking on the Egg, there is enough oxygen passing thru the Egg to support the combustion of the charcoal yet not enough to support the combustion of the smoke, which is a fuel source. There is an ample amount of heat, so a sudden infusion of oxygen allows that super-heated fuel, the smoke, to ignite!
Let me try and bring this all together. In their First-Timer Tips, Big Green Egg says you should burp your Egg anytime you’re cooking at 400°f or greater. Below is that bullet point from their website:
- USE CAUTION and Always Vent or Burp a hot EGG BEFORE opening fully
Whenever opening your EGG at high temperatures (over 400°F / 204°C), it is essential to lift or slowly crack the dome only slightly a few times, allowing air to safely enter slowly, preventing any backdraft or flare-ups that may allow a flash of heat to escape or burn your hand. Never quickly open a hot EGG all the way. Never allow children to handle or open the dome of a hot EGG!
My approach to this has been a bit more aggressive. I burp my Egg every single time I open it; I want to have the muscle memory. I want it ingrained in my head so I don’t forget to do it.
Here’s the recap: Burp your egg! Open the lid an inch or two. Pause. Close the lid and repeat a time or two. It’s just that simple and easy to do.
Be sure to check out all the Safety Tips and First Timer Tips over at the official Big Green Egg website.
Until next time. Happy grilling!
Jon Solberg, Expert Outdoor Cook who Makes His Own Charcoal!