I’m always on a search for ways to add more cooking capacity to my Char-Broil Big Easy. I started with my homemade Wingin’ator 3000, which works great but you do have to make it yourself. Then Char-Broil came out with a cooking rack that gave you 5 cooking levels. Sadly, the rack wasn’t available for sale for long. A reader of Life’s A Tomato mentioned something to me the other day that should’ve occurred to me long ago: you can use two of the Char-Broil Bunk Bed Baskets at once, giving you 3 cooking levels! Doh! It’s as easy as it looks. Grab the basket that comes with your Big Easy and just lower two bunk bed baskets down into it, securing it with the handles on the sides. You’ll need to offset the two baskets by 90 degrees, otherwise the handles from the lower basket will interfere with the top basket. You can kind of see that in the picture on the right, above.
You’ll get about 3″ of cooking room on each level, plenty for wings or drumsticks. You can fit up to 6 chicken breasts on too, if they aren’t too huge. All in all, it’s a win-win!
The nice thing about this approach is that all of the baskets are dishwasher-safe, readily available, and easy to use. You don’t get quite as much cooking room as with a Wingin’ator 3000 or the (now unavailable) cooking rack, but 3 levels is plenty for a good cookout!
I used to grill (or bake) my frozen hash brown patties. But now that I have a Big Easy, I can make them even easier than before. Just toss a few little cakes-of-potato-goodness into the cooker and in no time you have crispy golden brown hash browns. Anita likes hers plain so she can top them with ketchup. Me, I like a little cheddar and chopped chives.Bacon. Sour cream. Butter. Green onions. BBQ sauce. Roasted red bell peppers. You name it, anything goes great on hash brown patties cooked hot and quick on the Char-Broil Big Easy.
As much as I use my Char-Broil Big Easy to cook up fantastic chicken, I also use it just as much for side dishes. This roasted cauliflower came out absolutely delicious. Tender and flavor-packed, with just a hint of smokiness from the bacon. And as with anything I cook on my Big Easy, it was easy to make.
Make sure when you pick out the head of cauliflower at the store that you don’t get a really big one or it won’t fit into the Big Easy. Shoot for one that is about 8″ wide. For a little kick don’t be afraid to add a few pinches of dried red pepper flake to the chicken broth as you cook the cauliflower. It won’t be overwhelmingly hot, but it’ll give you a slight hint of heat.
You can roast cauliflower in the standard basket that comes with the Big Easy or a bunk bed basket (lined with foil to keep the liquid in), or the Big Easy cooking rack.
Baby potatoes have such a wonderful creamy sweetness to them. I love them roasted so the skin gets just a bit crispy. They pop when you bite into them. The Char-Broil Big Easy is the perfect cooker for making a lot of things, and these Fire-Eater potatoes are one of them. Roasted potatoes hit with a nice seasoning mix that brings a little heat to offset the sweetness. You can substitute any rub or seasoning mix you desire, but you might want to shy away from any that contain a lot of sugar which might burn in high heat. These Fire-Eater potatoes do cook quickly since they are smaller, but keep an eye on them if you do use a sweeter spice mix.
Mmmmmm. Tasty, moist, tender chicken. Montreal seasoning combines many of my favorite things: garlic, coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dill seed, and salt. Combine that with the fact that the Char-Broil Big Easy makes perfect chicken every single time and you’ve got a great dish. In fact, I cooked 6 chickens on one of my Big Easy’s just the other day. It’s optional, but I went the beer can route with my Montreal chicken. It’s not any harder to do on the Big Easy than ‘regular’ chicken. Just add a bit of seasoning to an open beer can, insert, and cook. That’s it. The Big Easy cooks chicken just great without the beer can, believe me, but it does add a little coolness factor and flavor.
If you’re not a fan of beer, don’t fret. Soda works just as well. For Montreal chicken, I’d lean towards something like root beer or maybe a ginger ale.
The Char-Broil Big Easy does a phenomenal job cooking poultry. You don’t even have to get all fancy with it, but sometimes I like to do a little extra and make a beer (or soda) can version of my favorite whole roasted chickens. This root beer can chicken came out fantastic. I used a slightly spicy but simple rub, and a good canned root beer. Moist and tender meat with great flavor. I couldn’t have been happier. The flavor from the root beer is subtle, but there. Use a quality root beer. If you can’t find one in a can, just empty (er… drink) a can of soda or beer and add the good root beer in.
There’s nothing complicated about cooking a whole chicken on the Big Easy. You can pretty much count on it taking 15 minutes per pound unless it’s really windy out. Of course you’ll still want to poke it with an instant-read thermometer to make sure it gets about 165 F, but I’ve cooked probably 50 chickens on my Big Easy and counting on 15 minutes per pound has never failed me.
I’m a big fan of cooking ham on the Char-Broil Big Easy. The ham gets a nice roasted flavor, a bit of a crispy outside, and a super-moist inside. This time I started with a 10 pound pressed ham, which I scored (a technique I need to practice) and then glazed as it cooked. No mess, no fuss, and mighty darned good in the end. The glaze has a bit of sweet and a definite kick to it. Chipotles not only add spiciness, they add a bit of smokiness, giving the ham an almost char-grilled flavor. Fantastic! Some of the ham I sliced thick, to eat as ham steaks. Some I chopped for omlets. And most I sliced super-thin for fantastic sandwiches.
4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (I added more because we like spicy!)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cumin
Fire up your Big Easy.
Combine the Ginger Ale, brown sugar, honey and vinegar in a saucepan over medium heat.
Stir. Bring to a simmer and let simmer until reduced by half.
Add remaining ingredients and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Score the ham as desired.
Place into the Big Easy basket and place into the Big Easy. Total cook time will be 15 minutes per pound. 30 minutes before being done, start glazing the ham ever 5-10 minutes. You'll end up using about half of the glaze.
Remove ham and let rest 10 minutes before slicing or carving.
Return the unused glaze to the saucepan and warm slightly to use as a gravy for the ham.