Sure, I’ve made bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers on my Char-Broil Big Easy. A lot of times. And I love them. But not everyone loves a little kick in their appetizers like I do, so that’s when these sausage-stuffed peppers take the stage. The peppers get a nice little char on them. They have a little sweetness to them. The sausages bring a wonderful smokiness, and they kind of ‘pop’ when you bite into them. That’s a bit unexpected. The cream cheese? Well, it’s creamy. All wrapped in bacon goodness with a sprinkle of rub. I used the rub for my Big Easy root beer can chicken on these sausage-stuffed peppers. The rub has a little smoky flavor to it, along with a bit of garlic and just a very, very small hint of spiciness. Not enough to offend those that prefer mellower snacks.
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!
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.
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.
Any day that ends in the letter ‘y’ is a good day to roast up some chicken in my Char-Broil Big Easy. A few hours in a flavor-packed marinade, one hour on the cooker, and we sat down to enjoy some fantastic downtown roasted chicken breasts. The chicken is moist and tender with just a hint of spiciness and smokiness. I used bone-in chicken breasts, but any chicken cuts (or even a whole chicken) would work just fine. I removed the skin because the marinade is going to keep it from getting crispy. Also, no skin means that the marinade soaks in deep, making sure each bite is full of flavor. The marinade would also be fantastic on steaks.
When using a marinade and cooking on the Big Easy I like to lay my chicken flat so that the marinade doesn’t fun off. If you are using the basket that comes with the Big Easy you can easily cook two breasts at a time. Add the bunk bed basket and you can cook 4. Go big time and get the cooking rack and cook 6 or more. But, keep in mind that the farther the chicken is from the fire the longer it’ll take to cook, so as you get near an hour cook time watch the pieces on the bottom. They may have to be removed earlier than those higher up.
You'll need the Bunk Bed Basket or the Cooking Rack for the Big Easy to cook 4 or more chicken breasts at a time. Note that the chicken breasts on the bottom might cook faster than those on top. Begin checking for doneness after 1 hour and remove any done chicken once it hits 165 F.
4 split bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed
For the rub
5 chipotles along with 2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce they are packed in
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, diced
2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the chicken in large resealable bag or container.
Place all of the rub ingredients into a blender and process until smooth.
Pour marinade over chicken. Close the container and toss gently to coat.
Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Fire up your Big Easy.
Remove the chicken from the container and place into the Big Easy basket.
Place into cooker and cook until the chicken hits 165 F, about 1 hour.
The cooking rack for the Char-Broil Big Easy is a definite must-have accessory for the cooker in my book. I use it to cook everything from French fries to nachos, to yep, herb roasted potatoes. I often remove the racks themselves and add 9″ pie pans (you can leave in the racks and use 8″ or smaller pie pans). Then I’m off and running. Everything comes out great. And since I have more than one Big Easy I can cook a main dish in one (like fantastic roasted chicken) and a side or two in the other! Score! I used smaller baby portabella mushrooms but you can use any mushrooms you wish, even mixing up types. Just keep in mind that larger mushrooms or mushrooms with thicker caps might take a bit longer to cook. I like to cook my mushrooms cap-side down so that the juices stay inside the cap, keeping the mushrooms nice and moist.
In a large bowl, toss mushrooms with the remaining ingredients.
Transfer mushrooms to the Big Easy. For best results, use a Big Easy Cooking Rack. I remove the racks and use 9" pie pans, but you can use the racks by themselves. Make sure the stem-side is pointing upwards.
Place into the Big Easy and cook 20 minutes or until just tender.