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Lori Ivey of Warner Robins threads skewers with Tandoori Chicken and vegetables that she and husband Mark grilled at EGGtoberfest 2007.

Tailgating, Big Green Egg-style

Grill enthusiasts share favorite recipes during EGGtoberfest

Every October on a crisp Saturday morning, the sweet smell of apple wood fills the air, and a visible trail of smoke lazily drifts toward Interstate 285 near Tucker.

Come closer, and you’ll smell barbecue, chili, pizza, curried dishes, cakes and more—a smorgasbord of culinary delights, all being prepared on green, egg-shaped cookers. See something cooking that you like? Ask, and you can probably taste it. You might even get the recipe.

This is EGGtoberfest, an annual event held the third Saturday in October at the company headquarters of the Big Green Egg, where thousands of “EGGhead” enthusiasts gather to celebrate their favorite type of grill, cooker and smoker by preparing and sharing all types of foods.

But what is a Big Green Egg, and why are so many folks so gung-ho about them?

“Well, anything you can cook on a stovetop or in an oven, you can cook on a Big Green Egg,” says company founder Ed Fisher, who started his business selling Oriental kamado-style cookers in an Atlanta strip mall in 1974. “Kamado” is a term meaning an oven, stove, heater or fireplace, and its designs date back more than 3,000 years. Word of mouth was the best form of advertising, Fisher says, for his Big Green Egg cookers, known for their unique shape and distinctive green color.

Over the past three decades, Fisher has taken suggestions from customers on how to improve his product design, making upgrades and adding new accessories. In 2005, the company moved its retail operations, headquarters and warehousing center to Tucker, and today his company is the world’s largest manufacturer and international distributor of these ceramic cookers, selling in more than 20 countries.

(Photo by Patrick McComas.)
Lynn Hadden of Marietta bakes piping-hot Pumpkin-Pecan Bread on the Big Green Egg using silicone bakeware.

As a way to say “thank you” to his loyal customers, Fisher and his staff have hosted Eggtoberfest for the past 10 years as a kind of homecoming for these grilling enthusiasts.

Last year’s event attracted more than 1,500 visitors from all over the country and as far away as England, with competition-level chef teams and everyday cooks preparing their favorite foods on more than 220 Big Green Eggs provided by the company. But it’s also a day where competition gets set aside in the spirit of sharing: participants trade tips and tricks on how to get the most out of using a kamado-style cooker.

“We had so many people that fell in love with our food on Saturday,” says Wanda Callahan of Marietta, a first-time Eggtoberfest attendee in 2007 who grilled alongside her husband Sammy and friends Ted and Sandra Gambrell, also of Marietta. “By the time we started preparing the bacon-wrapped scallops, the line was so long that it literally had some of the ‘big time’ chefs coming over to check out what we were grilling.” The Callahans plan on returning this year to cook again.

(Photo by Patrick McComas.)
Bogart residents Tim Wing, back, and sons Clayton and Davis, take a break from cooking up their simple-yet-outstanding Smoked Chicken Legs.

Staffers from GEORGIA Magazine also fired up two huge grills at last year’s event, preparing skewers of chicken satay and handing out magazines.

“The best aspect of EGGtoberfest was the camaraderie everyone showed and the interest in the various recipes being prepared. Since the grills can be used to create different dishes, you could see one team baking bread while another was smoking a ham,” says Clay Narron, assistant editor at GEORGIA Magazine.

As you head out to tailgate with friends and family, take heed from Egg enthusiasts and don’t just limit your next grilling experience to the standard cookout fare. Branch out and try new things this season.

Keep scrolling down for recipes prepared and shared by EGGtoberfest 2007 participants.


 

Eggtoberfest 2008 details

The 11th Annual EGGtoberfest is set for Oct. 17-18 in Tucker, and 1,500 visitors are expected again this year. Registration is required and tickets are limited, so reserve early if you’d like to attend. For details, visit www.biggreenegg.com.

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Did you know?

Nationally, three in four consumers prefer to cook outside on the grill rather than indoors on the stove, when entertaining during the warmer months.

—Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, January 2008 poll


 

 

September 2008

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