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Chef Todd Mussman talks grilling and shares a Big Green Egg-style mussels recipe

Todd Mussman (credit: Marcus Kraus)

Todd Mussman at Local Three (credit: Marcus Kraus)

As we debate the finer points of Big Green Eggs, gas and charcoal grills this week on the Food and More blog, I checked in with Chef Todd Mussman. He uses a Big Green Egg. Well, actually, it’s blue. His personal egg, purchased for him as a wedding gift, was one of only 190 limited run of the color.

Mussman is now a culinary partner with Big Green Egg (BGE) and uses the Kamado-style cookers in his restaurants Muss & Turner’s and Local Three. In fact, when he opened Muss & Turner’s 8 years ago, he was one of the first to incorporate eggs into an indoor professional kitchen. After much research, a special hood and dealings with the fire marshall, two BGEs now serve as the primary cooking vessels at the restaurant.

Why charcoal over gas?

Mussman says this question is like “using stock to make soup versus water.” Charcoal adds flavor, “If you char the edge of your steak on a propane grill, it tastes burned. If you char the edge of your steak on a charcoal grill, it tastes wonderful.”

Why use a Big Green Egg over a charcoal grill?

For Mussman it comes down to flavor and efficiency, as they maintain temperatures and hold their heat. BGEs are meant to be used with the lid down, trapping the moisture. The moist heat makes it less likely for foods to dry out during the cooking process.

Ways to use the Big Green Egg

We all know that we can smoke a pork shoulder or ribs on the egg. Mussman notes how versatile the egg is and encourages folks to branch out, “Don’t just think big meat.” He says to think of cooking at three temperature ranges:

  1. Low and slow: this is for your brisket, pork shoulder, ribs
  2. 350-450°: roasting vegetables, chicken, fish and other seafood
  3. 600°: steakhouse-style ribeyes, filets

Classes

Need help getting started? Mussman leads Big Green Egg classes at Local Three where he teaches a variety of techniques to help folks realize the potential of their eggs. See class information here.

Mussman also shared a recipe for mussels made on the Big Green Egg.

Iron Skillet Roasted Mussels

(yields 4 portions)

  • 2 pounds fresh mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
  • 2-3 T. Shallots, minced
  • 1T. Garlic, minced
  • 4T. Unsalted butter
  • 1C. White wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • A small pinch of chili flakes if you like some spice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Fire up the Big Green Egg medium hot (around 400-425 degrees) and place a large iron skillet or Dutch oven inside to pre heat.

Meanwhile heat the butter in a small sauce pan and add the shallots and garlic along with the bay leaf, thyme sprig and chili flakes if using.  Allow the flavors to meld without coloring the shallots.  Add S&P and white wine, boil and remove from heat.

Bring the mussels and sauce pan of wine butter to the grill.  Add the mussels to the pan first and follow with the wine butter mixture.

Close the grill and close the dampers down to a low setting.  Allow the mussels to steam/roast for about 5 minutes or until all the mussels open.  Discard any unopened mussels.

Re-season with S&P, serve with crusty garlic bread if you like.

This is great served right from the skillet family-style.

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–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

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