Eggheads, Wannabes have EGGceptional Time at EGGFest
Country Stove Patio and Spa hosted the second ever North Coast EGGfest 2014 locally May 17
By JAIME ANTON The Post staff writer
NORTH ROYALTON – Marilyn Sessions readied her flank steak, which had been marinating for two days, for the grill.
Her husband Brian put a few pieces of apple wood in the grill and they waited patiently for the temperature to read 450-500 degrees.
The sizzle, the smell as she carefully laid the steak on the fire was heavenly.
Ward 4 Councilman Paul Marnecheck happened by their grill and was stopped in his tracks by the aroma.
“I’d like to try it,” he said to Brian Sessions.
When it was the right temperature, they handed him over a few slices. Once the fork hit his lips, Marnecheck was hooked.
“Wow. That is excellent. Wow. How long until that one’s done?” he said, gesturing at another flank steak sizzling away. “I don’t want to be greedy and get seconds, but wow. That was really, really good.”
Marnecheck happily accepted the seconds the Sessions were more than willing to dish out.
“Oh man, this is so good,” he smiled.
The Sessions aren’t your average grillers, they’re Eggheads.
Eggheads are those who know the ins and outs of the unique Big Green Egg grill and swear by them, preferring this unique grill to traditional charcoal and gas grills.
The Sessions are by no means rookies. They’re seasoned Egg vets with close to 15 years of experience logged on their Eggs. They own three, because one’s just not enough for an Egghead.
“And I think we need another one,” Marilyn Sessions laughs.
She lifted the Egg’s lid and takes a quick peek at their steak. This very same recipe earned her second place a few years ago in the national EGGFest in Atlanta, which is attended by thousands and thousands of Eggers every year.
The Sessions, who hail from Kent, were grilling up not only steak, but a chicken recipe next to 16 other teams at the local North Coast EGGFest 2014 hosted by Country Stove Patio and Spa in North Royalton May 17.
Marnecheck loved their steak, but he was also impressed with the turducken that Tom Bender, of North Royalton, was grilling up on his Egg. The councilman didn’t get a chance to try it, but just seeing this legendary dish – turkey stuffed with duck stuffed with chicken – being attempted, let alone on a grill, was a sight to behold.
“Everybody seems pretty excited about it,” Bender said. “Nobody did a turkey last year, so I thought I would this time. It’s great because you can really get a lot of flavor into a reasonably priced meat with the Egg.”
Big Green Egg enthusiasts boast about the grill’s design that melds an ancient cooking technique with modern ingenuity to create a unique cooking style. This cooking style imparts distinctive flavors and aromas derived from organic wood charcoal and chips all in a fraction of the time as conventional charcoal grills.
These grills are celebrated because they are easy to start, can maintain an exact temperature thanks to the ceramic design, are grill ready in minutes, are safe to use and simple to clean.
The charcoal or chips ignite quickly and reach cook-ready temperatures within minutes, as opposed to the tradition charcoal grill that can take up to an hour. Users can grill, smoke and bake at exact temperatures thanks to the air flow design. And, accuracy can be maintained within a few degrees up to 750 degrees and as low as 170.
Eggs aren’t simply for grilling, experts said they’re great for baking too – pies, bread, cookies and more.
Magdalena Chmura, of North Royalton, and her friend Mark Wells, of Dayton, teamed up to cook lamb and bacon shish kabobs followed by chocolate chip cookies on the grill.
Another Egghead baked loaf bread and a cornbread. Someone else was making quesadillas.
Country Stove Patio and Spa features the largest full-line, in-stock selection of Big Green Egg accessories in northeast Ohio and is very plugged in to the Big Egg movement, so much so that they brought the nationwide EGGFest to North Royalton last year.
It was very successful with between 200-250 people attending. There were 12 grills in use last year. This year, there were 17, but the cold, wet weather dampened attendance a bit. About the same amount of people attended this year.
Matt Federico, whose parents Dominic and Gloria own the store, works alongside his brothers Nick and Joe. He said he’s hopeful for next year.
“Hopefully this will continue to grow, and we start pulling in more people. Last year’s event, it was a beautiful day. Even with the weather, we had a good-sized crowd. I’m excited about next year,” he said.
The weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of The Post Newspapers’ very own Karl Gerhard, account executive. Gerhard, admittedly, is an Egghead. He was serving up his famous Atomic Buffalo Turds and debuting his newly concocted culinary masterpiece, Luau Logs, a recipe his son Jake, 10, and his wife, Yvette, helped craft the night before the Fest.
The logs were sweet peppers stuffed with pineapple and cream cheese, wrapped in bacon, seasoned with Dizzy Pig Pineapple Head seasoning and brown sugar and then smoked on the grill for an hour at 350 degrees.
Atomic Buffalo Turds are very similar, but are the spicy, non-fruity cousin to the logs. They are jalapenos stuffed with smoked sausage and cream cheese, wrapped with bacon, seasoned with Dizzy Pig Dizzy Dust and smoked on the Egg at 350 degrees for an hour.
Tammy and Jon Lillie, of Olmsted Falls, anxiously waited in line for a bite.
They have their own Egg, but haven’t really ventured out into the world of unique recipes just yet.
“We’ve never thought of making bread, so this is a learning experience. And these Luau Logs are such a unique idea. This is giving us more ideas, which we need. I’m really impressed,” Tammy Lillie said.
“We’ve done duck and roast beef. I definitely want to try pizza. I’m really glad we invested in the Egg,” Jon Lillie added.
Ron and Sher Morse traveled all the way from Kane, Pa., to attend the Fest. They do not have an Egg, but were eying them closely after the fare they sampled and the words of wisdom from the Eggers.
“Everyone here has been so friendly. We would definitely come back,” Sher Morse said.
“They’re all giving me tips on things to try, but they won’t give me secrets on the sauce. That’s top secret,” Ron Morse chuckled.
Marilyn Sessions said this is the beauty of EGGFest, not just amazing food, but the camaraderie and the sharing of techniques and ideas, even recipes.
“We like the flavor, the ease of use. You can do so many things, a variety of foods, but we also love the camaraderie, all the Eggers sharing recipes, teaching people. Some of the people here, this is their first EGGFest experience. We do these all over the country and this is by far our favorite,” she said. “They spoil us here. We want for nothing.”
She was flipping a steak when the tune “We are Family” came over the speakers at the event.
“It’s the perfect song for this,” she smiled.