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EGGfest Promises To Be Quite The EGGsperience!

Cooking On The Big Green Egg

EGGfest Promises To Be Quite The EGGsperience!

NORTH ROYALTON – They fondly refer to themselves as Eggheads.

These men and women are masters of the grill, connoisseurs of fine fare, a fraternity of sorts.

They are the Big Green Egg enthusiasts who swear by this grill’s design, which melds an ancient cooking technique with modern ingenuity to create a unique cooking experience. 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.

In two weeks, Eggheads from far and wide will converge on North Royalton May 17-18 in droves to attend the first ever North Coast EGGfest – a national event that Country Stove Patio and Spa has worked hard to bring to Cleveland.

Country Stove Patio and Spa, which features the largest full-line, in-stock selection of Big Green Egg accessories in northeast Ohio, is very plugged in to the Big Egg movement.

Brothers Nick, Matt and Joe Federico, whose parents Dominic and Gloria own the store, all work there and said they have noticed the Eggs have really sparked customers’ interest.

Big Green Eggs are celebrated because they are easy to start, can maintain exact temperatures thanks to the ceramic design, are grill-ready in minutes, are safe to use and simple to clean.

The organic charcoal or chips they utilize ignite quickly and reach cook-ready temperatures within minutes, as opposed to the traditional charcoal grill that can take 45 minutes to an hour. Users can grill, smoke and bake at exact temperatures thanks to the Egg’s air flow design. Accuracy can be maintained within a few degrees up to 750 degrees and as low as 170.

Its ceramic design, an ancient design traced back to Japan, is durable, insulating and retains heat well.

“They really bridge the gap between the gas grill – which a lot of people like because it’s convenient, you can light it and throw some steaks on in 10 minutes – and the charcoal grill, which takes longer. It really melds the two,” Nick said. “It makes the charcoal grill a lot more accessible to people and the flavor is unique.”

Well-known Chef Bobby Flay owns one.

With the Eggs come EGGfests, a chance for devout Eggheads to really showcase their skills, share their Egg knowhow and talk shop amongst each other and the next generation of Eggheads.

There are currently about 10 to 15 EGGfests hosted across the country.

Nick and Matt said,

“Why not North Royalton?”

“An EGGfest has never been done in Cleveland before. It’s the first one,” Matt said. “We wanted to gain some experience, spend time learning what we can do on the Egg, the flavor it imparts and then we went for it.”

They contacted the Big Green Egg company, said they were interested and have been receiving some guidance on the ins and outs of hosting such an event.

This fest sounds simple enough, but this is a huge deal in the Egg community.

“Eggheads will drive eight, 10, 12 hours to go to one. People really follow it. It’s not just a, ‘OK we’re going to cook some food.’ There is a lot of pride that goes into this,” Nick explained.

“Eggheads really want to show off their recipes, show what they can do on the Egg,” Matt said. “Compared to them, we are rookies.”

The eggstravaganza begins at 5 p.m. May 17 with a dinner that lasts until 8 p.m. The dinner will be hosted inside Country Stove Patio and Spa, located at 6669 Royalton Road, and catered by Bella Café, which is located in Broadview Heights. The Italian dinner costs $10 and includes beer and wine.

“And we will have one grill going that we will be cooking meatballs, garlic bread and dessert on,” Matt said.

Reservations for this are required in advance.

The fest kicks into gear May 18 in tents outside the store. Cooks will fire up the Eggs at 8 a.m. and begin by cooking breakfast entrees shortly after. The event opens to the public at 9 a.m. Country Stove Patio and Spa will have 17 large Eggs out front, grilling up a variety of fare for the public to sample.

The samplings are sure to shock and amaze those new to the Egg, as they can grill almost anything.

“We’ll be doing classes on how to use the Big Green Egg and really show people the versatility of the grill. We will have some unique foods people wouldn’t think of cooking on it,” Matt said. “Craig Jenkins from Romeo’s in Medina will cook his Butcher’s Shop pizza that won a Midwest Pizza award.”

That’s right, Eggs can cook far more than just burgers, steak and hotdogs. They are great for pizza, seafood, vegetables, calzones, soups, even breads, cookies, cakes and pies.

An all-day tasting admission costs $10 per person.

Various vendors will attend, too. And of course, Eggheads from around the region will be serving up their eggcellent masterpieces for everyone to try. Cooks are free but need to register.

Bands will be playing throughout the day – Island Jeff will play the steel drum from 10 a.m. to noon, Captain Sweet Shoes will play acoustic music from 12:30-1:30 p.m. and Flow Spontaneous will play a jazz, hip-hop fusion from 2 to 3 p.m. Flow Spontaneous is comprised of students from the University of Akron.

There will also be door prizes and a large Big Green Egg will be raffled. The winning ticket holder does not have to be present to win. Only 120 tickets will be sold, and tickets are $10 each.

Parking will be available at the High School parking lot nearby.

The 17 demo grills used during the EGGfest – which each include the Egg, their steel nest on wheels, the plate setter and the ash tool for the chips – will be available for purchase after the fest at a significantly discounted price, $799, since they will have been used for the demonstrations. An Egg with these accessories has a $1,100 value.

Everything inside the store is on sale in anticipation of the EGGfest, too.

Matt and Nick have personally been readying for the event, getting accustomed to the grill, experimenting with different recipes, seasoning and accessories. Every Saturday they offer Big Green Egg cooking demonstrations, so customers can see it up close, get a feel for it, ask questions and taste its finished product. Last week they were grilling up apple chipotle seasoned chicken wings, salmon, pineapple and red peppers on an Egg outside the store.

“The more you use this, the more you want to use this,” Nick said.

“On Monday, we start thinking about what we want to cook on it the next Saturday,” Matt added as he seasoned the pineapple.

Cathy and Mike Watkins, North Royalton residents who know the family, stopped by during last Saturday’s grilling demo.

“We came up to check out your grillin’ skills,” Mike said to Matt and Nick.

“It’s an interesting concept. Very interesting,” Cathy said of the Egg.

Despite working at the store and using the grill on a regular basis, Matt and Nick don’t yet own one but that’s all about to change.

Yes, they will soon be full-fledged Eggheads.

“We work with it all the time, we love experimenting with it at the store and now, we’re bringing it home,” Nick said.

They have sharpened and honed in their Egg skills and are ready for EGGfest.

“We’re really looking forward to this,” Nick said. “We want to encourage as many people to come as possible. We’re excited about the event. It’s just going to be a lot of fun, there’s going to be a lot of great entertainment, a lot of great food. We want people to come out and Eggsperience this unique, one of a kind fest.”

EGGfest Promises To Be Quite The EGGsperience!

Written By Jaime Anton of the North Royalton Post Newspaper

EGGfest Promises To Be Quite The EGGsperience!