For being such a popular, almost faddish cooking tool, it is hard to believe that 17 years ago almost no one in Louisiana knew what a Big Green Egg was.
That was when Kevin “Quig” Quigley began promoting and selling them.
The 62-year-old with a big beaming smile is a born salesman and loves to cook. Quigley was raised in Metairie in a very Italian family.
“To the best of my knowledge, Quigley was originally Quiglian,” he said. “Every Sunday was red gravy day — lasagna, pig tails, meatballs, things like that, cooked by Grandma Quigley.
“They used to pile the plate up this big (molding a mound with his hands to demonstrate). Italians like to feed people. I’m in the same genre. I love to feed people."
The salesman thing started young, too.
“I began at 13 by selling fresh yard eggs door-to-door,” Quigley explained. “I sold eggs through the first two years of high school. I began my career selling eggs, and I’ll end my career selling eggs — Big Green Eggs.”
During the last two high school years, he worked in the restaurant industry as a cook at Taco Tico.
During college in Lafayette he met wife Lea. Their first date was boudin and cracklins at Best Stop, the now near-legendary meat market and grocery store in Scott.
After college, he worked in the restaurant industry in Metairie as a waiter and manager for five years before moving into sales work for nine years. After a short stint in California doing earthquake evaluations, he moved back to Metairie and purchased Portside Seafood Restaurant.
“What a mistake,” Quigley said. “All the memories of why I got out of the restaurant business came back to me.”
He quickly sold it and went to work with old friend Benny Falcon as an independent sales representative. Four years later, Falcon died and Quigley took over the business.
The Outdoor Kitchen Specialist sells 10 lines of equipment — “anything for the outdoors, I have, including grills, griddles and ice makers.”
Quigley loves his Big Green Eggs, calling them “the best charcoal grill I’ve ever cooked on, and I sold and cooked on a lot of grills. It’s the best because you have total temperature control. It’s a grill, an oven, a smoker, all in one.”
Green Egg aficionados call themselves “eggheads.”
“They are always thinking of things to do on his egg,” Quigley said. “Eggheads wake up in the middle of the night thinking of what they can do on their Eggs.
“Every time I cook, it’s an experiment.”
He doesn’t just cook meat: He cooks things like gumbo, jambalaya, pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches.
I ask why anyone would want to cook brownies on an egg.
“Because you can” Quigley replied.
Then I asked about cooking seafood on an Egg.
“Why not?” he said. “I do a lot of blackening of fish and shrimp because you can get those high temperatures. I do a lot of smoked salmon because of the low temperature control. I also think seafood tastes better cooked on an Egg because of the hint of smoke in it.
“The beauty of a Green Egg is that it takes all the negatives out of grilling: no lighter fluid, (and) it’s fast and easy to light with an electric lighter or a starter wafer. You have absolute control of the temperature. Eggs use very little charcoal and, therefore, produce very little ash. There are very few flare-ups, even at temperatures up to 650 degrees.”
This recipe came from Kevin Quigley’s attendance at the Green Egg Festival in Tucker, Ga. Quigley usually serves them in smaller versions, almost like sliders that are great appetizers.
“I like to cook a lot of appetizers — ‘pickinin’ food,’ I call them,” Quigley said. “People stand around the Egg and take bites.”
The dish has a distinct Asian flair provided by the wasabi, the hot chili sesame oil and the teriyaki marinade.
Quigley cooked his shrimpburgers in the huge World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in the annual Memphis in May International Festival. It placed 11th out of 120 entries in the seafood category.
Quigley strongly suggested refrigerating the seasoned shrimp overnight in the refrigerator before forming the patties, as they hold together better during cooking and serving.
A couple of notes about possible ingredient substitutions” The recipe lists Creole seasoning, of which there are many brands. Kevin’s choice is Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning.
He also notes that Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce may be substituted for the hot chili sesame oil, and soy or oyster sauces are fine instead of the honey teriyaki marinade.
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup prepared wasabi
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1/3 cup honey,
Dash soy sauce
2 lb. raw, peeled and deveined shrimp
1 tsp. liquid crawfish, shrimp and crab boil
2 eggs, beaten
4 tbsp. melted butter
4 green onion tops, chopped
2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
2 cups panko bread crumbs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning
2 tsp. hot chili sesame oil
4 tbsp. honey teriyaki marinade
Mix the first six ingredients to make wasabi mayonnaise. Place in a refrigerator until burgers are done. Coarsely chop the shrimp and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the crab boil and mix well. Stir in the eggs and melted butter, and mix well. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Form into patties and place on a griddle or perforated pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cook over direct 375-degree heat on a Green Egg or griddle. Grill for 10 minutes. Flip the burgers and cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve on toasted buttered buns with a large dollop of wasabi mayonnaise on each patty. Makes 12 to 15 sliders.
Oyster Artichoke Bruschettas
Kevin Quigley often makes artichoke bruchettas at grilling events when he cooks at Green Egg dealers. He started using oysters when cooking with Lea at the Oyster Hangout Cookoff in Gulf Shores, Ala.
These must be cooked using the Green Egg ConvEGGtor — what used to be named the “plate setter,” which diffuses the heat of the fire. Without it, the direct heat will burn the bottoms of the bread.
2 dozen oysters, drained and chopped
1 32-oz. jar of artichoke hearts, chopped
1 can Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, drained
8 oz. feta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped black olives
6 large cloves garlic, pressed
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning
1 large loaf French bread cut into 1/2 inch slices
Mix the oysters and artichoke hearts to a large mixing bowl. Add Rotel tomatoes, cheeses, olives and garlic. Mix well. Add olive oil and Greek seasoning. Stir to blend. Spread the mixture on French bread slices. Adjust the vents at the top and bottom of the Green Egg to keep the temperature between 300 and 350 degrees. Place the bread on a perforated pan (a Green Egg accessory) and place the pan on the grill. Close the lid and cook about 5 to 10 minutes until the bread is crispy.