Crack a Big Green Egg at Ace Hardware Alameda Station

Spring is in full swing and summer's almost here, which means that eggs are hatching all over Denver - Big Green Eggs. And Ace Hardware Alameda Station will play the part of a giant nest on Saturday, June 6, by hosting a Big Green Egg cook-off.

Made by an Atlanta-based company, the Eggs are large backyard ceramic smokers that can also be used as grills or convection ovens.

"You can cook virtually anything on one. You can smoke a big pork shoulder and it will melt in your mouth when you are done. You can make your Thanksgiving turkey, and then if you want, you can make awesome pizzas and desserts," says Andy Carlson, who owns the Ace franchise with his wife, Michelle.

The Eggs have an almost cult-like following of smoker aficionados who trade recipes, tips, advice and even emergency suggestions at www.eggheadforum.com. Marty Jones quickly became a convert when he cracked the Egg for this Consumed column seven years ago.

So far, Carlson says eight contestants have signed up, including two from The Art Institute of Colorado's International Culinary School. They'll be using store-supplied Eggs to cook or smoke everything from pork shoulder, which takes all day, to burgers, which take seven minutes. The winner gets a $300 gift card from Ace.

The cook-off starts at 8 a.m., but will run all day, and the public is welcome to watch, or sample some of the results. Judging takes place from 2 to 3 p.m. Ace Alameda Station, 417 South Broadway, will have its grilling experts on hand all day and will, of course, be selling the Big Green Eggs, which have been priced at $819 (including a stand, called the Nest, and table, called the Mate) for the day.

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