Which came first, the turkey or the Big Green Egg? According to my spouse the Binmeister, the turkey may have come first, but there has never been a turkey like the one that is expected to emerge from his Big Green Egg on Thanksgiving Day. Look out! Binmeister is in a cooking mode again.

The Big Green Egg evolved from domed kamado-style cookers first used in the Chinese Qin Dynasty and 3rd century Japan. Those ancient ovens used wood or natural charcoal to roast meats and steam rice. After World War II, U.S. Air Force servicemen brought them home from Japan, and at the end of the ‘60s started manufacturing them in this country. Entrepreneur Ed Fisher discovered the domed clay kiln while in the service overseas and opened a Big Green Egg store in Atlanta in1974.

The BGE looks like an egg laid by Tyrannosaurus Rex, harking back to prehistoric days when macho Homo Habilis (Handy Man) was in charge of hunting and starting fires, while early woman went to the grocery store, set the table, made side dishes, handed her cave-meister partner pre-marinated meat for the fire, cleaned up and let him take total credit for the incredible feast.

“There have been three great inventions since the beginning of time: fire, the wheel and central banking,” Will Rogers said.

While the economy struggles with wheels and banking, Binmeister struggles to harness fire, the invention that distinguishes man from mere animals. He plans to smoke this year’s turkey in his Big Green Egg, but sometimes has trouble with “temperature control.”

The subject of Binmeister’s first BGE experiment a number of years ago was a chicken. That attempt was foiled when he couldn’t ignite the easy-to-light charcoal. We had long ago switched from charcoal to a propane grill, and I forgot the charcoal starter sticks. Oops, my bad.  He struggled to kindle the fire, while I hummed Billy Joel’s tune: “We didn’t start the fire, no we didn’t light it, but we tried to fight it.” That bird ended up on a spit over the gas grill.

In attempt No. 2, Binmeister had a plan for some pork ribs. He soaked the charcoal with lighter fluid. The result? Let’s just say, when he lit the charcoal I switched from Billy Joel to Jerry Lee Lewis: “Goodness gracious great balls of fire!” That’s when I thought about making a reservation for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s always good to have a backup plan.

Binmeister decided to warm up his cooking skills on Nov. 8 “Cook Something Bold Day.” He tore a recipe for “cowboy steak,” from the Wall Street Journal. With a “you’re gonna love it” grin and a bottle of wine on the counter next to the stove, he directed his sous chef, No.1 daughter, to coat three small steaks with a mix of chili powder and a large cup of dry ground espresso coffee. In the mode of comedian W.C. Fields, who said: “I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food,” he re-filled his wine glass, took an enthusiastic sip and added some to the pan where smoke was rising and the coffee-coated meat was charring. The resulting steaks were tasty, but a bit overdone, and we didn’t sleep very well that night; he should have used decaf.