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All about eggs: How to pick, prepare and serve eggs

Justin Chapple shares how to select the best eggs and showcases fun cooking techniques for this versatile protein.
/ Source: TODAY

Justin Chapple of Food & Wine's Mad Genius Tips is joining TODAY to explain everything he knows about eggs. He shows us the difference between various types of eggs and shares the best ways to prepare them.

Cracking the code on labels

Cage free. Free range. No range? What does it all mean? With so many different labels, it can be tough to decipher the difference between all of those cartons. The easiest way to choose is to understand some basic language and then buy the ones that are best for you.

Cage-free: Cage-free simply means the hens are not confined in a cage, but that doesn't mean they're roaming some wild grassy plain. These chickens are free to walk around in some designated space but it doesn't necessarily mean they have access to the outdoors. This classification is regulated by the USDA.

Free-range: Another term regulated by the USDA is "free-range", which means the hens do have access to the outdoors. Now, whether or not the hens decide to go outside is up to them.

Pasture-raised: This term is not regulated by the USDA, but more smaller farms are using it to help distinguish their eggs from larger organic operations. If you see it along with a "certified humane" label, then it means the hens were given lots of space to roam outdoors.

Egg-citing Preparations

Grilled Eggs

It's still officially summer so we're still using our grills. Believe it or not you can actually grill eggs, and there are a couple ways of doing it.

Whole eggs: It's as easy as putting whole eggs on the grill grate over indirect heat, then cover the grill and cook around 300 degrees for 25-30 minutes. It might sound like a long time, but it's easy to do and it lends a really tasty smoky flavor.

Eggs in foil: This is ideal if you want something closer to an omelet or fried eggs. Just form shallow cups using heavy-duty foil, then fill them with fillings (such as diced ham, green onion, roasted peppers or cheese) and beaten eggs. Pop them on the grill and cook until set, which is usually about 10 minutes.

Justin Chapple's Potatoes Benedict with Make-Ahead Poached Eggs
Mike Smith / TODAY

You may serve the grilled foil-cup eggs on a plate but they also make a perfect back-to-school breakfast. Serve them between two cooked frozen waffles with cheese, then wrap up the sandwich in wax or parchment paper and you're out the door.

Poached to perfection

Another great way to use your eggs is to poach a bunch in advance, then reheat them quickly before serving. It's awesome for everyday breakfasts or a weekend brunch. I love to serve the poached eggs on this gluten-free version of eggs Benedict.