Feeling very dumb with Big Sur OC USB drive

I'm trying to install Big Sur on a Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 7 (running F8) with an I5-4690k cpu. This computer is currently running High Sierra with Clover.

I'm baffled by what's going on though: I downloaded the Big Sur installer (latest, 11.2.3 I think it was...), formatted my 32gb USB3 drive correctly, and created a bootable installer using the built in apple command line. This succeeded and I proceeded to mount the EFI and copy BOOT and OC folders from a known working configuration that matches mine. Then I did the SMBIOS definition, serial stuff, and ROM for the config.plist.

Most of my bios was setup correctly but I made any additional changes, most notably flipping from "Other OS" to "Windows 8" which revealed the option to disable Secure Boot.

What I'm experiencing and can't seem to remedy, is the age old invalid boot media selected error when I try to boot from the flash drive (F12 on post, select UEFI Kingston32DataTravelerBlahBlah).

This also happens if I change the boot drive priority to just the Kingston thumb drive, as one would expect (or, not - since this should be booting...)

What's baffling is that if I keep all of my boot drive priority stuff the same and allow it to enter the Clover selection menu, I can see the big sur external installer option - and even select it. It boots, and fails (because SMBIOS stuff from Clover is conflicting) but how on earth was Clover able to boot the installer yet I can't boot directly from it via F12/boot priority?

Any leads appreciated. I've tried every USB port on the machine, tried all combinations of UEFI and/or Legacy for storage boot, etcetc. I haven't tried recreating the USB on say, a 2.0 drive - something I've had to do in the past for hack installs. But I've never had problems booting to the drive initially like I am now. Thanks!

submitted by /u/thelocu5t
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