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Big Green Egg v. Weber kettle

I have used Weber kettles for years...direct heat for steaks and indirect for BBQ, roast chicken, smoked turkey, etc. I have friends who swear by the BGE. Have never tried one, but reading about it makes me wonder how different it is and whether any of you can give a good reason to abandon Weber (at least for some things.) Thanks for your help

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  1. in my opinion, it's a totally different game, BGE and Weber Kettle. Are you looking to use them primarily for grilling? Or for smoking? or both? Webers are great for their ease, portability, and just good standard grilling. Not so much so for indirect or smoking (go for the Weber Smoky Mountain for that.

    But with the BGE, you'll get temps you simply can't get on any other outdoor cooking device. Like in the 700 degree range (aside from steaks and such, it's amazing for grilled pizza). But it's also an amzing smoker too. Very, very good temperature control and charcoal efficiency.

    All that said, there are some significant drawbacks to the BGE too. First, weight. It's a few hundred pounds. So once you park it, don't plan on moving it often, if at all. Also, don't drop that lid - it's ceramic so it will crack. Third, it's expensive. Fourth, for grilling, you don't get a lot of cooking space. This is also true for smoking, compared to other smokers. There are specialty grates that expand your cooking space, but that's only for smoking... won't work for grilling. If you plan to grill for more than four, you may run out of room very quickly. Also, with the BGE, you have to use a high quality lump charcoal, because with the BGE, ash production is bad... so briquettes are out completely.

    Anyhow, to restate what I started with, I've never thought of Weber Kettle v. BGE, they are just too different in my opinion.

    1 Reply
    1. re: adamclyde

      Whew!

      Ditto - the BGE is heavy heavy heavy and it doesn't have much space to cook on.

    2. I have a friend who has gone through several kamados. They end up cracking (I think the hot coals need more TLC than he gives them.)

      1. I haven't used a thermometer in my kettle, but 700F seems to be realistic, if I build a fairly large fire on one side, leave the vents open, and use the lid.
        With dampers and vents mostly closed, the Weber kettle will also smoke for several hours.

        While I might look at a WSM in the autumn, it seems hard to justify a BGE

        4 Replies
        1. re: jayt90

          I have both a kettle and a WSM and have used a BGE. Trust me, the overall heat you can generate in a kamado (or BGE) is much higher and concentrated than what you can get in a kettle. Not that I prefer it to a kettle for grilling, though, because of it's limited size and it's just not as easy and portable. But for smoking, kamado beats a kettle any day. BGE v. WSM is another story. I think that's a better comparison.

          I think you are on the right track with getting a WSM. It's the best food purchase I've ever made in my life. It was a splurge compared to cheap brinkman models, but was a bargain compared to the BGE or commercial smokers. I've never been happier with any purchase of any sorts in my life. I smoked two huge pork butts the other day. Took 17 hours and I didn't touch the coals or the air vents once. Plus, I can smoke 40 pounds of pork on it at one time...

          1. re: adamclyde

            Does the WSM work at temperatures that you could use to smoke/cure sausage?

            1. re: yayadave

              What temperature do you need to smoke sausage? I can hold a reliable smoke for long periods in the 170 to 180 range.

              You can actually do cold smoking if you want too, though that takes a very different approach and requires effort.

              1. re: yayadave

                I have been smoking sausages and meat on my WSM and it has worked well. It doesn't do well below 170F. I tried to smoke salmon and it more or less cooked it.

          2. If you're serious about grilling/smoking/bbq, then I say why not own both?! I own several grills but that's just me. Yes, the BGE is heavy but not several hundred pounds and has plenty of multi-tiered cooking space unlike the posters claims below. It's everything that they say it is and more. As far as porability in concerned, how often do you really need to move your grill...practically never right?

            9 Replies
            1. re: amoncada

              I have owned a BGE for 3 years, and the reason I like it is I can do an 18 hour 220F "low and slow" cook just about year round. Not so for my old Weber Kettle. The ceramic on the BGE is thick enough that it holds temperature without any problem, whereas this was not possible with a thin wall steel Kettle. If eating smoked food is something you only want to do in the summer, then maybe the Weber is a more affordable way to do this. I also use a BBQ Guru Temperature controller which is kind of cheating, but it makes using the BGE much more simple than having to control the top and bottom dampers.

              1. re: amoncada

                multi tiered in the BGE works for smoking yes, or maybe indirect grilling, but not really what I'm looking for in a grill. But you are right, if you get the biggest of the eggs, then I guess you have the same grilling space as a kettle. But most eggs are 18 inches or smaller in diameter...

                Maybe it's just me, but I move my grill frequently. Very frequently, but that's because I don't have a lot of space, so I need to move it when I use it. Plus, the kids knock over everything in their path, so moving things out of their way is a good thing!

                1. re: adamclyde

                  Both the WSM and the BGE are fine smokers - but the WSM costs between $200 - 250 from Amazon and others. Much cheaper than a BGE.

                  At most Barbecue Competitions, you see many WSMs (and some BGEs) folks like them because they are very capable cookers.

                  1. re: rich in stl

                    THIS KILLS ME. THE EGG COMES ON WHEELS PEOPLE. I STORE MINE WHEN NOT IN USE AND BRING IT OUT THREE TIMES A WEEK. HARD TO MOVE? WEBER USED TO BE GRET GRILLS. I SELL GRILLS AND ALMOST NONE OF YOU KNOW THAT A YEAR AGO WEBER WENT TO CHINA!!!. THEY ARENT NEAR THE GRILL THE USED TO BE. THE WEBER LINE IS DEAD AS FAR AS THE GRILL WE ARE USED TO.

                  2. re: adamclyde

                    Not just you. We move our grills around quite a bit, too.

                    1. re: foodstorm

                      Thanks, guys. I live in Fla. and cook outside year round. Once during a rare snow in Tallahasse, I was grilling and went right ahead. I think I'll use the Weber for the drirect grilling and get BGE for the smoking...

                      1. re: steakman55

                        good for you. Smoking during a blizzard is the true test of an outdoor cook! i once hod to shovel a foot of snow around my weber smoky mountain cooker to get to it. by the time the smoke was done 12 hours later, I had an additional 18 inches all around. But the smoker kept chugging along like it was 80 degrees outside...

                    2. re: adamclyde

                      The extra large BGE has a 24" diameter grilling surface. Bigger than the kettle. Also, the BGE is not what you would buy to be just a grilling tool, though it will work amazingly well for that task. It is more for long, low and slow, smoking AND grilling/searing at high temps. If you are looking for something to grill your hotdogs, hamburgers, and steak on look for something else. You can't justify the cost for that alone. But if you want to cook anything and everything, including baking, real Q, smoking etc... (and you can afford it), go with the BGE. It will outlive many a smoker.

                      1. re: gmstanfield

                        I posted about BGE and Weber Kettle a while ago:

                        I got both!

                        I use the BGE to smoke ribs & pork butt. While that's finishing up, I use the Webber to cook chicken, burgers & dogs. After the ribs & butt are done, I crank up the BGE to 700 and drop in the ribeye and porterhouse. Voila! Enough to easily feed 30 hungry guests.

                        I use Wicked Good lump charcoal in both my Weber Kettle and BGE. I've smoked at 215° for 22 hours straight using the BGE without adding any charcoal and only adjusted the vents twice. I cannot do the same in the Weber without adding at least 3 times adjusting 10+ times.

                  3. There's not a lot of comparison. you can contol the temp much more evenly on a BGE, especially at higher temps that a Weber won't even reach. I agree that cost and weight are drawbacks, but I've had over 10 grills in the last 25 years, including 2 custom builts and my great big Green Egg is the best of the lot. Its insulation lets me cook all winter and I can do a filet at 800 degrees for 4 min's or a shoulder at 175 for 10 hours. The baking stone can't be matched by any I've found to go in another grill. I'm sold on the GBGE.