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Big Green Egg v. Weber kettle

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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.

                    1. I love my BigGreenEgg... The main reason is I went from kettle-type to Egg is one that I don't as often see cited: it makes everything about grilling or BBQing so **easy**.

                      - I'm a novice to cooking, grilling, and Q'ing. With the Big Green Egg, I no longer have to deal with chimney starters and worrying about where the sparks and newspaper ash are flying when I turn it over.

                      - I no longer have to replace charcoal or lump when making pulled pork (longest so far - 14 hours on 1 load thanks to the heat retention properties of the Ceramic Egg).

                      - It is very easy to get it up to extremely high searing temps to make really tasty ribeye's. This guy has an excellent website on ceramic cooking. http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramic.htm I followed the description for how to "TREX" a steak:
                      http://www.nakedwhiz.com/trexsteak.htm
                      and it was the best steak I've ever made
                      Summary: Prep--Sear--Rest--Cook (Don't skip the "Rest" stage

                      )

                      His web page on Searing temps - Egg vs Kettle:
                      http://www.nakedwhiz.com/searingtemps...

                      - In addition to being awesome for either Grilling or Q'ing, some people want to use it specifically as a coal or wood-burning ceramic pizza oven / bread-baking oven.

                      This person has experimented with results with pre-made dough:
                      http://www.greeneggers.com/archives//...
                      http://www.greeneggers.com/archives//...
                      http://www.greeneggers.com/archives//...
                      http://www.greeneggers.com/archives//...
                      http://www.greeneggers.com/archives//...
                      http://www.greeneggers.com/archives//...

                      I just uploaded some pics of cooks I've done:
                      http://s116.photobucket.com/albums/o2...

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: sweet100s

                        Thanks for all the useful information and links, including photos.
                        There is no egg in my immediate future because of price, weight (if I move) and my complete love for the Weber Kettle. I have never actually used a BGE but I don't doubt any of the good things I hear about it. There are great reports about the WSM and it may be my next move.
                        I have pretty well given up on the chimney as a starter. It produces a vast amount of smoke and pollution for the first five minutes, and I worry about neighbour complaints. All of this smoke comes from the paper or cardboard.
                        In addition I have to pour the burning, sputtering coals into the kettle, and I end up with a flat pile of coals rather than a pyramid. Preferred method is to build a pyramid of maple charcoal lumps (also preferred) douse with fluid, and light. The fluiid never has time to penetrate, and I can't detect it 15 minutes later when the coals are at their hottest.

                        1. re: jayt90

                          I have a WSM and love it (as I mentioned above). Last weekend I did a smoke. 17 hours and didn't touch the vents or charcoal once. I'm sure I had another 3 hours left as well. Great smoker, that WSM.

                          1. re: jayt90

                            Don't give up your chimney, and for god's sake stop using lighter fluid *ACK*
                            Use parafin cubes to start the chimney. They are made by weber, very inexpensive, they come in packs of 24. Use two or three under the chimney and you are good to go without the smell and gobs of smoke.
                            A pair of tongs (you can use the jagged, useless-for-anything-other-than-coals ones that come in most grilling sets) will get the coals into any configuration you like.

                          2. re: sweet100s

                            All Hail the Naked Whiz!

                            I've used his site constantly since I got my BGE and he's never steered me wrong.

                            Tomorrow night... Spatchcocked Spring Chicken!

                          3. I use my Egg with hardwood charcoal. One reason I really like it (that I have not yet seen mentioned) is that you can reuse the fuel if it does not all burn out. I load up the egg, start the fire, use the vents to easily control the temp, so I can cook at medium if I want. When done cooking, I can close the vents, which kills the fire, and the hardwood that did not burn can be used again. I don't know if this is more a function of the hardwood than the Egg, or if this would work in a Weber, but it is a feature I really appreciate. Also, it is easy and fast to go from high temp to low temp.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: cocktailhour

                              for the most part, that's the Egg. Webers Kettles, as much as I love them, don't have that kind of really tight air control where it can completely snuff out the charcoal.

                            2. Question about the BGE. Can you use hardwood charcoal as primary heat source and add fresh hickory or mesquite or other wood for flavor? Assuming you can, how do you do it, ie do you mix'em all up at the beginning or add the fresh wood later?

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: johnb

                                I use neither grill/cooker (I love my Portable Kitchen), but here is my 2 cents: I soak wood chips in water and place them in a pan next to the meat, over the heat source. I found adding lumps of wood directly just burned the lumps - not much smoke.

                                1. re: johnb

                                  with good smokers, like the BGE or the weber smokey mountain, you should use hardwood chunks in addition to the charcoal for the smokers. You don't need to soak (doesn't do anything with big pieces of wood). Since they have good restricted air flow, they will burn slowly and smoke how you like it.

                                  Just add some on top of the lit charcoal at the beginning, right before or as you put the meat on. Same principle applies to all smokers, really.

                                  - Adam

                                  1. re: adamclyde

                                    I have been grilling, using weber for 40 + years. I'm 58 yo. my parents had an original weber brown/tan porcellean grill. I have had many myself. I currently have a weber gold, and a weber qgrill,gas, and a home made Texas Pit. I have recently purchase a BGE. My take is as follows. weber kettle, great tool can do most anything with it with the right accessories. My Texas Pit another great tool for girilling smoking what ever. BUT The BGR beats them all hands down! The ease of temp control, is outstanding.

                                    1. re: superhook

                                      Hi Folks

                                      I too have been grillin and cooking most of my life .. my love of real wood fired cooking stems from spending time on my grandparents farm and my gramma cooked on a woodstove.. we also hunted and fished and you would cook over the camp fire.. every morning at the farm gramma wolud be up baking bread and rolled oat cookies for the day.. every thing that was eaten at that table came from their land..vegetables,honey, meat,cheese , milk etc...

                                      So suffice to say with todays prepacked garbage labeled food my wife and I continue top make homemade meals.. with two sons off at university they relish their home comings to eat amd smell!! real food...

                                      I call myself the Irish Griller and self professed BBQ nut.. as I own 16 at the moment.. but this number or Q's will soon be diminished..you see I after years of hearing kamado cookers like the BGE and Primo are the be all and end all took the plunge.. only after careful research and attending BGE demos did I.. Last fall I attended a BGE demo and was not as impressed as I thought I would be...

                                      I'll explain.. the Egger Chefs made baked beans , corn bread and some kabob.. not very tasty and I thought mine was far better.. but i was impressed with the ease of temp control ..then a friend purchased a medium egg and another a bubba keg... I had the chance to use them and decided to make a DIY project.. which I did with two ceramic flower pots... to which i use in our canadian winter.. my beans,chicken and ribs came out to be the finest I ever produced.. juicier and tastefull..

                                      now prior to this I had been extensively using my 25 yr old weber 18 kettle with ring and rotisserie attachment for all my roasts and chicken, turkey etc.. all of which came out great.. I had two smokers as well .. a Chargriller Super Pro with side fire box and an upright propane smoker..and many a time I would cook over my fire pit in the back yard using all cast iron .. from skillets to dutch ovens ,, you name it..

                                      well to end a very long story after a long winter of experimentation and research I went with the Bubba Keg or as it name change is called a Big Steel Keg.. it is everything the ceramics are but better... double walled steel construction that comes with the stand on wheels, two side shelves and one cast iron cooking grate and one second tier cooking grate with a great side swing feature.. I have seared staeks at over 700 degrees. baked pizza on the stone, smoked ribs,chicken, turkey,sausages, beans and baked bread.. it does it all... the food comes out super juicy and moist and uses half if not less lump charcoal than any other unit.. there is also a trailer hitch hook up that I have yet to use...

                                      Happy Grilling... Cheers form the Irish Griller