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Need advice on Big Green Egg

What's the consensus on the Big Green Egg? My wife and I are thinking of buying one. We like to grill steaks, chicken, burgers. Would like to smoke ribs, pork, brisket. What size is best? There's just two of us, but we occasionally entertain.

I've been to their web site, and to their disucssion lists, but I've learned to trust fellow Chowhounds. Is it worth the price? Does it live up to the hype?

John

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  1. i just got the big steel keg - similar, but made with steel and insulation instead of ceramic. i haven't gone low and slow yet, but it wrks like a dream

    1. Get the BGE. I would recommend the large. With the large you can get the plate setter and the BGE pizza stone.

      The BGE is great if you want to have one cooker that can do it all.

      1. We bought a BGE last year and purchased a large for the two of us. We are very pleased with the purchase. The BGE has really improved our ability to barbeque. Pulled porked especially has been a been one of our most successful and delicious dishes, although it does require a big time commitment (approximately 14 hours). Steak has been great too. This year I plan to make pizza on the BGE.

        11 Replies
        1. re: BigSal

          Why is a Big Green Egg better than a typical smoker? Is it because of the better heat insulation and therefore a more stable heating environment?

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            He didn't say it was better, only that it improved their ability to barbeque.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Because you can grill at 700* and cook slow and low at 200*.

              1. re: chipman

                Chipman,

                True, but isn't it more expensive than buying a separate grill and a separate smoker - combined?

                  1. re: tommy

                    the large is 18". the medium is 15". the extra large is 22" i think

              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I've smoked BGE in the rain, in the snow, in the wind, 5 below freezing ...etc. and it held 225 for 10+ hours with no fuss. The ceramic insulation allows the BGE maintain heat better than most dedicated smokers. I've also gotten it up to 800 to sear steaks in those conditions with no problem as well. I have the large egg but I also have a Weber Kettle for large parties. BGE to smoke and sear. Kettle to grill.

                1. re: pabboy

                  Pabboy,

                  Thanks. It is good to know that it holds temperature very steady for long period of time. I guess that makes it a very good slow smoker. I can use it as a smoker, right? I mean, can I use wood chips in it or do I have to use charcoal? I like wood. I love BBQ and hope one day I can have a good BBQ setup. Reading bit and pieces, I see the two disadvantages of the BGE are: heavy and yet small. It weighs a lot and yet it does not provide a large cooking surface.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    You use lump charcoal for heat and wood chunks for smoke.

                    Various raised-grate rigs are available by which you could triple your cooking surface for smoking.

                    1. re: johnhicks

                      Good to know about the raised grate. That is exactly what I wanted to know.

                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Like johnhicks said, lump charcoal and wood chunks. I've done 24 hours smoking without adding wood or charcoal. There are multi-tiered rack accessories. I prefer to use a vertical rib rack to smoke 6-8 racks at once. If I had the $ I'd get another second one right now!

              3. You'll probably want a large Egg; that's about the right size for what you want to do. Be sure to get the nest.

                Tip; rather than using rather esoteric methods to light your Egg, pour in an appropriate amount of lump charcoal, then light a half-full Weber chimney. Once most of the charcoal in the chimney's lit, pour it in the Egg and spread it around.

                To answer another question, the Egg requires far less attention and fiddling around on a long cook than a thin-wall offset or a WSM; similar to an insulated smoker such as a Stumps it'll just rock on and hold a temp hour after hour after hour.

                The Egg is at its best as a smoker. While it can of course be used as a grill a Weber Kettle is more suitable for grilling. Don't believe that "the Egg will reach 700F" blather; any charcoal grill will do that. Those that cook with their Eggs rocket-hot are the ones who have to replace gaskets. I use the Egg for direct and indirect smoking and a Kettle for grilling steaks, burgers etc.

                1 Reply
                1. re: johnhicks

                  I cook steaks all the time at 700+ using the T-rex method. I've done several pizzas at those temps also. It is not "blather". I still have original gasket on it. To use the Egg as a smoker only is limiting its potential, sort of like driving a car in reverse only. Can you bake pies, make bread and pizza on a weber better than the Egg? The Egg does it all and does it well.

                2. I got one last year about this time... YES they're worth it, and YES they live up to the hype. Even if it is just you and your wife usually, I'd likely still get the large since you do occasionally entertain. The pulled pork that comes out of the thing is incredible. And while it does take a good long time (I do mine for eighteen hours), once the Egg is up to 225 degrees you just walk away and come back eighteen hours later. An Egg full of charcoal can go that long without needing a refuel. Oh, for a real treat, do you Thanksgiving turkeys on it. A little cherry wood and it's going to come out of there looking (and tasting) better than any bird you've ever seen.

                  17 Replies
                  1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                    Always wanted an egg, but man, they are pricey....Been using the claypot rig for smoking recently. So 18 hours without a refuel, for real? How do you manage your smoking fuel with an egg? I usually go 12 hours for a pork butt, and the thing is falling apart

                    1. re: BiscuitBoy

                      18 hours for real. I do good sized wood chunks at the beginning and then just don't worry about it. You get a pretty good smoke ring.

                      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                        By "good sized wood chunks" do you mean that you use them instead of lump charcoal? In addition to the charcoal? What size? Any advice is ,much appreciated, since I want to start smoking some pork butts and ribs ASAP.

                        1. re: dochoch

                          I'm always curious when people say that lump charcoal adds smoke flavor. Wood adds smoke flavor. Charcoal adds heat.

                          If anyone has ever gotten a smoke ring or notable smoky flavor with charcoal I'd like to know. I'm not saying it hasn't been done, but I would be very curious.

                          1. re: tommy

                            it adds a smokey flavor. not deep smoke like a smoke ring, but smokier than cooking over gas.......

                            1. re: thew

                              So you could smoke a pork butt with no wood. Just charcoal.

                              I'm not talking about gas vs charcoal. I'm talking about smoking meat with wood vs. carbonized wood. I know of no BBQ restaurant or competition BBQ team that doesn't use wood but only uses charcoal.

                              1. re: tommy

                                i didnt say that. i said charcoal has and imparts a smokey taste. and if you want to see it compare cooking over charcoal compared to gas. it is smokier. has noting to do with smoking meat and making bbq.

                                1. re: tommy

                                  You generally add wood chunks provided you want smoked meat; sometimes you don't want smoked meat. You could cook a butt using just charcoal but it wouldn't have much smoked flavor.

                                  As far as Egg cost, a high-quality thick-walled or insulated smoker costs the same or much more. For example, a Stumps Baby is $1350, and Gator's least-expensive grill-smoker is $750.

                                  Just for giggles I once let a full firebox of lump run in the large Egg until an unrecoverable temperture drop from 240F; it went just over 22 hours.

                              2. re: tommy

                                Raw wood reduced to coals produces the most smoke..(and the best)
                                Lump Charcoal when burning produces less smoke (but still very good smoke)
                                100% Hardwood Charcoal briquettes produces very little smoke..but some.

                                All three produce heat and smoke to some degree...All three produce smoke flavor to a degree....

                                A smoke ring, which really isn't a "smoke ring" but rather a chemical reaction can/may be produced by all three to some degree...A "smoke ring" can even be produced by a propane cooker. Anytime you burn an organic fuel, trace amounts of nitrogen dioxide are produced...In simple terms, upon contact with the meat it reacts to the moisture, and the meats pigment myoglobin where it (sometimes) forms the pinkish ring we call a "smoke ring" ~~ Not to be confused with smoke flavor, it has little to no bearing on flavor, and is only important to neophytes, and old "smoke blowers" HTH

                                Fun!

                                1. re: Uncle Bob

                                  Uncle Bob is dead on. As a matter of fact, if you use the correct seasoning (chemicals) you can get a smoke ring right from your home oven.

                                  The "ring" carries no smoke flavor at all.

                                  1. re: JayL

                                    chemicals and seasoning aside, the point i was making is that lump charcoal does not "smoke" meat. if it did, BBQ restaurants, those on the circuit, and home BBQ'rs wouldn't be using wood chunks. wood adds smoke. wood is how you smoke meat. those who think otherwise aren't making BBQ.

                                    1. re: tommy

                                      Tommy,

                                      You are correct, but then I am not sure if you are guys just arguing over semantics. Technically, wood and coal produce "smoke". However, the smoke from charcoal does not produce the wood smokey favor which we associate with barbecue. Huck, I can make smoke by burning my hair too, but trust me, you don't my hair burning BBQ meat :P

                                      Thus, in my opinion, only wood smoke produce good barbecue meat.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        I'm not arguing. I'm stating my opinion. And I agree with you.

                                        it's not semantics though: people are often under the impression that they can use lump hardwood charcoal to add smoke flavor to food.

                                        To illustrate, a few weeks ago, I recommended to a BGE owner that he use wood chunks, and he said "i don't need to, I used the special BGE charcoal." Clearly he doesn't understand. The smoke that is required to make BBQ or impart desirable smoky flavor comes from wood, and not wood that has been carbonized (charcoal, lump, or briquettes).

                                        The poster above also seems to think that charcoal will add a smoky flavor to food. I can run my smoker without wood for 6 hours for ribs, and I'm pretty sure they will taste as though they came out of the oven.

                                        1. re: tommy

                                          thats where we disagree.for my part I was not saying that cooking over charcoal tastes like smoked food from hardwoods. But cooking over charcoal absolutely, to me, has a different flavor from cooking in an oven or grill. This is rue for steak and more so for delicate foods like fish

                                          1. re: thew

                                            And here is where you all need to come together...as you all have valid point, but are talking about different cooking methods.

                                            In low & slow cooking, charcoal will add negligible flavor. Coals are commonly used as a heat source, but actual wood had to be added for "smoke" and flavor.

                                            In high temp cooking (grilling) charcoal will certainly add more flavor than a gas grill. But to be honest the flavor typically comes from the meat juices dripping on the exposed coals and incinerating...which produces a very flavorful smoke.

                                            Technically, you are all right.

                              3. re: dochoch

                                In addition to lump charcoal. I do about three chunks, each about the size of... an orange, I suppose. They might be a different size, they're the size of wood chunks one gets from a decent BBQ store. Once the charcoal temperature is stabilized, both the wood chunks and the pork go in. I learned how to do pulled pork from http://www.nakedwhiz.com/pullpork.htm and it comes out fantastic.

                            2. re: BiscuitBoy

                              look at the big steel keg. a lot cheaper than the BGE