Big Green Egg Grill
I read an article in Saveur this month about the Big Green Egg Grill. I have never heard of it before and am interested to get some first hand reviews. Does anyone have one and what do you think? How does it compare to a regular charcoal grill?
The Big Green Egg rocks! My wife got me one for my birthday 5 years ago and I'm a convert. I've drank the Kook Aid. Go the the website and check out their forums if you think that Chowhounds are obsessive. It is the world's best smoker and a kick butt grill as well. It only uses lump charcoal and can get to 900 degrees to sear a steak, or cook a pork butt at 250 for 18 hours for the best pulled pork you've ever had. It is awesome.
There are other kamado style grills out there not just Big Green Egg. Obviously you're very new to the subject but be sure and do your research before you buy.
Big Green Egg has the market cornered and in some ways that's a good thing. Lots of accessories, lots of spare parts available when you need them, etc. There are some aspects that leave you wanting more though - BGE tends to be one of the thinner walled kamado grills on the market for instance and they tend to be one of the most expensive because people recognize the name. Just like all big purchases explore the pluses and minuses.
i've had a bge for 15 years. i use it exclusively as a smoker. it will get to 800 degrees but i'd rather use my grill for grilling and the bge to smoke. there is a little learning curve but it is very easy to use. i put a 12 lb. pork butt on at midnight, leveling the heat takes about 45 minutes and when it's a steady 210, i go to sleep. between 3pm - 6pm the next day, it's party time. ribs take between 2-4 hours and a brisket about 8-10. i've had to replace 1 part in 15 years. very cool item.
"i've had to replace 1 part in 15 years"
Probably the gasket? Grilling at high temperatures can wear out the gasket after a while.
Ramping it up to 800, 900, 1000 degrees you are approaching restaurant broiler temperatures and you can get some really nice steaks so while it is just my opinion, I think the kamado grill is best used as BOTH a grill and a smoker.
My husband and I recently got a BGE to replace our Weber. Because of the price tag, we contemplated it over the past three summers and finally decided to take the plunge. I can't believe we waited so long! It has truly changed how we cook in the summer. It really doesn't take long to get the hang of it - we were never great with the Weber (no patience to get the temperature right) but it's pretty easy with the Egg. We've done ribs low and slow (that were the best I've ever made) and steaks at high temps with no problems. I found the booklet and video it comes with very helpful and there is a ton of info on-line, as others have mentioned.
We've had ours for three years now and haven't looked back. I thought my husband was nuts when he started talking about one but we found a good deal on one with accessories and went ahead and bought it. It didnt' take long at all for me to decide it was money well-spent and we've never regretted the decision.
I think it's easy to use and has a short learning curve. We do a lot of ribs, beer can chicken, fish and pizza on it. during the summer I make my bread on it. It's as versatile as advertised.
If you search here there's a couple long threads on the BGE.