HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Share your food adventure
TELL US

Big Green Egg Grill

cassoulady Jul 26, 2010 08:10 AM

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?

  1. Chicago Wine Geek Jul 26, 2010 08:55 AM

    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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chicago Wine Geek
      cassoulady Jul 26, 2010 09:05 AM

      thanks! I am not quite ready to buy it because of the price tag but am very tempted. Did it take a lot of time to get the temperature adjusting right? I am not a great griller partially because I never can maintain a steady heat- either too hot or not hot enough.

    2. s
      Shaw Oliver Jul 26, 2010 09:20 AM

      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.

      1. d
        dock Jul 26, 2010 11:09 AM

        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.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dock
          s
          Shaw Oliver Jul 26, 2010 12:30 PM

          "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.

        2. ms. clicquot Jul 26, 2010 12:45 PM

          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.

          1. z
            ziggylu Jul 26, 2010 08:53 PM

            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.

            1. l
              Leper Jul 27, 2010 07:20 AM

              The Big Green Egg makes the most moist chicken you will ever eat. (Partly due to the ceramic structure.) Like the Moonies before them, most BGE users have been banned from airports as they are so cult like--including me. Buy one.

              1. cassoulady Aug 11, 2010 07:48 AM

                I was speaking with a friend about the BGE grill and she mentioned that she thought this was at least 500 lbs. Does anyone else know if it really is this heavy?

                1 Reply
                1. re: cassoulady
                  z
                  ziggylu Aug 11, 2010 08:05 AM

                  it's definitely heavy. My DH had a couple of friends come over and help him set it up the night we bought ours. He was afraid of dropping something and breaking it so figured the more hands to move the weight around while building it the better. I doubt it's 500lbs though. Maybe more like 200lbs? we have ours in the nest and now it's pretty easy to move. I don't like to move it much as I'm always afraid I'll tip it over in the nest and it will break.

                  Edit: According to the website the large egg is 140lbs http://biggreenegg.com/eggs_L.html

                2. a
                  albinoni Aug 11, 2010 08:07 AM

                  We bought our BGE 12 years ago and use it as a smoker. I can only echo what everyone else has said here-- it is extremely well made and versatile. I use it mostly for smoking turkey and ribs--they really do come out moist and require less time than other smokers. Even though it was expensive then, it was well worth the price.

                  1. BiscuitBoy Aug 11, 2010 09:38 AM

                    I've read the company line on bge and the weather, but you all who own them....Do they survive a typical winter freezer thaw cycle? Do you take them indoors when the cold weather rolls in? This is not something I really want to be hauling around twice a year

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: BiscuitBoy
                      p
                      pabboy Aug 11, 2010 11:08 AM

                      My BGE is outdoors year round in sun, rain, snow, sleet, hail...etc. I have an older unventilated cover on it. No problem so far. Going on 5 years now.

                      1. re: BiscuitBoy
                        z
                        ziggylu Aug 11, 2010 01:02 PM

                        Ours is 4 or 5 years old now but we live in phoenix so thaw cycles aren't an issue. It holds up well in the heat. LOL

                      2. thew Aug 11, 2010 01:13 PM

                        i use the big steel keg, which is an insulated steel version of the kamado style cooker - lighter, a little cheaper, and a lot less fragile than the ceramic ones.

                        i adore it. i grill and bbq low and slow all the time (have a rib eye coming to room temp on the counter as we speak) when it used to be a very once in a while thing

                        1. Hank Hanover Aug 11, 2010 10:32 PM

                          it is a wonderful grill and smoker. There are two major problems. 1. It is $700! 2. It doesn't have a really big grill area. Not only do I site these problems but so does Cook's Illustrated. Oh one more problem that CI mentions is there is no place to put a water tray for smoking.

                          They are super insulated and if you need to smoke in the dead of winter with snow on the ground, these are the units you need. These things can reach 800 degrees. You don't need that very often but it is about the only thing that can do it.

                          For the most part a $150 - $200 smoker will do fine.

                          If you want to impress your friends, buy a big green egg, a Ferrari and an Armani suit.

                          Did I mention this thing is over $700? Oh and they weigh somewhere around 200 pounds.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Hank Hanover
                            p
                            pabboy Aug 12, 2010 05:53 AM

                            Large BGE weighs in at 140 lbs.

                            Water tray goes on the plate setter.

                            I've yet to find the grill area to be too small but I do have a Weber kettle for when I have large parties (that's where the cheap burgers & dogs cook).

                            Cooking temperature can be set from 150 to 1000+ regardless of weather conditions is more than worth the $700. It's not a single trick pony like a Ferrari. It's more like Optimus Prime.

                            1. re: Hank Hanover
                              thew Aug 12, 2010 06:12 AM

                              you cannot grill on a $150 smoker. while you can smoke on a kettle grill it isn't the best tool for it, and you need to open it up and add charcoal continuously over the 5-15 hours it takes to smoke something. with my big steel keg, or an egg, or other kamado cooker you can do low and slow with adding charcoal or the continuos fiddling with it to maintain temperature. you can grill easily at 700 degrees for steakhouse quality steaks. they work as insulated ovens for pizza or other types of baking and roasting. if you get a smoker you probably need a grill as well & visa versa. i don't want 2 separate units.

                              and my big steel keg weighs 112 lbs, not 200

                              there are reasons besides impressing someone else to own a ferrari or armani. there is the enjoyment one gets from having good quality stylish items in one's life.

                              1. re: thew
                                s
                                sharhamm Aug 12, 2010 06:39 PM

                                The BGE is fantastic. It smokes, grills, bakes, and it's a great pizza oven.
                                We rarely ever go out anymore. Food does not taste as good as it does on the egg. I put on my winter coat and grill all winter long. I was out there at 5AM one morning and it was -20. Had a pulled pork to cook. After 13 hours it came out perfectly. The temperature is easy to maintain. Pizza is out of this world. Tastes just like you get from a wood fired ovens You can make breads, biscuits, pies, etc.. It is wonderfuly during the summer and doesn't heat up the house. It make be a bit pricy, but worth every penny.

                                1. re: sharhamm
                                  Chemicalkinetics Aug 12, 2010 06:51 PM

                                  "We rarely ever go out anymore"

                                  For some people, that is not an endorsement.

                              2. re: Hank Hanover
                                t
                                tidecreek Dec 25, 2010 11:50 AM

                                I read the CI review and didden't think they really looked into it very well since there is a place to put the water on the plate setter, kind of funny the grills that won their test were the ones I saw a BBQ team using on BBQ Pitmasters and they blew over several times during the competition plus because it was rainy out they coulden't maintain their temperatures, which is not a problem with the BGE we took the plunge this year and have been absolutely thrilled with everything it does.

                              3. Bluemold Aug 12, 2010 07:01 PM

                                I've had one two weeks. There is a learning curve to using it properly. Only one complaint so far is that I fried the gasket the second time I used it trying to cook some rib eyes. The manual and accompanying CD advise "burping" (cracking the lid slowly/slightly a couple of times) the grill at high heat due to the potential of flashback from an oxygen deprived fire thereby suddenly introducing oxygen to the fire bed. I did burp it but not enough. The superheated flashback snaked over the gasket and melted it in one2 " spot. Now that area seeps smoke. Replacing gaskets (one on top lid and other on the bottom base is not a job you want to do often. There are a number of You Tube videos that demonstrate proper gasket replacement. That said I smoked ribs at 200 to 220 F for 6 hours this past weekend with spectacular results. I also grilled a pizza on a baking stone 550 degrees F and the results were on par with a wood fired pizza grill. Use Hardwood lump charcoal only. Snuff the fire out and you can easily reuse the charcoal 2 or 3 times without adding more. Once I get the hang of it I'm sure I 'll be a total convert. The gasket leak seems to effect high temperature cooking moreso than low temperature smoking or roasting. BGE accessories are not cheap but are good quality.

                                1. t
                                  ThanksVille Aug 12, 2010 11:43 PM

                                  Another converted EggHead here! A primal grill animal since college, I have graduated from my first cast iron hibatchi to a portable Webber, to a big kettle, and a Ducane gas version in 30 years of grilling. All were good to very good but none of them ever had the concentrated blast heat potential of my 2 year old Large Egg and none of my former devices could effectively smoke effectively. Along the way we picked up a Brinkman smoker for our fishing cabin but the results were never quite good enough.

                                  I resisted the urge for an EGG for a couple years, until we attended an EggFestival in Pa. and sampled the foods prepared and kick drove a couple units. The rest is grill smoker history.

                                  Our first night with (10 oz) burgers (hickory chunk in the charcoal) 4 minutes first side at 550 degrees; shut the air flow dampers, closed the lid, 5 minutes second side, crisp char outside, medium rare, juicy, smokey interior. Wife becomes convinced BGE was a great 'investment'.

                                  Next weekend, beer can chicken on vertical roaster. Brined in apple cider, kosher salt, soy, ginger mix. approximately 50 minutes at 350 degrees with apple chunks in charcoal. Final 10 minutes at 450. Best chicken ever tasted. Crispy brown skin; moist white meat, perfectly cooked dark meat.

                                  Successes go on and on. Superb alder plank salmon, Incredible brisket, ribs, pulled pork to rival Arthur Bryant's. All in all, the BGE is a cooking system with great support. When my first gasket fried, local dealer did the replacement for $25. The only hazard is forgetting to burp the lid when internal temp is over 300, I have singed off the hair on my forearm and learned that cooking lesson. I wish I had skipped the Ducane and went straight to the BGE sooner.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: tommy
                                    p
                                    pabboy Aug 13, 2010 06:23 AM

                                    tommy,

                                    Thanks for your sarcasm.

                                    1. re: pabboy
                                      tommy Aug 13, 2010 06:31 AM

                                      Pardon? The poster said: "smokey interior"

                                      I think that's incredible. I can't imagine anyone wouldn't.

                                  2. cassoulady Aug 13, 2010 06:16 AM

                                    I am really leaning towards getting one. How hot does the exterior get?

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: cassoulady
                                      z
                                      ziggylu Aug 13, 2010 12:45 PM

                                      It definitely gets quite hot to the touch. We've never temped it though. It stays hot a long while too, we usually don't put the ocver back on until the next mornign as it's still warm when we go to bed.

                                      1. re: cassoulady
                                        thew Aug 13, 2010 04:05 PM

                                        the big steel keg gets hot, but not dangerously so, if youre cooking in the high temp 500-700 degree range

                                        for low and slow it might warm up a bit, but hot would be an overstatement

                                        1. re: cassoulady
                                          l
                                          Ladycale Aug 14, 2010 02:36 PM

                                          I don't think you'd regret getting one. My husband went back and forth on buying one and finally for Father's day this year we took the plunge and bought one. We certainly don't regret it. It's easy easy easy to grill with, we've had very good luck with temperature control, and cleaning it is easy too.

                                          At high temperatures the lid gets pretty hot - definitely painful if you touch, but doesn't burn you as long as you don't keep your hand on it. The sides don't get as hot. It can still be uncomfortable to touch, but it isn't dangerous... Sort of like a plate that was microwaved for a few minutes with food on it.

                                          At lower temperatures you can barely feel any heat from the egg.

                                        Show Hidden Posts