Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Big Green Egg


NickV
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've seen several mentions of the BGE smokers on home bbq threads here. I couldn't find too many specific opinions though. I'm considering getting one of the smaller ones, as upwards of $500 is a little out of my range. I'd love to hear of people's experiences with any of the sizes, but particularly the smaller end of the range.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

I really don't know anything about the BGE but I use the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker. Being a novice it is very easy to use, it regulates temperature very well. It's selling for 179.00 on Amazon. For more information there is a website dedicated to it WSM WebSite.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

I really don't know anything about the BGE but I use the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker. Being a novice it is very easy to use, it regulates temperature very well. It's selling for 179.00 on Amazon. For more information there is a website dedicated to it  WSM WebSite.

I have to agree with the Bullet for a novice user. The BGE is an amazing thing, but I think it's more about status. I have achieved remarkable results from the Bullet and have lots of money left in my wallet :wink:

A.

ps. The Virtual Weber Bullet site lcdm mentioned is awesome!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are several manufactures of cookers similar to BGE.

Kamado, Primo, and Grill Dome are the main four competitors. All have their unique bits that set them apart from the rest.

However, I don't think they're a "status" item, per se. I dont' know of many people who get their Weber Smokey Mountain nearly as screeching hot (700+ F) as my uncle has routinely got his Grill Dome to reach. The downside primarily is that the ceramic charcoal cookers do have a larger learning curve as their higher tolerances, greater thermal mass, and larger insulative values do affect their performance remarkably compared to a chunk of iron or steel.

Also, I believe FG has posted in topics I've read that Kamado and the like are really the thing for the money. However, if you're wanting to shell out fewer bones, either a side-box smoker, or a Weber Smokey Mountain will certainly do nearly everything you want your grill to do. Pair them with a chimney (for starting charcoal, and to get that afterburner-hot sear) and you've got a paired cookery set that should serve you well for many years.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dont' know of many people who get their Weber Smokey Mountain nearly as screeching hot (700+ F) as my uncle has routinely got his Grill Dome to reach.

700F???? :blink: I'm probably about to reveal my complete ignorance ... but when would you need to reach 700F? I don't need to melt iron or anything. That seams an amazingly high amount of heat especially when I just finished spending 18 hours trying to keep my bullet at 225F.

A.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, when you have one of those lovely (think T-bone or ribeye) steaks that you can find in Nebraska at room temperature and seasoned with some salt, 700F for 45-120 seconds on a side depending on the thickness and you will have this lovely Maillard caramelization and sweetness that you'll swear is out of this world.

But, BGE's and the rest also hold their temperature very well, to my understanding, even at low temperatures. 225F for 18 hours isn't a problem once you know how to use them.

edit to add: pure iron melts at 2780 F

Edited by jsolomon (log)

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another Weber fan here. If you're interested in an entry-level "smoker," for barbecue and the like, the Weber Smoky Mountain Cooker is all the rig you need, for about $500 less than the BGE and company.

If you want something that'll do blowtorch temperatures, OK, the Weber isn't it. (Although a good pile of lump hardwood charcoal in a regular Weber grill will get you to seriously searing temperatures).

That BGE sure does look good, though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are a couple of snaps of my uncle's Grill Dome for comparison.

gallery_9620_1292_1887.jpg

gallery_9620_1292_14363.jpg

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are a couple of snaps of my uncle's Grill Dome for comparison.

gallery_9620_1292_14363.jpg

Another question re: the dome smokers/grills. How much meat can you fit in there? I had just under 20lbs of pork butt in the Bullet over the weekend, and 3 whole chickens (spatchcocked & 5lb each) for another smoking session. The BGE seems a little small for that much meat. I'm not putting down the BGE, just looking at the comparison. (No, I don't own Weber stock :cool: )

A.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the particular Grill Dome I pictured, it would be a stretch to get that much meat in it, you're right. But, you must admit, it looks sharp.

However, having a Smokey Mountain and a ceramic cooker would allow you certain amounts of greater flexibility in how you cooked what you were cooking. Different tools, different uses.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

However, having a Smokey Mountain and a ceramic cooker would allow you certain amounts of greater flexibility in how you cooked what you were cooking.  Different tools, different uses.

Will you tell my wife that please?? She just doesn't get the BGE. :raz:

A.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well... beat eggs in her favorite coffee cup and tell her that's exactly why you need a BGE or the like. You can't do certain things with the Bullet. You need the proper tool.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to admit that I have salivated over one of the Kamodos. I think it was the visions of purple tiles. :laugh: But, when I think about the price performance ratio of my WSM, I really can't see it. I have had that WSM rocking at a solid 225F for more than 12 hours with no problem. The only thing I do is add a chunk of wood now and then and some water to the pan. The Virtual Weber Bullet web site (I think also linked above) is a true gold mine of data and information. If I want really high temperatures (not likely for me) I will just light up a bunch of charcoal and go for the Weber kettle.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't knock it 'til you've tried it :raz:

Seriously, if you've never used a ceramic cooker, you really don't know what you're missing. I started out with webers et al, and my quest for serious backyard cooking gear ended when I got my kamado (in blue tile for me). They just work better, mostly because of the insulation (thick ceramic) and radiant heat (once that ceramic gets heat soaked).

To answer some of the questions above:

NickV: are you only interested in smoking? If so, then one of these is probably overkill. The BGE and Kamados can do a lot more, and that offsets the higher price. For me, the decision was easy as it replaced my smoker, grill, and looks a hell of a lot better in the backyard.

Once you learn to control the airflow, long burns at 225F are easy without adding more fuel. My record is 24 hrs with fuel left over. You don't need water in a ceramic so no need to add more water.

Open up the dampers and easily get to 700+F. Why go to 700+F? Because you can? This is the perfect temperature for grilling thick cut steaks. My father-in-law still raves about a ribeye I cooked for him on his last visit -- thinks it was the best steak he's ever had. Throw on a pizza stone, and you have a pizza oven.

Capacity: I have a Kamado #7 with the upper grill, and the most I've ever smoked at once was 7 butts (probably a good 50 lbs of meat). I think the #7 is larger than the BGE.

Here's a pic of mine last Thanksgiving just before the bird came off:

gallery_24244_435_1102146724.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a pic of mine last Thanksgiving just before the bird came off:

gallery_24244_435_1102146724.jpg

I must admit, that is a fine looking piece of equipment. Let's see, my birthday is 11 months away...HONEY!! come here, I want to show you something... :biggrin:

So, you can load that up with charcoal and cook steaks on it too? I bet pizza on a stone would come out nice also..

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Every summer up in Georgian Bay, I cook the most amazing thin crust pizzas on a Big Green Egg. The High temperatures are amazing for it ( about six minutes a pizza. Baking bread in it is also a treat. One summer I spent six weeks up there and baked sourdough everyday on it. Definetely one of the most versatile peices of cooking equipment I have come across. Last weekend I roasted three duck magrets (trussed so that the all three had the meat on the inside, sheltered by a glorious thick layer of fat surounding them) by hanging them from the center of the top of the dome and the with the coals pushed up to the sides of egg.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to agree that when comparing the Kamodo to the BGE, I lean toward the larger Kamodo. Uh . . . the purple tiles have nothing to do with it. :raz::wink: You are correct, of course, about the heat capacity of the ceramic. Geez . . . enough with the temptation already. Bread, huh?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nick,

If you want a cooker mostly for smoking, the WSM will perform just as well as an Egg for a lot lower cost, plus give you more capacity. You'll use more charcoal, but so what. The Egg has nothing on a WSM (MHO). If you want mostly a grill, I would avoid all the ceramics. They're tiny (in terms of grate size), prone to flashback, have major hotspots at grilling temps, and you have to grill with the lid down (while your steak is burning because you can't see what's going on).

My advice - get a charcoal grill with an adjustable firegrate (say the Charbroil CB 940 or the Brinkmann they sell at Sam's Club). You will get outstanding heat control and lots of grate space. I owned a Kamado for three years, then bought a Hasty Bake. As far as I'm concerned, a Hasty Bake Legacy is as good as it gets and worth every penny . . . .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ScooterQ, not sure what type of Kamado you were using, but some of the info you posted doesn't match with my experience. Specifically:

Tiny? With main grill diameters up to 25", and able to use multi-level setups, Kamados can get quite large. My own setup has about 650 sq inches of smoking space. Some bbq competitors with a #11 are running closer to 1200 sq inches. Not quite what I would call tiny.

Flashback? yeah, this is one of the dangers if you're not careful. Flashback occurs when you've got a hot hot hot fire going, and you seriously reduce the air supply, wait a few minutes, and then *quickly* open the lid. Air rushes onto the starved coals from above, ignite, and comes back out. Quite spectacular and dangerous. But also easy enough to avoid: before opening the lid, open the damper and wait 15 seconds. If you can avoid picking up pans from the hot oven with bare hands, you can avoid flashback (at least IMHO).

Hotspots? I take this to mean hotter zones than others? In my book, that's an advantage and how I'm used to cooking on a grill.

Grill with lid down? Again, part of the advantage for this style of cooking. The radiant heat does the same thing as similar styles of cooking with all around heat, and results in better food (IMHO, of course). You also don't have to *always* have the lid down. Peeking is allowed and how I developed my current technique (where I'm very comfortable with using a timer).

All this said, I agree that if you're only going to be smoking, and you don't mind dealing with the temperature variations, and you don't mind having to refuel and re-water during a cook, go for a Weber.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I must admit, that is a fine looking piece of equipment. Let's see, my birthday is 11 months away...HONEY!! come here, I want to show you something... :biggrin:

So, you can load that up with charcoal and cook steaks on it too? I bet pizza on a stone would come out nice also..

If you're looking for a Kamado from Kamado.com (like mine), order well before you want one. The upside is the great product. The downside is the sometimes scatterbrained customer service and the long lead time for buying one. Each one is built to order, and they seem to have quite a few orders in the queue judging from order-to-ship time.

Pizza comes out great, but I think that requires more experimentation to get the air and stone temps right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Dave,

I was the proud owner of a beautiful, blue green custom tiled K7 Kamado made by Richard and Deborah Johnson. I’ll see if I can find a pic.

That said, I’m not trying to start a flame war or engage in a personal attack. I just have the perspective of an apostate from the ceramic clan and I’m trying to give Nick here the facts as I see them. Ceramic cookers are a great bunch of folks and good cooks to boot.

But let me respond specifically to your comments. When I say grate space, I’m talking about the main grate, the one where you grill. Upper level grates are relevant for smoking, but useless for grilling. The main grate space on a $900 K7 is the same as on a $70 Weber kettle. Most of the Eggs are even smaller. Worse, not all of the space is always usable given the hotspot. I suppose you can learn to use this to your “advantage”, but to me that is upside down thinking. Sure, a two level fire makes a lot of sense when you can’t adjust the distance between the fire and the food, but why would you want that for $900? Effectively, it cuts your grate space in half. Even heat trumps a hot spot. And when it comes to grate space, more is just more.

It really comes down to heat control. Generally speaking, the only way to control the heat in a ceramic cooker is with airflow (hence the need for lid down and cooking blind). They’re very good at getting hotter, not so good at cooling down. Unfortunately, this is perhaps the most useful type of heat control to have. With my Hasty Bake, a few turns of the crank will drop the temp several hundred degrees in a matter of seconds. In a ceramic cooker, to do this you have to choke the fire, cut off it's airflow by shutting everything down, which creates the conditions for a flashback (if you’re not careful of course, and who is always careful?). In a Hasty Bake, you have three ways to control the heat, airflow, distance between fire and food, and a two level fire (charcoal under just a part of the grate).

And about the WSM – I’ve never had to refuel one (even in competition), and they are rock solid tempwise. I’ve had them go all night and not move from 225 degrees. I’ll give you the add water comment :smile:. Thx.

edited for clarity

Edited by ScooterQ (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And about the WSM – I’ve never had to refuel one (even in competition), and they are rock solid tempwise.  I’ve had them go all night and not move from 225 degrees.  I’ll give you the add water comment :smile:.  Thx.

edited for clarity

I've gotten 16 hrs at 225-250 using the Minion method without refueling with my WSM. Weather conditions, which were ideal (low 70's, no wind), probably helped.

If only I didn't have to watch the water pan...I've been looking for a Brinkman charcoal pan (suggested on www.virtualweberbullet) to use as a water pan in my WSM, but I haven't been able to find one.

John

"I can't believe a roasted dead animal could look so appealing."--my 10 year old upon seeing Peking Duck for the first time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've gotten 16 hrs at 225-250 using the Minion method without refueling with my WSM.  Weather conditions, which were ideal (low 70's, no wind), probably helped.

It's not just aur temperature, but relative humidity that comes into play as well. The night I smoked (also using Minion method) I used almost twice as much charcoal as I needed. I'll credit a little bit of that to the small amount of lump charcoal I used up, but the rest of it was due to the cold moisture in the air.

If only I didn't have to watch the water pan...I've been looking for a Brinkman charcoal pan (suggested on www.virtualweberbullet) to use as a water pan in my WSM, but I haven't been able to find one.

This from Virtual Weber Bullet:

The Brinkmann Charcoal Pan #10, part number 114-0002-0, can be ordered from Brinkmann at 800-468-5252.

I'm gonna see if I can get one shipped to Canada ... nice mod to the Bullet.

A.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...