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Big Green Egg


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

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.

Is that it? Looks better in my back yard!?

The Weber will easily get to 700F, at $80.

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ScooterQ, all great points.

I was hoping to get the full custom, but in the end, decided that it was a little too pricey for me. On the other hand, the $ per sq inch of grill space does come down quite a bit more with the 'textured' versions (about half of the custom tiled version -- but I don't think it looks nearly as nice). Still a lot more than a weber, but I hope I'm pointing that it isn't an apples-to-apples comparison since there are other advantages to the ceramic.

I totally agree with you that one of the disadvantages of the ceramic insulation is that it is difficult to bring down temps; you really need to make sure you don't overshoot for extended periods of time. I've needed to modify cooking technique in the past to deal with this: I sometimes low'n'slow a prime rib, and I reverse the traditional steps. First I smoke (at 225) to an internal temp of 115 or so, then I stoke up the fire to a roar to get a nice finish on the outside.

It would be nice to have grill height adjustment on the kamado -- score one for the hasty bake (although I read that Richard is experimenting with one now).

Ultimately, I don't think the tool really matters at all if the results are there. I started smoking on my gas grill (with the rotis burner providing heat and wood on top of it, and that's what eventually led me to dedicated hardware. The Kamado has worked out for me, but clearly everyone might have different needs.

After all, the only certainty is that parboiling ribs is pure evil :wink: <ducking and running>

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Dave,

For a guy that from his avatar looks like he has, oh, say $1,500 in K's, your reply is impressive for its lack of defensiveness. I couldn't agree more that it's results that count and there's no question that Kamado and Egg cooks deliver great results. It's also clear that ceramic owners are a very tight knit community that knows how to have fun.

Parboiling ribs is evil . . . unless of course, you're making stock :raz: .

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  • 5 years later...

It's been a long time, but with jmolinari posting about his "little black egg" I thought it was time to give this discussion a bump. There are a whole lot of BGE fans out there, and detractors to match. Do these puppies really live up to the hype, and the price? Or should I be building myself an LBE instead? It's hard separating out the internet fanboys from the legitimately knowledgeable cooks.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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While I wouldn't call myself legitimately knowledgeable :blink:, I have done quite a bit of research on the topic of kamado (clay) cookers. I've come close to actually buying one several times, but each time I hold back thinking to myself, "What am I going to use this for, other than grilling and smoking? My Weber can do both of those pretty well, so why exactly am I buying this thing?"

This spring I came to a final conclusion: I will not be buying a kamado (I had it narrowed down to BGE and Komodo (the good company)). Instead, I will build a wood fired brick oven!

Since my primary goal was to find a device that could create something very close to a true VPN pie, I went about questioning the members of several different clay cooker forums. Of course, there were always a few that thought you could make a VPN pie in a kamado or LBE (no disrespect to those who still believe you can, or to those who turn out a decent facisimle). But a few die-hard kamado users informed me of their findings: The intense heat coming from below, with no real reflected heat from above, means you simply cannot turn out a 90-second pie without scorching.

So, that's settled -- you can make "a regular old pizza" on a BGE, but you cannot make a true VPN pie. But what about all the other things you can do with a BGE?

Well, it turns out that you can do all those things in a wood fired oven. Obviously, you can make pizza and other baked goods; you can grill over hot embers inside the oven; you can "cold smoke" inside the closed oven; and you can "hot smoke" meat in the oven a day after you use the oven for pizza -- just wait a day for the inside temp to reach 225F or so, throw some wood chips on the remaining hot embers, throw in your items to be smoked and then shut the door.

Now, while I'm sure the smoking results in the BGE are better (much better?) due to its design, the WFO can probably hang with or outperform the BGE in all other tasks.

The problem is, I won't be able to report my results until I build the damn thing :rolleyes:

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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This spring I came to a final conclusion: I will not be buying a kamado (I had it narrowed down to BGE and Komodo (the good company)). Instead, I will build a wood fired brick oven!

So, that's settled -- you can make "a regular old pizza" on a BGE, but you cannot make a true VPN pie. But what about all the other things you can do with a BGE?

I investigated wood-fired ovens (both prefabricated like the Forno Bravo Primavera and custom), and I ended up with a Big Green Egg. I can come pretty damn close to a 3-minute pie; folks who are struggling need to investigate using two stones (one above & one below) to ramp up the reflected heat. ceramicgrillstore.com sells a multi-level adjustable rig that will allow you to use two round stones separated by a good bit of space. I have better results with a two-stone setup on my BGE Mini, as the pie ends up a bit higher in the upper dome. Plus, it's on wheels, so I can roll it anywhere I please (try that with a brick oven ;)

I use the hell out of the thing. I use it as a wok burner, a hearth oven, a smoker, and I do quite a bit of direct grilling on my large (and a tremendous amount of quick grilling on my Mini). There is a learning curve, and I think many detractors who don't "get" the cooker haven't spent much time cooking on one. Because of all the fanatics, you can find a whole slew of aftermarket parts to tweak the thing so it meets your needs. Multi-tier cooking surfaces, rib racks, fans to accelerate the heat-up time, etc.

I appreciate the durability (I can leave it outside; it doesn't have valves or regulators to fail), moveability (I have mine on wheels), and versatility (as mentioned above). In my climate, I can use it 12 months a year; in the summer months, baking bread outside means a significantly lower energy bill.

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Those things look extremely nice but $$$. Also ScooterQ's points make a lot of sense to me - I use grills that are fixed-height (over the fire) and adjustable on a fairly regular basis and the adjustable is just leagues ahead in control. Also, I prefer a rectangular grilling surface.

This got me thinking a sort of hybrid, built on the typical split barrel plan, with adjustable grill or fire box height and the bottom part lined with fire brick might be the best of all worlds.

Finally I want to say this is the best forum post I have ever seen:

edit to add: pure iron melts at 2780 F

But at what temperature does it achieve Maillard caramelization ? :raz:

Every day I learn something new here.

A.

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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Those things look extremely nice but $$$. Also ScooterQ's points make a lot of sense to me - I use grills that are fixed-height (over the fire) and adjustable on a fairly regular basis and the adjustable is just leagues ahead in control. Also, I prefer a rectangular grilling surface.

Adjustable rigs are available for the BGE: http://www.ceramicgrillstore.com/ceramicgrillstore/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=54&Itemid=226

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Still, it seems like by the time you've purchased the BGE and all the accessories, you have spent an awful lot of money. And then,

There is a learning curve, and I think many detractors who don't "get" the cooker haven't spent much time cooking on one.

How much of a learning curve are we talking about here? How much time would you say it takes to become a BGE master?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Since the mini BGE doesn't really have any accessories - I've got folks all over the place coming up with adaptations!

There's a delightful fellow in Georgia checking out small plate setters (used in kilns) and looking at how he can cut down a kiln shelf for me into a 9 inch round (apparently he lives just down the street from BGE headquarters - what's the bet he ends up with one). Anna looking out for pizza stones and terra cotta tiles of the right size. And the hubby of one of the nurses welding me a little stand which will fit inside the top ceramic ring.

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The learning curve depends on your cooking experience & general skill at grilling/barbecue. I follow the egghead forum, and it seems that a fair number of new owners aren't very experienced cooks...so it takes a while for some to understand the basics, like cooking meats to internal temp rather than time per lb. In addition, some come to the BGE having only used a gas grill with no lump charcoal experience. Lump behavior is a bit different from briquettes, too. (I'm making all this sound overly complicated, and it's really not that hard.) It takes a few cooking sessions to grasp the subtleties of temperature adjustment using the lower vent draft door & upper multi-function daisywheel vent...then it's off to the races.

The round shape can be off-putting at first, until you figure out how to lay things out to take advantage of the space. I do quite a bit of simultaneous direct & indirect cooking (like in the previous photo), either using a half-moon stone or a half-moon raised grid w/drip pan. The key feature, for this user, is the precise temperature control. Want 250 for 6 hours? You got it. Want 350 for an hour, then 450 for 45 minutes more? No problem. The ovenlike even heating & temp control are such a huge benefit...I certainly never got that kind of performance from any gas grill I ever owned. I've used it for low & slow brisket & pork shoulders, naan, cassoulet, baked beans, countless & varied pizzas, simultaneously cooked bacon & cornbread, cherry clafoutis, schiacciata, foccacia, porchetta, more spatchcocked chickens than I can count....

Another photo: smoked, deboned turkey breast & roasted sweet & white potatoesturkey n sweet taters.jpg

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Since the mini BGE doesn't really have any accessories - I've got folks all over the place coming up with adaptations!

There's a delightful fellow in Georgia checking out small plate setters (used in kilns) and looking at how he can cut down a kiln shelf for me into a 9 inch round (apparently he lives just down the street from BGE headquarters - what's the bet he ends up with one). Anna looking out for pizza stones and terra cotta tiles of the right size. And the hubby of one of the nurses welding me a little stand which will fit inside the top ceramic ring.

Old Stone Oven sells two-to-a-pack 8.5" baking stones on Amazon perfect for the Mini: http://www.amazon.com/Old-Stone-Oven-4444-Stones/dp/B0000E1FDC/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1279228009&sr=8-4

The Ceramic Grill Store sells a grid-raising ring for the Mini called the MiniWoo...it allows you to put one stone closer to the fire and has crossbars to hold the second stone above it, thus eliminating the need for a platesetter.

http://www.ceramicgrillstore.com/ceramicgrillstore/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=72&Itemid=236

I use my Mini at least 2x more often than my large!

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Since the mini BGE doesn't really have any accessories - I've got folks all over the place coming up with adaptations!

There's a delightful fellow in Georgia checking out small plate setters (used in kilns) and looking at how he can cut down a kiln shelf for me into a 9 inch round (apparently he lives just down the street from BGE headquarters - what's the bet he ends up with one). Anna looking out for pizza stones and terra cotta tiles of the right size. And the hubby of one of the nurses welding me a little stand which will fit inside the top ceramic ring.

Mike Stock? Great guy. He LOVES his BGE!

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Since the mini BGE doesn't really have any accessories - I've got folks all over the place coming up with adaptations!

There's a delightful fellow in Georgia checking out small plate setters (used in kilns) and looking at how he can cut down a kiln shelf for me into a 9 inch round (apparently he lives just down the street from BGE headquarters - what's the bet he ends up with one). Anna looking out for pizza stones and terra cotta tiles of the right size. And the hubby of one of the nurses welding me a little stand which will fit inside the top ceramic ring.

Mike Stock? Great guy. He LOVES his BGE!

Nope - Brian at Fort Pottery. Didn't know what at BGE was - but he's going to go to the dealer and make sure the plate setter he's putting together for me will fit properly! What a sweetheart.

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We love our BGE, and it excels at so many things. However, in order for it to excel, it does it's best work using indirect heat and for that you really do need a platesetter. We're still waiting on ours. However, we've done ribs, a roast chicken and steaks that were second to none. The pizza wasn't so successful. But we're working on that!

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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We love our BGE, and it excels at so many things. However, in order for it to excel, it does it's best work using indirect heat and for that you really do need a platesetter. We're still waiting on ours. However, we've done ribs, a roast chicken and steaks that were second to none. The pizza wasn't so successful. But we're working on that!

Marlene - looks like Burlington has a couple of places that supply stuff for the ceramics industry - as does Tucker's Pottery Supplies in Richmond Hill. You could probably get a plate setter there - fast and cheap!

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They do, and we've checked most of them. Problem is we have the XL egg and most of these places stock stuff for the large Egg and down. We have stuff on order where we bought the egg, but all the stuff for the XL egg has been backordered for weeks in all places!

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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They do, and we've checked most of them. Problem is we have the XL egg and most of these places stock stuff for the large Egg and down. We have stuff on order where we bought the egg, but all the stuff for the XL egg has been backordered for weeks in all places!

Call Stop Restaurant Supply in Sudbury - they had some accessories and might have it. Also Chadwicks and Hacks in Hamilton.

Edited by Kerry Beal (log)
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This thread is killing me! Those food pictures are making me drool....

We have been looking at getting a charcoal grill/smoker and the prices are outrageous here. A Big Green Egg (and so far as I know there is only one size available here) is A$1,150. A Weber Smokey Mountain is A$600. A Kamado is $1,500...Our plan is to start by experimenting with a Weber Kettle, but even they're expensive. New they start at A$200 for the compact, and go up by $100 increments (the performer is A$800).

Whatever will we do if we like it and start lusting after a BGE or similar?!

Must stop reading...

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Some thoughts on the Big Steel Keg,

This egg style cooker uses double wall steel with insulation to hold the heat inside and maintain a cool exterior. The cost is significantly less than a ceramic egg and there are some construction and performance differences.

Using light weight insulation implies lower thermal mass than a ceramic egg. That may translate to faster changes in heat levels with airflow adjustments.

I wonder if it is possible to quickly cool the internal temperature. (This is very difficult with the ceramic eggs.) If so, it would be possible to sear prior to slow cooking a roast.

I'd appreciate thoughts.

Tim

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We looked at the steel kegs as well. I think it might cool down a bit faster but not much. This is were the Prmo Oval XL really shines with its divided firebox for searing then imediate indirect cooking.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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This spring I came to a final conclusion: I will not be buying a kamado (I had it narrowed down to BGE and Komodo (the good company)). Instead, I will build a wood fired brick oven!

I think we may be on the same journey. I posted the pictures of the blue Kamados above. Since that picture, I've experienced problems with the Kamado that have soured me on the brand. But I still love ceramics for low-and-slow and grilling, so I've moved on to the Komodo. It is definitely "the good company", and the product is much better than the Kamado.

And I'm lusting after a backyard wood burning oven. We're in the middle of a patio/deck remodel that should leave me a perfect space (and foundation) for something like a forno bravo oven. My wife is actually open to the idea, but I think she's leaning toward something on wheels like the Batali oven from Chicago Brick Oven.

I'm still in think-mode on this one. I'm pretty much all remodel-exhausted for the year, so the earliest I would consider building one would be next summer. Good luck if you move ahead and please post your experiences.

edit -- perhaps I should update my avatar...

Edited by daves (log)
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