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BGE Basics

SLMWindsSLMWinds Posts: 17
edited September 2011 in EggHead Forum

I have recently taken up smoking foods and am currently planning on buying a big green egg. Before doing so, I had a few questions. Any help is greatly appreciated!

I have read all about the BGE and why it is such a good smoker (along with grill, oven, etc.). Everything seems to make great sense with regards to heat regulation, how the cermic distributes the heat, etc. My question is, since it seems like ceramic smokers (eg-the egg) have so much going for them, how come they aren't used by major BBQ restaurants? I've talked with several of my favorite BBQ joints and they use cookers like Ole Hickory Pits. The egg seems like the ideal smoker in so many ways so I'm wondering why restaurant owers and chefs would elect not to use it.

I guess one other question I have (and I realize everyone here is a fan of the egg, as am I at this point) is "what are the downsides to the big green egg?" I have heard people say price and weight are drawbacks, neither of which bothers me. Are there things it is not good at? As best I can tell, it is pretty much the ideal cooker so I'm trying to get the other side. Thus far I haven't been able to find much "dirt" on the egg which leads me back to question #1 "why don't all restaurants and competition BBQ cooks use it?"

On a related, but more general level, does the material your smoker is composed of have any bearing on your food taste ASSUMING temperature and smoke containment are equal. In other words, I understand that temperature regulation is important and is easier with certain cookers. But, if you assume that you can hold the temperature the same, does it matter whether you smoke your meat in a ceramic cooker, a metal cooker, or a cardboard box? I'm just trying to figure out if there are other factors like that I need to consider or if the only thing I am after is temperature control.

Sorry for the basic questions but I have to start somewhere. I am pretty much sold on the egg as the best cooker I've found...I am just so convinced it is great I felt obligated to try to dig up some dirt on it before making my purchase!

Comments

  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 1,255
    Maybe it is cooking space. Not sure. Will add that ceramics hold heat a moisture to help the cooking process. It's very efficient too. One load of lump will last a long time at 250. Finally, the Egg itself will last a lifetime and has a great warranty. Sorry I can't add much as to why restaurants go with other cookers. Sure someone else will chime in.
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramicfaq.htm and http://www.nibblemethis.com/
  • CowdogsCowdogs Posts: 448
    edited January 2012
    I think what makes the eggs special is they are versatile.

    If I just wanted a smoker, and I wanted restaurant capacity, then I would get an insulated commercial smoker.
    If I just wanted a charcoal/wood oven with restaurant capacity, I would build a big wood fired pizza oven.
    If I just wanted a big charcoal grill for a restaurant, I would get some big grill with grates that could be raised and lowered.
    If I wanted a high temp searing grill, I would get .... a salamander I guess.

    In my backyard, a couple of eggs will do all the above for as many people as I would every want to serve.

    If you want the backyard that looks decent, and will do all the above, then a kamado style cooker is a great choice
  • I think restaurants need to cook in large quantities so a traditional "pit" type setup is more functional.  also much has to do with what the owner/chef wants or likes to cook on.

    one drawback to the Egg that I have experienced (and I don't know that anyone else has) is that my wife does not like anything that is cooked on it.  she likes her food plain and ever since I got the egg she will eat what I have cooked, but does not like it.  two times she responded ecstatically because she liked something I cooked only to find out that I cooked it in the oven.  Part of it is the smoke (she was good with gas) but there may be a subtle flavor that is not present when cooking with other methods.  everyone else is fine with it.

  • LDDLDD Posts: 1,225
    if temp and smoke are equal. the difference will be the moisture as 4runner said. for the backyard and catering 

    I don't think the bge is a practical restaurant solution. it might work well as one component of a kitchen for smoking perhaps... of course I may be wrong. maybe someone who cooks with one or more eggs in a restaurant will chime in.
    context is important :)
  • I have several grills and smokers.  The drawbacks to the BGE are the cooking area (get a large) and it is not very easy to add fuel and wood chunks. 

    It makes fantastic pizza, breads and soft pretzels, among other things.

     

    Flashback Bob, I feel your pain.

  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 4,886

    I was a water/gasser smoker for years and got tired of the material failures.  Came to the BGE after lots of searching and talking with someone who has had one since the mid 90's.  As mentioned above, the only real drawback is the volume of food you can smoke on the egg.  I have a Large and you need accessories to "go vertical" to smoke large quantities.

    Beyond that, it does everything extremely well. You can load the fire box for a low&slow smoke and the fire will last well past 24 hours without adding any lump. 

    The versatility is the big plus for the BGE.

    Louisville
  • Hi,

    1st, people do use the BGE for competition BBQing.  http://eggsbythebay.com/Competition_Team.html to name one.

    2nd.  In the commercial world, you cook indoors and, as a result, you have ventilation requirements.  It might be hard to meet the laws with something like a BGE. Although, I did a see a TV show many years ago about a place that used custom built Weber BBQs.

    I can think of a few other points, but they are fairly minor & nit-picky.

    edg
  • SpoonSpoon Posts: 328
    A local upscale Atlanta deli uses two or three BGE ( large and XL combo) to cook all their turkey, roast beef, house made pastrami and corned beef. They have them outside off the kitchen in a fenced off area. All their stuff is great. If your ever in the Atlanta area you should check them out. It called Muss and Turners.
    "Pork so tender you can pull it with a spoon."
    ~Spoon
  • Thanks for all the responses! As I thought, it sounds like the big green egg is an excellent cooker.

    To follow up on my questions, I guess I am wondering if you guys think the BGE is the best cooker "period" or is it the best cooker with an asterisk--for example, it could be the best for the money, the best for it's size, or the most versatile. It certainly seems like the BGE is the "jack of all trades" and is very good at them but is it the "master" of them as well? I fully recognize the versatility of the BGE and certainly that is of value, but let's say you want a cooker to only smoke pork BBQ. Would the BGE still be your choice or are there smokers that are better (although much less versatile). I know there are always going to be differing opinions but if you want to smoke pork, money is not a factor, grill size is not a factor, and you want to make the best smoked meat you can, would a substantial number of people choose the BGE?

    So while I know this is a biased population, would you confidently put the food that comes out of the BGE against any other cooker or is the BGE more of a "jack of all trades and master of none?"

    Thanks for your help!

  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 1,255
    edited September 2011

    I'm just not sure it matters. It can do it all and you certainly can't do much
    better with anything else. So, you are armed with a BGE and now it is time to
    perfecting your technique. Get to cooking/smoking/grilling and have fun. Beer
    goes really well with any cook!

    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramicfaq.htm and http://www.nibblemethis.com/
  • guitar Ed answered your question before you asked it- eggs are used in BBQ competitions.  that tells me that for BBQ they are considered the best cooker by many pros.  Will the Egg enable you to cook great BBQ that will earn you a reputation among any who eat your cookings? yes.

    remember (as Ted Williams used to say) it's the Indian, not the arrow.  just because you have equipment that will enable you to cook great food, it's still up to you to make it happen.  the Egg will enable you to cook great food and all sorts of food, but you have to work with it and figure out how best it works for you. 

    That reminds me, one of the things that is so simple about the Egg can also make it difficult- there is no one single correct way to cook anything on the Egg,

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,200
    To add a little more answer to your original question, some of the best BBQ joints use functional equivalents. They use giant brick ovens (ceramic) and burn wood, which has lots of moisture in it. Chicago style "aquarium" pits have a thick glass hood over the pit, and usually have a hose attached to damp down the fire. While the Egg doesn't burn wood, it otherwise seems to me to just be a "family-size" pit. Heavy ceramics, tight air flow, and good moisture management.

    I've only once ever had to add lump during a cook, and that was a bit of a pain. But once out of several thousand is not so bad.

    Based on what I have had from restaurants, I'd say the Egg, with a little practice, will do pulled pork and ribs as good as anything. I've not had really good brisket, but I think that's just me.
  • SqueezySqueezy Posts: 1,101

    Wow!  .... the last 3 posts are just awesome!

    This is why I came here ... thanks all! 

    =D>
    Never eat anything passed through a window unless you're a seagull ...
    BGE Lg.
  • I am new to the BGE and to the forum. I bought my large even before I found this site. I have used all sorts of backyard smokers and grills (one went to the curb for trash pick up with a butt still in it) and always thought smoking wasn't worth the trouble. I kept hearing ads about the BGE and had to check it out. One week and 4 uses later and my gas grill went on craigslist.  I don't think you can go wrong with one. As for a downside probably not good for making homemade ice cream.


  • A. Should we have a breakfast forum ?

    B.  Give me some breakfast suggestions/recipes that I can use this weekend, please.


  • A. Should we have a breakfast forum ?

    B.  Give me some breakfast suggestions/recipes that I can use this weekend, please.
    Start a new thread so everyone sees your request. 
    I'm ashamed of what I did for a Klondike Bar.
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