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Big Green Egg Cons

RandarRandar Posts: 3
edited January 2012 in EggHead Forum
First, let me say that I’ve had a Large BGE for ¾ of a year now and knowing what I know now, I am still happy with my purchase.  But I found when I was considering buying a BGE vs. a similarly expensive gas grill; I found it very hard to find negative comments about BGEs.  Sometimes it felt like there was an elephant in the room that nobody wanted to talk about.  So I’ve outlined some negatives in my mind, because I think all the positives have been said already.  I will say in many cases it’s more a “gas vs. charcoal” argument, then BGE specific, but that is what I was comparing at the time.

1.    The BGE is designed around the idea that you cook with the lid closed as much as possible.  Heat, moisture and smoke can escape quickly, so you can’t peek at your food often.  As a result, I’ve sometimes overcooked food, just because I can’t look at it often enough.   The one thing I really wish there was, is a small window, just so I can see inside.  In some cases (like pizza), I’ve peered in through the top hole, but if I’m smoking something, that gets pretty painful on the eyes.  
2.    You just can’t start it as fast as a gas grill.  I used to make more food during the week, because I could just turn it on, cook some burgers, turn it off and be done with it.  The whole process of lighting the charcoal and getting it heated is just longer and more laborious than gas.
3.    I’ve had some fairly dramatic jumps in heat.  The second time I ever used my BGE, I watched it slowly creep up to 200 degrees, went inside to get something (probably steaks), didn’t think I took that long and came outside to a 1200 degree grill.  The BGE seems to hit a point (when the smoke goes from white to black), when the heat can really shoot up. So I’ve learnt to monitor it during the heat up stage, stabilize the egg and then bring out the food.
4.    To help with point 1, I’ve tried the remote thermometers and so far I’m on my fourth.  They keep breaking on me.  I think the main reason is that the weight of the lid can crush the wire to the sensor unless you are careful.  I’ve actually started feeding it through the hole on the top and that seems to be working better so far.
5.    Although I’ve made some of the most spectacular foods (especially chicken wings, steaks and pizza), I’ve also had a higher ratio of complete failures.  Gas is just more consistent.  I’ve had more burnt or completely overcooked food than with gas.
6.    Inconvenience of charcoal.  This seems to be debated a lot, but I feel like I’ve had to buy charcoal much more frequently than gas.  One link said you can get 12-20 meals on a tank of propane and 12 meals on a bag of charcoal.  But charcoal is cheaper, so this could be a wash to some people or you just have to keep more charcoal around.
7.    The cost of the Eggcessories.  I have to admit, I’ve probably doubled the cost of just the egg, just in add-ons and each of them is specific to the BGE.  Plate setter, grill extender, BBQ Guru DX2, etc.  There are more companies building add-ons for gas, than the BGE, which creates competition, reduces prices, increases availability, etc.  Although the add-ons seem to be higher quality than some of the cheap crap I’ve bought for my gas grill over time.

If anybody disagrees with any of my points, feel free to respond back.  I really am trying to be constructive here.  I would other BGE owners to counter argue, even so I can hear other people solutions to my issues.



  • lwrehmlwrehm Posts: 235
    I will respond to a couple of your issues, I am about 8 months in as well and I have never overcooked anything, ok maybe once my steaks ended up medium, but far from being a total fail, however my previous grill was a 22 inch Weber Kettle.  Cost of eggcessories, not even close to double in my case (home built table, CI grate, platesetter) maybe 40% of cost.  I find propane to much more inconvenient, you can buy lump charcoal just about anywhere around my hometown (Grove is made about 2 miles south of my house), but I only know of one place that fills propane bottles. 
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    You want us to sell you a grill you already own?

    As for gas being quicker. Just light the egg then prep your food.
    If yiu only count lighting the grill, the gas is quicker. But if you light the egg then prep your food as it heats up, gas is no faster. And you still need to let a gasser heat up. No one lights it and immediately tosses the food on...

    Cast of gas versus charcoal? Well. Charcoal
    Tastes better. Car 'A' takes premium gas, Car 'B' runs on the cheap stuff. One of them is probably a better ride. Cost of doijg business.

    The grill never over cooks food. The cook does. I can't come up with a counter argument for the complaint that you don't open the lid enough.

    That's a start.

    It's still a far better cooker than any gasser could be.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • trevorsttrevorst Posts: 64
    edited January 2012
    I have only had mine a couple of weeks and I love it.
    However I have to agree with most of your points.
    Only thing I would disagree with is lighting, I bought an $8 electric lighter from Walmart and can have a fire going in less time than it took to heat my gas grill.

    Even though the few things I have cooked so far have not been cooked as good as I know I can do, the flavor is outstanding ( this is my wife's perspective.)

    There is no magic device that will cook everything to perfection, no matter what the late night promos say, and the Egg is no different.

    We have to learn our tools......

  • BotchBotch Posts: 3,880
    I agree that gas is quicker if you're cooking, say, two hamburgers or hot dogs, but again they taste better cooked over lump.  I guess I enjoy the process of lighting the fire.  I did learn this past early fall that I prefer the taste of grilled peaches on the gasser, the smoke from lump wasn't as good (to my tastebuds).  

    And I wouldn't worry about opening the egg up to check your food.  Yeah you're releasing some heat, but there's also heat and moisture going out the top at all times anyway; plus during a low-n-slow, when you open it up you introduce additional oxygen, which partially raises your fire temperature (at least temporarily) and I feel they pretty much even each other out.  
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • I'll weigh in as probable future egger.

    1. I currently have a 12 year old Weber gasser hooked up to NG.  I always cook with the lid down.  (I've got a 30 year old kettle and a WSM, too.)  Remote thermometer & watch help a lot.

    2. I've timed warmup on my gasser.  It's 10 minutes of so before it's hot enough to cook.  Reports are that an egg is similar.  I can't confirm, yet.  This is actually my biggest concern, the convenience of starting the thing.

    3. No comment.

    4. I've burned up a couple remote thermometers over the years.  Mostly by letting the cable get too hot (400+).

    5. Can't comment other than practice makes perfect.  My biggest failures come from getting distracted when grilling.

    6. You've got me there.  No way is lump going to be as easy or convenient as having a gas line running out the house.  One reason I'll probably keep the gasser for a while.

    7. I suppose I'll find out.

    I like the idea over one tool taking the place of the three I currently have.  (WSM turns out some pretty good BBQ and is a relative bargain with a great internet community, too.)  Posts to the contrary, the egg has a couple good forums for information.

    I thought your arguments were constructive, by the way.  As you said, you're still happy with your purchase.  I don't expect the egg to be perfect, but I'm looking forward to changing fuels.
  • BakerManBakerMan Posts: 154
    edited January 2012

    I have had my Egg for two months now and could not disagree more.  I don't think you can compare the two "cooking devices".  Comparing an Egg to a gas grill is like comparing a car to a motorcycle.  They both can get you from A to B but each vehicle has their pros and cons.

    In my case, I had forgotten how good food could taste after cooking on a gas grill for the last ten years.  The first thing I cooked on my Egg (burgers) was amazing and I knew I had made the correct choice.  Cooking on a gas grill for me involved standing next to it with a squirt bottle to put out the flames from the endless flare ups during cooking.  Sure it was easy to light and heat up but I could have got the same flavor by holding my food over a burner on my electric range.

    Here are my thoughts on each of your statements.

    1. The BGE is designed around the idea that you cook with the lid closed as much as possible.
    True.  If you cook on a gas grill with the lid up all you are doing is letting all your heat and moisture escape and compensating for the loss of heat by cranking up the gas flow.  At that point you are just blasting your food with heat.  To cook on the Egg you need to do some thinking.  What temp do I want to cook at?  About how long should it take?  Estimate how long you think it will take, set a timer and check it after x minutes till you get a feel for how the grill cooks.  In most cases, you can't just throw something on the grill and walk away.

    2. You just can’t start it as fast as a gas grill.
    True.  I cannot turn a knob, push a button and make fire.  But in 10-15 minutes I can light a fire, dial in the temp want to cook at while doing my food prep.  When I cook the food I get a wonderful smokey flavor no gas grill can produce without jumping through a bunch of hoops.

    3. I’ve had some fairly dramatic jumps in heat.
    Cooking on an Egg requires you to think ahead.  Not a lot but you have to know what you want to achieve on the grill and plan accordingly.  Do I need a 300 degree fire to cook wings, a 250 degree fire for 16 hours to cook a pork shoulder or 650 degrees to cook a pizza?  The answer to the questions will determine HOW you build your fire.   Take a look at the link below for some useful guidelines on fire building.

    5. Although I’ve made some of the most spectacular foods (especially chicken wings, steaks and pizza), I’ve also had a higher ratio of complete failures. Gas is just more consistent.
    'm not sure what to say about this one.  In my experience I find the food turns out better on the Egg.  I think the big secret is mastering temperature control (see above).  Once you master that, you should have very few surprises.

    6. Inconvenience of charcoal.
    If you buy a charcoal grill you have to deal with charcoal.   I buy my charcoal (Royal Oak) at Wal-Mart for ~ $6.50 /bag x 3.  Cooking on charcoal gives food a nice flavor.  Cooking with gas heats food.  A motorcycle gets better gas mileage than a car.  A car keeps you dry when it rains.

    The charcoal you use makes a difference.  You should check out the charcoal reviews at this site.

    7. The cost of the Eggcessories
    You can cook basic meals (like you can on a gas grill) with no accessories just by grilling the food on the grate.  If you want to cook more advanced meals like pizza or smoke a pork shoulder or a brisket then an accessory like a plate setter makes things easier.  Its not required, just easier.  There are plenty of people who use other methods for indirect cooking without buying Eggcessories.  You DO NOT need a $300 BBQ Guru DX2 to cook on the grill.  You buy it because it makes your like easier.

    Bottom line is every meal I have cooked on the grill tastes dramatically better than the same food cooked on my gas grill.  Yes it takes a little more effort to cook on an Egg.  Good tasting food takes some effort.  I have not turned on my gas grill since I bought the Egg.  Initially I thought I would use the gas for "quick meals" but in reality all I do is store my Egg tools and accessories in it.

    BakerMan - Purcellville, VA "When its smokin' its cookin', when its black its done"
  • Someone blaming their failures on the product when it is entirely their fault. If you had the Egg for the better part of a year, bought accessories for it, and cooked on it several times and still had those failures, then it isn't the Egg, but the idiot doing the cooking. Guess it is easier to blame the Egg for your failures.
    Love me some maple.  Go Canadians.
  • troutgeektroutgeek Posts: 456
    I will respond to a couple of your issues, I am about 8 months in as well and I have never overcooked anything, ok maybe once my steaks ended up medium, but far from being a total fail, however my previous grill was a 22 inch Weber Kettle.  Cost of eggcessories, not even close to double in my case (home built table, CI grate, platesetter) maybe 40% of cost.  I find propane to much more inconvenient, you can buy lump charcoal just about anywhere around my hometown (Grove is made about 2 miles south of my house), but I only know of one place that fills propane bottles. 
    Do you live near the Wisconsin headquarters or Canadian Manufacturing facility?
    Large BGE - Small BGE - Traeger Lil' Tex Elite - Weber 22.5" One-Touch - Weber Smokey Joe
  • I've had my large BGE for two months now and I love it. Like the OP, I was debating between getting a Weber gasser or the Egg. An eggfest came my way so that decided it. I previously had a Weber Kettle Gold, and a Chargriller Duo Gas/Charcoal. 

    Gas is faster than charcoal. That is needless to say. 

    I think most of your other criticisms are unwarranted. ALL grills suggest leaving the lid closed as much as possible. "If you're looking you ain't cooking". There are some great BBQ books out there I suggest you read.

    I think most of your other complaints are all things that are inherent in charcoal cooking. The BGE is a lot more EFFICIENT than other charcoal cookers, which is it's greatest asset. One result of the efficiency of the BGE, is the need to be timely and monitor it during ignition. If the temp jumps to 1200 degrees than you weren't paying attention. Instead of complaining about these qualities you should be harnessing them. 

    That being said, the EGG is not perfect. My biggest complaints are:

    -Gasket quality
    -Inadvertent Daisy Wheel movement when opening (having to align the screws)
    -Difficult transition from searing to roasting (ie. no Two or Three Zone fires)
    -Flimsy Nest
    LBGE, Weber OTG w/ Rotisserie, Weber Genesis S-330, Chargriller Duo, AR-15, AK-47
    edited January 2012
    Comparing a gas grill to a egg is like comparing a Lexus to a focus. I have all 4. They all get the job done but the egg gives the food style. Over the weekend I cooked steaks at a 900 seer and 400 after a rest. A pizza on a stone at 400 and a bacon wraped tenderloin at 350. I find this thing great. My family says all 3 were awesome. It's to each his on.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,868
    " I’ve also had a higher ratio of complete failures.  Gas is just more
    consistent.  I’ve had more burnt or completely overcooked food than with

    Here is a very important difference between gas and lump. The energy being released by the burning gas is almost all converted into hot air. When a thermometer reads the air temperature in a gasser, it is giving a reading from most of the heat being generated. When lump burns, most of the energy is coming of as IR radiation.

    Think of this. One can sit in 90 degree air in the shade, and just sweat a little. Move into the direct sun, and suddenly, you are sweating bullets, and getting burnt skin. This illustrates the difference between air temp cooking, and IR cooking.

    Tho' and Egg and a gasser may have the same air temp reading, what is happening in the Egg is a lot different, especially if you are cooking direct. So burgers sitting above burning propane may be in air at 400 F, but not much else. The same burgers in an Egg will be getting temps in excess of 1000 on the side facing the glowing lump. If there is a heat block (say, a platesetter), the block will eventually heat way up. And anyplace there is a gap, the food will again be exposed to very high heat.

    So, the same thermometer readings on an Egg as a gasser will most likely cook the food a whole lot faster.

    I had almost no background cooking with gas (except the kitchen range) before starting with the Egg. It yook me at least 6 months to realize that my prior experience with metal charcoal cookers were quite irrelevant.
  • psalzerpsalzer Posts: 106
    I've had my Egg for a year....never had a failure, I thought lighting would be a problem, I was wrong! I can light the Egg and have it to temperature almost as fast as the gas grill, plus my gas grill never got to 700+ deg! I have cooked everything from hot dogs, to burgers, to chicken, to pizza, to prime rib..every one was to temp rather than time is the key.
  • What about the fact that it's just plain more fun to cook on the BGE....We debated buying a BGE for several months.  You've heard the reasons's just not won't use's too expensive....etc. 

    After having a BGE for a while wife and I agree that we're glad we bought's just more fun to grill on so we do it more.
  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,491
    In general I tell my friends that biggest con of the BGE is that it is more work than a gasser....then I finish with that is also why it is better!  I love prepping the grill, working the temp, adjusting grates, etc.  Of course the taste can't even be compared to a gasser.   I keep the gasser for the wife or if we need a quick cook.  
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: and  and
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • gerhardkgerhardk Posts: 855
    We bought the egg in September and though my wife does not cook on it she has become a great evangelist for the green egg.

  • IrishDevlIrishDevl Posts: 1,390
    For those that have issues with inadvertent daisy wheel movement when opening the lid, why not just take it off before opening and place it on a flat table, shelves.  This is what I do and place it right back on the egg when I close the lid - never moving any openings in the wheel.
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 16,886
    edited January 2012
    Getting up to temp FAST is not a problem. Even faster on the Small and do not use on Mini (don't ask)
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini, just added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • IrishDevl, even simpler, just line the daisy wheel top up so it doesn't move when you open the lid:

    How Do I Keep The Daisy Wheel Top In Place When I Open It?
    The Naked Whiz
  • IrishDevlIrishDevl Posts: 1,390
    Yes sir.

    “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” - Albert Einstein  
  • jscarfojscarfo Posts: 402
    some people are content throwing there food on a gas grill and taking it off when they think its done, ive had good food cooked on gas grills. and then theres people who persue the goal of cooking there food to a higher level witch my wife my call a obsession... thus called eggheads.....
  • Hillbilly-HightechHillbilly-Hightech Posts: 966
    edited January 2012
    I think most of your "cons" are because you are lacking in the knowledge or information needed to get the best usage out of your Egg.  So, in addition to the other comments offered, I'll also respond to your points:

    1.)  I'm sure this was already stated, but you should cook to food temp, and NOT to time.  Get a temp probe, here is an example:

    2.)  That's not true (well, it might be true for you, but it's not a universal truth for every person).  For instance, I can have my Egg up to temps over 500 in less than 10 minutes - try getting your oven (or your gas grill) to that temp in that time.  Many people use "helpers" to light the coals, this is what I use: ;

    I light the coals in 3 different places (spaced about 120 degrees apart) - keep dome & bottom vent open for a few minutes, then shut dome & start adjusting daisy wheel & bottom vent. 

    Other people use those paraffin starter cubes, others use paper towels drizzled w/ vegetable oil, others use weedburners (as posted above) - there are as many ways to light the lump as there are ways to start a fire. 

    3.)  Yes, it will, and can continue to get hot if you have the vents wide open because fire = ignition + fuel + air.  If you have it loaded w/ lump (fuel) and you have the dome up and/or the bottom vent open all the way, then there is virtually limitless air.  You have to adjust the vents to the proper position for the desired temp, otherwise the heat will continue climbing - it's no different than a "controlled burn" versus a "wildfire" - one you can control & direct, the other, all bets are off. 

    4.)  Never had this problem for me - sorry for your bad luck.  I actually have this specific model & have never had any problems w/ it (though, I think others have, so YMMV):

    Also, many people swear by this model, though I've never pulled the trigger & cannot see paying upwards of $100 on a meat thermometer - however, I'm sure it works as advertised & is of high quality: ;

    Another thing that I tend to do is look up reviews for products on Yelp, or other sites.  That way I can see what issues, if any, other customers have had.  It's never a bad idea to research the item before buying it, and w/ today's technology (smart phones, etc) you can research it while you are at the store!!

    5.)  I think that's a matter of learning to properly use the Egg - it's a different way of cooking, and needs to be approached as such.  The Egg is basically a low & slow BBQ, a smoker, a charcoal grill, a convection oven, a high heat searer, and a wood-fired pizza oven - all rolled into one.  Compare the cost of all those SEPARATE grills you'd have to buy & you'll soon realize the price isn't as high as what you'd originally thought. 

    6.)  I don't see it as an "inconvenience" but rather a blessing - a propane grill is basically an outdoor stove - it doesn't impart any more flavor to the meat than what you can get on your indoor stove - you can buy grilling accessories for your indoor stove & basically grill indoors - that would be essentially the same as a propane grill.

    Here's a couple examples of what you have outside w/ a gas grill, except it's now just indoors:

    Also, I PREFER the slight smoky flavor imparted by the charcoal.  So for me, that's what I desire.  If I wanted to cook on a gas stove, I'd do it inside. 

    As far as cost - I've never compared the cost of buying bags of lump charcoal w/ the cost of buying propane tanks, but I do know I can cook on the same load of lump in the Egg (w/out having to refill, or at the very least just "topping off") for several cooks, before I have to dump new lump in. 

    7.)  There are several companies which make accessories, thus ensuring competition.  Also, nobody said you HAVE to go out & spend a bunch of $$ to add versatility - here's a link where I showed someone how do a 2-tier setup for just around $20:

    Also, as another example, you can just wad up a ball of aluminum foil & clean your grilling grid, as opposed to spending money on a fancy grill brush - the point is, if you think outside the box, oftentimes you can come up w/ solutions which are fractions of the cost of going out & buying fancy stuff. 

    Finally, you should approach cooking on the Egg as an "Eggsperience" to be enjoyed - many folks have developed a passion (some say obsession) since getting the Egg, and have increased their level of cooking immensely as a result because they have taken the time to learn about food, and how to cook it, how the different chemical reactions affect food as it heats up, etc.  Become a student of the experience.  Keep a chef's journal & take notes on what works, what doesn't, what rubs & spices you like, what vent positions you need to obtain specific temps, etc. 

    Once you approach it this way, you'll realize your cooking ability will increase dramatically.  You will become less of a backyard griller, and more of a BBQ chef. 

    My GF doesn't even like to go out for burgers or steaks or salmon any more, as she says that mine are SO much better than any restaurant (and now I'm working on getting those same compliments w/ my ribs).  Also, whenever we have get togethers & I cook pizzas on the Egg, folks RAVE about how good it is, and then they cannot believe it that it's just a simple, raw Costco pizza - the only difference is that it's cooked on the Egg. 

    ANYONE can throw some burgers on a grill, but if you want your family,
    friends, and neighbors to rave over your ribs, or your steaks, or your
    burgers, and say it's the best they've ever eaten, then you can
    definitely get there w/ the Egg - I promise you that!! 

    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • I'd say they are just 2 different ways of cooking.  I didn't buy my BGE to REPLACE gas for all purposes.  For instance, yesterday, I finished up a LONNNNGG cook of a pork shoulder (butt) low and slow.  My wife prepared a delicious side that was made up of layered pre-grilled veggies with marinara and cheese.

    The Egg is more work, but you can do things that are impossible to do with gas.

    Smoke cooking is incredible.  I used a water smoker (burned through 3 of them) for 2 decades - good, but if you want versatility, the BGE is more versatile than either.

    For straightforward, simple "flame broiled" fare, gas works well, predictably.  

    Like the other posters here, tho, I ENJOY the's probably not my quick weeknight choice, but if i have a LITTLE time, and taste is king, then I choose the egg.

    My Weber propane is working 1/3 as hard as it has for the last 10 years....

    You want us to sell you a grill you already own? As for gas being quicker. Just light the egg then prep your food. If yiu only count lighting the grill, the gas is quicker. But if you light the egg then prep your food as it heats up, gas is no faster. And you still need to let a gasser heat up. No one lights it and immediately tosses the food on... Cast of gas versus charcoal? Well. Charcoal Tastes better. Car 'A' takes premium gas, Car 'B' runs on the cheap stuff. One of them is probably a better ride. Cost of doijg business. The grill never over cooks food. The cook does. I can't come up with a counter argument for the complaint that you don't open the lid enough. That's a start. It's still a far better cooker than any gasser could be.
    I agree 100% with Stike.  I've opened my egg many times for a split second.  I always light the egg first.  It's not perfect but it's still produces much better food than any gasser.  Until I bought my egg 3 years ago, I used to make fun of my friends who used charcoal.  I've acually never used charcoal until i got the egg. 
    Large & MiniMax in Lexington, KY
  • I bought my egg in July... and have put it to the test at least twice a week since. I too, have had failures, and expensive ones at that! Serving 14 slabs of over-cooked, tough ribs to a house full of friends is embarassing... and then there was the epic "brisket  fail of 2011". (Which is still a topic best avoided in my presence)

    I really didn't know what I was doing...(not insinuating that you do not), but I had a lot to learn. Temp control was big hurdle, then learning to cook by meat temp and not by time, post cook care... and of course meat prep. (Rub 101 and 201)

    I'm still no expert, but I'm gaining ground. The 'cons" you mentioned have some validity, but have to be overlooked to really enjoy the "eggsperience" with using the egg.

    True, if you want to come home from work and have dinner ready by 6:30, it probably won't happen on the egg...but if you have your food prepped, fire up the egg by you can be 8:30 carving into a whole smoked chicken... (or 6). And you can't do that on a gasser.

    Stay after it... I am!


  • SteveWPBFLSteveWPBFL Posts: 1,302
    The BGE drawback is heavy and can crack if toppled, though I never toppled or tried to lift my gas grill.
  • My gas grill got blown over in a windstorm and bent the lid.  If that is your biggest complaint you are fine.

  • RandarRandar Posts: 3
    edited January 2012
    So I was surprised at the number and details in the responses and even happier it didn’t degrade into a huge flame war!  So it would be hard for me to respond to each post, so I’ve tried to summarize and expand on a few items people brought up.

    Once again, I want to make sure that everybody understands that I think the BGE is great and have recommended to any of my friends who love to cook.  But there are also certain people who I don’t think it is the right tool for.

    The vehicle analogy came up a few times (i.e. Lexus and Focus).  But with that example, I drive a Lexus and a Focus the same way, but I just get a better experience with a Lexus (arguably but bear with me).  After some thinking, I came up with a different analogy.  In my mind, comparing gas to a BGE is like comparing a Honda Accord to a ’69 Camaro (a personal favorite of mine).  With the Camaro, you get lots of “oohs and aaahs”, you belong to an exclusive club, and it goes like mad if you know what you’re doing…but you have to be ready to spend more time and effort on it.

    For a BGE, you spend more time researching how to make things, getting it going, but in exchange you get better tasting food, a wider range of food (pizzas, turkeys), the ability to cook in winter, etc.  But you have to be ready for cooking to become a hobby and not just a means to an end.  The best comparison is my brother and I.  He has 4 kids and BBQs 4 or 5 times a week on a big high end Weber gas grill.  He makes something on one side of the grill for one kid, something else on the other, throws on some frozen stuff from the deep freezer, etc.  He essentially uses his BBQ like most people use their stove.  I just don’t have the time to go through the process of getting the BGE ready each time, can’t screw it up, so I use it less (maybe 1 or 2 times a week).  An example was tonight where I needed some lunch for tomorrow, so hummed and hawed for a bit but just threw them in the oven as a matter of convenience.  But my brother is the first to admit the food that comes off the BGE is much tastier than the food off his grill.  The turkey I made this Christmas on the BGE was one of the best foods many of my guests had tasted.  Period.

    So let me address some of the comments about starting it.  I’m currently using the BGE paraffin sticks.  I would actually like to use the electric starter (which a friend of mine uses), but it happens that the BGE is in a place where getting power is very hard to get to.  I am considering running power to it (and my shed) this summer, which would obviously help a lot.  I tried using propane torches (because I had some lying around) but it was actually a bit annoying standing there waiting for it to go, so fell back to the sticks.  I was looking into using a MAPP torch, but seemed pricey.  I had never heard of a weed torch before and will look into it if the electricity angle doesn’t work.  I was actually going to buy an Eggselerator at first, but thought a DX2 might be able to solve two problems, namely speeding up the startup and keeping the heat consistent.  It’s only a week old, so I’ll have to get back to you on that.

    In terms of the Eggcessories, as somebody pointed out, I am spending the money to do more.  I have the plate setter (makes the best chicken ever), pizza stone (never made pizza on gas), DX2 (low and slow coming soon), etc.  My complaint was more around the fact that the average cost for BGE add-ons seems high, because of their narrow use.  Part of the problem (which I probably should have clarified) is being in Canada and all too often I see a price for something on a US site and the Canadian one is twice the price.  With gas stuff, I could go to the local hardware store, buy some GrillPro cheap thing, have it work and be fine.  You end up having less choices and paying more for them as a result.  You also have to realize that when the BGE brochure says “you can cook all these things”, you have to pay for the tools to make it happen.

    In terms of remote thermometers, so far I’ve killed a Presidents Choice one (very cheap) and three Weber thermometers (not cheap).  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but one lasted a single cook before dying.  Because I just bought the DX2 (which is still alive), I’m hoping it will be my last remote thermometer in a while, killing multiple birds at once (pardon the pun).

    My last comment is if I chose charcoal, I would only consider the BGE.  Two of my friends have cheap charcoal BBQs and their experience and mine are worlds apart.  I don’t know anybody with a Weber Bullet or other Kamado style cookers for comparison, but my BGE is so much better than what they deal with.  But if you want simple food production (i.e. almost all restaurants use gas not charcoal) and not a wonderful food experience, then weigh your options first and figure out, Accord or smokin Camaro.

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,868
    As I mentioned, my background has almost no use of gas in it. The few times I used a gasser, I couldn't believe how awful it was as a BBQ. Not as easy to use as a microwave, and the flavor was hardly better.

    I do use a MAPP torch. Typically, I  light the lump in 3 places, 20 seconds each. If I want to get above 300F quickly, I light 6 spots. Compared to getting a pile of kindling going, and then waiting for wood to burn down to coals, for me this is decadent luxury.

    For weekday cooks, I clean one of my Eggs out on Sunday afternoon. I can usually get 3 short weeknight cooks from the pile of lump before I burn though it and/or have too much ash buildup. I also stretch my Egg use into the week by making enough of something on the weekends for leftovers. While not everything keeps well, most smoked meats will have an even stronger flavor after some time in the freezer. If not used by themselves (pulled pork freezes just fine), they make a great addition to stews and casseroles.
  • You are just going thru the learning curve, which would apply to any type of charcoal cooker.  Your issues with the thermometers, are just that, the thermometers.  Heat is heat, and if you were using them under the same conditions with a gasser or WSM you would have the same failures.  I've had similar results as you with thermo's, and have used them with both my gasser, BGE, and oven.  My BGE is almost 3 years old.  When I brought it home, I unpacked it, put it together, loaded it with lump and put 2 large boston butts on for my first overnight smoke....with any type of cooker.  It turned out wonderful as have the rest of the cooks I've done over the past 3 years.  Any issues with the doneness have been entirely my fault, but as someone else already said, it was med instead of rare, not inedible or burnt.  The daisy wheel con is simple to overcome.  Make sure the pivot screw is at 6 oclock and the daisy wheel is pointing directly at 12 oclock with the amount of opening you desire.  It will NEVER move if you set it up this way.  My main con is manipulating a large batch of burgers since the grate sits below the belt line of the egg.  You have to manuever your flipper in some unusual angles, etc to flip.  (Believe me, I feel pretty whiney even writing it, but it's the truth) 

    Now, with all that being said, the food, properly cooked (cooks responsibility) is head and shoulders above anything you can produce off a gas grill.  It produces potentially better, and at worst equal, what can be produced on other charcoal cookers, BUT with less work.  You cannot do a 12-24 hour cook on a WSM or bullet smoker without reloading multiple times.  So, to me, the ease of the long cooks, makes up for the extra 10 or 15 minutes I spend getting ready for grilling or comparable gasser cooks. 

  • TheophanTheophan Posts: 508
    @Randar, I've had a medium Egg for a little over 2 years, and a large Egg for a little over 1 year, and I'm still IN LOVE with the Big Green Egg.  I'm an old guy with a long white beard, and I have decades of experience with different grills, from open "hibachi" grills that were popular in the '60s and '70s, to closed Weber "kettle" charcoal grills, and then a couple of Weber gas grills, and it was all good, but the flavor of the food coming out of my Big Green Eggs just blows away anything I've ever done on regular charcoal grills or gas grills.  It's not even close.  There is no comparison.  My wife agrees that everything that comes out of the Egg is just wonderful, and dramatically better than any other kind of grilling or smoking of food I've done in the past.  To me, that's the bottom line.

    As Stike and others have said, you're comparing cooking on the Egg to cooking with a gas grill as if you can obtain the same results with either.  You cannot.  I think your post is a lot like comparing cooking a steak in a skillet on the stove to cooking a steak in, say, an old-fashioned charcoal grill over briquettes.  Sure, the skillet heats up faster, you don't have to mess with charcoal or ashes, and by all means, I've cooked many steaks in a skillet and they're good!  But I don't really see what the point would be of comparing "pros" and "cons" of frying a steak in a skillet on the stove vs. grilling over charcoal.  They're apples and oranges.  They're just not comparable.

    Well, neither is a gas grill and a Big Green Egg.  Again, I think I probably fuss with my Egg more than I did the gas grills.  But like others, I light it first and then prepare the food, and it's just not a problem.  I still use the starter cubes and they're so easy that I just haven't seen any reason to go for the more exotic ways of lighting that many talk about.  I've had my BGEs for a couple of years, now, and still haven't seen any need to invest in a BBQ Guru, etc..  I do use a remote thermometer for low and slow cooks, but I don't use them for high heat cooks because I read others' experience that doing so tends to destroy the wires (which I'd guess is why you've gone through some).  I have thought about the adjustable rig, etc., but I get such good results with the Egg the way they came that I still haven't gotten around to trying it out.  I might, but part of my point is that it's a mistake to suppose that you can't cook a huge variety of wonderful foods on the Egg without all of those "eggcessories." I do think the Plate Setter is a great one to have, and I'm very happy I bought a remote thermometer for low and slow cooks.  But anything beyond those is "adding on" to the Egg, extending it, NOT something that's an expensive necessity for cooking on the Egg, NOT a hidden "gotcha" that you have to spend money on that you wish you'd known in advance.  I've done all kinds of cooking on my BGEs and I don't have a BBQ guru, a grill extender, a spider, a Woo 2 or whatever it is, an adjustable rig.  They might be cool, but necessary they ain't.

    I'm glad you're still happy with your Big Green Egg, and I sincerely believe that if you keep a cooking log and learn from each cook, you will only become even more happy as time goes by.

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