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.