I am doing some due diligence on my next smoker and that has brought me to the BGE forums.
Currently I own an electrical vertical water smoker (Brinkman) and a nice gas grill (Weber Genesis series).
I purchased the water smoker as a starter kit to help me understand some of the basics of smoking. I am now ready to make the jump to a charcoal smoker.
2 times a month I hold relatively large cook outs at my house and I sometimes have the need for an extra grill, which is why the BGE is interesting to me because it could not only replace my kiddie electrical smoker, but it could also compliment my gas grill for large parties.
I have never used or even seen a BGE. I am concerned that since I have never cooked with charcoal before that it may be a steep learning curve.
Please provide me any information you think would convince me the BGE is right for me. I also have some generic questions below
1) I only cook on a deck. Is the BGE safe for cooking on a deck?
2) Is the BGE primarily a smoker that can also grill or is it primarily a grill that can also smoke?
3) How hard is it for a newbie to control temperature and are the temp gauges fairly accurate?
4) As mentioned earlier, I have only cooked with a water smoker before. Do I need something similar (a water pan) to smoke in the BGE?
5) I see that for smoking they recommend that you buy what looks to be a ceramic plate. Is that really needed if the food is high enough up from the heat source?
6) How easy is the BGE to refill with charcoal if I am doing a long smoke of say a pork shoulder?
Thank you for any help you can provide.