Big Green Egg - EGGhead Forum - The Ultimate Cooking Experience...
We’re so close to Thanksgiving that we can taste it and we’re ready to help you prepare the most delicious Thanksgiving feast you’ve ever cooked! Check out our Turkey Cheat Sheet for turkey tips, our Thanksgiving page for turkey recipes, and our Holiday Entertaining Publication for all other Thanksgiving needs to help you make this the best Thanksgiving yet! PS. Don’t forget about breakfast Thanksgiving morning either!


If you missed the 17th Annual EGGtoberfest here are the highlights Click Here

Convince me to get BGE

andy_bandy_b Posts: 77
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
Hi all,

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.

Andy
«1

Comments

  • BacchusBacchus Posts: 6,019
    1. Yes, as long as it is in a nest or table.
    2. The BGE is a grill, smoker, & outdoor oven.
    3. There is a learning curve, but it is relatively short to be able to do basics.
    4. No water pan needed, but you may want to use a drip pan. The egg retains enough moisture on its own.
    5. You will need either the plate setter you mentioned or another heat barrier to create an indirect set-up.
    6. With a full load of lump charcoal, you can easily cook for 15-18 hours at 250 deg for example. Many folks have gone much longer. No need to reload.

    Hope this helps. Of course all of my answers are strictly opinion.
  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    1. Yes, but its a good idea to have something for a fireproof barrier directly underneath.
    2.Both but I primarily use it as an oven.
    3. It is really easy.
    4. No, the water pan in smokers is used to stabilize temps, not necessary in the Egg.
    5. The plate setter is used for indirect cooking, ie oven.
    6. Since a large BGE can go over 24 hours on a single load, you won't need to refill. -RP
  • BoxerpapaBoxerpapa Posts: 989
    1. Yes
    2. Both, plus it's great to bake in as well.
    3. very easy. If I can do it, anyone can do it.
    4. No. Al you need is a good size chunk of prefered wood.
    5. I recommend it. However, you could also use a stepping stone. Not as fancy, but it works.
    6. You really don't need to refill while cooking a shoulder. I've cook shoulders on a large Egg for eighteen hours without ever lifting the dome and still had a little lump left over.


    It bakes:
    330539091.jpg
    It slow cooks:
    330008282.jpg
    It grills:
    329237946.jpg
    It roasts:
    260982756.jpg
    257039480.jpg
    It smokes:
    262982689.jpg
    And it grabs attention:
    329237964.jpg
  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 3,350
    Worste case: You buy an Egg and hate cooking on it.
    1. The Egg will always be a conversation piece on your patio.
    2. The Egg holds a very high resale price.
    Used eggs move fast on the open market.
    Just buy one, you will like it.
    Darian
    Thank you,
    Darian


    Galveston Texas
  • GunnarGunnar Posts: 2,010
    I've had my BGE for 3 months. I grill, smoke and/or bake 4 times a week. The curve isn't bad to learn. Mainly because you're not alone with this forum to guide you. Cruise the forum and read, use the "search forum" or things you're interested in. Browse the link below for great information and other links.

    http://www.nakedwhiz.com/ceramic.htm
  • If you get an egg you will be throwing away both smokers you currently own or use them for storage. The egg has the ability to maintain even temperatures, low temp cooks, high temp cooks, and baking like no other cooker can. It maintains an extremely moist cooking environment that creates terrific flavors and textures. Careful, it is a dangerous path that no one has ever come back from. The only thing it can't do is help to loose any weight. It spoils your taste buds and creates an "I can cook better then that" mentality. I can safely say you would never regret the purchase. Find someone who owns one and have a little sample of the magic!!!
  • 3) How hard is it for a newbie to control temperature and are the temp gauges fairly accurate?
    I am a newbie (cooked 5 or 6 times so far), and I have found temperature control surprisingly easy.

    I even did an overnight smoke of a pork shoulder -- set it at 250F when I went to bed, and in the morning it was at about 190F. Only took 20 minutes to get it back to 250F, and the results were amazing at dinner. And this was the first time I had ever done any low-and-slow smoke cooking.

    Also tried roasting chicken at 400F and searing steaks at 650F, everything works great so far (except I had to replace a gasket already).

    I checked the calibration of the thermometer on the Egg, it looked dead accurate to me.
  • PharmeggistPharmeggist Posts: 1,191
    Andy_B

    I have three eggs.... I cook on a deck.

    I had a weber Silver Genesis.. sold it to buy second egg small. It is a Grill, Smoker, and oven all in one!

    Easy temp control visit www.nakedwhiz.com

    water pan is not necessary because egg is so efficient at heat retention food moisture locked in.

    Platesetter excellent for indirect cooking.\

    My Large egg goes 22+ hours without needing to be refilled when cooking at 250.

    Buy the Egg... your only regret will be that you bought your Weber Genesis or WSM.
    ~Pharmeggist
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 4,281
    Yes, get a BGE.
    Answers:
    1. The Egg comes with 3 ceramic feet, well, toes, and if placed on a concrete patio tile, will be fine on a deck. Most people have their Eggs in a "nest," or in a table that has "toes" and slab to keep the bottom away from wood.

    2. The BGE, with a few accessories, will cook about anything you want. It is a smoker, a grill, an oven, a range top. Only thing I haven't done is deep frying.

    3. The temp gauges are pretty good, occasionally need to be calibrated. Temp control is easy compared to most other cookers, altho' it does take some practice. I could get within, say, 10 degrees of 250 after just a few cooks. Getting right on 250, and keeping it there for hours to a couple of months.

    4 & 5. You will want to get something to block the heat if you are smoking, and you will want to get a raised grill just for the convenience of having the food uop a bit higher. BGE makes a platesetter, and a grill extender, which are very convenient. I made do for several months with a couple of fire bricks, a pie pan, and a spare grill from my old cooker.

    6. You won't need to refill the BGE for long cooks. I've never had a fully loaded EGG use all the lump during any one cook. Lots of people will smoke a shoulder, then go on to cook another meal with the remaining lump while the shoulder cools.

    Lots of people stop using their gassers altogether because the flavor of food cooked on the Egg is so good.
  • vidalia1vidalia1 Posts: 7,091
    First of all since you are researching take some time and scroll through these forum pages & read the responses and look at the pictures. While there are many ways to use BGE you will see the wealth of information and help here. You will also see a lot of people like yourself who had water smokers, gas grills and once they have learned to use their BGE's they have, for the most part given the others up. Here is why:

    The BGE is an outdoor cooking utensil which will have a temp range from 150 to 1000 degrees. You use all natural lump charcoal NOT BRIQUETTES...You can smoke, bake, sear, sautee, use cast iron, pans, bakeware, almost anything your mind can come up with. (it seems ice cream is one of the few things you can't cook on an Egg). The versatility is limitless...

    1. Yes you can cook on a deck but you will need to have some type of table, legs, fire mat etc under the BGE. DO NOT PUT THE BGE DIRECTLY ON A WOODEN DECK.

    2. I explained this above...it is a smoker, oven, grill, baker, etc

    3. Controlling the temp is one of the easiest things to do with the Egg. The ceramics allow it to hold and maintain heat better than other cookers.

    4. No water pan necessary. A good load of lump charcoal can last for 24+ hours without adding any lump or wood for smoking.

    5. Yes you do need the platesetter or some type of item to displace the heat for indirect cooks. A pizza stone is a must for the best pizzas you will ever eat.

    6. If you load it correctly you will not need to do this....

    just keep reading as you will get lots of helpful ideas and when you get your first BGE be sure to set aside space for the second one....you will love it so much you will get another :P
  • vidalia1vidalia1 Posts: 7,091
    also have you noticed a consistency to these answers???? that should tell you something about the product....PS

    I cook on mine about 5x per week...my wife loves the fact she seldom cooks anymore... B)
  • I was not well versed in either cooking,smoking, or grilling when I decided to buy a BGE. I had the same series gas grill you reference, and was not pleased.
    Right out of the gate the BGE changed everything in my cooking world: people actually insist that I do the cooking at all kinds of functions now. This forum is a tremendous help to me as I learn.
    Since you already know how to smoke/grill, you should have a very short learning curve. Evidence of how satisfied owners are with their eggs is the fact that most of them purchase additional eggs to handle all the extra food they end up being requested to cook.
  • Re: the question of smoker/grill, it is that and more. It is truly versatile. Here's a web page that may help you grasp the range of things you can do with a ceramic cooker: The Ceramic Cooker Thermometer

    You may also find a lot of your questions answered here on my Ceramic FAQ: Ceramic Charcoal Cooker FAQ

    Good luck!
    The Naked Whiz
  • momcooksmomcooks Posts: 247
    The results are amazing. I live in Wyoming, which equals a lot of wind, especially since I'm at the top of a hill and wide open. I've had to use boards to block my gas cooker just to keep it lit. Also use a space blanket to smoke in the winter. I haven't lit it once since I got an egg. I do however have a nifty storage rack. :laugh:

    grill-vi.jpg
  • bitslammerbitslammer Posts: 818
    I've had my XL for a little over a month now and have done several batches of chickens, a few pizzas, smoked some ribs and also some turkey legs, did a few higher temp cooks of thick steaks & chops.

    Before that I used a propane grill and a propane smoker. I might only keep the smoker as it is one of the 5-in-1 jobs that can do gas/charcoal smoke/grill & fry. I still might want it to deep fry.

    One batch of chicken convinced me I no longer need the gasser for the rotisserie. I was doubtful I could achieve the level of crispy skin I get from the rotisserie. I was very surprised.

    I wasn't that great with charcoal but I was easily able to keep the temp at 225*F for 4-5 hours on my first batch of ribs. It also took me 4-5 runs to get used to how much lump to use and how to get it lighted. I was shocked at how little I needed to keep the bottom open to hold 225*F and how little lump I burned.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    you didn't ask about support, but you might consider just how many answers you got here, in the space of 15 minutes.

    it's easy. you don't need convincing. you were already hooked and are just looking for a little justification to put you over the top.

    welcome, and remember to join in. we already have plenty of lurkers!

    stike
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • bitslammerbitslammer Posts: 818
    I would also suggest you think out your strategy on accessories well before buying. I just got the flip ring & hanger combo from http://www.eggaccessories.com/ and wished I'd seen that site sooner.I might not have bought the plate setter and a couple other things.
  • I love cooking stir fries in my wok on the EGG. A large holds a 14" wok perfectly with the right setup. Last night was cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, carrot, onion, sliced yellow squash and turkey for the meat. It was outstanding! Mark
  • Buy it!! You won't be sorry. I had a gasser and a couple of Brinkmans (they kept rusting out) Finally, got a large egg figuring that ceramic doesn't rust. Within two weeks I was able to do all kinds of things on the egg and they came out well to super. I wondered why I didn't buy years before. Dumb I guess. It's been a year and half, use it 3 or 4 times a week. Still have gasser, use it once a month keep things warm from egg.

    Gordon
  • Hi Andy,

    The others have answered your specific questions, though I'll give you my take on those too. From my perspective, the reasons to make this switch are:

    1) The versitility. You can use your Egg as a low temperature smoker that can cook at stable temps for a long time on one load of charcoal. You can use it as a grill, and hit temps that you could only dream of on a gas grill, or you can use it as an oven, and make great bread, pizza, paella, etc.

    Take a look at the recipes posted in the BGE section of our blog - http://www.fearlesskitchen.com/big_green_egg_recipes/index.html - for an example of the versitility of the Egg. Also check out the recipe section of this site, and some of the other great sites out there, such as the Naked Whiz's site, for more insight into what you can do with a BGE.

    2) The quality of the food. I've never made anything bad in my Egg, and pretty much everything I've cooked comes out better than any other method I've used in the past. For example, last Thanksgiving, I brought the Egg along and smoked the turkey. It came out remarkably juicy, and had a geat flavor. All my relatives said they never wanted it done in the oven again.

    3) The quality of the product. While the Egg is a bit on the pricy side, with a LBGE going for about $700 plus some necessary accessories, this isn't more than you'd spend on a medium-quality gas grill nowadays. However, unlike a gas grill, the Egg comes with a lifetime warranty, and the company is very focused on strong customer service, though I've luckily never had to use it myself. Also, because of the design of the Egg, it is very efficient in its use of charcoal, which will save you $ in the long run as well.

    My thoughts on your specific questions...

    1) I only cook on a deck. Is the BGE safe for cooking on a deck?

    Yes. Mine lives on my deck, which is made of Trex. Not so much as a black spot in 2 years of cooking. As others have mentioned, you need to lift the Egg off the decking. You can do that with a table, an Egg Nest sold by BGE, or even with a few paving stones, which is what I did. For less than $10 and a trip to Home Despot, I had a decent looking, sturdy stand for my Egg. If your deck is wood, a fire retardant mat under your stand is probably a good idea.

    2) Is the BGE primarily a smoker that can also grill or is it primarily a grill that can also smoke?

    As I said above, the versitility of the Egg is one of its selling points. For most multifunction devices, I've found they are OK at everything but good at nothing. Not so for the Egg. It works great as a smoker, grill, and oven, and for each use, has useful features that standalone products do not.

    3) How hard is it for a newbie to control temperature and are the temp gauges fairly accurate?

    Temp control is pretty easy, and you'll get used to it quick. Because of the ceramic mass, once the Egg gets up to temp, it tends to stay there with little manual intevention needed. A lot of people here do long overnight cooks successfully. The temp gauge is a thermometer that can easily be calibrated by testing in boiling water once in a while.

    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?


    No. The design of the Egg keeps food moist while cooking - I'm not really sure why, but it works great. You may want to use a drip pan when cooking indirect.

    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?


    It's called a plate setter, and it is a very useful accessory for cooking indirect, though there are some other ways to do this as well, such as the Spider setup from eggaccessories.com. For some cooks, you can do them direct at low temps without burning the food, but for other recipies, such as chicken, you want to get the temp a bit higher to crisp the skin without burning. An indirect setup helps here. It is also essential for using the Egg as an oven, as it blocks the direct heat from scorching your bread or pizza, while still getting that smokey brick oven flavor.

    6) How easy is the BGE to refill with charcoal if I am doing a long smoke of say a pork shoulder?

    No need to refill for most cooks. I've done 12 hour brisket cooks and still had more than half of my charcoal remaining. Many people here have reported doing 24 hour cooks without refilling.

    Hope this helps in your decision.

    -John
  • AZRPAZRP Posts: 10,116
    Hey Doug, that thermometer is pretty cool, is it new? -RP
  • andy_bandy_b Posts: 77
    Thanks to everyone who took the time to answer. As one poster mentioned, the simple fact that so many people answered in such a short time will factor heavily into my decision as having such nice support will be wonderful to help reduce the slope of the learning curve.


    One more question I have. From some of the pictures, I am having a hard time determining the cooking area. I am interested in a large BGE, but I can't tell if there is one level of cooking or 2 levels...

    Andy
  • bitslammerbitslammer Posts: 818
    One level in "stock" formation, but nearly everyone has some after market or homemade solution for multi level.
  • FlaPoolmanFlaPoolman Posts: 11,665
    With add ons you can create multiple levels. I have no problem with 6 butts on the large

    http://www.eggaccessories.com/adjustableRig.html
  • Ike WittIke Witt Posts: 195
    Hi Andy,

    Everyone else has answered all of your questions.
    Here is one more thing to do.

    Go on to Ebay or Craigslist and look what used eggs
    sell for. The first thing you notice is that used eggs are far and few between. I think you will see that an egg that is a few to several years old will bring at least half of its original cost. In most cases more. I think you will see a significant difference than the price of a used electric or gas.

    My only regret is not finding out about the eggs sooner.

    good luck

    allen
  • It's been around for a year or so. I just keep forgetting to mention it in discusions of versatility. If you have any suggestions for filling in some of the gaps, email me.
    The Naked Whiz
  • BGE is going to be your best buy - the flavor of your meats is far superior to anything you ever tasted (the lump charcoal and shape of the smoker that circulates the smoke & heat without loosing moisture)
    yo add the lump in the begining and light it. after 10min, it's at the ready temp and you can easily adjust the temp with the bottom slider.
    i use it as a grill/ smoker / oven to do all these functions with ease

    :cheer:
  • SSN686SSN686 Posts: 2,947
    Morning Andy:

    Where are you located? I'm sure any EggHead in your area would be happy to have you come by to watch the Egg in operation.

    Have a GREAT day!

       Jay

    Brandon, FL

    website ---  http://mysite.verizon.net/respulq1/index.html

     

  • JeffersonianJeffersonian Posts: 4,244
    Man, I'm disappointed you didn't pic-spam this thread. I'll post some of my misadventures:

    Pig candy:
    DSC00262.jpg

    Fajitas:
    DSC00204.jpg
    DSC00206.jpg

    Beef and chicken kebabs:
    DSC01113.jpg
    DSC01071.jpg

    Meatloaf:
    DSC01045.jpg

    Beef ribs:
    DSC00190.jpg

    Wings:
    DSC00316.jpg

    Butts:
    DSC01122.jpg

    Pork chops:
    DSC00084.jpg

    Pork loin:
    DSC01117.jpg

    Spare ribs:
    DSC01060.jpg
    DSC01061.jpg

    Shrimp:
    DSC01110.jpg

    I will say, however, that all of these pics were taken over the past year or so. I've had my Egg for years, but had no idea how to use it properly and wasn't overly thrilled with it. The difference, as Stike alludes to, is this forum. Here I learned what to do and how.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,121
    it comes standard with one level, but you want the option to go with multiple levels on some cooks. this is a homemade version using a couple of regular grills and a raised rack, there are better options out there now that we didnt have years ago to make this much more simple
    2005012055.jpg
    couple of briskets and a couple of butts.
Sign In or Register to comment.