HELP! I finally talked myself into getting this expensive grill, only to find out that it's useless without spending almost as much again for the necessary accessories. I've held off on posting too much, because I figured I needed to go up the learning curve to start getting good results. However, after 2 months of ruining everything I've put on it, I have decided to put it on craig's list and try to recoup some money, unless I can figure out quickly what's wrong. Here are my observations on my experience with the BGE.
1) PRICING - Lots of companies try to keep the listed price low by charging extra for all the options. Nothing wrong with that at all. however, if you're considering an egg, consider this. There isn't anything you can do with it as it comes. You'll need additional accessories for everything you want to do. For indirect heat, a platesetter at $65. For baking, a stone at $45. For high heat searing, a cast iron grill (why do they even include that crappy stainless grill?). You'll have to get a stand (nest) or table before you use it, and those are expensive. The grill is below waist level otherwise, nobody would use it that way. Grill grabbing tongs, a tool to clean out the ashes, etc etc. Be prepared to pay almost double by the time you buy all accessories. Once again, not a problem, but I didn't realize it before I bought it, so just be aware.
2) Steaks/Burgers - If you like your steaks baked, the BGE is perfect. The recipe calls for heating the grill really hot (I tried 650 degrees preheated for 30 minutes, then put the steak on, close the top and bake it for 2 minutes, then turn and bake for 2 minutes, shut it down and leave on an additional 2 minutes. First off, it cooks 1 1/2 inch steaks medium with these instructions, so you have to adjust the time or get 2 inch steaks if you want medium rare. no problem, live and learn. However, I don't want my steaks baked or smoked. When you close the top, you get the taste of the lump hardwood in the meat. I love a smoky flavor on my rib roast, but not on steaks or burgers. i tried cooking at very high heat with the top open, like you would on a normal grill, but then you're just cooking on flames. There is no adjustment to raise or lower the grill a bit like on some charcoal grills. I don't want to cook on flames and burn the outside. I don't see any use for this grill to cook steaks or burgers. Can any of you tell me what I'm doing wrong?
2) Baking - One of the main reasons I got this thing was I thought it would be like a brick oven. I've not been able to break the code yet, and I've tried a number of times. With the placesetter and pizza stone in place, I've tried preheating for 2 hours and couldn't get the ceramic above 500 degrees or so. Even so, at that temp I wound up burning the crust to a crisp and the top wasn't ready. So I've tried preheating for shorter times, and wound up having to bake the pizza for 20 minutes to get it done. The longer the pizza is in the grill, the smokier it tastes. A little bit of smoke flavor on bread or pizza MIGHT be ok. A lot is definitely not tasty to me. A pizza in a wood fired brick oven takes a few minutes to cook, and is evenly cooked top and bottom. has anybody out there mastered this?
3) Low/slow - I've tried several briskets. I'm getting whole, untrimmed briskets, Choice grade. I completely clean out all old coals and ashes and start with a clean grill. I use the platesetter for indirect heat, and just a few hickory chunks for flavor. I've learned not to use many chips, as the hardwood lump coals add a lot of smoke taste to the meat. I inject the meat with a can of beef broth. I hold the temp steady at 220 or 225 and use a meat thermometer. When the internal temp of the flat reaches 180, I wrap in foil and leave it on for an hour or so, until the internal temp appears to be 200 or 205 (my thermometer only goes to 190, so I have to guess on that). The briskets come out ok at best, not the fall apart tender that some of you get. And once again, that strong flavor of the coals. I've turned out acceptable briskets, nothing approaching the competition status that some of you have. I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. The internal temp is hitting 180 after only about 7 hours on a 10 pound whole brisket, which is quicker than the recipes suggest (i use the recipe at amazingribs.com) I've checked the BGE dome thermometer against 2 different oven thermometers and it seems to be working fine. Even if the BGE does turn out great briskets, it needs to also be good for steaks/burgers to make sense for me. I'd only cook a brisket occasionally.
Did anyone else have these problems and figure out how to correct them?