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New BGE XL, any good first time advice?

Been lurking on this forum for the past six months or so, mostly to find out what style Kamado most people use and why. After watching some comparison videos and reading reviews I finally settled on a BGE. Hoping to burn it off first thing tomorrow morning then fire it up in the afternoon for it’s maiden voyage. Was looking to smoke something a little more simple to start, ribs or a pork butt. I’m used to offset smokers but these Kamados are a brand new game for me. Anyone have any advice or suggestions for the first couple of cooks?
Nor Cal


  • bgebrentbgebrent Posts: 16,510
    Welcome aboard.  Smoke some ribs.
    Sandy Springs & Dawsonville Ga
  • JohnnyTarheelJohnnyTarheel Posts: 5,139
    Welcome!!!  Spatchcock chicken
    Charlotte, NC - Large BGE 2014, Maverick ET 733, Thermopen, Nest, Platesetter, Woo2 and Extender w/Grid, Kick Ash Basket, Pizza Stone, SS Smokeware Cap, Blackstone 36"
  • CTMikeCTMike Posts: 1,677
    edited January 3
    A pork butt is about the easiest, most forgiving thing to start with, and will win huge praise from friends and family. 

    That being said, a nekkid fatty is a traditional first cook. 

    Welcome to the madness, and lock up your credit cards. This place will spend your money faster than you can imagine. 
    MMBGE / Large BGE / XL BGE (Craigslist Find) / SF30x80 cabinet trailer - "Ol' Mortimer" / Outdoor kitchen in progress.  

    Southeastern CT. 
  • YukonRonYukonRon Posts: 12,275
    You may wish to consider a heat barrier between the XL and the wood decking.

    Get Rockwood, if you have not already, it does make a difference.

    As @CTMike had mentioned previously, wave good bye to your early retirement plans. The least expensive part of owning an egg is the initial purchase of your first egg.

    Getting the XL as your first is a smart move. Your next couple won't cost as much, so it will be easier to explain to your significant other.

    Go ahead and buy the big deep freezer. I bought the smaller one, now I own two. 

    Welcome to the "spending like you got it" lifestyle.

    It is worth it.
    "Knowledge is Good" - Emil Faber

    XL and MM
    Louisville, Kentucky
  • kaybeekaybee Posts: 89
    Use it lots!!

    Take your (likely inevitable) failures as learning experiences rather than roadblocks. Don't be afraid to experiment!

    And the preceding financial advice is extremely sound (says the guy who decided Santa had to bring him an IR remote thermometer and additional thermocouple probe, a full resupply of lump and smoking woods and pellets....).

    Enjoy and Welcome!

  • jtcBoyntonjtcBoynton Posts: 2,111
    Welcome to the forum.

    Ceramic cookers do behave differently than offsets. There is a lot of ceramic that needs to heat up.  Compared to what you are used to, it takes a lot longer for the cooker to reach a steady state. Warm up times and cool down times will be a lot longer and patience is required.  Adjustments to temperatures during a cook respond more slowly than an offset (make small adjustments and then be patient waiting to the changes to take effect). 

    You are burning charcoal instead of wood.  Fire management is a bit different. Temperatures in eggs are controlled by limiting air flow and not fuel.  

    Most of what you learned for cooking with an offset still applies, but there are differences.  It would be good to think about the way you cooked with your offset and question if all the things you did transfer to cooking with a ceramic cooker.
    Southeast Florida - LBGE
    In cooking, often we implement steps for which we have no explanations other than ‘that’s what everybody else does’ or ‘that’s what I have been told.’  Dare to think for yourself.
  • LegumeLegume Posts: 8,218
    YukonRon said:
    You may wish to consider a heat barrier between the XL and the wood decking.
    Agree 100% and strongly suggest a mat or something to keep sparks away from the wood.  You will get sparks at some point and that’s a lot of wood right there.
    Austin, TX
  • SmokingPineySmokingPiney Posts: 2,282
    edited January 4
    The beginner's catch with Eggs is controlling temperature. It's daunting at first, but really easy after a cook or two. Tons of videos on YouTube to get some ideas. Calibrate your thermometer in boiling water to dial it in (YouTube). 

    BGE recommends you keep your first few cooks under 350 degrees to let the gasket seat properly. If you have the plate setter, than you are set for a GREAT first cook - pork butt. 275 from start to finish, and look for about a 205 IT to probe tenderness all around with the bone wiggling free. The BGE does awesome pork butts.  :)

    Welcome to BGE's and welcome to this forum. There is no destination here. It's all a completely awesome journey and your Egg will open up many new ways of cooking for you.  =)
    South Jersey Pine Barrens. XL BGE , Assassin 24, Weber Kettle, CharBroil gasser, AMNPS 
  • bluebird66bluebird66 Posts: 2,035
    Large Egg with adjustable rig, Kick Ash Basket and various Weber's
    Floyd Va

  • WoodchunkWoodchunk Posts: 638
    I would get a cheap bag of lump and practice lighting and playing around with temps and changing the top and bottom vents to get exposure to all the bge can do. You will find it takes care of itself once you learn the settings. Practice.

    this is what bge says about the table nest
    "The perfect addition to your Big Green Egg® table, custom table or outdoor kitchen, the Big Green Egg® Table Nest is made with durable metal and allows air to flow underneath your X–Large Egg.
    WARNING– While the Table Nest is an optional component that is compatible with all Big Green EGG® tables, it is NOT for use as free–standing support for your EGG. Do NOT place EGG directly on wood or combustible surface."
  • Hans61Hans61 Posts: 3,414
    Welcome. If you’re used to a stick burner you already got this!

    After your first smoke I’d bake some pizzas and sear some steaks to enjoy the  versatility of the kamado! 
    “There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body.”
    Coach Finstock Teen Wolf
  • This is a no-brainer

    Little Rock, AR

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