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Moving from Medium to Large - First Impressions

Bob VBob V Posts: 195
edited 2:33PM in EggHead Forum
I'm a long-time Egger (15+ years) who conservatively bought a medium and has been cooking on it mostly happily all this time. I say "mostly" because from time to time I wished for more space or had to plan sequential cooks in order to deal with capacity problems. But 90% of the time the medium was quite enough for our family of three and small numbers of guests.

My son is going to take the the medium to college this fall, and I used that as an excuse to upgrade to a large, which we picked up at the Waldorf Eggfest. I've been cooking on the large since Waldorf and wanted to give some impressions beyond the pure capacity ones that pop up from time to time.

First off, the large seems much easier to light. I have no idea why, as I am using exactly the same technique that I've used for years on the medium. My suspicion is that it draws more air than the medium because of the greater interior volume and the Egg's chimney effect.

Second: (and maybe related to #1) The large seems to "burp" more readily than the medium, for example on a T-Rex cook. I have to be more careful about venting the dome before opening it - again, maybe because of the volume of entrained gas in the dome.

Third: The large is much easier to work on when flipping something or when cleaning the grill. Because the diameter of the large is bigger than the diameter of a medium and because the distance to the grill from the bottom Egg edge is about the same, it is much easier to use spatulas or grill brushes on the large, i.e. they can have a much flatter angle to the grill surface on the large.

These are all relatively small things in the big order of Eggdom, and probably wouldn't shy me away from buying a medium again. But if the money isn't an issue, I'd recommend for a newbie to suck it up and go large. You can always cook less on a large, and at some point you can't cook more on a medium.

I'm just waiting for my son to come back at Christmas telling me he needs a large...

Bob V

Comments

  • Ross in VenturaRoss in Ventura Posts: 7,233
    Great Impressions Bob

    Ross
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,773
    I want to know what college is going to let him have a charcoal cooker in a dorm?
  • pattikakepattikake Posts: 1,175
    My first egg is a large and I love it, will getting a medium soon just for side dishes and deserts. Yes I sucked it up and went for a large on my first egg. Couldn't be happier.

    Pattikake
    Wichita, KS

    B)
  • Bob VBob V Posts: 195
    Actually it is his sophomore year, and he and three other guys have a house with a backyard.

    He is the only American kid from North Carolina at Queen's University in Canada, so far as we know. His goal for next year - aside from studying, I hope - is to introduce Queen's to North Carolina pulled pork barbecue.

    Last year he called us up excitedly during the freshman orientation saying, "This is great! There are flyers inviting everyone for a big barbecue on the rugby field this week." When we checked back with him he was very disappointed. He went to the "barbecue" and found folks just grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. Up there "barbecue" is a verb = to grill. He's grown up on barbecue as a noun = Eastern or Western Style pulled pork.

    Bob V
  • cookn bikercookn biker Posts: 13,407
    Nice post Bob. I also started with a medium and now also have a large. I get what your saying.
    Molly
    Colorado Springs
    "Loney Queen"
    "Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it."
    Bill Bradley; American hall of fame basketball player, Rhodes scholar, former U.S. Senator from New Jersey
    LBGE, MBGE, SBGE , MiniBGE and a Mini Mini BGE
  • Beanie-BeanBeanie-Bean Posts: 3,092
    I second that, Molly! I started out with an LBGE, and just recently acquired an XL. I was used to cooking on bigger cookers, and I'm glad to have the extra grid space if I need it.

    Congrats, Bob V! Perhaps your son will be needing a LBGE, so don't get too attached :)
  • cookn bikercookn biker Posts: 13,407
    I saw your xl startup post. I did not think about how much longer it would take to get up to temp, as you said. Nice space too.
    Molly
    Colorado Springs
    "Loney Queen"
    "Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it."
    Bill Bradley; American hall of fame basketball player, Rhodes scholar, former U.S. Senator from New Jersey
    LBGE, MBGE, SBGE , MiniBGE and a Mini Mini BGE
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    Thanks for the post Bob.

    Other than the initial cost of getting the large, thinking less lump will be used on the medium is false economy.

    I agree with your first observation.

    There has been a re-design of fire box and fire ring on the medium. I am guessing your old medium is like mine. My medium has about a 2" gap between the fire ring and inner egg wall.

    The draft is a function of the physical lump burning. The above mentioned gap allows a lot of air to flow outside the fire box and fire ring, thus not supplying the lump with oxygen for the burn.

    That lack of oxygen makes it more difficult lighting the medium and more difficult for the medium to reach and maintain higher temperatures.

    This shortcoming can be avoided by physically plugging the gap. Plugging the gap significantly enhances the start up and performance of the medium.

    BGE has somewhat recently redesigned the fire box and fire ring for the medium.

    I would love to try the new fire box and fire ring, however, BGE does not consider the older style fire ring/box a warranty issue. For me having to purchase the redesigned fire box and fire ring isn't worth the cost.

    I would rather sell the medium and add that extra money for the upgrade and purchase a second large.

    For those getting a new medium, make sure it has the new re-designed fire box and fire ring. How to tell... If the fire ring is moved to one side of the inner wall the old fire ring will allow one to put their entire hand up to the palm behind the fire ring - about a 2" gap.

    GG
  • Bob VBob V Posts: 195
    Grandpas Grub -

    That is a great "head's up" on the medium firebox/fire ring issue. I had no idea they'd redesigned them, but what you say makes a lot of sense.

    I remember getting my first BGE way long ago. It was the old, old style make out of firebrick. If memory serves, the gap between the firebox and the Egg was plugged with some sort of ceramic. The instructions said that with repeated firings it would break up, but not to worry as it was only there for shipment. Kinda remember that it came out in chunks.

    What did you plug the gap with? All I can think of that would survive the heat would be a metal ring resting on top of the fire box going against the side of the Egg (obviously very loosely).

    Great comments -

    Bob V
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    I loosely rolled some aluminum foil into a 'rope' then put it between the fire ring and egg wall.

    Plugging all the way around the fire ring will create more heat on the outside of the egg, the ceramics will handle the increased heat.

    At my altitude with the gap plugged I can get great performance. Having to fart around with the 'rope' is a pain in the rear.

    Another forum member cut his medium fire in thirds and places those pieces outward. Better performance was reported there. The problem if the the fire ring is cut to get better (proper) performance out of the medium, there is no warranty on the fire ring. I am not sure if that is an issue.

    GG
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817
    Bob,

    I agree with everything you said. The burping thing is dubious at best. You are better to knock both vents open for a couple of seconds before you open.

    Steve

    Steve 

    Caledon, ON

     

  • Bob VBob V Posts: 195
    Of course, if you bought the Egg from a dealer there is a lifetime warranty on the firebox. I'm not sure about the ring. There have been numerous posts about replacing the firebox when it - eventually and always, it seems - breaks. So a new firebox might be yours for the asking (smile).

    Bob V
  • B) got the Large in December and the Medium in April
    ( :evil: only 4 months apart!). The Medium gets hotter faster and holds the temps more evenly than my Large. Both are awesome :woohoo: next up--a mini B)
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    All the ceramics are covered by warranty.

    At first conversation with BGE the fire box & fire ring were going to be changed for the new.

    A few days later I was told the change to the new revision fire box and fire ring is not a covered warranty issue and I would have to pay if I wanted the new larger fire box and fire ring.

    I guess if mine ever breaks the replacement will be the newer style. I don't expect either will ever break though.

    GG
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    Kari,

    The newer mediums should not have the same problem and the folks using the eggs at low(er) latitudes should not experience the same issues.

    When you look at your medium, slide the fire ring to one side of the egg, then go to the other side and how big is the gap? On my medium it is a full 2" - I can can cooks steaks vertical in the gaps.

    That gap is the reason my egg has the problems.

    I would think you have a smaller gap or you are at a much lower altitude than I am.

    Kent
  • Bob VBob V Posts: 195
    The firebox in my medium cracked into 3-4 pieces over time and was replaced quickly by the BGE folks in Atlanta, from whom I bought it. I've never replaced the fire ring.

    After your first post I went out and checked, and the replacement firebox has a flange at the top, i.e. a lip that trues it to the sides of the BGE body. The fire ring, on the other hand, sits a good 1.5" from the edges of the BGE body all the way around.

    I do remember my original (firebrick, not high-tech ceramic) Egg having some ceramic packing around the firebox lip that fell apart over time. That would very much do as you said - act as air leakage around the outside of the firebox and ring.

    This may be a moral issue, but perhaps a small tap
    with a hammer might solve the old firebox problem for you?

    Bob V
  • I would think you have a smaller gap or you are at a much lower altitude than I am.
    Kent, yes, much smaller gap and am at 3400 ft.
    this medium sure rocks :woohoo:
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    If sometime you get a chance I sure would like to see a picture of your fire box.

    I have been tempted with the hammer, but not for warranty purposes. If it breaks, on it's own, I will request a replacement, but I don't expect that to happen.

    GG
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    You are not that much lower than me... I am at 5000'.

    If I plug the gap I can get extremely quick start up and high temperatures.

    Gap plugged, with used and new lump, 2 oil/paper towel I have had the medium up to 540° and stable in 10 minutes. 700° just a few minutes after that. Keep in mind that is at 500' elevation.

    I don't like having to fill that big a gap with aluminum foil and when the foil drops down having to put more in and or dig the old out.

    Without the gap plugged it can take as long a 30 minutes to get the medium to 300° and I am hard pressed getting the heat over 450°.

    For example, today I heated up the medium (gap unplugged) to cook some potatoes and corn. All new lump, completely clean and fire grate holes clean.

    My target temperature was 400°. It took 45 minutes to get the egg & plate setter up to 360° - bottom vent & screen wide open DFMT off. The medium would not get to any any higher temperature even after using a wiggle stick.

    Without the gap plugged I can put my 10cmf digiq fan on the medium and get the temperature up. However, I shouldn't have to go to that measure.

    It is just a faulty design for use at this altitude. I have had multiple folks over cooing for them and they ask me if they should get a medium. I can't honestly recommend it to them. I do tell them it will perform well if that gap is plugged but even then don't recommend it.

    I am glad you are not facing the same issues as me on this.

    GG

    Kent
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