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BGE Beginner here looking for some sage advice

Hey Guys - So I am officially a proud owner of a Medium BGE. I live in Manhattan and just moved to an apartment with my own porch so naturally I had to get an egg. Living in a small NYC apt kinda limits me for some things (ie the reason I got a Medium), but also there aren't a lot of hardware stores around that sell grilling/bbq supplies. So I am feel like I am really limited to ordering a lot of stuff online. Anyway I have been poking around here for a few days and have come up with a list of questions. If anyone can point me in the direction on any of these I would greatly appreciate it!

  1. Any way to buy BGE charcoal online? Or other recommended brand charcoals to buy online.
  2. I bought a thermopop for instant read. Should I just suck it up and buy a temp probe now? It seems like its a inevitable purchase
  3. General lighting/starting tips? I have a small pack of the BGE starters but didnt know if there was a more efficient technique that to continue to buy those packs. 
  4. Do I need a cover? The guy at ace seemed to think I didn’t. Will snow/rain take a toll on the egg? I'm more worried about the snow. 
  5. Any recommendations for cleaning tools? Would a normal grill brush do the trick for the grate? 
  6. Does anyone have recommendations for removing the placesetter? Should I just buy a tool that does it? Or are there other/easier ways to do it. Do gloves really work? 
  7. Do I need a woo or some sort of extender? It seems like everyone on here mentions cooking raised. 

MED - Manhattan
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Comments

  • Agree with all of above. Good gloves= good welding gloves. Not all the same. Some are cheap. I have 2 pair. One is great. The knee is get the hell out of my way this is hot!!!!
    cleaning brush. I use balled up HDAF with tongs and above mentioned gloves. 

    Welcome aboard. 
  • HDAF-heavy duty aluminum foil. 
    The acronyms can be a little confusing. You’ll pick them up with time. 
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 6,239
    Hi, slick_rick

    1. No need to use just BGE lump, its Royal Oak under a different brand name. Do a search on "Naked Whiz lump charcoal database" to get an idea about how different brands vary, such as ash production.

    2. The thermopop is perfectly fine.If you want to get all obsessive, you can go w. a pit probe/stoker package. Frankly, it isn't so hard to do a fine cook w/o one. Holding a steady temp is one of the Egg's great advantages.

    3. You can use a paper towel twisted up, and dipped in veg oil as a fine starter. Anything that has an open flame means the dome should be up, and then the dome therm will give readings because the temporary flames boost the temp. I suggest a propane torch that can be used in a semi-inverted position. I have a weed burner. Takes maybe a minute to get the lump going.

    4. Cover isn't necessary, but can be useful. If the Egg sits in an ice storm, it can be really hard to open when glazed over. If sitting thru days of heavy rain, the ceramic will absorbs some water, and may greatly slow getting the Egg up to cooking temp. If you don't care about a funky look, a 55 gal. trash bag works fine on a medium for about 6 months.

    5. Grill brush, yeah.

    6. Myself, I rarely need to remove the 'setter during a cook. Welding gloves work, and are almost a must have if you are doing lava temp steak sears.

    7. There are lots of methods to raise the grill. Most useful if you have 2 grills, one for a drip pan below, and the other to be raised to around the felt line. Dedicated hardware is swell, but 3 beer cans will work in a pinch.
  • mEGG_My_DaymEGG_My_Day Posts: 1,638
    edited September 2018
    First - Welcome.  You have a lot of great questions.  You will get differing opinions on some of these, but here is my take:

    1.  Many here, including me are big fans of Rockwood lump.  You can order it online directly from them.  But you can also buy it at any Ace hardware.  (you mentioned that you talked to someone at Ace about a cover).  @stlcharcoal will likely be along to tell you the SKU number to request at Ace.  The store can then have it delivered from their distribution center.
    2. I personally would hold off on a temp prob for now, or just buy a cheap one for the time being.  The reason I say this is that you may decide you want a temp controller (Smobot, Flame Boss, etc.), and they usually come with a temp prob. If you decide you don't want a temp controller, then yes, you will eventually want a temp prob.
    3. I use a MAP torch, but there are many methods.  Some use oil soaked paper towels or a traditional chimney starter. The BGE starters are good, but there are cheaper alternatives.
    4. No, but with all the snow, you may consider a Smokeware cap.
    5. Grill brushes are fine.  However be very careful with the wire variety.  The wires can dislodge and end up in food.  There are cases of serious injury when those wires are swallowed.  I use the type that have the coiled wires, similar to a Brillo pad and I am still very careful to inspect for wire damage.
    I usually just brush the grid at the end of a cook or while heating prior to a cook.
    6. I use either oven mitt type gloves or work gloves.  Some people use welding gloves, which I think is a great alternative (next time I have to replace gloves, I am going with welding gloves).  I'm not a big fan of the lifter tools, but some are. I use the ash tool to lift my grid when needed if the grid is hot.
    7. You don't need it, but it adds a lot of flexibility.  I had BGE's for ten plus years and used fire bricks to raise my grid.  I finally broke down and bought a woo for my small.  I now have a woo with extender on my LBGE.  I wish I had purchased those years ago.  (Use the money you save not buying a cover and call the Ceramic Grill Store)


    Memphis, TN 

    LBGE, 2 SBGE, Hasty-Bake Gourmet
  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 16,849
    edited September 2018
    The medium is an awesome cooker. Order a Woo from Ceramic Grill Store. It’ll change your life. 
  • GoldenQGoldenQ Posts: 466
    For cleaning the grill     a standard grill brush does not work as well for me as a really good wire brush (Stainless) for your hardware store plus a putty knife to get between the grates ocasionaly if they need it.

    Also a good wire brush should not leave bristles like a grill brush may.

    Also some cooking oil and al foil on tongs will work 
    I XL  and 1 Weber Kettle  And 1 Weber Q220       Outside Alvin, TX-- South of Houston
  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 16,849
    If you want a brush, buy a welders brush 
  • GoldenQGoldenQ Posts: 466
    Also call Ceramic Grill store and talk to Tom before buying too much.  I like the folding thermometers like thermopen but also have a javelin pro duo which i like just as well as the mark 4 thermopen and it was less than half the price
    I XL  and 1 Weber Kettle  And 1 Weber Q220       Outside Alvin, TX-- South of Houston
  • Thanks so much everyone! I really appreciate all of this input! I definitely would not have thought that I could call Ceramic Grill Store.

    MED - Manhattan
  • I have put off getting a woo as I have the old model medium. To do raised direct, I use both my cast iron grate and my regular grate with 3bricks as spacers(pic to follow). I use a Looftlighter, search on YouTube for explanatory videos.

  • northGAcocknorthGAcock Posts: 14,974
    Hey Guys - So I am officially a proud owner of a Medium BGE. I live in Manhattan and just moved to an apartment with my own porch so naturally I had to get an egg. Living in a small NYC apt kinda limits me for some things (ie the reason I got a Medium), but also there aren't a lot of hardware stores around that sell grilling/bbq supplies. So I am feel like I am really limited to ordering a lot of stuff online. Anyway I have been poking around here for a few days and have come up with a list of questions. If anyone can point me in the direction on any of these I would greatly appreciate it!

    Any way to buy BGE charcoal online? Or other recommended brand charcoals to buy online.                                                                          

    Have it delivered via Rockwood direct. You don’t want to be walking the city with a 20# bag of lump.

    Do I need a cover? The guy at ace seemed to think I didn’t. Will snow/rain take a toll on the egg? I'm more worried about the snow. 

    Get one when it gets cold to protect from the ice and snow. You want regret it in my opinion.

    Does anyone have recommendations for removing the placesetter? Should I just buy a tool that does it? Or are there other/easier ways to do it.  

    There is a great tool you can get from smokware. That said, if you go the route of the woo instead of the plate setter....don’t get the tool. Myself....I would get the woo, stainless pan and a stone.

    Do I need a woo or some sort of extender? Yes

    It seems like everyone on here mentions cooking raised.

    You will sooner than later want to do raised cooking.

    I have a medium and it is a great size. You are gonna have a blast....and your neighbors will be over often. Welcome aboard.

    Johns Creek GA with a Large & a 17" Blackstone........Medium & MiniMax in storage

    Well, I married me a wife, she's been trouble all my life,
    Run me out in the cold rain and snow
  • JeremiahJeremiah Posts: 6,412
    Welcome. 
    Slumming it in Aiken, SC. 
  • StoogieStoogie Posts: 172
    edited September 2018
    @mEGG_My_Day has valuable info.  My only suggestion would be to price out what an ACE dealer in Manhattan will charge for Rockwood, versus what @stlcharcoal charges to order online.


    Large BGE

    Neenah, WI
  • I prefer to keep my BGE covered, but many do not and it probably depends on your sensibilities towards that stuff.
    Stillwater, MN
  • bgebrentbgebrent Posts: 19,636
    Don’t know shlt. Welcome aboard. 
    Sandy Springs & Dawsonville Ga
  • Welcome! Lots of great advice already. I don't have much to add other than I would just run the thermopop for a while then decide if you need something else. I have been using  a cheap Home Depot electric grill starter, it's cheap, it works and I'll upgrade when it dies. Make sure you take all the ceramics out of your egg every once in a while and use a shop vac or spoon to get the ash out you miss during normal cleanings.
    LBGE
    SC AL
  • if you are worried about snow, I would maybe consider a cover personally.  as a winter tip, after your egg is cooled off after a cook you can put something in there to keep the gasket from touching, golf tees or something and it will help prevent it from freezing together.  I have had that happen a couple times when we lived up north and it adds about 30 min to your prep time trying to get it open.    I have the thermopop and the thermoworks smoke.  I rarely use the smoke but if you are going to be doing stuff around the house or yard it can be nice. as for fire starter I have the JJ George torch, you can connect MAPP or Proprane tanks to it and it works great.  30 seconds in a couple spots around the egg and in about 15 min I can get it to whatever temp I  want.  welcome to the fun and enjoy.

    2 Large Eggs - Raleigh, NC

    Boiler Up!!

  • Welcome Aboard!!  Looks like you have some great advise being thrown at you, my only suggestion is buy a Flame Boss!!  I learned low and slow without it, but now that I have it, I love it!!
    Most important, have fun!!!
    Retired Navy, LBGE
    Pinehurst, NC

  • If this hasn't already been said...shop vac works great for routine cleaning. 
    Eastern Shore Virginia 

    Medium & Mini Max
  • jtcBoyntonjtcBoynton Posts: 2,783
    if you are worried about snow, I would maybe consider a cover personally.
    If the Egg sits in an ice storm, it can be really hard to open when glazed over.
    In Manhattan?  OP doesn't need a cover.  Maybe get one for looks.
    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.
     
  • pineypiney Posts: 1,478
    The medium is an awesome cooker. Order a Woo from Ceramic Grill Store. It’ll change your life. 
    And a Hi-Que grate! 
    Lenoir, N.C.
  • you might also look at a kick ash basket, I have one for each egg and highly recommend them.

    2 Large Eggs - Raleigh, NC

    Boiler Up!!

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 28,619
    really surprised nyc allows grills on porches
    fukahwee maine

    you can lead a fish to water but you can not make him drink it
  • Welcome to the madness!  You are getting a lot of good advice here as always.  My two cents...a grill extender is a valuable piece of equipment.  I have a medium in my arsenal and use it often.  I highly recommend the Woo from Ceramic Grill Store.  I personally like the option with the handles to quickly switch from indirect to direct cooking.  Hope this helps!
    Large BGE, Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, 36" Blackstone Griddle Blackstone Tailgater and Roccbox owner/operator from Los Angeles
  • Thanks for the warm welcome everyone! Based on these replies I'm gonna go with what I have for a bit before I start to buy some "additions". But it does sounds like a call to the CGS regarding a woo is in my future at some point. 

    Will definitely be doing Rockland Charcoal online. The Ace I was referring to is where I bought the egg, but it's not in the city. 

    Anyone have any recommendations on what to cook first? I know it says not to get the temp too high on your first handful of cooks.  
    MED - Manhattan
  • There’s a lot of good info already,so my sage advice is it’s good with poultry.
    Flint, Michigan
  • Try try a Fatty first. Just search on the site for Fatty recipes.
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