If you’re looking for a kamado grill to add to your collection, one of the first names you have probably come across is Big Green Egg. They’re easy to spot since all models are the same shade of green, and they've been around since 1974.
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The thing that's so special about Big Green Egg is that it has the potential of being the only grill you'll ever need, no matter what style of outdoor cooking you are interested in. By itself, it is simply a charcoal grill. But with the addition of a few key additional accessories, it offers more outdoor cooking opportunities than all other conventional cookers combined.
Additionally, Big Green Egg has one of the most loyal fan bases out there. Countless Facebook groups and gatherings across the nation are available for these like-minded barbecue enthusiasts to share their cooks, recipes, and strategies. So in reality, Big Green Egg isn't just a cooker; it's also a community.
Can you use regular charcoal in a Big Green Egg?
It is recommended that you use lump charcoal in your Big Green Egg charcoal grill. Lump charcoal generally burns longer than briquettes and is cleaner and produces less ash. It can typically last up to 18 hours on a low and slow cook without having to add fuel.
Probably more important than which type of charcoal to use, it's key to know that you should never use lighter fluid in your BGE. No one likes the flavor of lighter fluid, and using this can permanently contaminate your egg with nasty chemicals that will forever affect the flavor of your grilled foods.
What size Big Green Egg is best?
Big green eggs are available in 7 different sizes and determining the best size for you can sometimes be tricky. The larger the Egg, the more charcoal will be required and the longer it will take to come up to temperature. Ultimately your decision comes down to a couple of main variables.
How many people are you generally cooking for? Do you have a big family? Are you frequently cooking for lots of friends? Do you like to grill the full meal with all the trimmings or is the protein typically the only thing being cooked outside? The cooking area you need to accomplish your outdoor cooking goals will help determine the size of grill you'll want.
Where will you be using your grill? On your patio in the backyard? 5th floor apartment balcony? RVing across the country? Because these factors alone may help decide for you. These kamado grills are heavy. Even the smallest version is 39 pounds. So really consider where your Egg's new home will be and how much it will need to be moved around before deciding to go big.
Mini Big Green Egg
79 sq. in.
On this mini BGE you'll have enough space to grill 2 chicken breasts, 2 pork chops, or 1 steak at a time.
MiniMax Big Green Egg
133 sq. in.
On the MiniMax BGE you'll have enough space to cook a 12-pound turkey, 4 burgers, 1 chicken vertically, 2 steaks, or 1 rack of ribs at a time. Unique to this model, it comes with an easy-to-grip carrier, making this more ideal for taking it on the go.
Small Big Green Egg
133 sq. in.
On the small BGE you'll have enough space to cook a 12-pound turkey, 4 burgers, 1 chicken vertically, 2 steaks, or 1 rack of ribs at a time. While it has the same cooking surface as the MiniMax, the small BGE has a taller body and does not have the same portability features.
Medium Big Green Egg
177 sq. in.
On the Medium BGE you'll have enough space to cook an 18-pound turkey, 6 burgers, 3 chickens vertically, 4 steaks, or 4 racks of ribs vertically.
Large Big Green Egg
262 sq. in.
On the large egg, you'll have enough space to cook one 20-pound turkey, 12 burgers, 6 chickens vertically, eight steaks, or 7 racks of ribs vertically. The large egg is probably the most popular size available.
XLarge Big Green Egg
452 sq. in.
The xl big green egg delivers enough cooking space to efficiently prepare 2 20-pound holiday turkeys, twenty four burgers, 11 whole chickens, 12 steaks, or twelve racks of ribs vertically.
As you can see the xl egg can easily accommodate meals for large families and then some. It's difficult to imagine needing to go bigger than this, but in case you do, there's still one more size up from here.
2XL Big Green Egg
672 sq. in.
The 2XL Big Green Egg has seemingly infinite space to cook 35-40 burgers, 14-16 whole chickens, 18-20 steaks, 20 racks of rib vertically, or 1 suckling pig should you so choose.
Best additional accessories for outdoor cooking with your Big Green Egg
The thing to keep in mind is that pretty much every BGE accessory is sold separately. These add ons can really add up quickly so most people will start their BGE journey with just a couple and then slowly add to their collection over time.
However, each additional accessory expands your toolbox and contributes to the versatile cooking that this kamado grill was designed to do. You could own a different unit for each type of outdoor cooking you'd like to do and your patio would be full of a separate grill, smoker, pizza oven, and potentially no space left for people to enjoy. Or you could invest that same money into accessories that will allow you to slow cook, sear, roast, smoke, and bake all on one single grill.
Unless you purchase some type of bundle from an authorized dealer, the Big Green Egg does not automatically come with a stand, or "nest" to hold your Egg. There are a variety of different styles and materials to choose from. The most basic will simply hold the Egg up at the proper height. Other options add side shelves ranging up to cabinets and a full kitchen island. Price and your personal budget will certainly determine which way you go here, but keep in mind that all those accessories you'll be adding to your collection over the coming years will need a place to be stored.
I highly recommend you protect your BGE purchase by investing in a cover. It's not one of the "fun" accessories that will expand your cooking options, but you'll certainly be glad you invested in this from the beginning. Don't wait for parts to rust and chip before adding this accessory.
This is the way to turn your Big Green Egg into a smoker. The ConvEGGtor is a heat deflector protecting your food from direct heat over the fire, allowing it to smoke low and slow.
In my opinion, this accessory is an absolute must or you've completely defeated the purpose of having a Big Green Egg.
If you want to turn your Egg grill into a pizza oven, the pizza stone is where it's at. Turn your BGE into a convection oven to bake delicious pizzas outside. Keep in mind, anytime you're cooking pizza on a stone a pizza peel will also be necessary for transferring to and from the grill. The pizza stone will heat up with your grill and should be piping hot before you launch your (raw) pizza in to be cooked.
If you're new to kamado grills, managing your charcoal fire might feel a little overwhelming. After all, that's why gas grills became so popular, isn't it? Maintaining temperature control for long periods of time can be a challenge and things can easily get out of hand if you don't know what you're doing or aren't watching closely enough.
The EGG Genius is a pit controller fan, created and supported by Flameboss. You hook it up to your Egg and use an app to tell it what your desired temperature parameters are. The fan takes care of the rest. You can continue to monitor and control your cook remotely from inside or wherever you are.
For those cooking foods for large families, the EGGspander can add some valuable extra height to your BGE smoker. With multiple tiers and configurations possible, you can get really creative with how you utilize the space inside your BGE.
What we love about the Big Green Egg
We always love it when a company stands behind its product with a strong warranty. BGE grills have a limited lifetime warranty on all ceramic components, including dome, base, ceramic damper top, fire box, and fire ring. Like most warranties however, it is only good for the original purchaser of the grill. So if you buy a BGE second-hand rather than from an authorized dealer, you'll be out of luck with any warranty claims.
Loyal Customer Base
There's a lot of pride out there in the barbecue world. Pride over the type of cooker you use, pride in the brand you have, pride in the recipes you make. But when it comes to Big Green egg grills, the pride seems to be so much greater than any other brand on the market. There is such comradery among its owners and a real sense of community. That level of loyalty and "customer for life" mentality really says something about a company and its products.
One Grill to do it all
In the end, I think my favorite thing about Big Green egg grills is the fun people have while using them. Your outdoor cooking options are endless with this charcoal grill and smoker in one. Entertaining friends and family around the grill creates full bellies and lasting memories.
You can certainly purchase bbq grills at a lower price, but I would venture to say that none would match the longevity, quality and community that come with Big Green Egg.