Our favorite (and one of the most popular) kamado-style grill is the Big Green Egg. The first thing you will notice when you start talking about the Big Green Egg is how much people love using it. Whether you're grilling chicken or searing steaks, the Big Green Egg is a phenomenal choice.
Since we use our Big Green Egg all the time, we're going to use it as a point of reference when breaking down the highlights and downsides to working with a kamado grill.
A Quick Overview
When it comes to smoking, baking, and slow cooking temperatures, the Big Green Egg really shows off its versatility. Add a few accessories like the baking stone or the indirect heat insert and the Egg will transform from a grill or barbecue to one of the most reliable charcoal smokers you have ever used.
There are a few significant downsides to the Egg. Kamado grills like the Big Green Egg don't offer the convenience of pellet smokers which are designed to set it and forget it. You will need to regularly check your temperature gauge to ensure the cooking temperature is at the correct point and you'll need to adjust the airflow to compensate for periodic changes in the burn temperature of your lump charcoal grill.
Some people opt for smaller grill designs, but many of these are limited in what you can cook. If you are looking to smoke ribs vertically, you need one of the larger designs.
As far as outdoor cooker options go, the Big Green Egg is somewhat more expensive to buy. Trust us when we tell you that you won't regret the price because these are the most versatile cooker designs around and are among the best for hitting the exact temperatures you need.
Is the Big Green Egg Easy to Use?
Like any new cooking tool, there is a learning curve involved when you first start cooking on a Big Green Egg. The main trick to using the Egg is learning the sweet spots for the air controls. Once you know that part, everything else is pretty straightforward.
Correctly adding lump charcoal and lighting a Big Green Egg is important. The best way we have found to light our Egg is to fill the fire box with high-quality lump charcoal then add a few all-natural fire starters. These handy little chunks of wood ensure the charcoal lights quickly and burns cleanly. Never use lighter fluid in a Big Green Egg.
There are a number of really good accessories available for the Big Green Egg. Everything from a fan that regulates the airflow to let it function like a pellet smoker, to dual-zone plates that let you take advantage of the indirect cooking experience.
Is Big Green Egg Right for You?
The Big Green Egg is an amazing tool that opens up a ton of new opportunities for you to cook beef, pork, chicken, and wild game. It can also convert to work as a steamer or oven to cook vegetables, desserts, and other delicate foods or as a fantastic pizza oven. Once you are used to using one, setting the desired temperature is simple and the efficient burn style lets you slow cook on natural lump charcoal without having to constantly add more fuel.
The Perfect Size
The Big Green Egg is available in lots of different sizes from tiny portable models to massive designs that can cook a restaurant's worth of food at once. We always recommend buying the largest Big Green Egg you think you will use. A larger Big Green Egg costs more upfront, but there is no sense in not getting the best one for you. Sooner or later, you'll want to do a whole packer brisket or a full rack of ribs, and if your Big Green Egg is too small, you'll have to cut the meat up to get it to fit.
A Trustworthy Brand
There are a number of different kamado-style grills and smokers on the market these days, some of which are good, others are dubious at best. We like the Big Green Egg because of the trustworthy brand that has been making these tools for many years. The company stands behind its products with a great warranty and customer service – and the Big Green Egg website is a great option for tips and tricks on cleaning and maintaining the Egg. It's also the first place you'll find out about new accessories and options to enhance your cooking experiences.
Important Factors to Keep in Mind
The main thing that you should keep in mind with the Big Green Egg is that it is a ceramic cooker. It won't handle getting knocked around and tipping one over will almost certainly destroy it. Make sure that before you choose a Big Green Egg or any kamado style grill, you choose an appropriate location to set it up and use a proper stand. We think the wood stands that incorporate shelving space are ideal and well worth the extra cost.
It is also important to remember that any time you are cooking with lump charcoal, you need to be in an area that is fire-proof. This means keeping the Egg away from the sides of buildings, off of grass, and away from wood fencing. The last thing you want to do is start a structure fire while grilling chicken. Never use any charcoal-burning device inside your home. They emit tons of carbon monoxide which is deadly. Don't even set it up in the garage as tempting as that can be when it is snowing or raining outside.
Why We Love the Big Green Egg
The Big Green Egg is a fully modern design that is based on a classic cooking instrument from ancient tradition. The ceramic surface makes it ideal for holding temperatures while ensuring longterm durability and easy cleaning. The Big Green Egg has an excellent track record, a great warranty, and a whole world of accessories to tryout. The best thing is the community of cooks who band together to share tips and tricks for cleaning and lighting the grill, recipes for the best pork butt or chicken, and help anyone who is unsure of what the best way to use the Big Green Egg is. The level of involvement from regular users is phenomenal and one of the reasons we really like the Big Green Egg.
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