Why We Love The Big Green Egg Grill & Smoker
If you are a grill enthusiast you’ve probably seen or at least heard of the Big Green Egg grill. The Big Green Egg has been around for over 30 years. It started as a clay grill modeled after the ancient Japanese Kamado cooker. The Big Green Egg smoker and grill is now made of dense ceramic walls built in the shape of – you guessed it – an egg. The reason for the egg shape is to hold the heat in and reduce the amount of charcoal needed to cook with.
The Big Green Egg Smoker has gone under many improvements since it was introduced in America in 1974. Early models were made of clay, but the grill is made of durable ceramic which makes the Big Green Egg virtually indestructible. One of the great things about the Egg is that you can cook on it all year long; freezing weather, pouring down rain, and high winds are no match for the Big Green Egg barbecue.
The Big Green Egg cooker is the perfect smoker and barbecue and oven. It is so flexible you can use it to sear steaks at high temperatures, you can cook ribs on it for hours at low temperatures, or you can turn it into a brick oven and bake breads or pizzas. The Egg is unmatched in it’s flexibility and cooking capabilities; it truly surpasses other grills and smokers.
There are many different sizes of the Big Green Egg and also many accessories available to allow the Egg to fit everyone’s outdoor cooking needs. Read on for more reasons why so many barbecue enthusiasts love their Big Green Egg cookers!
Smoke Ribs for the Whole Neighborhood with the Big Green Egg V Rib Rack
We love our Big Green Egg grill and smoker, but the one drawback is the limited cooking space. Ribs are a favorite among our family and friends but it’s hard to cook more than one or two slabs on the Big Green Egg. The Big Green Egg V Rib Rack solves this problem by allowing you to hang the ribs vertically, so now we can smoke several slabs of ribs at one time.
History of the Big Green Egg Barbeque Grill
While barbecue may be thought of as American, the first grills were actually clay pots called kamados, and they originated in Japan, not America. The first kamado was the mushikamado, used in Southern Japan to cook rice and was made with clay. It was round with a dome lid that lifted off the base. Wood charcoal was used to cook the food in the mushikamado.
In the 1960s the kamado was invented. While the design was similar to the mushikamado, the kamado was made of ceramic (to eliminate cracking which was a problem with the early clay models) and was created for barbecue, not cooking rice. A damper and draft door was added to control the temperature better and charcoal was used instead of wood. The kamado was shipped to the United States from Japan and was eventually produced in the United States as well.
The Big Green Egg grill is a modern version of the kamado, and can be used for grilling, smoking or even baking (homemade pizza on the big green egg is amazing!). Other companies that make kamados include Primo, the Komodo Kamado, the Grill Dome and the California Kamado.
Cook Fabulous Pizzas with the Big Green Egg Baking Stone
You’ll find many Eggheads who cook breads and pizzas in their Big Green Egg in addition to the more traditional ribs, burgers and other grill foods. To turn your Egg into a brick oven you’ll need a plate setter or a baking stone.
Why The Big Green Egg Grill Smokes Other Grills
We switched to the Big Green Egg Grill about 7 years ago and will never go back to another charcoal grill (or a gas grill for that matter), for the simple reason that when cooking with the Big Green Egg you always get awesome results. But if you’re not convinced yet,
here are some other benefits of cooking with a Big Green Egg:
Incredible Flavor and Moisture
The Big Green Egg is made of space age ceramic material which retains a great amount of heat and moisture, and not hot spots. Food cooked on a Big Green Egg barbecue doesn’t dry out and meat undergoes little or no shrinkage, meaning foods come out juicier and more flavorful than when cooked on other grills. The Big Green Egg is a very forgiving grill for even the most inexperienced grillers!
Unparalleled Cooking Flexibility
The Big Green Egg is a grill, smoker and oven all in one. You can sear steaks at high temperatures (up to 750 degrees) or slow cook ribs at a low temperature of 200 to 250 degrees. Or if you’re craving pizza or bread, the Big Green Egg bakes better than a brick oven. The Egg has incredible temperature control, which allows you to cook almost anything on it, and you don’t have to babysit it like you do other grills.
(Note: the secret to temperature control with the Egg is the easily adjustable dampers at the bottom of the grill, along with the adjustable daisy wheel on top, not to mention the exterior temperature gauge which gives precise readings of the interior cooking temperature).
Safer Than Other Grills
The Big Green Egg’s ceramic material means that the grill stays cooler on the outside than other grills, even when cooking at high temperatures. This makes the Egg much safer for children than metal grills. You also don’t have to worry about flare-ups with the Egg, and since the Egg has such great temperature control, you can cook for long hours (even overnight) without having to watch the grill at all times.
Fast Lighting and Fuel Efficient
One of the nice things about the Big Green Egg is that it is so easy and fast to light. The design on the Egg allows air in through the lower draft door, through the charcoal, and out the damper at the top, so your grill is usually ready to cook on after only 10 minutes, and with no lighter fluid! In addition, natural wood lump charcoal is used to cook with in the Egg, which is much more fuel efficient than regular charcoal briquettes. You won’t need to add more charcoal while you are cooking and you can even reuse any unburned charcoal.
The ceramic material is weatherproof and won’t rust. In addition, it’s very durable and can be used year round, even in harsh climates. We live in the Midwest where snow and freezing temperatures keep many people from grilling in the winter time, but with the Big Green Egg we can cook all year long, even in snow and ice!
Easy Clean Up
Burning natural lump charcoal results in less ash than burning traditional charcoal briquettes, so you don’t need to clean your grill nearly as much as you would with a regular charcoal grill. The Big Green Egg exterior has a lifetime glaze that can be easily cleaned using just a damp cloth. Inside, the heat burns off any grease build-up, similar to a self cleaning oven.
The Big Green Egg Electric Starter
Lump charcoal is used to cook with in the Big Green Egg smoker. You can light the charcoal using natural fire starters, made from sawdust and paraffin and leaving no chemical taste, or you can use an electric starter. Using the electric starter, your coals will be ready in approximately 8 minutes.
Is The Big Green Egg Grill and Smoker Right For You?
You’ve heard all the reasons why we love our Big Green Egg grill, but is it right for you?
As much as we love our Egg, there are a few disadvantages:
- It’s expensive. Ceramic cookers can cost from $500 to $1,000, depending on the size you get. They are quite a bit more expensive than your traditional charcoal grills, but many gas grills can cost this much.
- They are heavy. A ceramic grill and smoker with an 18″ grill surface can weigh 140 lbs, which makes moving your grill to a new home a hassle, and you definitely won’t take it with you when camping or going to the park for a family picnic.
- Smaller cooking surface. Because of the egg-shape design the cooking area on a Big Green Egg barbeque is smaller than many gas grills. If you do a lot of entertaining, you made need the larger size or a backup grill to accommodate all the food you will be cooking.
- Charcoal limitations. The Big Green Egg uses natural wood lump charcoal only, not the more common briquettes. In some areas, this special charcoal can be hard to find and it’s usually more expensive than traditional bbq briquettes.
Verdict: If you are on a budget or you cook for a lot of people, the Big Green Egg may not be the best grill for you. But if you are a barbecue enthusiast and you do a lot of smoking in addition to grilling you will love the quality and the results you’ll get with the Big Green Egg.
Need a Table for Your Big Green Egg? eBay has beautiful wood and stainless steel tables that will make you the envy of the neighborhood!
Big Green Egg Cooking and Smoking Tips
The Big Green Egg can be used for smoking, grilling or baking. When it comes to smoking, the thick ceramic walls are perfect insulation for cooking at long, low temperatures needed to tenderize meats, while adding wood smoke flavor.
When setting up your EGG for smoking, layer lump (wood) charcoal with well-soaked wood smoking chips (we like grape). Add more charcoal, then more wood chips; repeat until the firebox is full. You can use either natural fire starters or an electric lighter to start the charcoal (never use lighter fluid!). You’re ready to start cooking once the temperature has reached 250 degrees. You can find some great feedback here: https://kitchenguyd.com/best-charcoal-grills/
The Big Green Egg Plate Setter is great to use while smoking to provide indirect heat and eliminate the need for turning the food. Adding flavored liquids such as apple juice or beer to a drip pan is another great way to add flavor during cooking.
Grilling refers to cooking the food directly over the coals at a moderate to high temperature. The EGG easily reaches 750°F for perfect searing of steaks, whether you like them rare, medium or well done. It is easy to lower the heat after searing or for other grilled foods that don’t require high heat using the adjustable dampers at the bottom of the grill.
The Big Green EGG is known for its versatility and that is most evident when baking breads, dessert or even pizza in your EGG. You can turn your Egg into a world class brick oven just by adding a plate setter and baking stone. Once you’ve tried a fire brick oven pizza in your Egg you’ll never order pizza again!
Don’t Have a Big Green Egg Yet?
If you stumbled across this article and you don’t yet have a big green egg, head on over to the official Big Green Egg website where you can find a local dealer near you. Big green egg smokers are only sold through approved dealers, and you can’t buy one online. While you’re there, you might want to browse through the recipes and videos, or check out an upcoming big green egg event!