We have reviewed a lot of grills over the years, and we’re pleased to finally introduce you to the Big Green Egg. As a Kamado grill, it’s very different from the traditional charcoal, propane, barrel, or pellet grills you may be used to. We’re going to help you decide if this premium grill is right for you and understand why it was our #1 pick for charcoal grills in our Best Grills and Smokers list.
In this review, we’re going to focus on our experience cooking with the Large Big Green Egg.
Big Green Egg Basics
As a Kamado-style grill, the BGE has a unique shape compared to other grill types. It’s also made of ceramic with a glaze covering the outside.
The physical shape helps pull air in from the base and out through the top. Dampers on both the top and bottom control airflow, and by extension, the internal temperature.
While the ceramic construction makes for a very heavy grill, it’s what helps the Egg maintain incredibly stable temperatures.
Kamado grills use hardwood lump charcoal for fuel. It’s more expensive, but the Big Green Egg is surprisingly efficient at using it. More on that in a moment.
The other thing to note is that you never, ever use lighter fluid to start the grill. On one hand, it messes with the flavor and can work into the ceramic for a longer-term effect. On the other hand, you don’t need it. Natural charcoal starters are inexpensive and light lump charcoal very easily.
Cooking On A Big Green Egg
Low and Slow
I’m a busy guy and I don’t have time to babysit a smoker when I want to cook low and slow. My biggest concern was whether I could maintain a low temperature and how long the charcoal would last during the cook.
I like to cook at 225°F, so that was my initial target. By closing the bottom damper about 90% and the upper damper to about the width of a dime, I was able to nail it. I mean dead-on nail it.
With a little more adjustment to the lower damper, I was able to stabilize a little under 200°F. Overall, I found it very easy to dial in temps from 200°F to 275° for those longer cooks.
At those temperatures, you’re not using much charcoal at all. One estimate I saw in a forum suggested you can get up to 80 hours of slow cooking out of a bag. From what we saw, that’s an achievable number.
Hot and Fast
Stable smoking temps aren’t the only draw for the Big Green Egg, though. It can also reach temperatures over 700°F—far hotter than other grills can reach safely.
To test this, we decided on a little lunchtime seafood treat for the PTR crew with some shrimp skewers and tuna steaks. At 700°F, the shrimp would only need about 3 minutes per side and the tuna would get about 90 seconds per side to sear.
The results were EGG-cellent, though the tuna started pointing us toward some of the EGG-cessories. Specifically, getting a quick sear at these high temps with the darker, crisp outside you’re looking for really needs a griddle or cast iron skillet.
We’ll share some of our favorite add-ons below.
If you grill with traditional charcoal briquettes, you know it can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes before you’re actually ready to cook. My pellet grill is ready in 15 – 20 minutes, so I had some real concerns about how long I needed to get the Egg cranking.
Once we learned the right damper settings, getting the grill ready took less time than I thought. After you set the starter in the coals, give it 10 minutes with both dampers wide open.
From there, we consistently got stable low temps in another 10 minutes (20 minutes total). Keeping the dampers wide open, we were able to get to high temps in 25 minutes on average, and pinging the 700° mark by 30 minutes.
Big Green Egg
Big Green Egg literally has everything you need to cook on your grill except the food you’re cooking. There are grilling tools, knives, seasonings, sauces, spray bottles, cookbooks, charcoal, cleaning products, and so much more!
Here are some of our favorite EGGcessories we recommend:
- Acacia EGG Mates: these folding side shelves are indispensable.
- ConvEGGtor: pushes the air around the edges for indirect heat (must-have for low, slow cooking).
- Plancha Griddle: Eggs-actly what you need for perfect searing (also available as a 1/2-moon).
- EGGspander convEGGtor Basket: easier install/removal of the convEGGtor and adds a rasied cooking level. It’s also a base component for the entire EGGspander system.
- Ash Tool and Removal Pan: you have to clean out ash from the base, so grab the tools specifically designed for BGE.
- Cover: your Egg is an investment, and a cover protects the exterior and helps it last longer.
Big Green Egg Price
As you’re considering getting your own BGE, keep in mind that the grill needs a stand. There are some ways to DIY it, but getting the official Nests are definitely the way to go.
There are seven sizes currently available:
|Mini||10 in.||79 sq. in.||$469.95|
|MiniMax||13 in.||133 sq. in.||$699.95|
|Small||13 in.||133 sq. in.||$659.95|
|Medium||15 in.||177 sq. in.||$799.95|
|Large||18.25 in.||262 sq. in.||$1099.95|
|XLarge||24 in.||452 sq. in.||$1499.95|
|2XL||29 in.||672 sq. in.||$2499.95|
Warning: Big Green Eggs are super-popular, and that makes them an attractive option for scammers. There are no factory stores or outlets. If you see a price that’s too good to be true, it probably is. Use BGE’s Find a Dealer page to make sure you’re buying from a legitimate source.
The Bottom Line
After using the Big Green Egg, there’s no way I’d go back to a traditional charcoal or propane grill. We’re thoroughly impressed. The learning curve is not at all steep if you have some grilling experience, the results are incredible, and BGE has everything you need to make the Egg your primary cooking tool any day of the week. If you want to take your grilling and smoking game to the professional/competition level, we highly recommend you get yourself and Big Green Egg.