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What Is a Big Green Egg? (And Is It Right for You?)

What Is a Big Green Egg? (And Is It Right for You?)
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You have probably heard about the new outdoor cooking phenomenon with the peculiar name and wondered what it is all about. We have put together a handy fact sheet of everything you need to know about The Big Green Egg and are confident that it will soon be added to your wish list.

The Big Green Egg is a ceramic, charcoal-fueled cooker. It takes outside cooking to the next level as it not only functions as a grill but can be used for smoking, baking bread, or even as a pizza oven. The dome-shaped oven has a distinctive egg shape and is a trademark dark green color.

If you enjoy cooking outdoors but are tired of only grilling, there is an alternative. The Big Green Egg has many outstanding features, but it also comes with a hefty price tag. Let’s go through the features of this outdoor cooking phenomenon to see if it warrants the investment for your lifestyle.

What Is a Big Green Egg?

The Big Green Egg allows you to conveniently create a variety of baked, grilled, smoked, or even pizza outside. It gives the enthusiastic outdoor chef a lot more menu options as the heat produced by this oven can be carefully adjusted.

During World War II, American soldiers in East Asia noted the features of the kamado-style grills, so much so that a few of them brought one back with them.

The Big Green Egg became a cooking sensation when Ed Fisher launched the company to manufacture them in 1974. It has existed in its current design for a long time and has retained its popularity due to the company offering a consistently high-quality, durable product.

The Egg is a Kamado-style cooker which means that, unlike regular outside grills, it produces a heat source that can be sustained for an extended period. One can even cook slow-cook items like rice inside the dome so long as it is in a suitable pot.

The thick ceramic outer shell of the Big Green Egg seals the heat inside the unit. Controlling the heat is done by adjusting the opening of two draft doors, which are positioned at the bottom and the top of the cooking shell.

Big Green Eggs are available in seven sizes ranging from mini through to 2XL. The smallest one has a grid diameter of 12 inches, and the largest is 29 inches across.

The extensive versatility of the Big Green Egg is its main drawcard. Outdoor cooking possibilities become much broader since you are not simply limited to grilling like most other outdoor-style grills.

Other competitor brands do offer similar Kamodo-style cooking units; however, the iconic dark green color and design of the Big Green Egg have become synonymous with quality.

Features of a Big Green Egg

If you are thinking of buying an outdoor cooking system and are considering a Big Green Egg, you may be wondering if it is worth the hefty price tag.

Eggs are most certainly not cheap, but when you consider their versatility and the fact that they come with a lifetime warranty, they are certainly worth considering, especially if you enjoy cooking outside.

The cooking temperature of the Egg can be carefully monitored and controlled. This great feature lets you cook things slower than just putting them on a regular grill and flame grilling the outside.

A Big Green Egg is extremely heavy and not easily portable, but its solid sturdiness becomes a drawcard once your cooker is set up. Transportation and setup can be challenging as an Egg is extremely heavy, but once it is fully assembled and in place, the unit is built to last.

Although weekend cookouts can be long and leisurely events, a Big Green Egg provides an almost instant cooking heat. The charcoal fuel heats up quickly inside the insulated capsule, and the unit is ready to start cooking within minutes. It is easy to light, so you can start cooking almost immediately without much fuss, so it can be used even on busy weeknights.

The Egg also offers less waste than other charcoal-burning grills. When you are finished cooking, close all the vents, and the fire inside is quickly snuffed out, saving the remaining charcoal for the next time.

A Big Green Egg can be used throughout the year in any weather conditions. The insulated shell holds the heat inside the unit, so unlike other grills that usually get packed away during winter, you will be able to continue cooking up a storm outside, no matter the outside temperature.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Big Green Egg?

There can be no denying that a Big Green Egg is a solid and versatile outdoor cooking system. Its iconic color and distinctive egg-shaped rippled surface make a bold statement in any outdoor setting.

When choosing an outdoor cooking system, you may be wondering if the outlay is worth it. Big Green Eggs are among the most expensive outdoor ovens available, so is it worth it?

Big Green Egg company has offered a consistently high-quality product since 1974. There is no question that the Egg is built to stand the test of time.

Like all products, some aspects could be considered as shortcomings. Let’s go through these:

  • They are expensive – prices range from $400 for the smallest Eggs to almost $3000 for the largest. Although this may make most regular weekend grillers gasp, keep in mind that the BGE is a Kamado-style cooker and not just an ordinary grill.
  • Big Green Eggs are heavy – Unless you opt for the smallest sized Egg, you will need help transporting it and setting it up. They range in weight from 39lbs -375lbs.
  • They come with very few accessories – The initial price tag doesn’t usually include anything besides the shell and a grid. Extras like the ConvEGGtor and Pizza Stone which lend versatility to the unit, need to be purchased as extras. Even the stand usually needs to be purchased separately.
  • It’s best for attentive, engaged cooks – Although you can use the Big Green Egg like a regular grill, you will get the best results if you keep an eye on the temperature gauge and monitor the cooking process continually.

What Is the Best Charcoal for a Big Green Egg?

If you own a Big Green Egg and noticed that your food tastes a little ashy or isn’t as flavorful as you were expecting, check your charcoal.

Eggs are designed to use very little charcoal, but high-quality lump charcoal would work best. Using regular quality charcoal usually burns to ash very quickly and can create quite a dusty environment inside the Egg.

The recommended Big Green Egg Oak & Hickory charcoal is made from 100% natural hardwood. It is quick and simple to light and lasts longer than many other brands.

Not everyone has time to go and source a bag of specific charcoal each time they use their Egg. Fortunately, several alternative brands work well in Eggs and will also deliver excellent results.

You need to look out for a type of hardwood lump charcoal that does not have any chemical additives. Choose a charcoal brand made from a source that you recognize, like Oak or Maple.

Keep in mind that the variety of wood charcoal you select will influence the flavor of the food. If you get something that includes a dark wood like Hickory, you can expect a more intense taste experience.

Experimenting with different types of charcoal to find one that you enjoy can be part of an Egg experience. While other grills tend just to cook the meat in preparation for a meal, a Big Green Egg imparts flavor to the food while it is cooking, so it is perfect for foodies who appreciate subtle taste nuances.

Other considerations when selecting the right charcoal for your Big Green Egg are the following:

  • How hot the charcoal burns – not all wood burns at the same temperature. Choose wood charcoal that gives off enough heat consistently from start to finish of the cooking process.
  • Choose large lumps of charcoal – although smaller lumps are easier to light, they will burn up faster. If you are struggling to light larger lumps, add a few smaller ones to get them going, but the majority of the charcoal should be large lumps.

Keep in mind that you won’t have to waste any charcoal if you finish cooking and haven’t exhausted the charcoal. If you close all the vents on the unit, the fire will be quickly snuffed out, saving the unspent charcoal for your next cookout.

  • Avoid using briquettes – Lump charcoal is made from actual 100% natural pieces of wood. Briquettes are manufactured using leftover bits or even sawdust. This means that although they may be a lot cheaper, the fuel will burn quickly and become ash faster. Briquettes also often contain additives that can alter the taste of the food.

Can You Make Pizza in a Big Green Egg?

The cooking versatility offered by the Big Green Egg is one of the factors that has made it so popular. Back yard cooking is no longer limited to grilled meat, and making mouthwatering pizza in the Egg is a snap.

The thick insulated shell of the Egg acts effectively as a pizza oven to seal heat inside the unit. All you will need is a Big Green Egg Pizza and Baking Stone which must be purchased as a separate accessory.

Because a Big Green Egg allows you to set the temperature and closely monitor it, you can replicate conditions inside a wood-burning pizza oven.

The length of time you need to cook a pizza to get it to cheesy perfection depends on the thickness of the crust and the number of toppings.

The usual rule when cooking pizza is that the thinner the crust, the higher the temperature and the shorter the cooking period inside the Big Green Egg. If you are making a deep pan pizza, it will need to stay in longer but cook at a much lower temperature to be done through.

Most standard pizzas will take less than 8 minutes in a Big Green Egg that is set to around 600F. The heat inside the Egg is intense, and you may need to make some adjustments.

Learning to control the temperature settings on your Big Green Egg can take a few tries, but you will soon be producing authentic Italian-style pizzas that taste like they have been made in a pizza oven. There are plenty of valuable recipes online that will quickly have you making the best pizzas in the neighborhood.

Is a Big Green Egg Worth It?

Considering the initial outlay, you may be wondering if it is worth investing in a Big Green Egg. After all, there are a lot of much cheaper outdoor grilling systems available.

If you do a lot of cooking outdoors and appreciate some variety in the menu, then a Big Green Egg is undoubtedly an excellent item to own. You can use it no matter what the weather is like outside, and maintenance of the unit is very low.

The Big Green Egg is built to last a lifetime, and the warranty reflects that. It functions as an oven, so if you have the correct cookware, you can produce anything from bread to casseroles and stir-fries in your Egg. Cooking outside will no longer be limited to grilled items.

Final Thoughts

A Big Green Egg is a Kamodo-style oven perfect for everything from traditional grilling to creating pizza, smoking, and casseroles. Unlike many other outdoor grill setups, it is made from thick ceramic material, so the inside of the oven functions more like a conventional oven that can reach very high temperatures when the unit is closed.

The Big Green Egg company popularized the design, and it has been operating since 1974. The brand is an iconic dark green color, and the unit is built to last a lifetime.

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