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Big Green Egg

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gordonstrong:
I was looking at BGEs the other day and couldn't decide between the large and the XL, which probably means that I'd like one in between.  And which also means I'll likely buy the bigger one.  Looks like I'll need 3 people to help me put it together, though.

I have a nice gas grill, but was looking to replace an old water smoker that died, plus be able to do charcoal cooking, wood-fired pizzas, and maybe some tandoori.  Can the BGE do all those things?  It seems like it has a lot of excellent features, but I was wondering how many different cooking techniques can be applied successfully on this beast.  Not just what's possible, but what is actually a good idea to do.

johnf:

--- Quote from: gordonstrong on December 21, 2010, 06:56:11 AM ---I was looking at BGEs the other day and couldn't decide between the large and the XL, which probably means that I'd like one in between.  And which also means I'll likely buy the bigger one.  Looks like I'll need 3 people to help me put it together, though.

I have a nice gas grill, but was looking to replace an old water smoker that died, plus be able to do charcoal cooking, wood-fired pizzas, and maybe some tandoori.  Can the BGE do all those things?  It seems like it has a lot of excellent features, but I was wondering how many different cooking techniques can be applied successfully on this beast.  Not just what's possible, but what is actually a good idea to do.

--- End quote ---

That is the strength of the BGE, that it can do so many things. I probably don't have to convince you that it is a good smoker since people win BBQ competitions with them but it is definitely good for pizza (can hold 700 easy, I can get it to 900 but it is a bit fussy at that temperature for all of the lid opening and closing you have to do for pizzas). It works good for tandoori except you can't do naan on the sides. You can do them on the pizza stone and they come out great, but you can only do a few at a time. I'm pretty happy with mine for BBQ, grilling, and pizza. I haven't done the tandoori more than twice. I think it is going to fall well short of an actual tandoor but reality is that it is a lot better than anything a normal person owns and I'll never buy a tandoor. You can cold smoke with one but not quite out of the box. See nakedwhiz.com for some ideas.

We also use ours for baking bread sometimes. It is pretty easy to spray some water through the top at the beginning to simulate a commercial deck oven.

Consider the capacity of the large with a tiered grate before you get an XL, that may be good enough. You can do two boston butts and a whole brisket on a large with two tiers.

As for putting it together. I bought mine locally and delivery and assembly was included in the price. I might have been able to get it cheaper from a place that didn't do the assembly, but I am sure it saved me a couple of hours.

riverrat:
Picking the right size is difficult.  I have a large, and often times I wish I had a medium and an XL as well.  The large is overkill for a standard 2 person dinner, but it does well with 20+ lbs of turkey, pork shoulder, ribs, etc....  The XL will use more charcoal than the Large, but if you are always cooking enough to overfill the large, then you are better off with the XL.  If you are looking to do the entire meal on the grill, maybe lean towards the XL, but if you are looking to do just the main dish typically, go for the large.  There are also option (from BGE and other places) to increase your capacity, change the distance from the fire, etc...

I have done everything from smoked ribs and brisket, chicken (wings, pieces, breasts, whole, spatchcocked), 24 lb turkey, burgers, fajitas, veggies, potatoes, fish, to seared steaks and 3-4 minute pizzas (personal sized ~10"-12").  I'm not familiar with tandoori cooking (heard of it, but not really sure of the process) so I can't help you with that one.  I still want to try bread, setting up a cold smoke system, and a host of other things.

If you want some more detailed help, feel free to ask (there are several eggers on here) or visit the big green egg forum.

It seems to me, that about 90% of people that have tried a big green egg love it.  The other 10% should stick with gas grills and the kitchen stove (or maybe even the local steakhouse).

phillamb168:
My large egg has been the perfect size for us so far - typically during grilling season I'll cook for between 5 and 15 people and get food cranked out with no problem. For briskets, etc, I've never had trouble fitting anything on.

I can vouch for the tandoor. 900 degrees is totally doable, although you'll want to upgrade to the high-temp felt lining, because the standard stuff melts at around 600 I believe. Use the "T-Rex" method to get it way up there for steaks and things.

Also, DO NOT PUT IT TOGETHER BY YOURSELF (if at all possible). Have the guy from the shop come down and put it together. We had to take ours apart for the trip overseas and when I put it back together the lid wasn't seated quite right, and it's a b**** b**** b**** to put on correctly. It'll be worth it. Also, build a nest. The tiny nest that comes with it is nice, especially with the little flip-up side tables, but you'll be thankful for all the extra prep space if you build a bigger one. Plans are available on the BGE site for free fitty.

gordonstrong:
Good replies, thanks.  Other opinions welcome.

I'm probably not aware of all the various options and such.  I saw the pizza stone and stand thing.  Frankly, that was the one thing that didn't appeal to me for the large.  The grate seemed to be big enough, but the pizza stone seemed quite small in comparison.  I'd like to be able to do a 16" pizza.  Maybe a third party stone or something.

My oven can only hit 550, so I'm looking forward to 700+.

How is it at maintaining the low-and-slow warm smoking temps?  I don't cold smoke much, so that's not a big deal.

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