/ Food & Drink

The Big Green Egg barbecue – gimmick or cooking revolution?

Big green egg barbecue

‘Redefining the British Barbecue’ is the claim made by the latest gadget to take the cooking world by storm. But is the Big Green Egg here to stay, or just a passing phase?

While attending a number of press shows recently, I’ve been seeing more and more of the latest weird and wonderful cooking appliance, the Big Green Egg.

I’m a real foodie, I love cooking and trying out new things, but I can’t help but wonder if there’s actually anything in it, or if it’s just a gimmick.

How the Big Green Egg barbecue works

Somewhere between an oven and a barbecue, the Big Green Egg uses an air-tight ceramic cooking chamber to keep itself hot, and a sealed fire box which uses charcoal to create a smoky flavour.

There is a metal top and a flow-draft door at the base to control air flow through the chamber. It can be used outdoors, and the ceramic coating is designed to make it completely weather resistant.

A number of Michelin star chefs have waxed lyrical about the egg, including Daniel Clifford who claims that ‘it has become an obsession’. Head Chef of Orwells restaurant, Ryan Simpson, uses it as his weapon of choice in our ‘How to cook a steak on a barbecue’ video. But could it ever become a household name?

Is the Big Green Egg barbecue worth the money?

The egg doesn’t come cheap, with prices starting at £399 for the smallest egg in the range, the ‘Mini’. And it’s up to a whopping £1,200 for the extra large one. While I’ve been known to spend obscene amounts of money in the past on various ‘must-have’ kitchen gadgets, even my purse strings tighten at the thought of shelling out (sorry – had to get one in) such a hefty sum on one item.

What’s more, the last appliance that seduced me with its bells and whistles (a food processor which claimed to do pretty much everything short of the washing up) has yet to make its second trip out of my kitchen cupboard. Despite my protestations that I would use it for everything, I just haven’t got the time or the patience for it, and I can’t help but think that the Big Green Egg might be an equally quick love affair.

So, would you be tempted by this latest addition to the cooking market or do you think the Big Green Egg barbecue is just a fad?

Comments

I really want one of these, but I’m waiting to see a few more customer reviews first. The main criteria is how much faffing around it involves…

I saw the big green egg being demonstrated a few years ago at a local dealer and was quite impressed, but then the price put me off. So for the last few years i have been debating whether or not to get one. After trawling the internet and watching countless youtube videos i decided to take the plunge. I justified the price on two factors. Firstly it has a lifetime guarantee so when most people buy two or three bbq’s i’ve still got mine ready to pass on to my children probably. And secondly on great tasting food!!!

I bought the large green egg (most popular size apparently). I can tell you that the food tastes amazing!! There are so many reasons to buy one which i won’t go into them all but here are a few. The egg reaches much higher temperatures (officially 400c but i’ve got it to 450 – 500 c) Its smokes food beautifully because of its enclosed shell and keeps food moist. You can cook almost anything on it. I cooked pizza on it the other week and because you can ramp up the temperature way past domestic ovens the smell and taste of the pizza was fantastic. I seared and cooked rib eye steak at 400c last week for two minutes on each side and it was delicious and moist. Not only that you can cook food for up to 20 hours which i’m going to try shortly with beef brisket which is a favourite with the American market.

On top of all that the temperature control is very precise, as good as an oven because of the way the air intake is designed. One other point is the minimal wastage of ash from the charcoal. I cooked on my egg last week from 10.30a.m. to 6.30 p.m with one small load of charcoal. At the end of day the ash wastage half filled a foil takeaway tray (small size tray in case your wondering). Another cost saving over normal bbq’s!

So if you’re asking me would i recommend the Big Green Egg….. YES!! Ultimately you save money, have great tasting food and is the ultimate talking point for any dinner/bbq event which can be used 365 days a year because of its ceramic qualities, but also design, which is impervious to the elements.

i forgot to say in answer to the previous comment. There is no faffing around with egg in terms of getting it lighted. You fill the egg with charcoal and put one of its fire lighters in amongst the coal and let it burn for approx ten minutes with the egg open including the vents. Then you close the egg leaving the vents open for 5 minutes. You are now ready to cook!! If you want to reach very high temperatures then put two fire lighters in near the bottom of the charcoal and do the same thing but after closing the egg wait about 10 mins say and you will see it climbing in temperature very quickly per the thermometer. This is one of things i do love about it because getting started for a bbq is always one of the downsides of cooking outdoors. With the egg this is a thing of the past.

Blimey i should be on commission from the green egg!!

James says:
6 June 2013

The article and comments have already got my taste buds salivating! Would definitely think about investing in one of these. Even though at first look the price is well above those of your standard home BBQ, myself and i’m sure most other consumers at the moment are interested in value for money. If ‘The Egg’ does produce real quality tasting food, the price is a fair amount to pay for a quality product that would deliver for years if taken care of.

darren says:
7 June 2013

I’ve had my large egg and table for Just over two weeks,and have cooked everyday bar 2 on it. Pizzas, tandoori chicken, steaks,pulled pork, beer butt chicken,curries,naanbread, you name it I’ve done it.very easy to set up and use. I consider it my best ever purchase!!

darren says:
7 June 2013

Superb,cooked one last Sunday. dry rub night before. fired up the egg in the morning,and cooked it for 8hrs at 100c. let it rest for 1 hr then pulled it and ate with homemade brioche buns and slaw. I have pictures of quite a few things I have cooked on the egg,if you have an email address I will send them.

A Podmore says:
7 June 2013

I have read several very positive reviews of this product. Unsurprisingly they have come mainly from self-confessed foodies and barbeque fans. A rigorous/balanced ‘road test’ of the product would certainly be of interest and particularly so if it could in some way include an answer to the question posed in the title of this conversation piece

I’ll volunteer to test one. Please deliver it to my home address!

darren says:
7 June 2013

Tweeted a selection through,one at a time I’m afraid ,not that Twitter savvy!!

Grumpy Grandad says:
7 June 2013

Visited friends in Texas in Sept 2010 and they strongly recomended a BGE as an alternative to my big 2 section smoker, bought one later in 2010 when back home at an ‘introductory price’. Easy to fire up, (though I do think the expensive BGE charcoal makes it easy), and great control of temp. After I have finished cooking I open it right up for about 15 mins, the temp soars and burns off all the remains saving messy cleaning, then shut everything off and still have lots of charcoal left for the next time. My son is married to a South African so is always using a kettle Weber at home, loves to come visit and use the BGE, think he is waiting for me to kick the bucket so he can grab it!!

Jo says:
8 June 2013

An alternative to the BGE is a Kamado Joe – it is practically identical with great build quality but costs a fair bit less than the same size BGE. There are quite a few UK suppliers of the KJ.

Corey Cook says:
14 June 2013

I have tasted product from this and it is fantastic. Very durable in the depths of the Canadian winter. I want one. I don’t want to lift one though. Fantastic for brisket or ribs.

Danny says:
27 August 2013

I have watched my brother-in-law cook on one of these eggs many of time, I think he has become obsessed with it as no one is allowed to even look at it for more than 20 seconds.
It/he produces the best BBQ food I have ever tasted, but, the price! I guess I am waiting for the price to drop or for some opposition come come along with a lower price.

Matt says:
4 June 2014

I got the large BGE for my 30th. I’m a real foodie, but the prices are eye-watering!! I debated for a year about whether it could possibly be worth the price tag or if I’d use it enough to justify spending so much.

I’d already tried hot smoking with wood chips on standard kettle BBQ so I knew I loved the style of food you can make on it- I’ve tried, pulled pork, whole tandoori chicken, lamb racks, duck, chops, steaks, sausages, pastrami, lamb leg, burgers, fish & veg to date on the BGE. Everything turned out delicious- meat was smoky, moist, perfectly tender :-). I’m obsessed with it and have used it almost daily for months.Now started cooking batches at the weekend to eat all week. I don”t often use the inside oven or grill anymore. The BGE was worth every penny in my opinion.

I’m annoyed at the exorbitant prices for the accessories though! The ash-tool was missing from the delivery too; hardy a necessity but I’ll moan about about that if I can bring myself to order any more official/over-priced “Eggcessories”.

Matt – UK

Vanessa says:
13 June 2014

Can this be left out in the garden all year or is it an item you’d have to store?
It looks fairly portable, but wondered whether to purchase large egg on a table or large egg on castors?

VinceM says:
8 July 2014

I’m living in Atlanta GA right now, just about to move back to the UK, and was looking do they have BGE’s over there. I would never buy another type of grill than the BGE. Heats up very fast, easy to light, very easy to control temp. Food is excellent, I think the two best things are the ability to raise the temp very quickly to easily 450c to sear, and the ability to do long slow 24 hour cooks with minimal attention. Cooking ribs and big hunks of beef is awesome on this thing. I will be buying another when I get back to blighty!!!

CarolineBGE says:
25 August 2014

VinceM, I’m in the UK and have a BGE, you will find dealers here if you go on the UK website, also John Lewis stocks the Large most of the time, in the summer they have more. The only downside is finding Lump at a good price like you have, we don’t have the choice, I’ve noticed a lot of my American friends use Royal Oak, it’s looks much the same as BGE but you won’t find it here. The price of BGE is £20 for a 20lb bag here.
Like you I love my BGE, it’s really starting to kick off here, I know sales have rocketed this year so hopefully finding good lump will be easier soon.

Alison McSherry says:
28 August 2014

We purchased a green a few months ago and use the Green Egg coals and organic fire lighters but the food always tastes very smoky. Yes I know it is a smoker but feel it is rather overpowering, can anyone tell me if it is possible to cook on the Green Egg without the food tasting this way? Or if we are doing something wrong.

Try putting the food onto the egg only when the egg has reached temperature and there is no smoke coming ouy of the daisy wheel. The required temp is reached when you get a ‘bluey hue’ coming out of the daisy wheel rather than a white smoke. Exceptions to this are when you use wet flavoured wood.

Another method might be to cover your food in foil or buy a dutch oven which covers the food to put inside the egg. I’m assuming that you’ve purchased the platesetter which might help but not a lot.

CarolineBGE says:
29 August 2014

What Terry1177 is right Alison, maybe you find the BGE lumpwood too strong a flavour for you though, try another lumpwood, the London log company have a great choice if you are in the UK, they supply all the London restaurants that use the EGG apparently.