The Untold Truth Of The Big Green Egg

There's no better way to dine on a warm summer day than a classic barbecue. Whether it's a simple lunch like burgers and hot dogs or a date-night dinner of steak and seafood, grills can really do it all. Cooking food over a flame brings cooking back to the basics; the heat transforms meat, veggies, or whatever else we're grilling into a mouth-watering delicacy. Grilling is a pretty universal tradition in the U.S. and beyond, but everyone has a different technique and level of dedication to their barbecue game. It's all great — whether you're roasting weenies over a bonfire or smoking a whole pig in a massive pit, grilling is always a crowd-pleaser. 

For those foodies who take their barbecue game seriously, the Big Green Egg should sound familiar. The brand of grills has amassed a cult following since it debuted in the 1970s, with "eggheads" singing the praise of the oblong smoker. Die-hard eggheads swear that once you have a Big Green Egg, you will never buy another grill. But what is it exactly that makes the brand so unique from other kamado grills on the market? A steep price tag, a unique design, and a highly recognizable legacy. 

We decided to do some digging and discover just what makes the Big Green Egg the cream of the crop for barbecue enthusiasts. Whether you're considering buying a BGE for yourself or just curious about the frenzy, dive into the untold truth of the famous grill. 

Big Green Egg is a kamado grill

The Big Green Egg has become synonymous with what is more commonly known as the kamado grill, which is a cylindrical vessel often made of heavy-duty ceramic and complete with a massive dome lid. The peculiar shape creates the ideal environment inside for not only regular grilling needs, but for smoking foods as well. The grills have a long history. Per Kamado Jim, the kamado style grill got its start in China and then eventually made its way to Japan around 300 AD. And then, it was introduced to the U.S. after World War II. 

The ceramic make of the kamado grills provide top-tier insulation, making it easier for the vessel to retain heat. It's a more efficient way to cook food at a particular temperature without having to use a lot of charcoal. Also, the internal environment helps foods retain moisture, which is always an important factor when grilling various proteins. No one likes a dry steak. 

They are extremely fuel efficient

The genius behind the Big Green Egg is its internal airflow system. The grill reaches cooking temperature in a short amount of time, and the highly controllable airflow setup allows the user to adjust the heat as needed. The thick ceramic walls also help to cut down the cost of fuel as they trap heat for longer. And when you're done for the day, the Big Green Egg site notes, "any charcoal that remains in the base of the grill after cooking can be reused at the next cookout."

The Big Green Egg uses significantly less charcoal than your average grill, as it stays at the temperature you want for a very long time. Additionally, as pointed out on the company website, the Big Green Egg can be used all year round because of its thermal efficiency. So even if it's below zero outside, the Big Green Egg will be able to hold its heat up to the 750°F on the inside. 

The grills are by no means cheap

The Big Green Egg has become such a common appliance for veteran grillers looking for the best of the best. As you might've anticipated, the best is going to cost you. The BGE comes in a variety of sizes from mini to 2XL, with the largest grill setting you back for around $2,000 while a mini runs for about $400. The large or extra large, which seem to be the more popular sizes, will cost you around $1,000+. To put it in perspective, a Weber charcoal grill goes for around $200, so it's definitely a big jump. 

However, Big Green Eggs do come with a Limited Lifetime Warranty when you register it after purchase. Despite the high price tag, Big Green Egg does expect its product to be the only charcoal grill/smoker that you will need for life, which is important to weigh into the cost.    

But faithful customers say it's worth the money

If you do a quick search online, it's not hard to find a ton of product reviews for Big Green Egg grills. Bob Vila says that while the price tag for the grills remains its biggest downfall, it ends up costing less for the customer long-term thanks to the minimal maintenance BGE requires. Also, the BGE uses less charcoal than your typical grill, so the owner will probably end up saving money on charcoal in the long run as well. 

As Consumer Reports points out, there are plenty of other kamado grills on the market with a much lower price tag. But the lifetime warranty and high-quality craftsmanship makes it stand above the rest, and will totally elevate your grilling game to the next level. And The Kitchn's review reaches a similar conclusion — it's expensive, but a perfect match for the expert griller in your life. It's not a necessity, but you'll likely never regret buying one if you do. 

When you switch to a Big Green Egg, you have to adapt

If you're used to using a gas grill or conventional charcoal cooker, you'll have to change your grilling style when you get a Big Green Egg. As previously noted, the BGE grills have a pretty complex air ventilation process to have optimal temperature control inside. As Fine's Gas details, there are a few critical things to know before firing up your Big Green Egg for the first time. One of the most important items is to utilize the vents in the lid, rather than lifting the lid to let smoke out or check on food. There are vents at the top and the bottom of the grill for air flow, so opening the lid will mess up the internal temperature and could lead to uneven cooking. 

Also, as pointed out by BGE's website, the grill master has to "burp" the grill, or slightly crack open the lid slowly before removing the top. If not, it can cause a flare up that will not only ruin your dinner, but result in burns. Luckily, Big Green Egg offers a wide variety of first-timer tips so switching over to the BGE lifestyle is an easy process.  

You can cook almost anything on it

When we think of barbecue, it elicits a pretty specific sensory response. The heat of the grill, the sound of crackling sausages, the sight of grill marks on a perfectly cooked steak. Humans have been cooking food over fire since the beginning of time, with various meats likely being the most typical option. But there's literally no limit to what you can make on a Big Green Egg — so think outside of the barbecue. 

The Big Green Egg website shows you how to use the grill to roast a whole turkey, smoke an entire brisket, char some vegetables, make a crispy/gooey pizza, and even bake homemade bread. If you can cook it, you can grill it. Want to prepare some smoked almonds to eat on top of your homemade ice cream sundaes? Pull out the BGE. Want to make grilled corn on the cob slathered in butter and salt? Just BGE it. The options are endless.

You can't just use any charcoal in a Big Green Egg

We've made it pretty clear that a regular charcoal grill and a high-heat kamado grill are not exactly alike. It goes without saying that you've got to know how to work with whichever option you are using — even when it comes down to which charcoal you use in your Big Green Egg. The charcoal choice can significantly impact the flavors of your food, so you want to make sure you set yourself up for success.

According to Sea Lodge, lump charcoal is the best type to use in your BGE. It lights quickly, burns slowly, and produces minimal ash. Not all lump charcoal is made the same, but it's best to pick a variety that doesn't include chemicals because they can saddle your food with, as Foods Guy puts it, "an odd flavor." Luckily, lump charcoal is pretty easy to find and lasts a while, so it's not like you have to special order an obscure fuel source. But it is important to note if you're considering BGE life. 

It's durable but not unbreakable

Because the Big Green Egg is so heavy and expensive, you would think it would be able to survive anything you put it through. And for the most part, that's true — it can withstand scorching flames better than any grill. However, Big Green Egg grills are not totally unbreakable. In fact, they can be cracked or even smashed if dropped roughly on a hard surface. Luckily, the grills are heavy so it's not super easy to knock over on accident. 

If you do crack your egg, there are DIY repair guides all over the internet. Now, it won't be as pretty as a brand new grill, but there's no use in getting rid of an expensive grill if it's fixable (per JJ George). Also, to prevent accidents, there are specific tables sold by the company and other furniture brands that will perfectly fit a Big Green Egg like its a glass in a cup holder. 

The Big Green Egg has a lot of fans

One of the most peculiar aspects of the Big Green Egg is the cult following it has developed over the years. In 2020, the company raked in nearly $20 million in sales (per The Kitchn), and those customers are fiercely loyal. There are festivals dedicated to the pricy grill and fans even refer to themselves as "Eggheads" (per Atlanta Magazine). The brand has been around since 1970, so it's relatively young compared to other big name grills, but it's managed to develop a diehard fanbase in just a few decades.

If you do a quick look on Facebook, you can find groups dedicated to Big Green Egg barbecues that have nearly 100,000 members. It's an easy way to feel a sense of belonging by connecting with like-minded people with the same interest, similarly to Jeep owners or people who collect trading cards. While it seems a bit unusual for a grill to have a following, it makes sense once you understand the background of the BGE. 

Big Green Egg sells more than just grills

Outside from the iconic green grill, Big Green Eggs sells a variety of other grilling products, from tables to stands to cooking utensils. You can buy covers for the grill, specially formulated EGG charcoal, and even sauces and seasonings for grilling. Oh, and don't forget recipe books literally formulated to make on your grill.  It makes sense that the brand has expanded — Big Green Eggs are supposed to last a lifetime, so the company needs to find a way to make money from regular customers who already have their grills. 

Additionally, you can buy internal parts like convection heat deflectors, grill expanders, and different grill gates to customize your BGE to be all your own. The accessories cater to people's specific grilling needs, whether it's baking rustic pizzas or smoking meat for hours on end. Luckily, if you feel like there's something your BGE can't do, there's probably an accessory to help with that. 

The Big Green Egg stays green

Big Green Eggs come in any size you want, whether you're looking for a compact tailgate grill or a massive machine to take residence on your patio. However, you can only purchase the grills in the company's signature bright forest green color. It makes sense considering the color is literally in the name of the product, but it's easy to imagine BGEs in an array of colors along the lines of KitchenAid stand mixers or Le Creuset cookware. 

You can purchase an egg directly from the brand or at one of their authorized dealers, but that's it. You can find authorized dealers in your area via the BGE website. But if you're looking for a different color, you're going to have to go the DIY route and paint it yourself, if you have that kind of dedication and patience. But hey, green always looks good outside, so you can never go wrong leaving it as is.