We’ve had a Big Green Egg for a year now. Several people have asked whether I like it or not (yes, I like it) and have expressed interest in having their own, but are hesitant, probably due to the price tag. Here, I attempt to summarize why I like it, and why you might too.
In short, if you’re thinking about buying one, and you grill/smoke more than a few times a year, just buy it.
At our place, the gas grill has been sidelined for fast, direct grilling. It has only been used two or three times in the past 12 months–mostly for extra grill space for a group. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, the flavor is much better over charcoal. There’s little debate about that, but gas grills usually win on account of convenience. They are ready to go in 15 minutes. However, the Green Egg really shines here too. It is ready to grill in about the same amount of time. Plus, since it is efficient with charcoal, I usually don’t have to add any more coals for a quick cook. I can also get the Egg up to higher temperatures than my gas grill if needed.
The Egg not only works well for grilling, but also indirect cooking and smoking. While it isn’t an ideal smoker–offset barrel smokers are probably better–I and others have produced excellent results. If you, like me, don’t have room for a separate smoker, the Egg is just fine. By the way, I’ve had better results with hardwood chunks rather than chips, I don’t soak them, and I don’t put the meat in until the billowy smoke has subsided.
There are other kamado cookers out there. I’ve heard second-hand that the Kamado Joe (the red one) produces the same results and is built with a bit more attention to detail. It is also little less expensive as it comes with most of the accessories that are extras with the Green Egg. There are lower cost options available at the Lowe’s and Home Depots. I would imagine that the quality of food coming out of them is similar to that of the more expensive Green Egg or Kamado Joe but might not last as long, at least that’s been my experience with low cost gas grills.
So, as you may have gathered by now, I’m happy with the Egg. My only regret is that I didn’t buy it earlier.