When I returned from my AARP eligibility celebration Saturday, this little beauty was sitting on my back deck. It’s a Big Green Egg, which I really wanted but always felt guilty about buying because I already own four grills and smokers and this sucker is expensive. But my wife and friends pitched in together and bought it for me, and now they will reap the benefits.
The Egg is heavy, it’s made out of high-temperature ceramics, it’ll char steaks in sub-zero temperatures and howling winds (really), it’ll work in the rain (again, really), it uses real charcoal (not briquettes), it has the most precise temperature control of any smoker or grill period, it will do almost anything an oven can do, it will run at smoker temperatures for 20 hours straight with almost no assistance and it’s got a fanatical online following (owners call themselves EggHeads and hold rallies around the country).
I fired it up for the first time Sunday and watched as the temperature gauge climbed to an incredible 650 degrees. I then tossed in a couple of steaks with great results, although I have to get a little better at controlling the unit. The dampers work so well that you can extinguish and re-use the charcoal chunks again and again, so I won’t have to burn up a chimney of fuel every time I do a little grilling. I went through more than 250 pounds of briquettes last year, but I estimate I can keep my charcoal use down to 50 pounds or so this year (and Wal-Mart sells the very good Royal Oak chunk charcoal for $6 per 10 pound bag).
I have the medium-size unit, and it doesn’t have the smoking capacity of my still-much-loved Weber Smoky Mountain bullet smoker, but it will work just fine for many BBQ days. More importantly, if I feel the need for January blizzard brisket, this unit will make it (the Weber will work with the temperatures in the 20s but it won’t if it’s windy or raining). It also looks surprisingly nice.
Coming soon: A smoking experiment. I’m thinking a little 16-hour pulled pork might be in order.