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Talk me into buying an XL Big Green Egg!

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Post Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:17 am
BillyQ medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 200
Location: El Paso, Texas
Been looking at the XL BGEs for some time now and doing a TON of research on them on the internet. I think I'm gonna pull the trigger on tomorrow. If anyone has one, please chime in with the pros and cons of the BGE. I dont think I'll have buyers remorse, but I wanna cover all my bases. Thanks in advance.

Griffin well done
well done

Posts: 3305
Location: Dallas, Texas

Can't eggsactly talk you into an XL, but I can't say enough about the BGE in general. Truely a wonderful grill. After getting mine, I ended up getting rid of my stainless steel 6 burner gas grill and my offset smoker as they were just taking up room in the backyard. The last grill you will ever buy, unless you buy another one. I'm saving for a second smaller one that I can take to the ranch and on trips.

Plenty of people here will attest to how great they are. Dyal, Eddie, QJueJue and most recently Jim.

EddieK1376 well done
well done

Posts: 657
Location: Noblesville, IN

Don't have an XL but I do have a Large and I'll never need anything else. The unit is amazing! I got rid of my CG Trio once I got the Egg cause I never cooked with it. I've had mine for a little over a year and my cooking is more versatile than ever. Only thing I'm gonna do is exaclty what Griffin did and that's get a smaller one so I can transport it easily :)

Have fun and enjoy your Egg!

toyman medium
medium

Posts: 125
I can echo what's already been said. I've had my Large for about 4 years now and would not want to be without it. As far as the XL goes, when I was researching, most recommendations were to get a large and small for about the same cost as the XL. It gives you 2 cooking areas in the event you are doing high temp on one and low on the other. The XL is not going to be as efficient on lump since it is heating a larger mass and volume. This is not an issue (and even a benefit) if you are planning on doing low and slows with large quantities of meat, but if you are going to use it evenly for low and slows and grilling, you may think about the Large/Small path. Otherwise you can't go wrong with any of the Big Green Eggs!
Large Big Green Egg
JennAir NG 3 burner
Wood Fired Oven
Ultra Sear Grill
Weber Silver B

jfm0830 well done
well done

Posts: 2638
Location: Northeastern MA

I've had my LargecBGE for a month now and have loved every minute of it and have made some of my best meals ever on it. I don't know if you saw my post today where I provided links to a series of blogs about my BGE purchase. My decision making process, first and best cooks, Eggcessories, Total Cost of Ownership (cheap actually due to low charcoal usage), myths and legends and which ones are true. Some of the entries might answer some of you remaing questions.

My Big Green Egg Adventure.
http://www.barbecuebible.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=23669

One thing I will add is I've heard more than one person say they went with a large vs the XL because temperature control is all more difficult on the XL. They say if they want more room they will add a Small to their arsenal later, in this way they'll also be able to get two different types of cooking or cooking temperatures going at once.

Jim
2 Large BGEs
Kenmore Elite 6 Burner Gas Grill
Image
BBQ Site: http://grillinsmokin.net

hrchdog well done
well done

Posts: 359
Location: Herrin, IL.
I'm new to the BGE but I went with the XL and couldn't be happier. Done everything from a low and slow butt cook to steaks, pizza, burgers, porkchops heck i've even baked cakes twice in it. All total it has run for over thirty hours and still on the first bag of bge lump.
As far as this statement ( One thing I will add is I've heard more than one person say they went with a large vs the XL because temperature control is all more difficult on the XL ) how do they know about how hard it is to control temps on the xl if they bought a large? I don't have a problem with the temps on my xl and when I add another egg it will be another xl so I can use the same accessories I already have.
Wes
Image

jfm0830 well done
well done

Posts: 2638
Location: Northeastern MA

I was perhaps a bit inaccurate in the way I put it. I should have said I read as opposed to I heard. But if you go to the various forums about the BGE, you will find people that have used both and they say that the temperature control is a little harder on the XL then the Large. I seem to recall it was the low and slow end folks were having trouble with. It wasn't one isolated post. I ran across it several times on each of the boards and I wasn't looking for that particular issue. I am not looking to start a controversy here, I was mentioning it FWIW. I'm glad you're having good luck with your XL Egg. The OP can visit the various egghead forums and see for himself what people are saying in regards to this issue, or nonissue as the case might be.

Jim
2 Large BGEs
Kenmore Elite 6 Burner Gas Grill
Image
BBQ Site: http://grillinsmokin.net

BillyQ medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 200
Location: El Paso, Texas
I did read your blog jfm. It was very informative. I've haven't come across anything about maintaining a low and slow temp on the xl. I can see how that may be an issue due to the thermal mass of the xl. I'm headed to Las Cruces, NM today to take a looks at them. I've never had a dedicated charcoal grill, so I'm sure it will be a learning experience.

jfm0830 well done
well done

Posts: 2638
Location: Northeastern MA

BillyQ wrote:
I did read your blog jfm. It was very informative. I've haven't come across anything about maintaining a low and slow temp on the xl. I can see how that may be an issue due to the thermal mass of the xl. I'm headed to Las Cruces, NM today to take a looks at them. I've never had a dedicated charcoal grill, so I'm sure it will be a learning experience.
After I made my post here this morning, I went to look in one of the Egghead forums just to make sure I wasn't talking crazy talk. There were posts there about people having issues going low and slow, just as you suggested. Also as you say it is the large thermal mass of the XL that seems to be the issue here. Also the lower draft door is bigger on an XL and lets in more air, so you need to make sure you shut it down soon enough too. The trick is not to let it get over the temperature you're shooting for and you won't have any problems.

Like anything else you're going to have to get used to your new toy. My biggest problem starting out was not knowing the general area where the draft door and the upper damper should be to achieve a certain temperature setting. The first couple times you use your your Egg you are going to have to guess, how much the dampers need to be open for a given setting. I usually start shutting things down 50° before I reach my target temperature. I keep an eye on the amount the needle is rising if it's still climbing fast I'll close down more and more. Always better to undershoot a little than to overshoot. Also try to avoid shutting down the dampers all the way at low and slow. You don't have a lot of coals going at that point and if you overshoot and have to shut down completely, you may put your coals out completely. I've also found from experience, and reading up on various forms that the best way to go is to tailor the amount of paraffin starters you used to the temperature that you're shooting for. So if I'm shooting for 225 I light one paraffin starter. If I'm doing pizzas at 600 or 700 degrees I light four paraffin starters I spread out around the perimeter of the coals. Or if I'm going to be doing something where I need the whole grate area, then I light more paraffin starters. You just need to be careful to shut down soon enough so you don't overshoot.

One last thing: I have a Tips area on my site and I did write a tip about taking photos of your variou grate or damper settings on your new grill to help you learn where you need to be for various temperature ranges. I'll put the link below, and it will give you a ballpark idea where you might need to be on your XL. Just remember your grill settings may be somewhat different than mine. But for particularly for low and slow you'll see I had the draft door & daisy wheel damper open only a little bit and not midway. So at least you'll be starting in the right ballpark when you do your first couple cooks. I have pictures for 225, 350 and 600°. These will get you in the ballpark, but I suggest you start taking your own pictures to make your life easier down the road. That way if a long time goes between sessions at a certain temperature, you'll have pictures that you can look up so you don't have problems. I generally try to make the same mistake once, and find new mistakes to make. Shooting photos of the grate settings help me make the same mistake only once.

Tip Entry with sample grate settings:
http://grillinsmokin.net/tips/files/pho ... _grill.php

Good luck I know you love your BGE.

Jim
2 Large BGEs
Kenmore Elite 6 Burner Gas Grill
Image
BBQ Site: http://grillinsmokin.net

hrchdog well done
well done

Posts: 359
Location: Herrin, IL.
I wasn't wanting to start controversy either, just didn't understand how the people you were talking about had first hand experience with temp control on a xl if they had bought a large.
I think what it boils down to is the xl is a newer model and not as many out there as compared to the other sizes so not enough info to pass around like damper settings and such. I really think that if you take the time to learn your cooker you won't have any problems no matter what size it is.
Wes
Image

jfm0830 well done
well done

Posts: 2638
Location: Northeastern MA

I agree with everything you say. Some of the folks that were suggesting a Large over an XL were doing so in the context of: if you don't need the extra room of the XL you could get a Large, save a little money and have a little easier time controlling your temperatures. If it turns out you need more space down the road, you could always pick up a Small which gives you more space and the ability to cook at two different temperatures. But based on what I've seen with my Large, even if the XL is a bit more difficult, it still has to be a LOT easier to control the temperatures on than any non-ceramic or non-Kamado grill. I think you just need to be a little more careful about overshooting your target temperature.

Jim
2 Large BGEs
Kenmore Elite 6 Burner Gas Grill
Image
BBQ Site: http://grillinsmokin.net

BillyQ medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 200
Location: El Paso, Texas
Easy guys. It's all good. My XL is home safe and sound under its cover on the back porch. Was it easy to put together? Not as easy as I thought. Took me and my BIL a while. Pit on the cap and covered it and when I went to put on the temperature gauge, I pulled the cover and the ceramic top came off and hit the floor. It's toast. Oh well. Good think I got the cast iron daisy wheel. Gonna be more careful now when I remove the cover. The dollar bill test feels a little loose near the hinge than in the other areas around the dome. Gonna do a low and slow and see if it leaks. I'm excited, but right now I'm exhausted. Thanks everyone.

EddieK1376 well done
well done

Posts: 657
Location: Noblesville, IN

BillyQ wrote:
Easy guys. It's all good. My XL is home safe and sound under its cover on the back porch. Was it easy to put together? Not as easy as I thought. Took me and my BIL a while. Pit on the cap and covered it and when I went to put on the temperature gauge, I pulled the cover and the ceramic top came off and hit the floor. It's toast. Oh well. Good think I got the cast iron daisy wheel. Gonna be more careful now when I remove the cover. The dollar bill test feels a little loose near the hinge than in the other areas around the dome. Gonna do a low and slow and see if it leaks. I'm excited, but right now I'm exhausted. Thanks everyone.


I would get another ceramic cover. Otherwise your daisy will rust in the rain and won't effectively shut off the fuel like the ceramic cover would.

jfm0830 well done
well done

Posts: 2638
Location: Northeastern MA

Sorry to hear about your first day mishap. If it's any consolation, it almost happened to me the first time I pulled my new cover off the Egg. Fortunately I caught it before it fell to the ground. Also be careful when you're pulling up the cover that it doesn't tug on the thermometer. I twisted my thermometer too the first time I removed the cover.

And I agree with what Eddie says completely. It doesn't take much to get that top cap rusting. I store mine inside the Egg and regularly spray it with vegetable oil. Like he says, the ceramic Is going to give you a better seal when you go to choke off the charcoal and it also will keep out more rain.

Hope you have a great first cook on your egg! Be sure to post pictures.

Jim
2 Large BGEs
Kenmore Elite 6 Burner Gas Grill
Image
BBQ Site: http://grillinsmokin.net

BillyQ medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 200
Location: El Paso, Texas
Well, three packages of boneless country style ribs are on the egg as we speak. I figured if I screw up, it wouldn't be too much money wasted. I poured some charcoal into the egg, a few chunks of hickory and two BGE starters. I was surprised at how much thick white smoke came out of till it settled into the thin blue. Put the ribs in and she is holding rock steady at 250 degrees. I calibrated my thermometer in boiling water also. This thing helps temperature better than my gas smoker! So far I'm highly impressed! Now to get the ceramic cap replaced. I told myself I wasn't gonna stress about that cause of the customer service from BGE and the fact they are readily available. I already love this egg!

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