Questions for Big Green Egg Owners

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by noboundaries, May 29, 2014.

  1. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have a work friend who bought her hubby a BGE a little over a year ago.  From what I'm hearing they haven't had much success with the BGE for low/slow cooks.  I've watched the BGE videos and it seems to work pretty much like any charcoal smoker, not a whole lot different than my WSM.  Here are their issues.

    1.  He HATES paying $36 for 20 lbs of BGE lump charcoal.  It sounds like the seller has warned them not to use anything but the organic BGE lump.  It sounds like they've been told that anything but BGE lump will contain impurities that will ruin the inside of their ceramic BGE.  That sounds like a bit of an oversell to me. I've suggested RO Lump or Lazzari Mesquite lump, both available in bunches locally for 50-65 cents a lb, not $1.80/lb.  I'm absolutely convinced either one will work.  I know KBB creates a lot of ash because I still use it in my WSM quite often.  Arguments aside between KBB and lump, is there any reason they can't use the less pure Kingsford Blue Bag briquettes in the BGE if so inclined?    Any reason to avoid the RO or Lazzari Lump? 

    2.  Somewhere during their cooking processes they cracked the ceramic charcoal ring in the BGE.  She says it isn't falling apart and is just a crack.  The BGE shell or firebox itself is not cracked. Does that charcoal bucket crack require immediate replacement? I wouldn't think so. 

    3.  He has been real disappointed that their low/slow cooks are not producing delicious Q.  I listened to how they did BB's recently and picked up on a few things that they are doing which resulted in tough ribs.  I'll provide them with input plus hook him up with SMF.  He can read to his heart's content.  I'd like to have this thread as a reference for him so he can go from here.  Any other advice for BGE use from BGE owners would be appreciated. 

    Thanks all,

    Ray (which is also his name by the way)
    Last edited: May 30, 2014
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Not a BGE owner here, but you are correct on all accounts. There is no reason a particular brand or type of fuel MUST be used...I would be inclined to not trust the individual who made that you say, it's just a sales pitch. Unfortunately, there a few individuals scattered here and there who do not belong in sales due to their lack of integrity or ethics, or just plain dishonesty.

    Replacement of the coal ring would only be necessary if it actually fell apart and you are not able to continue using it with some sort of temporary/quick fix to hold it in place and keep it doing it's job. In the meantime, handle it cautiously to avoid further damage...simple.

    A for tough ribs, there's only two ways this can happen: undercooked, or overcooked to the point of severely drying them out. I've used 3-2-1/2-2-1 and numerous variations, and, I've done straight open grate smoking...never had a tough rack of ribs. Look for pull-back of meat from the bone tips and/or use the bend-test on a half or full slab...easy.

    Good of you to refer him to SMF!!!

  3. ellymae

    ellymae Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have owned a BGE for six years. the only BGE I have used in it was the bag I got when I bought it. Since then I have used Humphrey's, Royal Oak, and Cowboy lump along with chunks of wood. Have never used briquettes in it.

    What is it he's not happy about with doing Low and Slow cooks?

    A cracked fire ring is nothing to worry about, and if they are the original owners it's covered under the warranty and BGE will replace it. Mine has been cracked in 2 places for a few years and at some point I will get around to replacing it, but it doesn't affect the way it cooks.
  4. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks.  Good to know about the smoke ring.

    From what I can tell they are not happy with the smoke taste or degree of tenderness.  I am copying recipes and guidelines from my recipe file for BB's, spares, butts, and briskets to share with them they can use for their BGE.  That should solve the smoke taste and tenderness issues.
  5. ellymae

    ellymae Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You typically don't get as strong a smoke flavor as you would with a stick burner. How many, if any, wood chunks are they using?

    If the meat isn't tender, it seems to me it's undercooked. Are they cooking by time?
  6. lee w

    lee w Newbie

    Ray, there are tons of different charcoals that will work perfectly fine in the BGE. For ratings see The Naked Just make sure you use lump charcoal and not the processed stuff.
    Controlling the temperature in the BGE takes a little getting used to. If you start the charcoal in the BGE sometimes the temps will get too high by the time your coals are ready and it's very hard to bring it down. You can also use a chimney starter to start your charcoal then dump the coals in the BGE and start cooking.
    The trick of great meat is low and slow. What I do is put my charcoal in the BGE and light my wax fire starter. I IMMEDIATELY start my Pitmaster IQ temp controller and set to desired temp. I bought it off Amazon and am very happy with it. Also in the BGE a plate setter is very helpful if not necessary to create and oven effect or indirect cooking. A cheap throwaway foil pan setting on top of the plate setter under the meat filled with water and apple juice helps greatly. Don't give up!
  7. neumsky1

    neumsky1 Fire Starter

    I've owned 2 BGEs...their probably the best cooker/smoker out there...almost like Popiel says set it and forget it! Never have to use moisture...there's magic in that ceramic. You can cook as low and slow as you want...fill it up with whatever lump you want....when it gets to temp...put the vents where you want. This is where the true minion theory came from. If you use a temps will sky rocket. 20 hr cooks? problem...cold or hot outside? problem. The cheapest best all around lump?...wal marts ROYAL OAK! This grill/smoker can smoke almost cold smoke to grilling steaks at 700 -1000 degrees. :grilling_smilie: PS...usually the cracking is caused by people not putting on the ceramic lid to shut it down...and leave the steel vent in place.
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
  8. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great info all.  Hopefully I'll see my coworker on Monday and direct her and her hubby here to SMF.  Lots of good reading above.
  9. bigfoot21075

    bigfoot21075 Fire Starter

    Also check out the Egg Head forums, there are tons of Whack-a-doodle Egg owners on there who have helped me tons over past decade of my Egg. It is a GREAT smoker.
    noboundaries likes this.
  10. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Bigfoot21075!

    I didn't see her yesterday.  Hopefully today!
  11. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I didn't see my coworker on Tuesday so I sent her a work e-mail with links to this thread, SMF, and the egg head group. When she stopped in the office she saw the e-mail and immediately jumped on the sites. She came down to my office, thanked me for the links and was amazed that people here at SMF were so willing to offer advice and encouragement. She was going to share it all with her hubby, buy some Royal Oak, and as a result of this thread talked to the seller about getting the cracked part replaced under warranty. She was going to try some S.L.C. spares next on her BGE.

    Thanks again everyone!
  12. horseflesh

    horseflesh Newbie

    You guys covered just about everything!

    I would agree that tenderness problems likely stem from undercooking. This can be addressed by getting a good thermometer. The Thermapen is the Cadillac but the much cheaper RT600B is a great value at about $20. (

    I would not give that BBQ shop my business--that song and dance about using only BGE fuel is at best incredibly ignorant and at worst dishonest. BTW, RO is my go-to fuel. I do not like briquettes at all.

    The owners should get that cracked part replaced under warranty, but there's no need to install it until it falls apart more. The shop should facilitate that without any hassle. If they don't it's another reason to shop elsewhere.

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