The Big Green Egg Taste Test
Big Green Egg Taste test - a side-by-side blind taste test of your favorite grilled foods using a Big Green Egg versus a standard charcoal grill!
The Big Green Egg Taste TestJump to Recipe
Our good friends Tom and Laurel recently received a Big Green Egg as a gift. If you’ve never heard of a Big Green Egg, it is a thing of BBQ legend. Personally, I’ve seen many of them on food blogs and shows (most notably my blog friend Chris is a huge BGE user), but I’ve never actually even seen one in person.
For those who don’t know, even a starter BGE setup can run over a thousand dollars and you can spend way more than that pretty easily. This is for a pit that holds fire that you can grill on. $1,000.
You can buy a simple charcoal BBQ grill for $50.
To be honest, the Big Green Egg Taste Test came about because I was a bit skeptical about the whole thing. I quickly figured out a way to spend the day grilling on it and doing some blind taste tests to see if it really does meet up to its price tag!
Before we dork out on grilling and dive into our Big Green Egg taste test , let’s talk puppies. Our friends recently got a puppy and he’s a cutie. He also has a ton of energy and could match Porter on the playground.
Meet Percy Waggins!
We brought Porter over and he was actually more mellow than normal. My theory is that after his recent health scare he has slowed down a bit. He’s over three years old now and I just don’t think he can hang with the youngsters.
They were a great play match for each other. Porter would smack Percy around pretty hard and execute some full body tackles, but over the hours Percy learned some new tricks (like going for the ankles) and wore Porter down pretty quickly.
Eventually they both kind of mellowed in the hot August heat and became best buds.
It’ll be interesting in 6 months when Percy is as big as Porter. Based on paw and tongue size I would say that’s definitely going to happen!
Big Green Egg Taste Test
Lighting the Fires
Let’s get this out of the way first: My friend Tom is a much better griller than me. He has lots of cool gear and good recipes. He has a sweet electronic charcoal starter that he used to start the coals in the BGE. Again, something I’ve never seen before.
The thing that impressed me most about the Big Green Egg was just how heavy it is. It’s very impossible to move by yourself. The body of the grill is full, thick ceramic which holds in all that wonderful grilling heat!
I was much more familiar with our tester charcoal grill!
Even though I had never used a BGE before, you just know that because it retains heat so well, it will be better at bigger cuts of meat like pork butts or briskets. It provides a more even heat and can keep that heat for hours and hours.
We thought it would be fun to test a few smaller things though to see if we could tell the difference. Tom mixed up some little beef sliders laced with onion and roasted chiles.
Besides the BGE and the standard charcoal grill, he also had the great idea to cook a few in a lightly oiled cast iron skillet.
This actually scared me because I thought the skillet ones would be best!
Here was our finished slider line up for our Big Green Egg taste test! Tom was the only one who knew which sliders were which and we had a few people taste them (a small sample size, but whatever).
While Tom had made some fun toppings for the sliders, I thought to give the taste test the best chance, I tried the sliders with nothing but a bun first.
Not only was I positive that I liked one the best, I was also positive that I knew which one it was: The Cast Iron Skillet. The one I picked was much more juicy than the other two and had a great crust on it.
Turns out I was wrong. The slider I picked as my favorite in the Big Green Egg taste test was the BGE version.
To be honest, I would’ve happily eaten any of them. The difference was subtle and I doubt it would be noticeable unless you tried them back-to-back with no other condiments.
Chicken Wing Test
Besides sliders, which can be a bit lean, I wanted to test something that had more fat to it. Chicken wings seemed like a good option. I just did a light dry rub on a bunch of them and tossed them with a little hot sauce.
That big hunk of a thing in the foreground is some BBQ tempeh I made also. There were some vegetarians in attendance and you know I’m always looking for fun vegetarian grilled food.
The even heat of the BGE became very noticeable for the chicken wings in our Big Green Egg taste test.
The heat on the charcoal grill was all over the place and the fat drippings from the wings didn’t help. Some were cooking nicely and some were, well, charred.
Meanwhile, I barely had to worry about the BGE wings. They cooked beautifully and after about 20 minutes were beautifully crispy and tender.
The chicken wing portion of the Big Green Egg taste test was a landslide. The difference was noticeable and amazing. It wasn’t that the charcoal version was bad, but the BGE version was just excellent. The wings melted off the bone and were super juicy, but they still had a nice crust on the outside.
Is the BGE Worth It?
I think that’s a tough question to answer, but I must say that I was very impressed by it. It way exceeded my expectations and we didn’t even cook anything on it that really show off its strong points!
Will I be spending a mortgage payment on a grill any time soon? Probably not. But it might be worth it for some!
Have you ever grilled on a BGE (or do you own one?). Would love to hear what others think!
21 Responses to “The Big Green Egg Taste Test” Leave a comment
We have a BGE and love it. It’s the only grill we own. It is an investment but worth it. They do come in various sizes, so depending on what size you get, it could run you $1000 or more JUST for the egg. I think our’s is a medium, but we love it because it’s a grill and smoker in one. We’ve made all sorts of things on it too: brats, whole turkey, burgers, steak, ribs, pizza, fish, shrimp. Any time that we have used it, we’ve never been disappointed.
Yea. They do seem completely versatile. I’m slowly convincing myself that I “need” one. :)
Both my parents and brother have one of these beasts and they swear by it. The ‘rents have the extra large version and I swear you could fit a whole pig on it. I myself have a gas grill ( a sin, I know) and just can’t get past the convenience of it. Maybe one day if I have more a) time and b) money I’ll bite the bullet on one. Have to admit that whenever I sample some goods grilled/smoked on the BGE it has always been delicious. Great job the other night on TV BTW
Oh thanks Jared! Don’t worry… I still rock the gas grill also. ;)
The Big Green Egg is a brand of kamado grill. There is a great forum for people using BGE’s or any brand of kamado grill called Kamado Guru. Lot’s of grillin’ folks with plenty of information to share. Check it out!
+1 on the Kamado Guru forum. I am also on the Egg forum but I like the Kamado Guru because it doesn’t focus on one brand.
I’ve always wondered what the hype is with these things. Thanks for the breakdown! I definitely think I need one now. :) I swear I’ve seen posts online about making one yourself – maybe a DIY post is in order?
Funny! I kind of had the same thought. It seems like one of those things that is pretty basic (a ceramic bowl basically), but I have a feeling that the devil is in the details….
Alton Brown has a DIY video on youtube somewhere about making one with flower pots. Sounds like a great weekend project for all of us to read about!
I picked up one of the “off” brands of kamado cookers after my gas grill passed away. I have had some experience with the metal kettle grills but the kamado is much easier (for me, so far…) to get great results. I have found that I could start a much smaller/cooler fire that would burn longer at well controlled temps to easily do whole chickens, tri tips and veg without adding charcoal. There are aftermarket add-ons to act as heat deflectors to get the cool side/indirect heat thing happening as well. I haven’t tried a low n slow smoke with it yet, but I think my offset firebox barrel smoker is going to rust in place now.
I got a Bayou Classic ceramic egg. Same concept and hugely cheaper! Love it absolutely. I’ve cooked briskets, pork butt, ribs, chicken, hamburgers, anything you can think of and the results are always outstanding. My favorite thing now is pizza. I got the folks at Baking Steel make a round steel for it. Fire up your charcoal, put the grill on and the baking steel on top of that. Let it heat and you can get it to over 700 degrees. I put my pizza out there on top of parchment paper. Let it go for about 4 minutes then I remove the paper and let it go another 4 or so. You ‘ll have a nice char on the bottom. Our son tells his friends that the best pizza comes from his mom’s backyard. Why spend that much money on a BGE when for half the price you can have this? Status doesn’t matter to us.
Amazing tip Virginia! I have a Bayou Classic turkey fryer that has done me well for many years. They make good stuff also. I’ll be checking that out for sure. Thanks!
I have owned my large big green egg for twenty years . Just bought acsecond one for the cabin.
The real difference is knowing how to cook with heat . Do yourself a favor and get the cast iron grate which hold heat and is better to cook on for searing or flip it over for burgers chicken etc…
The ash area must be cleaned regularly and also the type of lump coal makes a huge difference
I have a Ducane which just sits dormant
Getting the fire up to a hotterr temp then dialing it back helps in the cooking process -food should get the respect of cooking with fire
Nick- This is off topic, but I am in the market for a small food processor and have a memory of you linking to the one you use. However, I cannot find that post.
Will you please tell me what food processor you use? Thanks
Hey Casey, no problem! I’m privy to Cuisinart’s food processors so I use this version for the mini one I have. It’s great for quick prep without pulling out the big one and is fairly reasonably priced. I’ve used the same one for probably 7 years now…
Thanks, Nick. Cuisinart makes a 4 cup version of your food processor. I think that is the one I will go with. Hopefully, it works as well, and as long, as yours.
I also bit the bullet and bought the Kamodo brand (by Vision Tek, I think?) BGE. It was $250 at Sams Club in their clearance section!
I love it, and just made the best smoked pulled pork I’ve ever made. 9lb pork butt (bone-in) for 15 hours, with ~8lb charcoal. I’m heading into natural wood lump charcoal next, but those July 4th Lowes deals on charcoal bags just can’t be beat.
The real virtues of the BGE all come when cooking with the lid closed. The BGE is just another grill if the lid is left up.
My parents bought one of these when they were stationed in Guam back in 1974, I think my Dad said they paid $25 for it. Growing up, legendary meals have been prepared on the egg. The best are the smoked baby back ribs and whole turkeys. My parents always do the Thanksgiving bird on the egg. Nothing compares to the big green egg.
The Big Green Egg, Grill Dome, Kamado Joe, and Primo seem to be the big 4 players on the market and all make fantastic cookers. Then there are the Komodo Kamados that start around $3,000 out the door. But the Vision Grill is also a great cooker for a little more than half the price (http://www.nibblemethis.com/2014/05/review-of-vision-grills-classic-b.html).
I’ve had my BGE for about 4 years. It’s amazing with everything I cook on it. Very forgiving as meat does not dry out as much as on other BBQ’s. We cook on it year round (the first thing we do when it snows is to shovel out the Egg). I make sitting chickens, turkeys, hams, ribs and all different kinds of roasts on it. Nothing beats the flavor!