Green egg vs.. others

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Original poster
Dec 27, 2016
Hey fellas,

Well I am coming up to the big 3-0 soon and my family wants to get me something good for my birthday. Recently I have gone around to a couple of states and ran into Franklins in Austin TX and have been obsessed about great smoked meat since. Anyway my parents ran into the egg smoker and told me about it. 

After doing some research I have to agree it is probably one of the best ones out there - due to the reviews and how much people love it. My questions are pretty simple and straight forward:

1) Is it tricky to get started? I have NEVER smoked before, only ate....

2) How much does it have to be babysat? I work 48 hour shifts so I think it would be perfect to bring to work (sometimes) and do there. But if I go out on a call it could be 6-7 hours with nobody looking at it.

3) Might it be a bad / poor decision to jump into such an expensive smoker so quick?

4) I loved my smoked meat, so I will always be up for trying and trying and trying some more. I am up for a "challenge" but I dont want the learning curve to be so hard that I waste tons of time and money on ruined meat.

5) In the end will having a coal / wood smoker allow for that much improvement of an end result?

I have watched a TON of videos on the egg smoker. I can say I am pretty excited to give it a shot. I am just not sure if it would be a wise choice to jump into "the best" right off the bat, especially with zero experience. I can say though I will probably never use it besides to smoke but that is onl because I have never had anything else "smoked" before (ie: pizza).

Thanks everybody for the good info on the forums, I hope to get some good feedback from here as well.
I don't have one (yet), but I know many that love it. So I can't answer most of your questions, but I do know this. The things weigh a ton. They're not exactly portable for work parties, unless you have a heavy-duty truck and several strong backs.
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I have several of 'em.  I didn't know anything about smoking meats and had only a gas grill for about a year, which I used frequently to ruin food. After purchasing the book 'How to Grill' by S. Raichlen, I discovered the BGE listed in a chapter, was intrigued, and purchased a size "Large" a couple weeks later.

 The first cook was chicken, which everyone enjoyed, and I was off to the races!!! And, that first cook had more smoke flavor than most all the previous gasser cooks combined. There is a very short learning curve concerning intake/exhaust openings and even while figuring out how to best set them, all of the cooks went well. Steaks are so good that friends will offer to bring some to us if we will but grill them up for everyone's dinner. (Kind of a "will grill for food!" in a weird sort of way.)

 As for responding to an involved call while leaving the cooker running, while the cooker itself rarely will need your intervention, the food found inside just very well might. For example, you could have a 14 hour brisket cook going, and if you get called out during hour three, no harm no foul. But if you leave at hour 12 and are gone for five hours, you could return to a big pile of "what the hell is *that*??!!!"  In short, the cooker can run unattended, the contents cannot, understanding that some foods can be left by their lonesome longer than others.

 I believe that if one is serious about learning to cook, a BGE will be about as easy to learn as any other style of cooker. That it will also grill very well is just an added bonus, because more than likely you will at some point wish to give true grilling a good whirl: happens to the best of us...... 

The only downside to the BGE, other than weight (for those who intend to move them frequently), is that the available cooking area is a bit small when compared to many other cookers. There are work-arounds for this, though.

 We now own a variety of cooker styles, to include offsets and pellet grills, but if limited to only one type it would be the trusty ol' BGE.

 Good luck on your hunt.
I have 6 cookers on the patio, two of which are BGE's. One is the Mini Max and the other is an XL that is equipped with the nest, side shelves. and the plate setter. Certainly they aren't as easy to get going as a propane grill that you just click a starter button but they are really no different than starting any other type of wood fired cooker. The Egg (IMHO) is the absolute best engineered, best quality, and well thought out cooking system on the planet. If I could only have one toy, it would undeniably be the Egg. Insofar as taking it to work and back for cooking, I'd nix that idea. Those suckers are VERY heavy. My Mini Max, which is a small table-top unit that comes with a cradle to carry it in weighs 100 pounds, and it's only 12" in diameter. I can only guess that the XL is in the 400 to 500 pound range. Unless you're of Herculean build and strength I'd be reluctant to consider moving it around. In addition, they are ceramic and prone to cracking / breaking if not well packaged for transit. If you decide to go with the Egg I'd highly recommend going bigger as opposed to smaller, especially when you may only get to purchase one of them. You can cook small stuff on a big cooker but it's tough to cook big stuff on a small one :-) There is a short learning curve to figuring out the damper system but again, it's no different than figuring out any other cooker. Regardless of which one you decide on you absolutely MUST get the Plate Setter (Conveggtor) if you're planning to do low and slow. This accessory is necessary for indirect heating. Due to the Old World brick oven design and the convection heating style, they seem to cook considerably faster than my conventional offset, even when running at the exact same temperature. The way that the heat radiates throughout the cook chamber it cooks more evenly and seems to make for the most moist, juicy, and tender meat you could ever ask for. Once you get the temp dialed in it will sit there within a degree or two for hours without needing to be touched. A couple of things to know however: You must resist the urge to peek when cooking. Opening the lid allows a rush of air into the cook chamber and can cause temperature spikes. Once the charcoal has taken off the Egg will go up in temp WAY faster than it'll come down. The double lined ceramic body holds heat extremely well. Temp will come down though so be patient and don't start making big adjustments.Close the lid and leave it to it's own devices and you'll be fine, especially if doing a piece of meat that takes 12 to 14 hours of cook time. A few minutes above your target temp will not hurt you. I could go on and on with nuances to know and accolades about the Egg but will stop here for now. I've covered most of the bases but if you have other questions please feel free to send me a PM and I'll help in any way that I can.

Egging in Lago Vista,

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