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3/10/08 4:37 PM
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crescentwrench
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Edited: 10-Mar-08
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 21235
 
How are you doing, alpo?  I am moving and my old grill isn't worth the effort to transport.  When I get a new one I thought I may as well get one that can pull as many duties out of the kitchen as possible in case I need to pull double duty or don't feel like having the house smell like old onion and char.  I considered a gas grill and tapping into the house's gas for hassle free fuel but also am thinking about a BGE and had some questions.  And I want them answered immeeeediatly.

Smoking and grilling are obvious, but how much, if any do you do non-grill duties?  Like roasting but not smoking a turkey or pot roast or frying chicken.  Is setting that up something you can do only mildly sess spontaneously than preheating an oven for your frozen pizza?  Also, how much time would you estimate you get out of your average bag of charcoal assuming an average 350* temperature?  To the nearest quarter-hour please.  Or quarter day.

I'll be using it in the winter and insulation is one of the BGE's strong points.  I assume it's not that terribly hot on the outside but if I opened it up during a chilly drizzle how suseptable is it to thermal shock?  If it gets anything while open will I be pulling green shrapnel from my face and torso? 

How much do the elements (especially wind) affect your ability to dial in your temp? 

Have you built a table for it?  I saw plans on their website.  If I build a table it will be enormous.

Bonus question from cycklops on another thread
I can understand why the pizza would come out tasting pretty good but what about something like choc chip cookies? If you're using lump charcoal does it effect the "cookie" flavor of the cookies? I keep thinking cookies with a charcoal flavor would be wierd.
3/10/08 9:00 PM
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samichlaus
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Edited: 10-Mar-08
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Posts: 14446
I want them answered immeeeediatly. lol
3/25/08 12:31 PM
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alpo
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
Member Since: 01/01/2001
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Sorry, I didn't even see this thread until just now. Smoking and grilling are obvious, but how much, if any do you do non-grill duties? Like roasting but not smoking a turkey or pot roast or frying chicken. Is setting that up something you can do only mildly sess spontaneously than preheating an oven for your frozen pizza? For roasting and baking, I really only use it for high temperature stuff or if there is already something in the oven or if I want a slightly different flavor. Even if you use pure lump, it's not going to be totally smoke free just because the seasoning on the inside. Also, if there are partially burned wood chunks in there, you will have to remove them and set them aside, but you're never going to get them all because some are going to be microscopic. So choose wisely and make sure not to use it for anything that you would be completely opposed to having a little smoke flavor in, such as angel food cake or something. I've never fried anything and I don't know if that could even be feasibly done, but I've made pot roast and baked other meats and they all came out fine. As far as high temp is concerned, it can get significantly hotter than your oven broiler, so things like true thin crust brick oven style pizza become more possible. The prep isn't really anything, other than removing any obvious pieces of wood, like I said, and putting the plate setter and possibly the baking stone (sold separately). Also, how much time would you estimate you get out of your average bag of charcoal assuming an average 350* temperature? To the nearest quarter-hour please. Or quarter day. Geez, I dunno. A 20 lb bag lasts me maybe 3 months? This is cooking 2 or 3 times per week for 5-20 minutes (chicken breasts/thighs, burgers, fajitas, etc., direct grilling between 400-650 degrees). And smoking maybe once or twice per week for 2-5 hours, generally. If I had to throw out a number, I'd say approx 30 hours of varied usage, maybe? The thing that really eats it up is the high temp stuff. If you were just doing nothing but grilling at 700 degrees, you would probably burn through a 20 lb bag in 5 hours, probably. But a few pounds of lump charcoal smoking at 210 degrees will probably last for 10 hours. Keep in mind, these numbers aren't entirely accurate, because I mix in wood with it, so these numbers are assuming you're going to do the same. I keep several types of wood around and I use a little bit of each here and there, so I usually only have to buy a bag of wood every few months also. Wood lasts for a long time. For direct grilling, I might throw in 1 or two blocks (baseball sized) will a full load of charcoal. For short term smoking (<4 hours), I'll maybe throw in 4 or 5. For long term (brisket, pork shoulder), I like to do closer to 50% wood, so maybe like 8 blocks. The fire burns from the center, outward, rather quickly at first, then the expansion slows exponentially. So you want to arrange most of the blocks on the outer perimeter and maybe put one or two closer to the center. The center will burn up within a couple hours, then you get that slow burn for the rest of the time on the perimeter. I'll be using it in the winter and insulation is one of the BGE's strong points. I assume it's not that terribly hot on the outside but if I opened it up during a chilly drizzle how suseptable is it to thermal shock? If it gets anything while open will I be pulling green shrapnel from my face and torso? I don't know much about water getting on the inside, so I can't say anything to that except that I have spilled significant amounts of water and drippings from the drip pan before (like > 2 cups) and nothing happened, though it was already scalding hot. Mine is on a covered porch, so I don't have experience with using it in the rain. You might want to check some of the BGE forums. A couples notes on the insulation. The thermal inertia of ceramic is enormous. Besides being efficient, this also means it takes a while to really heat up, but when it does, it will stay there. What this means to you is, if you bring it to 700 degrees very quickly (say 12 minutes) to cook some ribeyes, you aren't going to have that inertia going for you. The 700 degrees is purely coming from the coals. If the wind blows up that vent, it's going to change the temperature. If you open it and close it, it will drop down to 300, then slowly climb back up. The longer you give it to heat up, the more you can close the vents and allow the food to incubate instead of just blasting it with fire. If you've been smoking at 220 for 4 hours, you can open and close the lid and it won't drop more than a couple degrees. The whole thing is cool to the touch until you pass the 350 mark or so. The top will get hot, but never hot enough to hurt you. The base will get warm. When you pass 600 or so, the top will get very hot, but not hot enough to burn you unless you held your hand on there for 30 seconds or something. It will never get hot enough to even melt plastic (I have tried it). Just brushing up against it, you would hardly notice the heat. How much do the elements (especially wind) affect your ability to dial in your temp? Wind is really the only thing that's of much concern. Until the ceramic heats up, it can be a pain, but only at pretty high winds. Like > 25 MPH, if I had to guess. Once it heats up, the temp will flatline, but it may use more fuel. Temperature just makes it take an extra 5-10 minutes to heat up, but after that, operation is normal. Have you built a table for it? I saw plans on their website. If I build a table it will be enormous. No, I haven't. I have a covered porch that is only like 10'x10' and I keep it on there in the corner (on an Egg Nest). There isn't enough room for a table because I also have a gas grill next to it. Bonus question from cycklops on another thread I can understand why the pizza would come out tasting pretty good but what about something like choc chip cookies? If you're using lump charcoal does it effect the "cookie" flavor of the cookies? I keep thinking cookies with a charcoal flavor would be wierd. If you clean it out and use fresh lump, no, it won't really affect cookie flavor because cookies only take like 5 minutes to bake. Anything over 10 minutes or so and you'd probably notice it a little. Less than that and it's not really enough time to penetrate.
3/25/08 12:42 PM
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alpo
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 33768
FWIW, keep an eye out for local Eggfests. Now is a pretty good time. They are often sponsored by BGE or big time local BBQ joints and they will bring like 20 brand new BGE's and use them for the weekend then sell them for massive discounts. That is how I got mine; I saved like $350. Plus they usually throw in an Egg Next, cleaning tool, bag of lump, etc. Also, factor these items into your budget, because you're going to need them. Daisy wheel, cleanout tool, plate setter, either a MAPP torch or angled electric starter (I recommend the torch), baking stone and something to put it on (either the Egg Nest or a table or something). As I said, though, if you buy used from an Eggfest, they may throw these things in. If you get the large BGE, the most common size, get a 16" deep dish pizza pan to use as a drip pan; it fits perfectly inside the plate setter and will last forever.
3/25/08 12:53 PM
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alpo
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Edited: 25-Mar-08 12:58 PM
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 33770
You're in VA right? I don't know where in VA, but here's an Eggfest in Waldorf, MD, on 5/2. http://www.waldorfeggfest.com/Demo_Eggs.htm
3/25/08 1:01 PM
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alpo
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 33771
http://biggreenegg.com/eggfests.html
3/25/08 4:09 PM
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crescentwrench
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 21321

Geez, I dunno. A 20 lb bag lasts me maybe 3 months?

Sold! I'll have about the same averages, grilling a few times a week and smoking on the weekends. 

I'm at the tippy top of VA so hitting Murderland is easy.  I believe I will swing by and pick myself up a Big Green Egg.

You have a large, right?  There's no point in getting an XL is there?  A thanksgiving turkey is going to be the biggest thing I can think of that I'd put in there.

3/25/08 4:13 PM
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d0mm3r
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
Member Since: 12/12/2002
Posts: 1196
"It will never get hot enough to even melt plastic" There was an egg at the eggfest where I got my egg that had the tablecloth melted to the outside. But that thing was sitting in contact with the egg for about 5 hours. But I second the eggfest idea, got my large with nest, cleaning tool, extra gasket, daisy wheel, and charcoal for $575. HUGE bargain.
3/25/08 4:26 PM
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alpo
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 33778
I have a large, yes. Most people don't seem to like the XL's. While I'm sure the extra surface area on the grate is swell, it loses a lot of its heat retention, which is kind of the whole point. Burns fuel twice as fast, etc. The large is generally big enough to cook for 6 people or so, which covers most of my needs 98% of the time. Most of the time, it's just me and the girlfriend anyway, which is what the BGE is really for.. more of an everyday BBQ pit/smoker. Low volume, high quality. Make sure you call that place soon and get a BGE reserved and paid for, etc., whatever you have to do. I had to pay for mine in advance and they sold out like 3 weeks before the event.
3/25/08 4:36 PM
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alpo
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Edited: 25-Mar-08
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 33779
Oh, yeah, you might want to get an extra gasket when you get a chance. They are cheap. You might want to have a spare one in advance because it's going to have to be replaced eventually. I replace mine every year. The last thing you want is the local BBQ supply place to be out of them when you need it and you have to order it on the internet and it takes 3 weeks to get it. When the gasket goes, smoking becomes nearly impossible because it will push extra air out the sides and inflate the temperature significantly, not to mention burn anything near the leak because of the increased airflow in that area.
6/23/08 11:39 AM
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cycklops
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 I have the medium and there are times when I have more guests over and  wish I had a larger area for cooking. For the most part the medium is perfect for my immediate family.

The charcoal lasts quite a while. There are so  many variations between what you can use to smoke (alder, apple wedges, etc.) and the the way you season your food, it makes it great.
6/26/08 6:41 PM
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d0mm3r
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Member Since: 12/12/02
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So my new roommate wanted to do some ribs on my large egg, while I was at work, and had everything set up and going at the temp he wanted, UNTIL he checked the ribs around 4pm. I got home at 5pm to find the egg at full throttle (bottom vent open all the way and daisy wheel open to max) and the grill about 700 degrees. Needless to say the ribs were on fire, and the gasket was ruined. I've been scraping on the egg for a while to try and get all the residue from the old gasket and the adhesive off before I put the new gasket on. Any tips on how to make this easier/more thorough, other than massive amounts of elbow grease?

As I said earlier in the thread, I got my egg at an eggfest too, and it was by far the best money I've spent on anything having to do with cooking, PERIOD.

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