Big Green Egg review: the most versatile charcoal grill for summer barbecues

We tested the Big Green Egg and discovered that its simple design is great for grilling, smoking, and baking

Big Green Egg review
(Image credit: Future)
GardeningEtc Verdict

The Big Green Egg is a smart investment that will last a lifetime – thanks to top-quality materials and a lifetime warranty! It may be a pricey buy, but the cost is not atypical for kamado-style charcoal grills. Once you light the Big Green Egg, you’ll realize it’s money well spent. As long as you know how to read a temperature gauge and utilize BGE’s library of online recipes, you, too, can be a Big Green Egg grill master

Reasons to buy
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    Simple (and minimal) ash removal

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    Built-in temperature gauge

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    Limited lifetime warranty on materials

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    Delivery and set up options available

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    Versatile grilling, smoking, and baking capabilities

Reasons to avoid
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    Expensive

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    Heavy to move

Someone recently asked me where I spend the most time at my home. I quickly replied, 'outdoors'. My love of being outside has led me on an adventure to design the perfect outdoor set-up. Although I’ve gathered seating, a hammock, hot tub, and a fire pit, the one thing I lacked was a grill. You can imagine how excited I was when I found out I had a chance to personally test a Big Green Egg. 

The Large Big Green Egg looks just as it is named – huge, green, and shaped like an egg. I’ve cooked on some of the best grills in the past – of various types – but it had been about 10 years since I had cooked on a charcoal grill. From what I saw online, the Large Big Green Egg was super easy to use and produced quality and delectable food. However, that didn’t mean I wasn’t secretly nervous. Grilling is a slightly intimidating endeavor. I was more familiar with gas grills and had never owned a grill in my life. Was this going to be too complicated for me? 

To prepare myself, I explored the Big Green Egg website, by looking through BBQ recipes and watching how-to videos. When the Large Big Green Egg was delivered to my door and I popped the top and started grilling, I quickly realized that I should not had been worried in the slightest. Cooking on this green-colored grill was no problem at all, and it gave me another great excuse to be outside. 

Ordering and setting up the Big Green Egg

Large Big Green Egg review


(Image credit: Future)

There are a lot of things to consider when ordering and setting up a Large Big Green Egg at your home. Those with a complete outdoor kitchen can order the Large egg itself (without a base) for about $950. However, most people will probably require a base (or as the company calls it, a ‘nest’) for the grill, and the best way to do that is to order your Big Green Egg as part of a package deal.

I received the Nest + Handler Package, which means my Large Big Green Egg was placed in a metal base that had a handle and wheels. The package also included a bag of natural lump charcoal, SpeediLight All Natural Charcoal Starters, an ash removal tool, and a Grid Gripper, a tool to safely remove the cooking grid when it’s hot. The best accessory in the package was a convEGGtor, a ceramic plate that you place under the cooking grid for indirect cooking or to bake, smoke, and roast. 

Where to buy the Big Green Egg

Large Big Green Egg review


(Image credit: Future)

US Buyers
Once you’ve decided which package or egg you’d like, there are a few different ways to order and receive a Big Green Egg. You won’t be able to order an Egg from Amazon or find it for sale in a store like Walmart. Instead, the company uses a distribution network that works with local stores that have knowledgeable experts on Big Green Eggs. 

Even if you purchase a Big Green Egg on shop.biggreenegg.com, the order is fulfilled by a local distributor near you. If you prefer to grab your Big Green Egg in-person at a store, you’ll have to look through the company’s distributor network, though Ace Hardware is one such national store that offers Big Green Eggs.

UK Buyers
Big Green Egg is available at more stores nationwide in the UK than in the US. Notable stockists include John Lewis & Partners and Amazon, although it is possible to buy direct from the Big Green Egg site, too. 

Delivery

If you’re handy, you can choose to have the Large Big Green Egg delivered to your door unassembled. While I could have put the grill together myself, I much prefer the method in which I received my Large Big Green Egg – by delivery. 

After my Large Big Green Egg order was placed, a local distributor gave me a call and scheduled a drop off time and date. They arrived with a trailer that housed my Large Big Green Egg already assembled. After pulling the Large Big Green Egg out of the trailer and placing it where I asked, I was shown how to use the grill and the accessories and received some fantastic Big Green Egg grilling tips.

Large Big Green Egg review

(Image credit: Future)

A potential Big Green Egg buyer can have the same set-up and delivery option that I had. Some local distributors will do the assembly on-site, others will arrive with the Big Green Egg already assembled. Some stores charge a fee, others give discounts or free assembly and delivery for reward members. I advise investing in the set-up and assembly option, especially if you order a Medium, Large, or XL Big Green Egg which contain very heavy materials. It’s better to have your grill properly assembled and receive helpful tips and tricks from people who are well versed in the grill’s features.  

What is the Big Green Egg like to use? 

I’ve cooked on the Big Green Egg many times and have made everything from steak to pork chops, salmon, shrimp, jalapeno-wrapped bacon, squash, and elote (Mexican corn). All of the food turned out delicious, but I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish these delightful dishes without utilizing the Big Green Egg website. 

My Large Big Green Egg didn’t come with a grilling instructional pamphlet (none of them do). Even though the delivery guys provided some instructions on how to light the grill and what I could cook with the Big Green Egg, I made sure to read the instructional pages on the grill’s website. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have known that the first time you use the grill (preferably the first few grilling sessions), you shouldn’t go above 350 degrees Fahrenheit, because doing so could damage the gasket which would then need to be replaced. 

Large Big Green Egg review


(Image credit: Future)

Lighting the Big Green Egg

The Large Big Green Egg is a charcoal grill, so it is a bit trickier to light than gas or wood pellet grills. However, Big Green Egg has tried to make it as easy as possible. To start, I removed the grill grid and placed lump charcoal (never use briquettes) in the bottom of the egg. My package came with SpeediLight All Natural Charcoal Starters which are break-apart fire starter pieces (they feel like soft cardboard). The first time I lit the grill, I did as the delivery guys suggested and took two starters and twisted them, so they didn’t quite break apart and then placed them in the middle of the charcoal. After lighting the starter, I closed the dome and opened the top and bottom hatch to allow air to flow through and the charcoal to catch fire. This worked, but it took about 30 minutes for the grill to reach 350 degrees. 

Lighting a fire was a bit more difficult my second and third use. I tried to replicate what I did the first time, but it didn’t work. So instead, I followed the online instructions on the Big Green Egg website and lit two fire starters on two opposite sides of the lump charcoal and left the hatch completely open for about eight to ten minutes to allow for more airflow to the charcoal. The fire really heated up this way. After about 10 minutes, I closed the egg and completely opened the chimney and the bottom hatch (where the ash is collected). This method of starting the grill seems to work the best for me, although it does take about 20–30 minutes for the grill to reach necessary temperatures (350–400 degrees) for grilling. The longer I use the grill, the better I will become at lighting it. 

Large Big Green Egg review

(Image credit: Future)

Once the charcoal was lit and the dome was closed, I started regulating the temperature by controlling the air flow through the chimney and the bottom hatch. The more open those two hatches are, the higher the inner temperature of the grill becomes. Close them slightly, and the temperature goes down. I monitored the temperature change with the built-in temperature gauge on the front of the dome. 

Once I ‘set’ the grill at the right temperature, I kept the grill closed most of the cooking time, only opening it to turn my meats or vegetables when necessary. This allowed for the food to be enveloped by the smoke and produced juicy, delicious flavors. 

How to use the Big Green Egg

Large Big Green Egg review

(Image credit: Future)

If I didn’t know what temperature to set the grill, I went to the Big Green Egg recipe page and searched for the item I planned to grill. I didn’t necessarily follow the recipes to a “T,” especially when it came to marinating the food, but instead focused on finding the temperature setting and cook time for the meat or the vegetable I was cooking. I came to realize that grilling on this charcoal grill is kind of like using an oven. Set the temperature, monitor the food, and it’s done after a certain amount of time. 

Cooking on the Big Green Egg

As I mentioned, I received a few different accessories to assist in my grilling endeavors, such as the convEGGtor. It’s a ceramic piece that I can choose to place in the grill when I want to cook something with indirect heat. It basically turns the grill into an outdoor convection oven. This is nice because I can use the grill as a pizza oven, bake cinnamon rolls, or slow cook meats to achieve that fall-off-the-bone effect with barbecue.

Large Big Green Egg review

(Image credit: Future)

I have used the convEGGtor quite a bit, such as with appetizers like bacon wrapped salmon or bacon wrapped jalapenos. For these recipes, I wanted the bacon to thoroughly cook and the smoke from the grill to infuse into the cream cheese and the jalapenos and salmon. The convEGGtor prevented the appetizers from being scorched by an open fire. Using this accessory does mean that the food takes a bit longer to cook, but the results were well worth it. 

Overall, the Large Big Green Egg is a lot easier to use than I expected. While there is a little bit of a learning curve to using this grill (especially with lighting it), every single meal that I’ve prepared with my Large Big Green Egg has come out nicely and I’m beyond enthused to use this grill for many summers to come. 

Large Big Green Egg review

(Image credit: Future)

Additional features for the Big Green Egg

If you plan to purchase a Large Big Green Egg, there are a few things to keep in mind. For instance, the Big Green Egg is like an egg, in that if it falls and hits the ground, it’s going to crack. This is why I highly suggest you purchase a package that includes a nest. 

I store my Big Green Egg in the garage and when I want to grill, I pull (with the handle) the Large Big Green Egg outside. If you push the Big Green Egg and hit a rock or divot in the ground, it’s more likely to topple over and break the egg. Once I’ve placed it in the spot I want, I lock the wheels and I’m ready to grill. 

Maintenance for the Big Green Egg

Large Big Green Egg review

(Image credit: Future)

Protecting your Big Green Egg also includes maintenance, and you’ll be happy to know that this grill doesn’t require too much work. I like to brush the grill grates and food particles off the convEGGtor before each use, but that’s about all I do when it comes to pre-grilling maintenance. Cleaning the inside with water or soap is not advised. 

As I mentioned above, you can only use lump charcoal in this grill. What I didn’t mention is that you should never use lighter fluid to start a fire. The lighter fluid will ruin the Big Green Egg’s inner materials, so always use fire starters or a butane starter. Once you’ve filled the Big Green Egg with charcoal to the ‘full line,’ you can cook about three times before refilling the grill again. Lump charcoal doesn’t produce a ton of ash, but you will need to clean out the bottom hatch occasionally with the Big Green Ash tool. Collect the ash in the included pan and throw the ash in the trash or use it in compost. 

The Big Green Egg is warm to the touch while cooking, so be sure to keep children away from it. Once you’re done grilling, it does take hours for the grill to fully cool down. I snuff out the fire by closing all the grates which removes the airflow and lets the fire die. 

Warranty

Large Big Green Egg review

(Image credit: Future)

Perhaps the most important thing to note about the Large Big Green Egg is that it comes with a limited lifetime warranty. This is particularly notable because the limited lifetime warranty covers all the materials and workmanship on the ceramic components in the grill. The metal components of the grill like the fire grate or the hinge mechanism have a five-year warranty.  

How does the Big Green Egg compare to similar models? 

Full disclosure, I haven’t tested any other kamado-style grills, but from what I can find online, the Big Green Egg has a loyal fan base and for good reason. Not only did Big Green Egg introduce kamado-style grills to the US, but they’re designed to be very easy-to-use, made from top-quality materials, and offer a range of sizes for every household. 

That said, other kamado grills have become popular like the Coyote and Primo grills. The Primo grill is similar in features and size options to the Big Green Egg, while the Coyote grill runs on the smaller side. Kamado Joe is probably the second-most-known kamado grill on the market. The brand differs from Big Green Egg in that it offers additional features like a multi-tier cooking system, air lift hinge that reduces the dome’s weight, and extra accessories like a rotisserie attachment.

Big Green Egg review

(Image credit: Future)

The prices are similar among all kamado-style grills so if you think you can save more with one over another, that’s probably not the case. The one way that Big Green Egg stands out from competitors is the fact that it uses a local distribution network. As I mentioned before, you can’t buy a Big Green Egg at retailers like Costco, Walmart, or Amazon, which do sell other types of kamado grills. Potential buyers could see this as a roadblock, especially if there isn’t a Big Green Egg distributor near their home. However, there are some major benefits to Big Green Egg using a local distributor. 

 A local distributor is as the name implies 'local,' so your money is going back into your local community rather than to a huge corporation. Big Green Egg also makes sure to only use distributors who are knowledgeable about grills and grilling. These experts are better informed about the Big Green Egg features and can help customers much better with assembly or offer grilling demonstrations if necessary. That attention to detail is the reason why Big Green Egg is still one of the most beloved kamado grill brands and people continue to buy it over new brands on the market. 

Should you buy the Big Green Egg? 

The Big Green Egg is definitely worth the purchase. Yes, it’s a bit pricey, but so are all the other kamado-style grills. Besides, once you buy a Big Green Egg, you won’t need to (or want to) buy another grill for the rest of your life.  

Like many other people, I give the Large Big Green Egg a five-star rating. It produces incredibly wonderful meals and it’s easy to use, especially for those who haven’t cooked on charcoal grills before. 

With the weather warming up and the rainy spring season moving on, I plan to pull out my Large Big Green Egg and grill regularly this summer. There are so many recipes I’m dying to try. Barbecue at my place, anyone?

About this review, and our reviewer

Alex Temblador is a Dallas-based award-winning author and freelance writer that has covered home, design, architecture, and art in publications like Real HomesGardeningetcHome & GardensDwellArchitectural DigestArtsyNeighborhoods.comCulture Trip, among many others. She recently bought her first home, a green Sears & Roebuck house that's over 100 years old, sits on half an acre of land and features a stunning wraparound porch, original hardwood floors, pocket doors, and a butler pantry. Alex loves to test products for Gardeningetc, Real Homes, and Homes & Gardens buying guides and reviews which has helped to expand the richness of her first-time homeowner life. The Mixed Latinx writer can usually be found working or relaxing in her outdoor spaces. 

As with all our reviews, the Large Big Green was tested first-hand in Alex’s backyard, using it just as you would so you know exactly what you are buying. The products are given to us free of charge and we test them for as long as possible before sending them back to the brand unless we are able to keep it as we are with this grill. This means that we can continue to use the product which gives us the opportunity to return to our reviews for updating, so you can keep up-to-date with how it's fared over a period of time. 

Alex Temblador
Alex Temblador

Alex Temblador is a Mixed Latinx award-winning author and freelance writer based in Dallas, Texas. Her work in the home space has appeared in outlets like Real Homes, Dwell, Architectural Digest, Culture Trip, Neighborhoods.com, among many others.