Reviewed
March 2015
by ConsumerSearch
Est. $800 for large
Big Green Egg

Best smoker

Pros
  • Very versatile
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Extremely durable; solidly built
  • Comes in seven sizes
Cons
  • Difficult to find info on pricing
  • Must use caution when opening lid

Bottom line

If you want the best smoker you can buy, but don't want to fill up your back yard with multiple grills, the Big Green Egg is the top choice, say experts. This kamado-type grill can smoke, sear and cook foods -- it even bakes -- and owners report excellent results. There's a bit of a learning curve, some say, but, overall, it's so easy to use that even those who were confused at first say they mastered it quickly. The one downside: It's pricey and the price may be hard to determine as Big Green Egg is coy about suggested retail, and it's only sold at authorized, brick-and-mortar retailers.

Breaking it down

Performance

Smokes, grills and cooks to perfection. Reviewers are virtually unanimous in their praise of the Big Green Egg's smoking ability due to a design that offers superior heat control. In expert tests, it excels not only as a smoker, but in grilling various meats, cooking brick-oven pizza and even baking cinnamon rolls. Owners also applaud its performance, saying that they use it for everything when cooking during the warm months and that it will smoke anything -- several give it particular kudos for smoking fish, especially salmon, and we saw a number of comments about smoking hams for Easter. The Large version offers 262 square inches of cooking surface, meaning that you can cook several different types of food at once, and users say they like that they can do so without the flavors blending. It comes in six additional sizes -- Mini, Minimax, Small, Medium, X-Large and XX-Large.

Ease of use

Trouble-free operation. The Big Green Egg is very simple to use once you get the hang of it, which you will do very quickly, according to users. Many say that once they mastered cooking on this smoker, it became so easy that they now do more outdoor cooking than ever before. A few say they put the meat on in the morning before going to work and let it cook all day. Then, when you're done, just shut it to snuff out the charcoal. Reviewers say the louvered top is easy to clean because it's removable, and that the interior just wipes down thanks to the glazed ceramic material. The egg can be used year-round even in cold weather without fear of it cracking.

Durability/safety

Use caution when opening. We found very few comments about the Big Green Egg regarding safety, but one in particular deserves attention. You must carefully vent or "burp" the Egg before opening to avoid backdrafts and flashbacks that could ruin your meat or take off your eyebrows. However, if used properly, this will not be an issue. We recommend a close read of the instructions before use.

As for durability, it doesn't get much better than this: Buy it and it will last forever. Having said that, the Big Green Egg is expensive and it's not easy to figure out exactly how much it costs. The Eggs have no suggested retail prices and must be purchased at a brick and mortar store, so there are no online comparisons. Our research found that the large Egg sells for about $800 for the basic unit; delivery, assembly and additional accessories may run the cost to $1,200 or more. It must sit on a specially designed table or "nest," and those can run from $165 to $500 and are sold separately. One helpful suggestion about minimizing the cost of purchasing an Egg: We read a number of forum posts where owners bought a small or medium Egg secondhand on Craigslist or a similar classified site because the owner decided to upgrade to a larger size.

Where To Buy

Big Green Egg Reviews

1. About.com

Derrick Riches names the Big Green Egg one of the best charcoal grills for 2015, noting that it's highly versatile, producing high temperatures for grilling, while holding lower heat to make it a great smoker. His only cons have to do with the price.

Review: Big Green Egg - Large, Derrick Riches, Not Dated

2. The Guardian

In this round up of grills, focusing on low, slow cooking, for the British paper The Guardian, American chef Neil Rankin names his top five picks, including the Big Green Egg. Rankin says that it can cook for 20 hours at a low, consistent temperature with just a handful of charcoal. He also notes that it's pricey, but says it's a purchase for life.

Review: The best BBQs reviewed: Britain gets a taste for 'low and slow' cooking, Kit Buchan, July 13, 2014

3. Wired

Nicole Wakelin gives the Big Green Egg a thorough tryout, starting with baking -- brick-oven pizza and cinnamon buns -- and moving on to various meats. All turned out perfectly and were delicious. She says there is a bit of a learning curve, but she had it down to a science within a week.

Review: The Big Green Egg: A Whole New World of Grilling to Explore, Nicole Wakelin, June 14, 2012

4. Lifehacker.com

The Big Green Egg is No. 2 in this "Best Grill" roundup based on a poll of LifeHacker.com readers. It's accompanied by a review that gives an overview of what those who voted for the Egg like about it, such as its versatility and performance. The review notes that its availability is limited to dealers.

Review: Five Best Grills, Alan Henry, June 16, 2013

5. Good Housekeeping

Paul Hope reviews the Big Green Egg for the Good Housekeeping Research Institute. Although this is an older review, Hope personally tests the grill and it has not changed since this was published. He says the Egg is a very high-performing grill for a variety of meats, but notes it's expensive.

Review: The Big Green Egg: The Ultimate Charcoal Grill, Paul Hope, April 29, 2011

6. Viewpoints.com

The Big Green Egg in X-Large earns 4.8 stars out of 5 in more than 35 reviews on Viewpoints.com. Users give it high marks for performance, ease of use and cleaning, and durability, saying it's well-designed. It also gets kudos for its versatility.

Review: Big Green Egg Charcoal Grill and Smoker Extra Large Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com, As of March 2015

7. GearDiary.com

Chris Chamberlain owns two ceramic smokers, a Big Green Egg and a Primo XL. He compares them with a detailed review of both products. He says he loves both, for various reasons, but prefers the Primo overall for its oval-shaped grilling surface and versatile grill extension features.

Review: Big Green Egg vs. Primo XL: Kamado Dragons Face Off in the Ceramic Grill Octagon, Chris Chamberlain, June 4, 2012

8. EggHeadForum.com

This fan site for the Big Green Egg hosts forum discussion related to recipes, tips, troubleshooting and even an "Eggictionary." In this thread, started in March 2012, owners weigh in with the cost of their Big Green Egg and any accessories, delivery or assembly included in the price. It's informative because it's almost impossible to find pricing on Big Green Eggs without going to a dealer.

Review: How Much Did You Pay for Your Big Green Egg?, Contributors to EggHeadForum.com, As of March 2015

9. The New York Times

John T. Edge reports how the Big Green Egg is winning fans across the country, with sales growing among consumers as well as restaurant owners. Users are quoted, although there is no formal testing of the product. It's an older article, but the product has not changed since it was published.

Review: Green Eggs and Hamburgers, John T. Edge, July 12, 2011

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