Big Green Egg XLarge Ceramic Cooker Review

Big Green Egg XLarge Ceramic Cooker Review

By:

Max Good

Big Green Egg XL

For many, the Big Green Egg is the Weber of Kamados. They introduced Kamado cookers to the USA and are often viewed as the industry standard. The XLarge Egg has a 24 ” grate and the dome can accommodate two 20 pound turkeys. Made in Mexico the BGE design is simple, it is built to last, and it has a limited lifetime warranty.

A green kamado on an outdoor deck with grass in the background. Flames hoot out the top.

Round Kamados work as good as or better than standard charcoal grills for most recipes. They are, by design, excellent ovens and smokers because once the ceramic settles at the desired temperature, it stays there for hours. Eggs make great pizza ovens. Remove the grate and you can do Brazilian and Tandoori style cooking on long skewers, all standing vertically in a circle around the small, super hot fire. Open the bottom damper, remove the top damper completely, and turn your Egg into a roaring furnace with a column of flame shooting out the dome for searing thin steaks and burgers. (Shown above. Use caution if you try this method.)

Here’s a Big Green Egg video from our pal, Malcom Reed, with HowToBBQRight.com Be sure to subscribe to The How To BBQ Right YouTube channel here.

But they cannot be set up for true 2-zone cooking, an essential technique easily done on other charcoal grills by piling coal to one side to create a direct and indirect zone simultaneously. A few exceptions exist, such as Primo’s Oval Kamados. Click here to read more about Kamado and ceramic grills and smokers.

2-zones provide rapid temperature control, enabling cooks to slide foods back and forth from cool to hot zones for crisping skin and reverse sear steaks. Most Kamado aficionados concede the best way to create different heat zones in their cookers is moving foods closer to or further from the coal. This is typically accomplished using the many accessories available from BGE and third party manufacturers. One useful device that is a match made in heaven for kamados is the BBQ Dragon, a well-made, battery operated, clip on, variable speed fan that can convert a charcoal bed from quiet gray to rip roaring red hot in a matter of minutes. Very good for switching gears from low and slow to searing hot. We recommend using an ancillary charcoal grill for direct heat when doing 2-zone recipes. It can be a lot less expensive than buying a bunch of add-ons and much easier than trying to move hot, greasy parts around in the middle of a cook.

There is one indispensable device called the “Plate Setter” for all sizes except the Mini Egg. It’s a flat ceramic disk that sits directly over the charcoal. It absorbs and radiates heat so you have indirect radiant heat, but there is still no way to get convection heat as you can by building the fire on the side of a Primo Oval. The plate also prevents grease from spattering during the cook, which many believe produces a clean, less bitter flavor.

The exterior has an easy-to-clean green glaze bonded to the ceramic. The manufacturer claims that the modern ceramic material will not become brittle and can withstand 2,000°F, but we wouldn’t recommend knocking it over whether hot or cold. Ceramic is very susceptible to cracking.

The base holds an inner fire pit in the bottom of which is a charcoal grate. There’s a sliding damper on the outside for air to enter below the charcoal.

Above the fire pit is a fire ring, and that’s where the cooking grate rests. There are two metal bands that go around the top outside circumference of the base and the bottom of the lid and they are hinged together. Optional side tables can be attached to the bands. The lips of the lid and the base are covered with special felt for a good tight seal. On top of the lid there is a topper that controls exhaust and an optional “Dual Function Metal Top” with a dial that allows for more precise air control.

The vents can be left open for hotter cooking, or closed nearly shut to keep your charcoal smoldering for hours. Some owners claim if you set it up properly you will not need to add charcoal for 24 hours during a typical 225°F cooking session. You could put a pork shoulder in with a small amount of lit charcoal on top of some unlit charcoal, close it, and come back in 12 hours to a succulent clod of pulled pork. If you do have to add charcoal, you must lift out the meat and the grate to do it. That’s a bit of a pain.

There’s a dedicated forum of BGE users and it has a wealth of information like this: “Tighten the bolts on the stands after the Egg has been used five times” and “If you have a problem with grease sticking the felt shut when it’s cold, slip a Weber paraffin charcoal lighter cube in the bottom and wait for the warmth to release the opening. Then change the gaskets.”

Replacements for all parts are easily available. On the negative side, we have heard that gaskets need to be replaced after a few years, parts are expensive, and that customer service could be better.

Eggs are not sold on the internet and their prices are not quoted at their website, but they have a lot of dealers coast to coast. Our posted price does not include a stand which adds about $180.

  • Model:
    XLarge Ceramic Cooker
  • Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price:
    $1199.00
  • Made in USA:
    no
  • Review Method:
    Looked Closely At It
    We have seen this product up close and we have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners, and other reliable sources.
  • Primary Function:
    Grill, Smoker, Egg or Kamado Style, Combination Grill and Smoker
  • Fuel:
    Charcoal
  • Primary Capacity:
    452 square inches

Published On: 2/8/2013 Last Modified: 3/3/2021

  • Max Good - Max Good, AmazingRibs.com's Vice President of Product Reviews & Keeper of the Flame, is the man in charge of finding the best products for the AmazingRibs.com Equipment Reviews section. Max bottles his own barbecue sauce recipes and now sells them around the country.


If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and much more!

Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 4,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner like TV network or a magazine publisher to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club, but please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get 21 great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial membership, and help keep this site alive.


Post comments and questions below

grouchy?

1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

Moderators

  Max

Spotlight

These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs


The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted


Napoleon’s NK22CK-C Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the NK22CK-C a viable alternative.

Click here for more about what makes this grill special

Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker


This is the first propane smoker with a thermostat, making this baby foolproof. Set ThermoTemp’s dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin’.

Click here to read our detailed review

Compact Powerful Sear Machine For Your Next Tailgater


Char-Broil’s Grill2Go x200 is a super-portable, fun little sizzler made of heavy, rust-proof cast aluminum. The lid snaps shut. Grab the handle and you’re off to the party! Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared design produces searing heat while reducing fuel consumption. A 16 ounce LP gas canister is enough to keep you flipping burgers for hours.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order

Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners


The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King’s proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Click here to read our complete review


Surely you know somebody who loves outdoor cooking who deserves a gift for the holidays, birthday, anniversary, or just for being wonderful. There he is, right in the mirror! Here are our selections of best ideas, all Platinum or Gold Medalists, listed by price.

Click here to see our list of Gold Medal Gifts

The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy


The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers because temperature control is so much easier.

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them

The Undisputed Champion!


 
The Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 is considered by the pros, and our team, to be the single best instant read thermometer. The MK4 includes features that are common on high-end instruments: automatic backlight and rotating display. Don’t accept cheap substitutes.
Click here to read our comprehensive Platinum Medal review