If you haven’t heard of the Big Green Egg, you probably don’t spend much time contemplating zen and the art of grilled meats. This cult favorite smoker/grill combo packs a hefty price tag—$1,120, or about four times as much as many top-rated gas grills. Is the Egg really worth the price though? Consumer Reports decided to find out.
First of all, know that the Big Green Egg does not operate like a traditional charcoal or gas grill. Instead of arranging coals or charcoal briquettes to concentrate heat, you fill the entire bottom of the egg with lump hardwood charcoal. Definitely not what you get out of a paper bag at the grocery store.
Once the coals are good and hot, the design of the Egg becomes clearer. The walls are an inch thick and made out of cast-ceramic. The lid is extremely heavy and comes with a heatproof gasket to trap heat inside. You can use the Egg’s dampers to control the temperature inside to an incredibly precise degree, which is crucial for more intensive grilling and smoking projects, where every degree matters.
The Big Green Egg is famous for being able to maintain “low and slow” temperatures for long-term smoking projects, as well as ultra-high heat temperatures for searing meats and grilling pizzas or flatbreads. Consumer Reports tested both alternatives, and the Egg performed incredibly well.
In the low-and-slow option, testers were impressed that the dampers needed no adjusting, and no more coal needed to be added once the precise temperature was found (330ºF for six hours). If you’re engaging in a serious smoking project with pulled pork or ribs, this sort of temperature control is crucial.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Egg got up to a scorching 850ºF, a temperature on par with broilers in commercial restaurants. This incredibly high heat gives cooks the ability to sear meats on the outside while still leaving them beautifully medium rare inside. It also gives you a perfectly crunchy pizza crust, if that’s your jam.
Overall, the Big Green Egg is exactly what you pay for—a specialty tool. If you’re just an average backyard griller, it won’t be the kind of investment you feel good about. But if smoking and grilling projects are what move you, this is a solid investment.