The Big Green Egg
In 1974 a small company in Atlanta, Georgia opened with a new product that was quite innovative in the world of outdoor cooking. This grill is one of the most versatile cookers on the market and, personally, has replaced any gas grills or other outdoor cookers. A few improvements and the introduction of different sizes have made the Big Green Egg a major player in the manufacturing of this style of cooker-grill.
The Big Green Egg is based a style of cooking in earthen cookware fueled by wood or charcoal that originated in Japan and was brought the US after World War II. Ed Fisher, founder and still owner of the company, had an idea that this type of cooking would make a good outdoor grill.
Originally the Big Green Egg was made from clay but a very important improvement in design has them being made out of cast high temperature ceramic allowing them to withstand very high heat where they would crack at such temps when made of clay. The design is a clam shell of a dome lid and round base unit. Inside the base unit is a fire box where the charcoal goes into. The fire box has holes to allow air flow and sits up on legs so ash can fall from the fire box keeping the air flow going. The temperature is regulated through two vents, one in the bottom of the base unit and one in the top of the lid.
The Big Green Egg can be used as a tradition grill with the lid up. You can close the lid for conduction heating similar to an oven. You can use indirect methods to smoke at lower temperatures. You can even bake in it similar to a wood fired brick oven. Normally I do not go for items that multi task but the Big Green Egg actually does all of these cooking methods very well.
The Big Green Egg is very easy to start as the two vents create plenty of air flow to get a fire going quickly. You do your cooking then close the vents, the fire goes out and you have charcoal left to cook again. The recommended fuel is natural lump charcoal which will deliver high heats with little ash leaving clean up an easy choir. I feel lump charcoal gives the food a good woody taste as gas leaves a bit of odor on the food.
There is an almost cult like following associated with these cookers and there are annual events held in honor of these "EggHeads". The largest of these cooking festivals is the annual Eggfest in Atlanta. The company's website lists at least fifteen more egg cook-off around the country throughout the year.
There are competing manufacturers of the kamado style cookers but I went with the first and have never been disappointed. My only regret is I bought the medium size and the large would have been better suited for the type and amount of cooking I do. Need a new outdoor grill check out the Big Green Egg instead of that gas grill you may become a convert too.