Compared to my other grills this performance is excellent indeed. My gas grill would take an extra 10 minutes to warmup, going from 10-15 minutes to 25. In the summer in temps above 85 (29 C) or so my gas grill could hit temperatures of over 1,000 degrees (538 C) at the grate level. In the winter in the extremely cold weather I’d have trouble reaching 550 (288 C). You could direct grill but you needed to open the lid quickly and keep it closed as much as possible. Also you could not let the propane tank get below the 50 percent filled level or you wouldn’t have enough pressure to get a flame hot enough to cook with. My smoker would take up to double the time to warm up, between lighting the coals in the charcoal chimney and the warmup time of the smoker once the hot coals were added. Lifting the lid, unless done very quickly could cost you 15 minutes or so of cooking time. My charcoal usage would be double or triple what it was in the summer. Now I’d recently purchased a welder’s blanket and it had improved the performance of the smoker in cold weather, but it still wasn’t anywhere near the same league as the BGE. An example of the performance of the BGE was Thanksgiving where it was in the mid 20’s (-4C) to low 30’s (0C). I lit the BGE at 7:00 AM and used it all day at 350 degrees (177 C) until 5:00 PM. It stayed at temperature all day without my having to tweak the vents with one exception. When I put my turkey on the Egg the temps recovered quickly but stalled at 325 (163 C). I figured it was from putting a cold turkey on and while it would eventually recover, I simply opened the lower draft door slightly to get things moving more quickly. I got it back up to 350 (177 C) and that was the only adjustment I had to make in 10 hours of cooking.
My biggest surprise is being able to use the wok on my Egg in cold weather with the lid up.
One thing that has amazed me about the Egg is I am able to direct grill with an open lid using my wok. I seem to be able to hit any temperature I want. This is something I absolutely would not be able to do on my gas grill this time of the year. Lid open direct grilling is simply not possible. On the Egg I have had zero issues, I get as much heat as I need and everything cooks up in the same amount of time as it did in the warmer weather. Although the Egg seems to be capable of any lid open direct grilling you may want to throw at it, ironically with the Egg you do the majority of your direct grilling with the lid down. The great seal you get helps keep the food moist. There is a saying related to the Egg to the effect: “If you’re looking, you’re not cooking” or “If you’re viewing, you’re not queing.” Another difference is the fuel usage. I don’t seem to notice any difference in the amount of lump charcoal I am using during the cold weather vs the warm. This is a very pleasant surprise and the lower cost of consumables on the Egg will quickly make up for the price difference between it and a less expensive grill.
In terms of low and slow, it is more of the same. Same amount of warm up time, same damper settings and no apparent variation from the cooking times I would expect in warmer weather. I used the Egg to cook my Christmas standing rib roast and while I did have some temperature issues due to improper placement of my grate probe. I detailed this in a blog entry called TEMPERATURE PROBE ISSUES. If anything I had problems keeping the temps low. I usually light 2 paraffin starters to do low and slow and this day I ASSumed I should light 3 because it was only in the mid 20’s (-4 C). As it turns out, I actually didn’t need to do this and shouldn’t have. If anything I was running out of room to go colder if I needed to. Going low and slow gets even nicer if you throw in the new ET-732 thermometer I purchased when I got my Egg. I have now doe single or multi-item cooks where the Egg has run for 12 hours and been rock steady. With the longer range I can bring the ET-732 anywhere in my house and still get a temperature reading. So now I am not running outside all the time to readjusts vents (like on my smoker), add more briquettes (smoker), or checking to see that the thermometer hasn’t lost synch with the transmitter out at the grill.
So what is different about grilling or smoking on the Egg in the cold weather? Very little to do with the Egg. Me, I have to dress warmer: wear a well insulated jacket, wear good shoes with thick bottoms to protect my feet from the cold, wear a hat and/or ear muffs. Oh and I shouldn’t leave the kitchen door open and let all the cold in the house. But the Egg doesn’t seem to care what temperature you use it in. The weather around here can still go down another 45 degrees (25 C) If I find anything changes if it gets colder, then I’ll write a supplemental blog. But the temperatures I’ve already encountered are the ones I will be experiencing 9 out of 10 times. The fact that nothing is different is a pleasant and unexpected surprise indeed!
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