This picture shows grilling 6 half-pound burgers on the 6 burner gas grill. If you look carefully you’ll see I still have 2 more buns left to do.
Here you see 4 1/3 pound (smaller) burgers on the Large Egg. This illustrates the difference in space between the two. I had to do the burgers & buns separately.
Meanwhile I was discovering some of the space limitations of the Egg for larger cooks or multi-zone cooks. I soon found the Egg was well suited for serving 4-6 people depending on the size of the dish you were cooking. One of the issues was getting even temperatures across the grill grate. One of the challenges of live fire cooking that I soon learned was every fire was different. You always have to deal with hot spots and cold spots. The better you do lighting the coals, the more even heat distribution you will get. This was quite different from my 6-burner gas grill which had the most even heating of any grill I’ve ever used. So depending on the amount of food you are cooking, and the evenness of your fire you could sometimes be challenged trying to get it cooked. When I was learning my Egg I was cooking for 2,3 or 4 people so I was ok, but I could see there would be some issues trying to do bigger cooks.
The half moon raised grid allows you to do direct (left image) indirect, (right image) but as you can see the shape limited me to 3 large chops.
The half moon cast iron griddle grates: their shape limits the amount of food you can get on.
Things get even more complicated when you are trying to do a direct/indirect cook or multi-zone fire. With a six burner gas grill it is easy to do a two-zone or three-zone fire by turning on various combinations of burners. Some ceramic cookers, like the Primo, are oval shaped and have a baffle you can use to divide their wider firebox into two zones. The BGE does not offer this feature, but they offer several Eggcessories that are half moon shaped to allow you to do different things on the two halves of the grill. There are several half-moon shaped grill baskets, a half moon shaped cast iron griddle grate and pizza stone and a half-moon raised grill grate. These items work as advertised but all share one big limitation: their shape. The round shape of the Egg is a little less space efficient compared to the rectangular shape of other grills. A half-moon shape is a lot less space efficient. The two corners where the curved side meets the straight side create two areas with a shape too narrow to accommodate most foods. I quickly discovered this using the half-moon shaped cast iron griddle grates and the half moon raised grill. It was tough getting 2 large buns on the griddle-think tops & bottoms which equal 4 pieces of bread. I’ve made thick steaks and thick chops using the half moon raised grid and it was a tight fit for 3 large thick chops and 2 large Cowboy rib-eyes. At the time I only needed 3 chops and the Cowboy rib-eyes fed 2 each. But this limitation was one of the things that started me rethinking the idea of buying a Small as my second Egg. Lastly with the space available I was often only able to make one dish at a time. I used my Egg all day on Thanksgiving to bake 3 items followed by the turkey. This stretched the schedule out from 7 AM to 5PM.
By October I wasn’t using either my gas grill or smoker and the handwriting was on the wall. I hadn’t used the smoker at all and had only used the gas grill twice to grill up some ears of corn while the Egg was busy doing something else. Suddenly a second Egg was becoming more than a future wish. It was more like an essential, at least if I wanted to continue doing more of my meals on the grill. By that I mean everything from appetizers to desserts. Everything I was doing was coming out far better than when cooked on my other grills and it served to make me want to use the Egg more and more. I was doing more baking on the Egg and this basically precludes piggy-backing any other food while that is going on. Or if I was doing low and slow on the Egg I had no way to do sides. Sure I could do them on the gas grill but I really didn’t want to. Towards the end of October, beginning of November we had two bad storms: one a hurricane and one almost as bad. Strangely enough they were what pushed me over the edge from thinking to doing. The cover of my smoker got badly ripped in the wind. My initial reaction was to make a run to Lowes to get a new cover. But then I started thinking: Do I even want to spend another penny, let alone $30, buying a cover for something I no longer was interested in using. Plus the Egg did a better job smoking the food, so the smoker was history.
In mid-November I would be getting another Apple stock dividend check and Christmas was coming too, so the money might be available in December. If not, I would be getting another dividend check in February and could get it then. By this point I had rather thoroughly accessorized my Egg and I realized there was quite a bit of expense involved in doing that. This isn’t a complaint, just a statement. I love the fact that you have all of these options available for customizing this grill. Also in using some of these Eggcessories I’d discovered that the Large had space limitations under certain use cases and obviously a Small would be even worse. I liked the idea of doubling my available space, now that I knew how much I liked using the Egg. I went out on the web and priced out the Small with all of the Eggcessories I’d need or want to duplicate. I also priced out a Large with a second Plate Setter and a cover. The stand was a wash because I was planning on buying an outdoor counter made to hold the Egg. In the process of pricing Eggcessories for the Small I found some items: such as the ceramic pizza stone, weren’t even available for the Small. I found an Eggcessorized Small vs. the minimally Eggcessorized Large was a $200 difference. IN FAVOR OF THE LARGE EGG!!
To me that was a no-brainer. I also posted in the Egghead forum about the wisdom of getting a second Egg the same size vs. different sizes. I also checked on what Eggcessories people thought I would need to buy again. This served to reinforce my decision and the next day I went up to my BGE dealer and got a formal quote. I placed the order a week later. So this was my journey towards getting a second Large Egg. Part 2 of this blog will cover my initial impressions and some of the discoveries I’ve made in the first month of ownership.