The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke

Some Assembly Inquired - Background.

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This 2 part blog will be about purchasing and assembling my second Large Big Green Egg. Part 1 will be about the background behind why I purchased my second BGE and why it was a large. In PART 2 I will discuss assembling the Egg and some of the changes the company has made in the 5 months since I purchased my original Large back in August. I posted a blog entry BGE PART 1-ASSEMBLY back in August, where I said you are probably better off having your dealer do the assembly, particularly if it is free. I still stand by that opinion, but now I can write about assembling your own Egg and you can decide what is right for you. If you are just interested in the assembly process you should skip straight to PART 2.

For my second Egg I was trying to be frugal and there had been some changes since getting my first Egg in August. The first change is I have a new BGE Dealer. I had been going to the dealer where I bought my original Egg, for the last 8 years. When I got my smoker I began getting my wood chunks from this dealer as well as some grilling accessories. I was very happy with them and they were my closest BGE dealer so it was a no brainer for me. My purchase experience was very pleasant and the owner of t threw in free delivery and setup, supposedly because I was so easy and pleasant to deal with. Well 3 weeks later I went in only to find that the original owner had sold his business. The new folks were pleasant enough to deal with, but all of the folks who knew and used the BGE were gone. I found myself, as a 3 week long user, knowing more about the BGE than anyone at the BGE dealer. This was TOTALLY unacceptable. One of the reasons I don’t mind buying the BGE from an authorized dealer and paying what some call a premium price, is that I feel I am paying for their experience and expertise. Their is a value to this which deserves to be paid for. This expertise was now gone from this dealership for the near term. I am not going to name drop, because hopefully some day this dealer will get their folks up to speed on the Egg.

The next closest dealer to me was in (Sales Tax Free) New Hampshire. They have a pleasant and knowledgeable staff who all use the Egg. They carry a wide range of EggCessories and appear to be an active and viable dealership. This change in dealers was unexpected and had several ramifications, both plus and minus, when it came to getting my second Egg. The first change was New Hampshire doesn’t charge a state sales tax. The savings here paid for the one Eggcessory I bought a second copy of: a Plate Setter. This dealer doesn’t offer free delivery for where I live and would have to charge sales tax if they delivered to Massachusetts. I have a Ford Ranger pickup, so getting it home wasn’t a problem. The only thing I had to decide was whether I was up to assembling the Egg. For the most part the answer was yes, but the hinge and bands on my first Egg had been problematic for even an experienced installer and it had taken me several sessions before I got things right. But the bottom line was if I wanted to make this happen in the next few months it had to be DIY project. A last change related to my new dealer is they carried a line of outdoor cabinets for the BGE made of a man made material. I had bought a 28” x 28” x 36” H (71 x 71 x 92 cm) base cabinet in September that was a full height cabinet with a door and a drawer. I use it as a work surface and storage unit. I noticed at the time I bought the first cabinet, that they made a lower height unit that served as the base for a BGE. At that time I filed that information away, thinking it might be useful in a few years when it was time to pick up a Small BGE for a second Egg.

My original plan for my first BGE was it would serve to supplement, but not replace, my 6-burner gas grill and smoker. I hoped to extend their life by lightening their workload. It turns out the Egg was so versatile, easy to use and gave such superior results that it completely replaced my need for them. I haven’t used my smoker since August and only used my gas grill twice. I originally thought I would eventually get a Small as a second Egg. After using my Large Egg my hands on experience began to replace my original perception. First off I had purchased a slew of Eggcessories for my Large. If I bought a small I would have some significant expenses repurchasing some or all of these Eggcessories to fit a small. So potentially the money I’d save buying a small would potentially be spent on buying Eggcessories. The second thing real life Eggsperience has taught me is space is at a premium due to the circular size and shape of the Egg. The Large BGE is generally big enough to cook most recipes for 2-4 people. But after using a 6-burner gas grill for three zone cooks, I was spoiled by having space to burn. Many of the Eggcessories I’ve bought are half round and divide the Egg into two halves for say doing direct/indirect or using the open grill and a griddle grill simultaneously. These half moon shapes aren’t as efficient for food placement as a rectangular shape. So practical Eggsperience had taught me that a second large would be far more useful than a second small. The fact it might cost the same or less made it a no brainer. A last item that hadn’t really been on my radar screen until I used my second large for the first time, was an identical user experience. Put simply: zero learning curve. I walked out to my new large and was up and running and if I didn’t know better I could have been using my first Egg. There is a value to tis for sure.

The final item that got this plan in motion were Hurricane Sandy and the tropical storm a week later. They tore up the cover on my smoker and when I was deciding whether to replace the cover, I just couldn’t see any point in spending another cent on the smoker. I posted a question on the Egghead forum to see if I was on solid ground with the thought a second large would allow me to share Eggcessories and might be more cost effective. Lastly I made a trip to the dealer to price up a second Egg. I was going to buy a Large Egg and to carry it I was going to get a base cabinet unit from the same line as my storage cabinet. This would allow me to create a setup where I had the new Egg on it’s cabinet, next to that would go my existing cabinet/work surface and to the right of that my first Egg on it’s rolling nest. I wanted a cover for it and BGE has 3 types of covers. The long, like I use for my Egg on the rolling Nest, a short that covers just the domed lid for Eggs dropped into a table top and the medium length cover for an Egg set on a low top like mine was going to be. BGE used to include 3 ceramic feet for setting the base of the Egg on a table top, but they stopped that practice several months before I purchased my first Egg. They now make what they call a table nest which is an X-shaped short metal base and I ordered one of those. Lastly the only Eggcessory I ordered a second copy of was a second Plate Setter. So the final order would be a Large BGE, the base cabinet to hold it, a Table Nest, a Medium Length Cover and a Plate Setter. There would be no sales tax or delivery charge, but I would have to pick up the Egg and assemble it myself.

I now had the bottom line to realize my dream. I had received a second Apple dividend payout in mid- November and had some left over money from that. If I was able to hold onto that money, I could add in some Christmas cash and order the Egg in late December. If not it would have to wait for the next dividend payout in Mid-February. Either way a second Large would be in my future in 3 months or less. As you can figure out from the date of this blog, I was able to pull it off at Christmas.
PART 2 of this blog will cover delivery, assembly and changes made to the Large BGE since I got my first one in August. I will highlight the changes like this: CHANGE X:... so they are easy to find.

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