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The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke
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Some Assembly Required - Execution

First Image
In PART 1 of this blog, I described how I got to the day(s) where I picked up and assembled my second Large BGE. If you are just interested in the assembly process this is the entry for you. As I mentioned 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.

As I mentioned in
PART 1, I needed to pick up, deliver and assemble my new Large. When I first placed the order everything was in stock with the exception of the Medium Cover and the base cabinet I would set the Egg on. Originally it looked like everything would arrive before the end of 2012. This would have been convenient because several folks who could help me do some of the heavy lifting were off on vacation between Christmas and New Years Day. This was not to be however. The base cabinet, which was essential to the whole process, was being delivered by common carrier from New Jersey. Between the two holidays and two East Coast snow storms the delivery took longer than first thought. The cabinet arrived on the afternoon of Thursday January 3rd and I picked it up around 2:00 PM. By the time I got it home it was getting dark so I knew my goal for this day would be to get it off the truck with it and my back all in one piece. The box with the Egg in it weighed 140 pounds and was way to bulky to pick up even if I wanted to. My original plan was to put some wooden ramps I had on the tailgate and slide the box down the ramp. When I got home another idea popped into my mind.

“Second“Third

Please note: No BGE’s were hurt during the taking of these pictures, That is the empty box I am using a few days later. The box for the Egg was pushed out so it overhung the tail gate & then could be held by the shipping straps and tilted down to the ground using the edge of the tail gate as a pivot point. (left) The only reason I could do this is my tail gate had been sprayed with a rust proofing finish that had an abrasive grit in it This helped keep the box from sliding off the gate. (right).


The main box for the Egg was wrapped with 2 flat plastic bands about 1/2” wide. As I was using these to help me drag the box closer to the tailgate I had an idea. Perhaps I could tip the box onto one side and slide it so it was hanging over the edge of the tailgate. My tailgate is fairly low to the ground and if I overhung the box about 2 feet I could grab the box by the wire on the side and lower it by swinging the lower corner down in an arc till it reached the ground. Then I could tilt the box back so the bottom was fully on the ground. At this point I could use a hand truck to move the box into my Grill Gazebo for the night. There were several things I needed to make sure happened. First I needed to slide the box out far enough beyond the tailgate that when it pivoted the bottom of the box would contact the ground before the box slid off and dropped from the edge of the tailgate. I was looking for a controlled swing into ground contact as opposed to a swing followed by an abrupt drop which could damage the Egg. The second thing is the box needed to pivot on the edge of the tailgate for it’s entire swing and not slide or drop off midway through the process. The only reason I was confident I could do this is my tailgate was sprayed with a gritty non-slip weatherproofing material. This grit material is almost like a real coarse grit sandpaper and has great holding power. If I had a stock tailgate with unfinished smooth metal I never would attempt this maneuver. As soon as the box was above a 45 degree angle it would start sliding and it would be hard to further control the descent. The third thing that needed to happen is the plastic used to secure the box needed to be strong and secure, since it was what I was going to use to slow the boxes descent. It had to last long enough for me to grab it use it to lower the box in a controlled fashion. The last thing I needed to do is make sure the box didn’t start falling before I was ready to tilt it down. The box appeared to be tall enough that I could hang it far enough over the edge of the tailgate without it wanting to fall off on its own. To cut to the chase I slid it out beyond the edge of the tailgate slightly farther than the distance from the tailgate to the ground. I used the plastic band on top to help pull the box out, while also holding the box from falling. When the box was far enough out I used one hand to lift the plastic band near the top of the box and my other hand holding the plastic band near the bottom of the box to help keep it from falling in an uncontrolled fashion. Once gravity took over I slid the top hand down to the bottom and slowly lowered and tilted the box. As expected the gritty weatherproofing kept the box from sliding off the tailgate and I was able to swing the box down in a slow controlled descent. The lower corner made contact with the ground with when the opposite corner was 6” (15 cm) above the ground. I was then able to tilt the box away from the truck to stand it up on it’s bottom. BTW I would not recommend this method unless it is a last resort. Far better to have a helper. Also no mater what time of year it is, wear gloves of some sort to prevent the plastic wrapper wire from cutting into your hands. I used the same method to get the base cabinet off the truck, but once again better and less risky to you and your cargo to have a helper.

“Fourth“Fifth

Assembling the Table Nest (Shown Here) and the rings and hinge in the comfort of my Kitchen was more comfortable, faster & safer than trying to do it out in the cold.


It was too late to start assembling the Egg this day as I knew from the first time it took about an hour and I didn’t have an hour of light left to work in. I’d already moved my smoker out from under the grill gazebo so I put the boxes for the Egg and base cabinet in its place for the night. I brought the second box with the Egg Hardware and the box for the Table Nest indoors for the evening. The next morning I began work before sunrise in the warmth and comfort of my Kitchen. First I assembled the Table Nest which is simply the matter of attaching the two pieces together with a nut, a bolt and a lock washer. Then I began work on the upper and lower metal bands/hinge assembly.
Change 1: The hardware has been simplified from what is shown on the assembly video. There are not two types of bolts used to attach the hinge to the bands. There are 4 similarly sized cinch studs per band, not 2 each of 2 different types as shown on the video. Actually my first Egg had the simplified hardware too. Change 2: Wider wooden lid handle. This is a relatively recent change too, but my first Egg had this change too. It makes sense because the bands would have had to have changed to accommodate the wider handle spacing and this is probably when they simplified the hardware. Everything went together smoothly. I highly recommend doing this indoors if the weather is cold or wet or perhaps you don’t have a good work surface out by your grill. It is difficult to handle relatively small parts with big hands that are cold or wet. The same goes for the rolling Nest which is on my first Egg-lots of assembly to that. Better done indoors under controlled conditions.

“Sxsth

The box with the ceramic parts of the Egg was well designed & everything was cushioned & isolated very well.


At this point the sun had risen and it was time to head outdoors. I will skip the details of the cabinet set up, other than to say I found out just how totally out of level my concrete terrace was. Lots of time spent getting the two cabinets shimmed and leveled. Once the Egg cabinet was set in position and leveled and plumb, I began assembling the Egg. The first step was to put the pre-assembled Table Nest on the center of the base cabinet top. Next I cut open the box for the Egg. I removed the various pieces parts. The dome was on top supported and protected by a cardboard surround.There was a cardboard box with the Dual Function Metal Cap nested inside the dome. Once I removed both of these there were various cardboard pieces protecting the ceramic lower base of the Egg. Once some of these were removed you find the Ceramic Firebox and the Ceramic Fire Ring and their various protective cardboard pieces. You remove the Fire Ring & Firebox. The Firebox is a bit heavy, but can be easily moved by putting your hand through the mouth of the Firebox (which goes behind the lower metal draft door) and use this opening to pick it up and lift it safely out of the box. Once you have emptied everything out of the box you are left with the ceramic bottom section of the Big Green Egg.

“Seventh

The base of the Egg is placed on it’s base cabinet in the Table Nest. This was the hardest & heaviest part of the entire install. Even if you don’t have someone to help you hold the base of the Egg, it would be helpful to have a second pair of hands to insure proper placement of the Egg on the Table Nest.

At this point you have two choices for getting it out. You can lift it out of the box or cut the box open to make removal easier. If this box is sitting on a table top you should definitely cut the corners and fold the box sides out of the way. If the box is on the ground of if there is only one person, you can try lifting it out of the box. This is the most difficult and potentially dangerous part of the whole assembly. It is heavy and awkward even with two people. If you aren’t real strong or have a bad back I would suggest waiting until you have a helper. I was determined not to wait until the weekend when I could get some help and prepared to pull it out by grabbing it with one had through the lower draft door opening. Before doing this I donned a work glove for that hand. This was so I didn’t run the risk of cutting my hand on any parts of the metal draft door frame. Once I got the base lifted about 6” (15 cm) in the air I slid my other hand down and grabbed the bottom of the egg on the side opposite my other hand. I pulled the bottom the rest of the way out of the box. I should mention I had the box as close as I could get it to my final destination and had left a clear, safe and direct path to the base cabinet. I breathed a sigh of relief when I began to lower the Egg’s bottom onto the table and Table Nest. I was slightly premature here as the fit between the Table Nest and the Egg is very precise. The Table nest has a flat area where the Egg sits, but then turns the supports up at a shallow angle to help align the Egg so it rests in the center of the table nest. Here is a place where you really need a second pair of hands. Even if these hands don’t help you lift the Egg out of the box and onto a table, they can help center the Table Nest under the bottom of the Egg. It is very hard (and frustrating) for one person to try to pick the bottom of the Egg up, make a precise adjustment move holding it in the air and then putting it down in exactly the right place on the Table Nest. It took me at least 8 attempts and the language you would have heard was not family friendly. Once I got the Egg properly seated on the Table Nest, I had to make sure the Egg and Table nest were centered on the countertop. At this point the worst was over, and I went inside for a well deserved drink. Despite what I just described it was a Coke, not alcohol.

“Eighth

The Firebox now has a wider opening. Not sure why this is but there it is.


After warming up a while I headed back out. I forgot to mention it was in the low 20’s this day. Not ideal working conditions and one of the reasons I assembled the bands and Table Nest indoors. The next step was to position the ceramic Firebox in side of the Egg. It is easy to grasp and lift via opening in the Firebox intended to go behind the lower draft door opening. Once I got this in place I noticed
Change 3: wider opening for the lower draft door. The new opening in the Firebox is quite a bit wider than the old opening. On my first Egg, the Firebox opening was about the same width as the lower draft door opening. When you look through the draft door, you can see the edges of the opening in the ceramic Firebox. With the new Firebox you can’t see the edges of the Firebox from the outside of the Egg. I am not sure what the reasoning is here. It does make it easier to position the Firebox oping properly. But I wonder whether ash will slip through the extra space when cleaning the Egg out with the Ash Tool. Time will tell on that one.

“Ninth“Tenth

You can see the differences in the the old and new Fire Rings. The old Fire Ring had a flat bottom & the top had 5 crescent shaped cutouts. (left) The new Fire Ring has 6 crescent shaped notches, but they are on the bottom, The top edge now has 3 square notches sized to receive the Plate Setter legs. (right).


The ceramic Fire Ring, which is about 3” high (7.5 cm) goes on next and sits on top of the ceramic Fire Box it is new and improved.
Change 4: The old Fire Ring was flat on the bottom and had five crescent shaped cutouts along the top. The new Fire Ring had 6 slightly smaller crescent shaped cutouts along the bottom edge and 3 large rectangular cutouts, the size of Plate Setter legs along the top edge. This allows the Plate Setter to be securely set on the top of the new Fire Ring. This new design also means I can’t use my 5-legged Spider accessory on the new Egg. I only need to be able to Wok on one Egg at a time so this isn’t a biggie for me. I don’t know the purpose of the 6 crescent shaped notches on the bottom , but they do make for a nice finger grip to help you get started lifting the ceramic Fire Ring off the Egg. I also made sure to install the Fire Ring with one of the three Plate Setter notches right in front of the hinge. I’d read some where before that the Egg had a bit of a hotpot near the hinge when cooking indirectly and they recommended installing the Plate Setter with one leg in front of the hinge. The notches in the new Fire Ring for the Plate Setter make this process a no brainer.

“Eleventh

The hinge & rings are installed, aligned & tightened down with a torque wrench. The next step is to remove the two plastic safety clips holding the upper and lower sections of the spring hinge in place.


The next step is to install the hinge bands to the upper and lower halves of the Egg. This was the most problematic part of the install on my first Egg. The dealers installer tried 3 times and was unable to get a position that passed the dollar bill test for gasket snugness all around. When I put in my new high temperature gasket, I needed to make 6 attempts when I installed a new gasket, before I got a good seal. For the dollar bill test you place a dollar bill on and perpendicular to the gasket along the lower half of the Egg so it is hanging out. You close the lid and pull the piece of the dollar bill hanging out to see how snug the fit is. You should get some resistance when you pull, meaning the upper and lower gaskets are in contact with one another. No resistance means, no gasket contact. You want some resistance along the full perimeter of the Egg. It is often said to be less closer to the hinge, but there should still be some resistance. I’d mentioned earlier how there was a change to a wider handle.
Change 5: I’d also read there were changes to the band to make tightening it down correctly easier. I am not sure what to make of this. My old Egg already had the wider handle and simplified hardware package, so in theory it had a new band too because of this. Having said that this new band deformed and bent less at the returns behind the bolts. I used the same torque wrench both times, set to 10 foot pounds each time. The new rings did deform less, so perhaps they changed the thickness of the metal used for the bands. BTW before installing these rings, make sure you have pre-installed any cinch bolts for any side shelves, front shelf or tie back bracing to be used on your Egg. One huge difference in the two installations is how well the rings went onto the egg and how they aligned. Change 6: I am guessing here but I think they may have tweaked the spring hinge to change the spacing between the upper and lower rings. On my first Egg you can easily install the lower ring just below and parallel to the lower gasket. The trouble is with the upper ring. It is spaced too close to the lower band and it doesn’t want to run parallel to the upper gasket and lower ring/gasket. You can have it be above the upper gasket at the front but the hinge does not allow the upper band to be high enough to do that in the back half. The upper ring actually needs to run from high at the front to low at the back.

The new Egg had no such issues. I installed the lower ring just below the lower gasket and snugged it down enough to hold it in place. Then I played with the position of the upper ring and saw there was no problem getting it to go just above the upper gasket, which made both the upper and lower rings parallel to their respective gaskets and each other. Like I mentioned in
Change 6: I think they tweaked the hinge spacing. Changes to the bands wouldn’t account for this. So either I got a defective hinge the first time, or they made a design tweak to solve this issue. Either way I got the bands positioned correctly the first time, tightened them to 10 foot pounds and the new Egg passed the dollar bill test with flying colors. I was very happy with this, because I wasn’t looking for a prolonged battle with the rings in this cold weather.

“Twelfth“Thirteenth

My first Egg had the dark brown wool gasket. (left) The new Egg has the new BGE high temperature gasket which is light grey in color. (right).


Change 7:
I’ve left what is for me the most important change to nearly last. The new Egg came with a new high temperature gasket. Woo Hoo!! My first Egg from last August came with a dark brown wool gasket. I was really only good to about 450-500 degrees (230-260 C). My first pizza cook at 600 degrees (316 C) started burning out the wool gasket and mine didn’t last more than two weeks. I ended up installing a 3rd party high temperature replacement gasket in October and it looks about as good as new. It puzzled me why the BGE folks would ship the Egg with a thermo that measures temps above 700 degrees with a gasket that was good for about half that. It must have stopped making sense to them too, because in September the new Eggs started coming to the dealers with a new light grey colored high temperature gasket. Where my first pizza cook started destroying the gasket on my first Egg, I cooked pizza for the first cook on my new Egg and the new high temperature gasket looks brand new.

“Fourteenth

The base cabinet had a strap to help secure the Egg & keep it from tipping over.


After the lid was attached there were a few simple things to do. There was a metal brace that attached to the lower ring using a cinch bolt installed in one of the holes for the side shelves. This was something that needed to be installed before the ring was secured to the Egg. The other end of this flat piece attached to the side of the adjacent cabinet to help keep the Egg braced from tipping over. I don’t yet have my mid-length cover and I am thinking this brace may interfere with the cover and may need to come off. Oops.

“Fifteenth

The base cabinet had a strap to help secure the Egg & keep it from tipping over.


The last items were to put the stainless steel grill grate in the Egg, store the Dual Function Metal Cap in the Egg, install the dome thermometer and place the Ceramic Cap on top of the chimney. The thermometer and Ceramic Cap were in their own boxes inside the hardware box containing the rings and hinge. I am wondering if they made a change to the clip that secures the thermometer to inside the lid of the Egg. The reason I say this is I had trouble squeezing the clips to allow the probe of the thermometer to slide up and down the clip. I really struggled with this for some reason and in my first Egg this was a no-brainer. Having said that I have had to resecure the dome thermometer which had loosened up over time, This makes me wonder if they changed the clip so it is less easy to loosen. Yes it is harder to secure the thermometer, but once it is there, it will stay there.

All right lets summarize whether it makes sense to do the install yourself or not:

People who can assemble the Egg themselves:

  • Someone who can’t afford the installation/delivery fee (see other items below).
  • Someone who wants to use the installation/delivery fee for Eggcessories
  • Someone who is handy with tools and can read and follow directions.
  • Someone who has watched or assisted with the assembly of an Egg. Particularly the installation of the rings and hinges for the dome.

People who should have the dealer Deliver/Assembly of the Egg:

  • Someone who gets free delivery/installation as part of their purchase. Now this may take longer for you to get the Egg delivered depending on how busy the dealer is. So if you are impatient, then you can at least consider DIY.
  • Someone who has never installed an Egg before and isn’t particularly good with directions.
  • Someone who can’t do heavy lifting or get someone to help with that part.
  • Someone who is concerned their lack of skill may cause damage to Egg during installation.
  • Someone who wants to be sure the Egg is setup correctly and knows their dealer’s installer has good experience assembling BGE’s

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