Big Green Egg Primer? Kernels?

I’ve been given a lightly-used BGE, Size L.

While I’m pretty experienced with offset pits, gas grills, smokers, and charcoal Webers, I’m tabula rasa when it comes to BGEs.

What I’m mostly asking after is for recommendations of a good book on BGE technique. Not necessarily with recipes.

Also any kernels of wisdom as to use and maintenance.


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Not a book, but an on-line resource. When we first started out on the eggs, we gleaned quite a bit of info here:

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The forum link was helpful, as were a few of the many, many YouTube videos.

I’ve been exploring all the accessory/upgrade options. This is more difficult than it might seem, considering the confusing names and vernacular. The BGE company-branded stuff is surprisingly varied and shockingly expensive.

I rrmembered several local B&M stores that carried BGE, so I tried to go handle the wares. Four of five such stores had dropped BGE entirely, and the remaing dealer (an Ace Hardware) didn"t stock what I wanted to check out. Maybe Traegers have cornered the market?

I learned enough to start with a “clean burn”, which is supposed to utilize max heat (700F or so) to burn away grease and soot deposits. If that goes well, I’m going to try a salmon fillet for family this weekend.

Conceptually, the kamodo concept makes a lot of sense for conserving heat and fuel. What doesn’t is that I see no practical way to feed the fire once it’s going, especially when the heat diverter “plate setter” is in place. I see welders’ or firefighters’ glovres in my near future.

Oh, I just learned that the “clean burn” destroys the felt gaskets, so cleaning this way costs $37 in new gaskets each time.


You won’t need to add fuel. If you start with an egg pretty full of lump, after you ignite it and get the temp right by adjusting the top and bottom vents, it’s so efficient that you won’t run out of charcoal, even for an overnight brisket prep.

I wouldn’t bother with the high temp cleaning. Nobody I know does that.

The gasket I would change if it’s running thin since if will leak heat and smoke and allow air to creep in making your temperature harder to control and efficiency worse.

We have a Traeger and a kamado and we use the Traeger way more often. It’s so easy that the small benefit of charcoal flavor isn’t worth the extra hassle most days. Still I’ll keep the kamado because when I do have time to use it, the charcoal does impart a definite taste benefit.

The Large is the best size so lucky you!


We find it’s mostly fireplace and hot-tub dealers which carry the BGE and parts, although it’s been years since we’ve needed to do more than replace a daisy-wheel vent. We have purchased after-market gaskets in the past, and they have worked fine.

As far as all the available gizmos and add-ons, the ones we use without fail:

Kick-ash baskets, which provide for air circulation around the lump, and thus faster heating. Handy for cleaning out the ash, as well. I believe these are only available as after-market parts.

The ring riser which allows you to raise the grate.

The half-moon baking stone, which allows you to set up direct and in-direct heat (wrap it in foil to keep it cleaner).

And yes, fire gloves.

Everything else we’ve purchased as a gizmo or toy has proved to be of not much use or just unnecessary. The only exception might be a baking stone for bagels, pizza and the like. I use them on very rare occasion, and it’s nice to have them when I get a hair up my arse to do something like that.

I agree the large is very nicely sized for cooking for two regularly (and up to four in a pinch). Not sayin’, though, that we don’t also like using our small egg for smaller, faster, and more fuel-efficient cooks.


Thanks, very helpful. Because this Egg is only new to me, I’m going to do the clean burn as a kasher.

I also need to adjust and paint the hinge bands, since there’s some surface rust.

The clean is run wide open, but what top and bottom settings do you use for low-n-slow?

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This is very helpful. Thank you very much.

I’ve ordered a Kick Ash basket. Is there a pan, too, that catches the ash? And I found a deal on ebay for the 5-piece riser set (Elevegger?). Is $115 a good price? I’m also intrigued by the cast iron half moon grate.

One of the discontinuing dealers I mentioned is clearing out all accessories at $10 a piece. Unfortunately, all they still had for a L were the Nest steel stand, and the Eggstender add-on shelves. My L came with a nice wooden cart, so I needed neither.

Further tips very much appreciated.

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Oh, and one of those little handheld grate lifters, such as this one. You’ll appreciate having one of those.

We do not use a pan to catch the ash. Much of it stays in the basket, which shakes out into a bucket before topping off the basket for the next cook. To clean the egg before each cook, we lift out the grate, use a paint scraper to move any visible ash into a little pile, and then use a modified spoon (see photo) to scoop out the ash. Maybe 2 or 3 times a year we actually lift out the liner to clean out any ash which may have fallen through the ventilation holes. As long as those ventilation holes are clear, however, you’re good to cook. We do not use a pan for collecting ash.

I don’t recall what we paid for our riser (it was many years ago), and therefore can’t comment on the price for the set you found. We built our cart (and have replaced the top once), but it wasn’t inexpensive to do so.

The half-moon griddle top: we have it, and I won’t let go of it, but I don’t use it all that often. What I’m more inclined to grab (because it’s handier to get at and weighs less?) is a 10” cast-iron pancake griddle-pan from which we sawed off the handle. The 10” pan fits both our eggs – large and small.

It sounds like you received a heck-of-a nice gift – egg and cart – enjoy!


Yeah, I had no idea how $$$ these things can be! There were a bunch of things included, among them the grate lifter, ash rake, little ceramic bottom feet, a cover, taco racks and a mondo tortilla holder.

Basically, all I would have had to ante up for is new gasket material and that cast iron bottom grate. Do you use that AND the ash basket?

But the cooking grate was pretty rusty, so I decided to go with the 5-piece set that includes that.

The bands were sound but rusty, so I sanded and repainted those. After the clean burn, I’ll reapply the gasket ($37!!) and she’ll be like new.

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Lol - that cover alone is gold!

If by “cast iron bottom grate” you mean that disc with the holes in it, no, we do not use it. Just the basket.

We’ll see. My giftor was constantly bitching about mold–that may have pushed him (or the wife) into giving it all away. I washed and cleaned the cover yesterday, and decided it does not breathe at all. It sure keeps rain and snow off, but I wonder if it actually traps moisture from under the cart. He had it outside 24/7/365.

In any event, I plan on wheeling it under cover when I’m not using it.

Here’s another question: Do you put gasket material at the top vent?

Thanks Again!

I see. We use covers, but not all the time. Our eggs are in use about 9 months of the year (banned in the summer time due to fire hazard :neutral_face:), but we don’t often think to put on the covers. Intermittantly, at best.

No gasket on the top vent.

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Many thanks.

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You are quite welcome!

What is this rain and snow you speak of? :thinking:

“banned in the summertime” , where @MunchkinRedux is sounds about right to me, with “summer” meaning May through October.

I’m not in the market, but was curious about the seasonality of this, depending on where you live.

June through mid-September in our neck of the woods (PNW, west of the Cascades). No outdoor burning. We bought a gas grill to fill in the gap.

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So I did my first proper BGE cook last night: Prime delivered my Kick Ask basket just in time.

I was doing a piece of local king salmon fillet as I would in a Texas Pit–slow and low. I didn’t know how much lump to start with, so I started about a 2/3 chimney fill. When going, n it went, then the “plate setter”/convector gizzy. I ran the draft and spinner top pretty much 100% open until the thermometer came up, then closed the bottom to the recommended 1/4" crack, and the spinner top halfway.

My main problem was I couldn’t seem to get the thermometer below 300F. I kept pinching down both controls, but it wouldn’t budge. My guests were so hungry at that point after I waited for Mr. Prime that I put the fish on, hoping it might drop some more (i.e., that the BGE was just slow at the controls). It never did, and the salmon ended up being a little more well done than I like.

Then I realized I had made no attempt to recalibrate the thermometer after the “clean burn”. I remembered the needle being stuck at the 100F mark–maybe the >800F burn put it out of kilter?

One thing that threw me on the time was, strangely, color. I’m accustomed to judging salmon done in the Pit by a deeper color as it cooks. This stayed paler, and by the time I gave the fish a poke test, it was too firm. So I ended up cooking either too high, too long or both. Live, learn and recalibrate! It ate OK, though, just not my best work.


Here’s a question: When you reuse leftover lump that is smaller chunks, does that kick up the heat more? For slow-n-low, should I use a larger mix or a smaller fill? How do you get into the 225F range fast and easy?



I have not noticed that small pieces of lump increase the heat. They do seem to shorten the cook significantly.

Low and slow on the egg is the most challenging aspect for me. There’s only one dish I do that with, and I happened to make it last night: apple wood roasted tri-tip. This cooks at a temperature of 225 to 250 (closed grill, raised grate, direct heat). I find far easier to heat an egg than to try and cool one down.

I usually light just a very small center of the lump (silver dollar size, using a looft lighter) and leave the lid open for a bit. As soon as the smoke clears and I start feeling even marginal heat (just a few minutes), I shut the lid, close the daisy to about 1/4" or less and close the bottom vent to about 1/8". Shortly thereafter I’ll typically see about 100 to 150 degrees, and from there on out, watch it like a hawk. If the needle is moving too slowly, open things up a hair, but if it’s moving quickly, get things as close to closed as you can without actually extinguishing things. Any kind of wind whatsover makes this more challenging. I can usually bring it up to a low cooking temp in the low to mid 200’s within about 25 minutes of lighting it. YMMV.