Thinking about getting a good smoker for the coming summer cookouts...

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by amm0bob, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. amm0bob

    amm0bob Permanently Junior...

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    I have been to quite a few cookoffs over the years, and last year when I took my son to a local event, more than half of the competitors were using the Big Green Egg...

    Four of the top five winners were BGE users...

    I don't personally know anyone with a BGE, but having looked at them and eaten what came from them, I'm beginning to think it may well be the smoker for Jr...

    I like the XL version... the others appeared to be a little small for smoking a turkey or several racks of ribs and loins...

    [​IMG]

    Do you have one... and other than covering them up in the off season, is there anything I should do to make sure it stays in good shape when/if I get it...
     
  2. davesrose

    davesrose Active Member

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    I've been thinking about trying out BBQ with cheap DIYfi:

     
  3. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    I own 2 BGEs, and am a huge fan. It's hard to go wrong, lifetime warranty on the ceramic parts, lots of Eggcessories, and it's just amazing how much control over temperature you have. I'm using my Egg tonight for steaks (which are better than I can buy at most fancy and expensive steak restaurants). If you dig around you'll find an old BGE thread here on PC.

    Now, unless you think you'll need to routinely cook more than 6-8 racks of ribs at a time or a turkey over 20lbs on a regular basis I highly recommend just the large. It uses the lump more efficiently and is plenty big for most needs. I usually can't get more than 5 or 6 steaks on it at a time without impeding air flow, but other than that it works great.

    I slow cook Pork Butt and brisquet, and have done pizza and even Baked Alaska. It's incredibly versatile and satisfying.

    Also, I suggest getting it now, no need to wait for spring or summer--I've cooked on mine an average of twice a week all winter!
     
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  4. amm0bob

    amm0bob Permanently Junior...

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    Actually... I am thinking about the big family get-togethers... 28 pound turkey... 2 loins and 3-4 racks of ribs for the afternoon event... I was looking at the XL version and thought it might be big enough, I just was thinking I didn't want to get one of the 55 gal drum types for the crew to enjoy my diggs...

    I have a 5 burner BBQ with a side burner for grilling fast... I wanted this thing to compliment the tools I have...

    I just read a little bit about the BGE, I don't have anyone I know that does have one, and when I mention it to some of em they say I'm crazy for spending that kinda coin on a cooker... but again reading about it is something I will admit it sounds impressive (albeit pricey) but the idea of a 20 hour smoke is very tempting indeed.

    And the difference in the cooked meat was something that even made my son take notice.

    Thanks Evan.
     
  5. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
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    Bob, I've rusted out 2 propane grills since getting my BGE. I just prefer it for everything. It lights in 10-15 minutes, cooks more evenly, with better flavor...I'll light it up for burgers, steaks, even hot dogs and haven't cooked on gas for at least 6-7 years. If you're doing a huge family thing you might want to do fast stuff on the gas grill while you're smoking the turkey.

    If you think you really need the space, then go for the big one. My personal preference would be to get 2 larges though, then you can have a 16 hour smoke on a brisket on one and a 6 hour cook on the turkey on the other and not be compromising with temps and such.

    I've just heard enough about the XL that it's a bit harder to control the temp and the rate that it burns through lump that it's turned me off, and I can feed a crew of 20 with the large w/o much trouble on the large already.
     
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  6. gotswap

    gotswap New Member

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    Get the big steel keg. Every bit as good and in my opinion more thermally efficient. I can cook at 700 and still hug it. They are about half the price and no accessories save the diffuser are needed. While you are at it invest in a pit viper, set the temp and walk away.
     
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  7. bretaz

    bretaz Member

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    I decided on the Kamado Joe. Had it for about a year, and love it. No regrets.
     
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  8. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    Hey folks,

    I read this thread back when it began. I've been an avid griller and smoker all of my adult life and burned out many of pit over the years. My birthplace is Lockhart Tx, some BBQ fans (especially Texans) will note this is right dab central in the Texas BBQ belt, so I was raised eating some of the best Texas BBQ around.

    With that as a preface, I've been looking at the "egg cookers" mention in this thread. Well BGE's are too expensive for my tastes so the big steel keg was more to my liking; however, I came across the Char-Grill version called the Akorn for $299 at Lowes. I currently have a Char-Grill double pit (gas grill/wood smoker combo) that I got about 2 years ago and have all ready burned out the fire box. :eek: Replacement boxes are nearly $100 so I decided to keep using the gas grill side but try the akorn as my new smoker/wood griller.

    http://www.amazon.com/Char-Griller-16619-Kamado-Charcoal-Barbecue/dp/B005ELWI7S

    I just got it this weekend and so far I'm thoroughly impressed. Easy to put together, good build quality, and easy to move around. On my first light to season it, I unknowingly put in too much fuel ("only" 1/2 chimney LOL!) and quickly had it up to 625f! As per the manual, it's MUCH easier to bring up the temps than to lower them. So start with a light fuel load and bring up the temps with the air controls. It will run at 250f (smoking temps) for hours with just a small load of lump charcoal. The double wall construction really, really works. I can safely place my hand anywhere on the exterior at those smoking temps.

    Today, I did both a brisket (9 hours) and baby backs (4 hours) on it with a medium load of lump charcoal and a couple of small mesquite sticks thrown on top of the pile. The results were WONDERFUL!!!! :rockon:

    I'm going to try grilling some rib eye steaks later this week. Probably shouldn't experiment with such an expensive cut on my first attempt at grilling on the akron but I'm loaded with confidence after today.
     
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  9. ProximalSuns

    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    There can be only one. Get a Traeger
     
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  10. mojo

    mojo Senior Member

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    Is there an "off season" for bbq in sacto?

    Ive got the original Japanese egg from the 50s.
    What it does to meat or fowl is magical.




     
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  11. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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  12. amm0bob

    amm0bob Permanently Junior...

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    I took your advice Evan... Large BGE... waiting to get the digitemp...

    I also picked up another grille, cause I need to cook a lot of burgers and dogs... Master Forge... yeah it's not the same as my dependable Weber gas grille, but it is twice as large and has a nice side table... and it will be under the cover of the patio so there isn't as much of a need to protect it from the weather.
     
  13. mojo

    mojo Senior Member

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    You MUST cook Thanksgiving turkey in the egg.
    The best MOIST tender smoked turkey you or anyone has ever had.

     
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  14. amm0bob

    amm0bob Permanently Junior...

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    [​IMG]That's what I'm thinking Bra...
     
  15. amm0bob

    amm0bob Permanently Junior...

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    I cooked/smoked a 22 lb turkey for the 4th... 6 1/2 hours and it came out fricken fabulous...but it was just barely able to be closed inside with the neck of the bird showing prominently in the opening at the top of the cooker.

    I only invited my children over for the 4th...

    The neighbors on either side came over as well as the former neighbors down the street, and all their kids... plus my three kids and two grandkids and the boyfriends... the bird was completely gone except for a small piece of the breast I cut off for a friend at work...everyone thought I was a genius cook... I know it was in the prep and the tools used to do the cooking.

    I brined it over-night in half apple juice, and in the morning rubbed on minced garlic and course ground lemon pepper generously and let that set for 2 hours... put in a couple of hand fulls of hickory chips mixed throughout the lump...and lit it... I put the bird inside on the turkey stand in a pan on top of the plate setter when the white smoke subsided after 16 minutes...

    I have the CyberQ and fan hooked now up and I did not open the cooker until I heard it beep at almost 6 hours later... checking the bird I found the breast was done, but the thighs were not, so I moved the sensor to the middle of the thigh, and put a tent of foil over the top of the bird, and closed it back up... 45 minutes later - all was done.

    Cooking brisket and tri-tip was just as easy (we've cooked on the BGE 4 times before the 4th), and I understand now, faster without the CyberQ (because it will keep the temp low and even throughout the smoke without the spikes that can happen when you have a breeze as we did all day)... next will be some ribs and a nice pork butt (using my Uncle's recipe with cola)... the gal down the street (former neighbor), after a couple of glasses of white zinfandel, says she can out cook me, welllll... if I don't make the turkey again, because she said, the turkey was perfect, and she doesn't remember ever having one that juicy and fully smoked... and she isn't going to try.

    Thanks for the nudge Evan... even though it is on the high end of the BBQ stuff... I think I am going to have a friend for life in this little smoker.

    Bob Jr
     
  16. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    I've been using my Char-Grill Akorn (CGA) for about 7 weeks now and using it more and more. Joined a kamado style grilling forum that has given me lots of ideas and inspiration. Here's a few examples of things I would have never, ever thought to try and they came out spectacularly:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'd also highly recommend this wired/wireless thermometer:

    Amazon.com: Maverick Wireless BBQ Thermometer Set - Maverick ET732: Patio, Lawn & Garden

    saves lots of unnecessary trips out to the patio to check temps, settable alarm warnings, two probes, etc.
     
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  17. amm0bob

    amm0bob Permanently Junior...

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    I smoked another turkey... apple brine soak for 8 hours in the fridge, pulled it out of the brine pan letting it drain and propped it up on the stand to cook it upright, and a light dusting with garlic powder and lemon pepper just to give the skin something a little extra for the folks that like that part best... it took about twenty minutes for the coals to settle in at 250... and I closed the lid at 4:38pm... the first buzzer went off at 12:30am... so I moved the temp gauge from the breast to the thigh, wrapped some tin foil around the top of the breast, and closed it up again... the alarm went off at 1:20am... I double checked to make sure the temps were good, and pulled the bird out to pop it into the fridge to bring to work for a co-worker's baby shower (their first)... the entire bird was stripped clean by the folks... I mean the entire 20 lb bird... we had lumpia and a number of other Phillipean delights as well as cold cuts chips and salads, cake & ice cream... which, there was some of all of that left after the luncheon... but the bird was gone... heck, I even saw one fella sucking on a wingtip... people were picking at the carcass during the entire time we were there...

    They all now think I am a magical chef that can make the most moist and tender roasted/smoked turkey ever...

    Again I want to thank y'all for nudging me to get the BGE... I know all the magic in inside the egg and setting the cyberQ... I just answered the buzzer to remove the bird...

    It IS worth the coins.
     
  18. amm0bob

    amm0bob Permanently Junior...

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    Just a mention about the last near a year now with the BGE... officially I have standing orders for smoked bird on Thanksgiving... I will be cooking for the three days prior to deliver enough to those I foolishly gave some of the proceeds of the smoker too...

    I do think the large BGE I now own is perfect for just me and the frau... I appreciate the input from owners that helped me go ahead and commit the coins... it is soooo worth it... as will be today's chicken.

    After I installed an electronic cooking management system (CyberQ), the BGE has performed flawlessly - and made some of the most flavorful and tasty main course items I have ever made myself at home... however, it isn't big enough for a large bird that I usually supply to the Thanksgiving table...

    Ssooooo... I have been scheming...

    I should build a nest in the corner of the gazebo pad to hold an XL BGE and leave the large BGE in the rolling nest so I can move it out to the yard when I want to use it... of course, that will mean I'll have four outdoor cookers - now I only have three... I think I can put it in the gazebo pad and not go over my summer budget, if I don't repair the Corvette until later...

    I don't really have time to drive... soooo... hmmmm...
     
  19. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    Interesting timing: I've got two spatchcocked chickens on my Acorn right now @ 352f; one for us and one for the in-laws. Tonight, I'll be grilling rib-eyes, baked potatoes and corn on the cob.

    My char-grill duo sits used except for the occasional burger burn for the kids. :( I do use the side burner for spaghetti boils just to keep the heat/humidity out of the kitchen.
     
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