The Japanese word kamado simply means “stove” and has been in use for several millennia, but if you Google (or Bing or Yahoo) “kamado” today, you will see naught but variations on a specific type of grill, namely a big heavy one made primarily from ceramic and with an egg-like shape. When a particular design has been working well for 3,000 years, as earthenware kamado style grills have, why change it? Why not instead just add a few modern adaptations to improve things a bit?
Yeah, you guessed it, that’s what the folks at Big Green Egg did, they pretty much perfected the kamado grill.
First things first, why are their kamado grills called Big Green Eggs? Because… like… they’re big and green and egg shaped. Glad we cleared that up.
Why are these great grills? Because their superlative airflow control system allows you to cook over charcoal at temperatures as high as 750º Fahrenheit (or low enough for low and slow smoking). Plus, you get temperature control to within a range of just a few degrees, all monitored by a large thermometer set into the top half of the egg. Because of the cavernous cooking chamber, the Large Big Green Egg (the one with which yours truly gets his egg on, FYI) can accommodate 12 burgers or seven racks of ribs (hanging) or a large pizza or a big ‘ol brisket, and it can cook any of those and more to perfection.
Also, there’s the fact that the exterior doesn’t get dangerously hot as many other metal grills do thanks to the amazing insulation properties of the thick porcelain walls. (But do note that the bottom of the Egg can get quite hot, thus the need for one of the tables or stands you need to buy along with your grill.) Inside? Super hot. I recently had mine fired up to well over 400º F with only a few handfuls of charcoal and the air vents about 30% open, and that burn lasted a solid 45 minutes without additional charcoal added. So, we can add efficiency to the feathers in the Egg’s cap.
There are a few not quite drawbacks, but let’s say realties to note here. True to the name, Big Green Egg grills are big. And heavy. You won’t want to haul yours in and out of the garage or shed for each use; you’ll want a dedicated spot to perch it. And because you need to cook with charcoal but are highly advised against using lighter fluid, you’ll also need to invest in some sort of charcoal starting device, be it a charcoal chimney,an electric starter, or a flammable starter you tuck under your pile of charcoal.
And… those are the only sort of semi-negative things I have to say. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve managed to make myself hungry.
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