Q&A — Big Green Egg XL

There is a certain mystique about the Egg. Not only is it the number one search engine item that lands people on the pages of this blog, it also seems to generate more questions from readers on an ongoing basis than anything else. So for those of you with questions, here are you sage and timeless answers.

What size of Big Green Egg should I buy?

This is the question that I get more than any other. Although it is often phrased “should I buy the large or XL Big Green Egg” meaning people have dismissed the smaller sizes out of hand, which is interesting because the one size I would not buy is the large. If you have the budget and the space, your number one choice should be the XL. It does take longer to come up to temperature than the other Eggs, but the gains you make in flexibility and capacity are worth it. If you can’t swing the extra large, then I would suggest the medium. There is just not enough of a gain in capacity to justify the large, and the medium is probably the most efficient of all the sizes when it comes to heating time and fuel usage. In fact, more than a few of the Egg owners I know have both the XL and the medium, giving them a full spread of speed and capacity.
Go big or go home. And if you can’t do that, go medium.

How are I supposed to clean it?

You don’t, really. The only thing you need to do is clean out the ashes from the catch area under the fire ring. Use the provided ash tool to scrape them to the door and then suck ’em up with a shop vac. Cleaning the actual ceramic of the Egg itself is not something you actually want to do. The insides darken over time but the ceramic is actually self-cleaning as you cook, and scrubbing it may actually shorten the lifespan of the body. Let it darken, and let it be. If you are the kind who gets anal about the staining and blackening, perhaps you should be cooking some sterile and flavour-impaired stainless gas grill instead.

Does the outside get hot?

Yes, it does. Not “sear your hand” hot like the typical gas grill, but hot enough that you wouldn’t want to keep your hand on it for any length of time. It won’t burn you, which is nice, but you should still keep an eye on any progeny you might have underfoot during your cooking. You best bet is to probably lock the little buggers in the shed so you can concentrate on the zen of the fire instead of worrying about your grubby rug rats.

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