The lid of the XL is very heavy though and it opens to a point that is almost perfectly balanced when open. That means if you sling it open and let go, it can easily rebound against the spring of the heavy-duty hinge and close with a crash. That could be dangerous to both the delicate ceramic and to your delicate forearms which could get chopped by a hot heavy ceramic guillotine. Again, be careful and burp that thing.
The final advantage that really seals the deal for the Primo in my opinion is how much easier it is to add coals to during a long low and slow smoking session. Even though these grills hold temp so well for so long, sometimes we’re talking about an 18-hour cook time for an entire pork shoulder. At some time during that process, you’ll probably want to top off your charcoal supply.
With the Egg this requires you to open the lid, remove the meat and the grill, use long asbestos gloves to take out the hot ceramic plate setter and pour in some more chunk coal before repeating the assembly in reverse. This takes quite a while and really lowers the temperature of your cooking environment and the meat you’ve been cooking. Not to mention that you have to figure out someplace safe to stack all the hot elements of the grill that you removed during disassembly. I have a wooden deck, so there’s not a lot of good places to put a hot greasy grill grate and a glowing ceramic plate setter.
However with the Primo XL, here’s the procedure to add more charcoal if you’ve had the foresight to leave one half of the grate off over the partitioned section with the indirect heat source: open the lid (burp it!), pour in more charcoal, close the lid again. That’s it. Quick and easy with a minimum loss of heat, because remember what I told you last year, “Lookin’ ain’t cookin’!” Every time you open that lid to add coals or to check your meat, you’re probably adding a half hour to your cook time.
In the end, most people would be happy with either of these fine products, but if you like to smoke big pieces of meat, you’ll probably prefer the Primo. And you’d probably be the kind of person I’d like to hang out with.
The Primo XL is available from
What I liked: Nice large cooking surface. Consistent cooking environment. Easy to add coals midway through cooking process.
What needs improvement: Heavy lid can slam down if opened too vigorously.
The Big Green Egg is also available at grill shops everywhere.
What I liked: Easier to move around than Primo. Better for smaller patios and decks. Less expensive than Primo. Perfect oven for home wood-fired pizzas.
What needs improvement: Top vent cap can fall off, potentially cracking the Egg or leaving a greasy dent in your deck. Difficult to add charcoal during cooking.