Big Green Egg vs. Primo XL: Kamado Dragons Face Off in the Ceramic Grill Octagon

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Big Green Egg vs. Primo XL: Kamado Dragons Face Off in the Ceramic Grill Octagon Listen to this article

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.

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

The Primo XL is available from grill distributors around the country.

MSRP: $1,259.00
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.

MSRP: $749.95
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.

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About the Author

Chris Chamberlain
Chris is a native of Nashville, TN and an honors graduate from Stanford University (where it should have occurred to him in the late `80's that maybe this computer business thing was gonna take off.) After 25 years in the business of selling flattened dead trees to printers who used them to make something which the ancients called "books," somebody finally slapped Chris over the head with an iPad whereupon he became the Director of Business Development for an internet services company that works with US retailers to help them sell their products overseas. His other day gig is as a food and drink writer for several regional newspapers, magazines and blogs. Chris has a travel/restaurant guide/cookbook coming out next fall which he is sure your mother would just love as a holiday present.