Smoking (meat) Comparison

SeaPA

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Dec 17, 2002
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I love the BGE for things that take a long time to cook; it is fantastic for brisket & Boston Butts. I'm not crazy about it for ribs, mostly because it is very hard to use for the method that I use when cooking ribs (indirect heat with heavy smoke for awhile, then indirect heat while wrapped in foil for a bit, then finished over direct heat, during which I'll baste with sauce. The result is both great flavor and texture. Can't do it with the BGE, unless you go to the extreme effort of removing the platesetter from a hot grill. For ribs, I prefer an old, very well broken in barrel cooker.

Oh, and St Louis cut ribs make no sense whatsoever. You're paying significantly more per pound to have someone cut off the best part of the rib.
 

Tenacious E

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I love the BGE for things that take a long time to cook; it is fantastic for brisket & Boston Butts. I'm not crazy about it for ribs, mostly because it is very hard to use for the method that I use when cooking ribs (indirect heat with heavy smoke for awhile, then indirect heat while wrapped in foil for a bit, then finished over direct heat, during which I'll baste with sauce. The result is both great flavor and texture. Can't do it with the BGE, unless you go to the extreme effort of removing the platesetter from a hot grill. For ribs, I prefer an old, very well broken in barrel cooker.

Oh, and St Louis cut ribs make no sense whatsoever. You're paying significantly more per pound to have someone cut off the best part of the rib.
I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree. After smoking 3 to 3.5 hours, you can open up the vents full tilt for the last 45 minutes or so and it will get blazing hot and you will get the hard finish you are looking for. No need to remove the plate setter.
 

The Tradition

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Oh, and St Louis cut ribs make no sense whatsoever. You're paying significantly more per pound to have someone cut off the best part of the rib.

You buy the spares and trim them into nice St. Louis cut racks yourself, and smoke the trimmings along side of them.

The cook gets some tasters before everything else is done that way.
 

ping72

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Jan 14, 2009
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I use an electric starter/coil in a chimney. I have used newspaper in the chimney, and I have used those little wax starters, but I like to use just heat and charcoal when cooking, if I can.
Gotcha. I just use paper towels in vegetable oil.
 
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ping72

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I love the BGE for things that take a long time to cook; it is fantastic for brisket & Boston Butts. I'm not crazy about it for ribs, mostly because it is very hard to use for the method that I use when cooking ribs (indirect heat with heavy smoke for awhile, then indirect heat while wrapped in foil for a bit, then finished over direct heat, during which I'll baste with sauce. The result is both great flavor and texture. Can't do it with the BGE, unless you go to the extreme effort of removing the platesetter from a hot grill. For ribs, I prefer an old, very well broken in barrel cooker.

Oh, and St Louis cut ribs make no sense whatsoever. You're paying significantly more per pound to have someone cut off the best part of the rib.

It’s not hard to remove the platesetter. Your ribs are already in tinfoil so they’re easy to remove. And your temp is low enough you can just grab the grate and plate setter with a glove and put the grate back.

I do it all the time.
 
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The Tradition

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It’s not hard to remove the platesetter. Your ribs are already in tinfoil so they’re easy to remove. And your temp is low enough you can just grab the grate and plate setter with a glove and put the grate back.

I do it all the time.

Ceramic grills do perform well, but they suffer from two problems: They're heavy as hell and limited real estate.
 

IowaPackFan

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Dec 30, 2006
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I can’t tell the difference between pellet or green egg smoked ribs or pork butt. I have seen far more eff-ups from a green egg though.
has anyone retrofitted a green egg with pellet auger?
 
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The Tradition

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I can’t tell the difference between pellet or green egg smoked ribs or pork butt. I have seen far more eff-ups from a green egg though.
has anyone retrofitted a green egg with pellet auger?

I've never seen anything as stupid as that, but if you build it, people will buy it.

Anyway, they do have temperature-controlling fan contraptions for all sorts of pits that eliminates the need to use nasty pellets for an even-temperature cook.

AAAAAAAND another thing: Many pitmasters believe that staying completely on-temp for the entire cook is a bad thing... some temp fluctuations (within reason) actually do good things to your protein as it cooks in its own juices.

Marinate on that!
 

BelemNole

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Mar 29, 2002
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I've never seen anything as stupid as that, but if you build it, people will buy it.

Anyway, they do have temperature-controlling fan contraptions for all sorts of pits that eliminates the need to use nasty pellets for an even-temperature cook.

AAAAAAAND another thing: Many pitmasters believe that staying completely on-temp for the entire cook is a bad thing... some temp fluctuations (within reason) actually do good things to your protein as it cooks in its own juices.

Marinate on that!
Poopers are programmed to do that.
 

SoDakHawk

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Sep 14, 2006
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You could attach a BBQ Guru to the air intake on a BGE and that would control temps. Same device you can add to a WSM.
 

GOHOX69

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I just ordered a rotisserie for my weber. I might try a brisket in there just for shits later in the summer.
 

PhoenixHawk5.0

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I’ve been doing a lot of pulled chicken lately on my aging camp chef pellet smoker. My kids love it and it is easy to pack for the week for me. I make it bbq, buffalo, or with this jalapeño glaze. It’s simple but it helps me get my money out of the meat for lunches I enjoy and my kids as well.
 

Hawkman98

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Competition BBQ is different than backyard BBQ. In competition you don't want the smoke flavor to shine through as they are more focused on developing flavor profiles with sauces and rubs. The pellet poopers give them a more blank canvas to operate from. Also, when comp cooking using a pellet pooper takes one variable out of the equation, pit temp maintenance. The pellet poopers give the comp cooker the ability to dial in consistent temps over and over resulting in a consistent product that they can then focus on doctoring the other variables injection, rub, and sauce to get the profile they are trying to achieve.

It's just a completely different style of cooking. Still, guys like Harry Soo have won a lot of money competing strictly with Weber Smokey Mountains.
My dad is a certified Kansas City bbq judge and I can say they are not fans of anything smoked in a pellet popper for competitions. By far they prefer stick cooked bbq.
 
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Flie

HR MVP
Nov 2, 2001
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I generally use my pellet pooper to smoke da meats. Yesterday, I decided to use my Weber kettle in an offset configuration. I used cherry wood hunks. I smoked some St. Louis style ribs.

Each and everyone of my guests remarked how well they were smoked and asked me what I was doing differently. I guess I'll be switching to the Weber.

Anyone do a pork butt/shoulder or brisket in it?

For chicken and ribs, I'll be using the Weber here on out.

I've smoked ribs, pork butt, brisket, chicken leg quarters, and a whole turkey in my 22 inch weber kettle grill. All but the brisket turned out perfectly and the brisket was my first attempt.

I eventually bought a weber smokey mountain and switched to using that for smoking. More interior volume and easier to control temperature. The food tastes pretty much the same as what the kettle produced though.
 

Nole Lou

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I've never seen anything as stupid as that, but if you build it, people will buy it.

Anyway, they do have temperature-controlling fan contraptions for all sorts of pits that eliminates the need to use nasty pellets for an even-temperature cook.

I've definitely seen people on the Weber facebook groups with pellet attachments. I'm not sure the point of that at all, as like you said there are now extremely sophisticated air flow controllers to accomplish the same thing with charcoal and wood, if you want the type of automated control you would get with a pellet smoker.

I've now set up my PK with a deflector plate and a temperature controller to basically recreate the reliability of a pellet smoker, but to use charcoal and wood. Right now I'm using a very bottom of the line controller (Party Q) I was able to pick up cheap on Facebook Marketplace, it seems good enough for me.
 

The Tradition

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My dad is a certified Kansas City bbq judge and I can say they are not fans of anything smoked in a pellet popper for competitions. By far they prefer stick cooked bbq.

Yup. That's the best way.

But the drawback for stick burners is they're also heavy as hell (if good quality) and you have to keep them oiled up to prevent rust. Grease build-up in the cooking chamber can become a problem, too.

But you simply can't get the best BBQ any other way. And an offset has the most real estate of any kind of cooker. Got an army coming over for dinner? No problem!
 

Tenacious E

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I've definitely seen people on the Weber facebook groups with pellet attachments. I'm not sure the point of that at all, as like you said there are now extremely sophisticated air flow controllers to accomplish the same thing with charcoal and wood, if you want the type of automated control you would get with a pellet smoker.

I've now set up my PK with a deflector plate and a temperature controller to basically recreate the reliability of a pellet smoker, but to use charcoal and wood. Right now I'm using a very bottom of the line controller (Party Q) I was able to pick up cheap on Facebook Marketplace, it seems good enough for me.
question for weber people - do you use lump charcoal or the briquettes? Perhaps the egg has spoiled me, but I think food tastes off if it is not lump charcoal, but i was not sure how it holds up or burns in a weber.
 

The Tradition

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question for weber people - do you use lump charcoal or the briquettes? Perhaps the egg has spoiled me, but I think food tastes off if it is not lump charcoal, but i was not sure how it holds up or burns in a weber.

I've used both.

I created a steel mesh basket to capture the small pieces of lump, otherwise they just fall through the charcoal grate and into bottom of the cooker.

I use lump when I'm trying to get really hot temperatures.

I use briquettes for low-and-slow cooks.
 

SoDakHawk

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Sep 14, 2006
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question for weber people - do you use lump charcoal or the briquettes? Perhaps the egg has spoiled me, but I think food tastes off if it is not lump charcoal, but i was not sure how it holds up or burns in a weber.
Briquets for the same reason as above. Lump burns hotter and is not uniform/can fall through the grates. Briquets burn low and slow and are uniform.
 

ping72

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Ceramic grills do perform well, but they suffer from two problems: They're heavy as hell and limited real estate.

I’ll give you the limited real estate... always wish they were bigger.

I don’t see why the weight matters, though. It’s not like you ever have to pick it up.
 

Nole Lou

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question for weber people - do you use lump charcoal or the briquettes? Perhaps the egg has spoiled me, but I think food tastes off if it is not lump charcoal, but i was not sure how it holds up or burns in a weber.

Lump charcoal burns fine in the weber. But after spending years with just lump charcoal, I'm back to mostly briquettes.

The idea that lump tastes better may be accurate for 1% of super savant tasters, but it's not really a thing to me. The biggest advantage to lump is that it creates so much less ash, and produces more heat per weight. It definitely can get hotter.

The downside is that it is so much more variable...

- Any given bag can be vastly different shapes and sizes, and you could easily end up with a bag of chips and dust
- Within a bag you have all different shapes and sizes and often have to pick through it for what you're looking for
- A pile of lump burning is all irregular, as far as shapes, density of charcoal, airflow as it moves through, the heat and burn can vary dramatically within one cook or from one cook to another.

In contrast, you can set your watch by good briquettes in every way. The entire bag is usable, every bag is exactly the same, every briquette burns the exact same way, and 30 briquettes will burn the exact same way every time. My son's boy scout troop uses kingsford briquettes with their dutch ovens, and has a chart they use for exactly how many briquettes on the dutch oven = exactly what temperature and for how long, they're that reliable.

I think lump is probably a little better in a egg because the air control is so tight that you really can control the temperature pretty much 100% by airflow, and the actual amount of fuel the fire is dealing with is less of a factor.
And the egg tapers down so much at the bottom, getting more heat with less charcoal is a good thing.

The Weber is not that rock solid for air control, so how much fuel it has to burn matters, and it can fluctuate more if it hits a particularly hot spot of lump in the pile. I think most people on Weber use briquettes for a low and slow, just to remove the charcoal as a variable.

Lump is still great for direct grilling, and in a perfect world I would probably use briquettes for smoking and lump for direct, but it's not worth the hassle to me of playing bag roulette with lump, or paying $30 a bag for premium lump. I see a lot of people online that every time they buy a bag of lump charcoal, they dump it out on a tarp, sort it by size into buckets, and discard the chips. That's more than I'm willing to do.

What I really like is the Kingsford Professional. It's like $10 a bag at Costco. It produces a lot less ash then the standard, and burns a bit hotter. Neither quite as much as lump, but it splits the difference, while still being super repeatable. Loaded up in my Slow N Sear or a vortex or charcoal basket, it gets plenty hot enough for high heat grilling.
 

Tenacious E

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Lump charcoal burns fine in the weber. But after spending years with just lump charcoal, I'm back to mostly briquettes.

The idea that lump tastes better may be accurate for 1% of super savant tasters, but it's not really a thing to me. The biggest advantage to lump is that it creates so much less ash, and produces more heat per weight. It definitely can get hotter.

The downside is that it is so much more variable...

- Any given bag can be vastly different shapes and sizes, and you could easily end up with a bag of chips and dust
- Within a bag you have all different shapes and sizes and often have to pick through it for what you're looking for
- A pile of lump burning is all irregular, as far as shapes, density of charcoal, airflow as it moves through, the heat and burn can vary dramatically within one cook or from one cook to another.

In contrast, you can set your watch by good briquettes in every way. The entire bag is usable, every bag is exactly the same, every briquette burns the exact same way, and 30 briquettes will burn the exact same way every time. My son's boy scout troop uses kingsford briquettes with their dutch ovens, and has a chart they use for exactly how many briquettes on the dutch oven = exactly what temperature and for how long, they're that reliable.

I think lump is probably a little better in a egg because the air control is so tight that you really can control the temperature pretty much 100% by airflow, and the actual amount of fuel the fire is dealing with is less of a factor.
And the egg tapers down so much at the bottom, getting more heat with less charcoal is a good thing.

The Weber is not that rock solid for air control, so how much fuel it has to burn matters, and it can fluctuate more if it hits a particularly hot spot of lump in the pile. I think most people on Weber use briquettes for a low and slow, just to remove the charcoal as a variable.

Lump is still great for direct grilling, and in a perfect world I would probably use briquettes for smoking and lump for direct, but it's not worth the hassle to me of playing bag roulette with lump, or paying $30 a bag for premium lump. I see a lot of people online that every time they buy a bag of lump charcoal, they dump it out on a tarp, sort it by size into buckets, and discard the chips. That's more than I'm willing to do.

What I really like is the Kingsford Professional. It's like $10 a bag at Costco. It produces a lot less ash then the standard, and burns a bit hotter. Neither quite as much as lump, but it splits the difference, while still being super repeatable. Loaded up in my Slow N Sear or a vortex or charcoal basket, it gets plenty hot enough for high heat grilling.
Good stuff. For the egg I use lump and once it all gets going, I spread it around the bottom. Seems pretty even to me for direct cooks, but I could see how a big chunk would create more heat closer to the meat so it would be a bit uneven. For steak kebabs I guess I think of it having varying degrees of doneness for different palates. For indirect cooks it does not matter because heat is being diffused.
 
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The Tradition

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I’ll give you the limited real estate... always wish they were bigger.

I don’t see why the weight matters, though. It’s not like you ever have to pick it up.

My pit area is on the deck out back. I have a retractable awning for some weather protection, but if the forecast is calling for really crappy weather, I can easily move the Kettle and/or the PBC to the covered front porch here at Tradition Manor.

Good luck doing that with a ceramic cooker. Even if you get the nest on wheels, it's still a bitch to roll around.
 

Tenacious E

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My pit area is on the deck out back. I have a retractable awning for some weather protection, but if the forecast is calling for really crappy weather, I can easily move the Kettle and/or the PBC to the covered front porch here at Tradition Manor.

Good luck doing that with a ceramic cooker. Even if you get the nest on wheels, it's still a bitch to roll around.
Why would you need to move an egg in bad weather?
 

GOHOX69

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Sep 26, 2009
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Lump charcoal burns fine in the weber. But after spending years with just lump charcoal, I'm back to mostly briquettes.

The idea that lump tastes better may be accurate for 1% of super savant tasters, but it's not really a thing to me. The biggest advantage to lump is that it creates so much less ash, and produces more heat per weight. It definitely can get hotter.

The downside is that it is so much more variable...

- Any given bag can be vastly different shapes and sizes, and you could easily end up with a bag of chips and dust
- Within a bag you have all different shapes and sizes and often have to pick through it for what you're looking for
- A pile of lump burning is all irregular, as far as shapes, density of charcoal, airflow as it moves through, the heat and burn can vary dramatically within one cook or from one cook to another.

In contrast, you can set your watch by good briquettes in every way. The entire bag is usable, every bag is exactly the same, every briquette burns the exact same way, and 30 briquettes will burn the exact same way every time. My son's boy scout troop uses kingsford briquettes with their dutch ovens, and has a chart they use for exactly how many briquettes on the dutch oven = exactly what temperature and for how long, they're that reliable.

I think lump is probably a little better in a egg because the air control is so tight that you really can control the temperature pretty much 100% by airflow, and the actual amount of fuel the fire is dealing with is less of a factor.
And the egg tapers down so much at the bottom, getting more heat with less charcoal is a good thing.

The Weber is not that rock solid for air control, so how much fuel it has to burn matters, and it can fluctuate more if it hits a particularly hot spot of lump in the pile. I think most people on Weber use briquettes for a low and slow, just to remove the charcoal as a variable.

Lump is still great for direct grilling, and in a perfect world I would probably use briquettes for smoking and lump for direct, but it's not worth the hassle to me of playing bag roulette with lump, or paying $30 a bag for premium lump. I see a lot of people online that every time they buy a bag of lump charcoal, they dump it out on a tarp, sort it by size into buckets, and discard the chips. That's more than I'm willing to do.

What I really like is the Kingsford Professional. It's like $10 a bag at Costco. It produces a lot less ash then the standard, and burns a bit hotter. Neither quite as much as lump, but it splits the difference, while still being super repeatable. Loaded up in my Slow N Sear or a vortex or charcoal basket, it gets plenty hot enough for high heat grilling.
This, right here, is a great post.
 

Tenacious E

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Do you want to check on things and/or remove your meat from the cooker in the pouring rain? I don't.
I heard of these things that work pretty well in those situations. I think they are called umbrellas. Maybe you get a different kind of rain in Florida but it's not a big deal to crack open the lid a little bit to see what's doing in there. Removing the food could be a little more challenging. But I guess if a day is calling for sustained rains, I would probably just do something else for food, as part of the enjoyment is being outside with it on a nice day.
 

Nole Lou

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Apr 5, 2002
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Good stuff. For the egg I use lump and once it all gets going, I spread it around the bottom. Seems pretty even to me for direct cooks, but I could see how a big chunk would create more heat closer to the meat so it would be a bit uneven. For steak kebabs I guess I think of it having varying degrees of doneness for different palates. For indirect cooks it does not matter because heat is being diffused.

Yep, lump is always going to work for that that in a weber too. It's more low and slow where lump's variability and higher burn temperatures in a weber can play games with you.
 

Tenacious E

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Wut? I get a chimney going in 15 minutes with my local fishwrap.
What can I say? Do you wait until it is putting out clear hot air with lump charcoal, or do you put food on when the it is still putting out black smoke? I wait until it is burning clean and air is not sooty.
 

The Tradition

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What can I say? Do you wait until it is putting out clear hot air with lump charcoal, or do you put food on when the it is still putting out black smoke? I wait until it is burning clean and air is not sooty.

The chimney is just for starting the charcoal. The temperature I'm trying to reach dictates the number of coals in my chimney. If I'm trying to get an inferno going, I'll do a full chimney (or two) and that takes longer. But for most cooks, I'm doing a half chimney (or less) and that only takes about 15 minutes.

So, for example, if I'm doing low and slow, I might only light 10 briquettes in the chimney. With coals banked against the side of the Kettle, you dump them in on one side and the fire will slowly creep over to the other side.

But let's say I want it to start slow and get hotter as the cook goes on... (for example, I want to sear the meat after slow cooking it). Well, then you dump your 10 briquettes in the middle of the banked-up pile. The fire spreads both ways, so by the time you're ready to sear, you have a nice hot center mass of heat in the hot zone.
 
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Tenacious E

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The chimney is just for starting the charcoal. The temperature I'm trying to reach dictates the number of coals in my chimney. If I'm trying to get an inferno going, I'll do a full chimney (or two) and that takes longer. But for most cooks, I'm doing a half chimney (or less) and that only takes about 15 minutes.

So, for example, if I'm doing low and slow, I might only light 10 briquettes in the chimney. With coals banked against the side of the Kettle, you dump them in on one side and the fire will slowly creep over to the other side.

But let's say I want it to start slow and get hotter as the cook goes on... (for example, I want to sear the meat after slow cooking it). Well, then you dump your 10 briquettes in the middle of the banked-up pile. The fire spreads both ways, so by the time you're ready to sear, you have a nice hot center mass of heat in the hot zone.
We’ll, once again, likely operator error on my part.
 
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JMSBFD

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Ceramic grills do perform well, but they suffer from two problems: They're heavy as hell and limited real estate.
While generally true, I take exception to your latter statement. I have a BGE XL and the Woo combo and can easily do 6 full racks of ribs, 20 pounds of jerky, etc.
 
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The Tradition

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While generally true, I take exception to your latter statement. I have a BGE XL and the Woo combo and can easily do 6 full racks of ribs, 20 pounds of jerky, etc.

So, this Woo thing is a device that turns your BGE into a PBC?
 

JMSBFD

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I don't have a pbc but it's basically a rack system and I also have what they call the spider to lower the grate right above the coals for direct cooking. I use that for steaks, burgers, etc. Check out the ceramicgrillstore.com
 
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The Tradition

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I don't have a pbc but it's basically a rack system and I also have what they call the spider to lower the grate right above the coals for direct cooking. I use that for steaks, burgers, etc. Check out the ceramicgrillstore.com

Okay, so a BGE XL is $1,839 at at the BGE store.

The PBC XL is $599, and includes the hanging rack system.

And the PBC is light enough that your wife could load it in the back of your truck.

Decisions, decisions....
 
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