Grills are made of many different materials and come in many different shapes and sizes. We have the reviewed the aluminum box-shaped PK Grill and many round Weber grills, mostly made of steel. We would like to introduce The Big Green Egg, an egg-shaped kamado cooker made of porcelain coated ceramic.
The first kamado-style cookers are believed to have been used in China over 3000 years ago, but round clay cooking pots have been used by many cultures throughout history – the Indian tandoori oven is a great example. America was introduced to this cooking style after World War 2, when returning servicemen brought back Japanese ‘mushikamados’. These charcoal burning clay pots with removable clay lids were able to cook food at high heat with minimum fuel. The mushikamado’s ability to grill, steam, smoke, roast, and bake helped popularize them, and the industry took off.
The Big Green Egg company was started in 1974 by one of these American servicemen, Ed Fisher. Over the years, the company has improved the cooker by doing things like adding a draft door to control heat flow and replacing the clay body with ceramic developed by NASA for the space shuttle (so cool!).
American Alternative Review:
Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, the Big Green Egg company manufactures only Big Green Egg cookers and accessories. Cookers come in five sizes ranging from mini to extra-large. This review will focus only on the cooker and parts that come with the cooker.
The company was not responsive to our attempts to reach out to them, but their FAQ page is very open about where their parts are manufactured. The vast majority of the cooker is the ceramic body, manufactured by the American company Daltile in a Monterrey, Mexico facility. The lower fire grate is made in China. Only the spring-assisted bands, hinge assembly, temperature gauge, and stainless steel cooking surface are made in America.
The Big Green Egg is a wonderful example of how American innovation can make great products even better. Unfortunately, American R&D with minimal American manufacturing is not enough to gain a 5-star rating.
You can only purchase the Big Green Egg through their dealer network. For a more American-made kamado, we recommend one of the Primo kamados, whose Oval JR and Oval XL both scored 5-star ratings. Otherwise, we encourage you to check out the cheaper but less versatile PK Grill or the Weber One-Touch Series of barbecue kettles. Both also received 5-star American Alternative ratings. You can also check out how the Big Green Eggs stacked up against all the kamados and grills that we reviewed in our Charcoal Grill Category Recap.
Note: The company strongly discourages the use of charcoal briquettes and/or lighter fluid. The petroleum in these products can affect food taste and stick to the inside coating, leaving you with a stinky egg. They encourage the use of natural lump charcoal instead.