This year I’ve spent spring in my garden dodging rain showers to review some of the best BBQs including models from Big Green Egg and Weber. I tried out the smallest of the Big Green Egg family; the Big Green Egg Minimax and also the Original Weber Kettle.
Both of these well known BBQ brands hail from the US, but Big Green Egg barbecues are inspired by Japanese kamado grills, whereas Weber’s first BBQ’s were made from marine buoys. In many ways, these two BBQ’s are like chalk and cheese, but they also share similarities and if nothing else, their stark differences should make it easier for you to figure out which is right for you.
So if you’re looking for a new premium charcoal BBQ to elevate your outdoor cooking experience this summer, read on to discover which of these two top scoring BBQ’s you should buy and why.
Gorgeous, well-built and super compact, this mini version of the classic Big Green Egg won our hearts in our at-home tests. It's the perfect BBQ for temperature retention, and should last you for years and years.
The Weber Original is the most iconic of all of the charcoal BBQs. Easy to use, clean and sure to last you for many years to come, it's a solid affordable investment.
Big Green Egg vs Weber: Range
The Big Green Egg range is limited in comparison to what Weber has to offer. You can buy a Big Green Egg in one of three sizes, the Minimax is the small entry-level model but it still has a decent 33cm diameter cooking surface. The large Egg offers a family sized 46cm and the XL Egg has a whopping 61cm diameter cooking surface.
The Weber Original Kettle comes in two sizes, 47cm or 57cm. But the Original Kettle is just the tip of the iceberg, there are various other kettle BBQ’s including the Master-Touch Kettle and the Bar-B Kettle. Weber even makes a kamado style BBQ which is closest in style to a Big Green Egg.
Or, if you’re not totally sold on charcoal, they do a stellar range of the best gas BBQs too, we recently tried the Weber Spirit II E-310 and it's currently in the top spot having earned the title of best gas BBQ on our best BBQ round up.
Big Green Egg vs Weber: Cost
Okay, so depending on your budget, cost might well be the deciding factor in which you choose. There’s a big difference between the two brands when it comes to pricing. Let’s compare the 47cm Weber Original Kettle to the 46cm Large Big Green Egg since they both offer a similar sized cooking surface.
The 47cm Weber Original Kettle costs £215, there are some accessories you can add on but really they’re optional. The 46cm Large Big Green Egg will, on the other hand, set you back a staggering £1375. Then if you want legs or a table for it, you can spend anything from £335 to £2000 on top. Plus you can easily spend several hundred pounds on additional accessories if you want to. Even if you opt for the smallest Minimax Big Green Egg with no accessories, you’re still looking at £795.
Big Green Egg vs Weber: Cooking
So if you’re still in shock about the price of a Big Green Egg you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. But don’t stop reading just yet, if your budget will stretch to it, this really is an impressive outdoor cooker. And I say that because it’s so much more than just a BBQ. A Big Green Egg is designed for closed lid cooking, which means you can use it year round no matter what the weather - so you’ll be able to get your money’s worth!
When I reviewed the Minimax Big Green Egg earlier this year I was impressed with how quickly and easily it lights as well as the length of time it can retain heat for. And it’s this heat retention that means it can be used like an outdoor oven.
Depending on the accessories you’ve got and the size of Egg you go for, you can use it to cook anything from a whole turkey at Christmas to baking breads, pizzas and even rotisserie meats. It’s as versatile as you want it to be - making it great for adventurous cooks as well as meat lovers.
I roasted a whole chicken in a Big Green Egg and it’s one of the best chickens I’ve ever cooked. Even as an Egg cooking novice, I was able to regulate the temperature from the get-go for impressive and tasty results.
Now, a standard Weber Kettle won’t offer the same level of versatility in comparison to a Big Green Egg. It’s more of your traditional summer BBQ. But that being said, I also roasted a whole, albeit spatchcock, chicken in the Weber Original Kettle, using their indirect cooking method and it worked a treat. Plus there are accessories such as a pizza stone and rotisserie that you can buy if you want more options.
A Weber Kettle works well for both lid-on and lid-off cooking, so if you’re someone who likes to watch over your BBQ food, this’ll suit you better than egg style cooking that’s primarily done with the lid closed. I think for a standard summer BBQ you can’t go wrong with a Weber Kettle, they retain heat well and it’s easy to regulate the air flow to control the heat level. Quite simply it’s a classic.
Whichever BBQ you choose, my advice is to invest in really good charcoal and natural firelighters. It’s amazing the difference this makes. Both brands offer their own charcoal and I’d suggest buying a bag when you buy the BBQ - that sad, wet bag from your local petrol station just won’t cut it.
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After completing a Home Economics degree, Helen went on to work for the Good Housekeeping Institute and has been reviewing home appliances ever since. She lives in a small village in Buckinghamshire in the UK.
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