When you are comparing the Primo and Big Green Egg, you need to understand the primary differences between the two barbeques that may influence your purchasing decision. Neither of these barbeques are cheap, so it is important that you get your investment right the first go-around.
The cooking results from both of these units are incredible. If you delve into the promotion material, both of the manufacturers will inform you about the advantages of cooking on top of a kamado ceramic barbeque as opposed to other types of grills (and it’s true that most of this information is true); however, when it comes down to comparing these to one another, which one is better?
Both units have the same assembly and working principle. Both units can realize the same temperature that is beneficial for pizza and bread. Both units will also do slow and low, as long as the elective ceramic deflector plate is inserted. Both units have the same quality of cooking. Both units have the same built-in accurate temperatures gauges within the lid that may become obscured with condensation. Both units are inexpensive on charcoal. So, the question comes down to this: how is it that you compare them?
Apart from the color of the units (one of which is black and the other is green), the only true difference between the Primo and the Big Green Egg is the shape. Then, there are various additional features that can improve the versatility of the Primo unit over the Big Green Egg unit.
When it comes to the cooking area, the Primo Oval XL is significantly larger, making it far more flexible for cooking large pieces of meat. The oval design of this unit is split into two separate D-shaped sections. The cooking grates are shaped like Ds, as are the ceramic deflector plates, then there is a metal partition that is in the middle of the firebox.
This allows easy cooking of meat on one side, while leaving the other side open for keeping the meat warm. If you are cooking kabobs, you can grill the meat on one side and keep the handles of the kabobs on the other side staying relatively cool. Now, on the Big Green Egg, you will need to use bamboo skewers and keep them turned with tongs.
When you are cooking slow and low and using only one side of the oval, it is incredibly easy to refill the wood chips or coals since you will have direct access to the unit’s firebox from the side that you aren’t utilizing.
With the Big Green Egg, this is not the case, unfortunately. If you want to refill the chips or coals, you will need to remove the food, cooking grate, as well as the ceramic deflector plate (or the plate setter for the Big Green Egg) prior to being able to access the firebox.
On the Big Green Egg, the firebox to sit lower, and because of this, it allows for more charcoal to be loaded into the firebox. When you couple that with the economical charcoal use, then you can appreciate why most people who have used the Big Green Egg barbecue have never had issues with the unit. Due to the low location of the firebox, the cooking grate sits four inches below the line of the base, providing you with additional inches in height within the cooking dome.
However, you need to know when you will use it. There aren’t many instances when vertical space is an issue during grilling. If you’re looking to smoke a decent-sized turkey, it would be helpful, but you may lose additional height if the ceramic heat deflector is in place. Of course, it isn’t recommended to smoke a turkey more than 14 pounds anyway.
There is an optional raised rack with the Big Green Egg that can be placed above to enlarge the size of the cooking area. However, if the cooking area is an issue, you may be better off simply opting for the Primo.
Note: There is an XL model of the Big Green Egg that has a larger cooking area, and it has a ceramic heat deflector plate.
The Primo unit has a shallower design. The ash gathering area is also shallower, meaning that it is important to clear out the ash after each cookout. With the Egg, you can get by with cleaning it out after every two to three cookouts. If ash gathers too heavily, the air draft to the firebox will get blocked and the range in temperature will be restricted. If you’re cooking slow and low, it won’t be a big deal, but if you are trying to achieve a high temperature for cooking steaks, then it’s important.
There is a secondary perforated slider in the Big Green Egg that is located on the bottom firebox vent that helps to avoid hot ash from spewing out when cooking, which is an incredible safety element to this barbecue unit.
Back to the debate on whether the Big Green Egg or the Primo is better, on top of the Primo unit, there is a daisy wheel draft vent that is screwed into place so when the lid is lifted, there isn’t a possibility of it falling off, and due to the mounted position, the draft aperture shouldn’t be lost. If the daisy wheel is placed on top of the egg with the hinge facing front, then the draft aperture will be kept constant when the lid is opened so you may not even need to screw it on.
Also, there is a separate ceramic cover lid that comes with the Big Green Egg that is beneficial because it assists in quickly killing the fire, savings the fire. The ceramic lid can be kept on the unit despite the type of weather. The daisy wheel can be removed and easily cleaned. This is important because it can get tarred up and may get stuck in its position after so many cookouts. Once the fire gets going, it will loosen up; however, if it ends up seizing in the closed position, it is difficult to start a fire without completely unscrewing the entire unit. Of course, you could leave the vent open, but it may also allow rain into of the Primo barbecue if you aren’t using it—and how would you stop the fire once you’re finished cooking?
There is an optional nest for the Big Green Egg unit. For most users, it makes it the ideal height for cooking. There are fold down tables on each side of the unit, which work extremely well for cooking one side and raw food on another, though there is no room for condiments, drinks, etc.
With a nest, it makes it easy to move the barbecue around. It is a bit weird that it wasn’t made with three legs instead of four so it could be more stable and not shake. The Primo Oval XL barbecue rests on a metallic table with more robust casters, two with a locking brake.
The Big Green Egg has a lid handle that’s bolted on a bit of wood, and the handle on the Primo is a sturdy metal bar. After it has set out in the weather, a wood handle may not perform or look very well.
The ceramic components on the Big Green Egg unit come with a lifetime guarantee, although there isn’t a guarantee on the other components. The ceramic parts on the Primo have a guarantee of 20 years, with a five-year guarantee on metallic parts and a 30-day guarantee on the gasket.
If money is not a concern, you should opt for the Primo since it offers enhanced flexible and you can have a custom built table to suit your individual needs. If the size of the barbecue is not something that you are concerned with, then maybe you just need to consider the color of the unit.
Note: Both of the units come equipped with a variety of features regarding holding tables, nests, etc., and it is important that all concerns mentioned be taken into consideration regarding each of them as well as basic points mentioned regarding the equipment.
For more information, contact us at Southern Hearth & Grills.