Which is Best? Big Green Egg vs Sea Island Forge Fire Kettle
September 2, 2022 by Sea Island Forge
An Intro To The Sea Island Forge Fire Kettle Grilling System
This hand-forged grill and fire pit set packs a punch in versatility that would raise the eyebrows of any grilling enthusiast. The Kettle is made from cast ductile iron with the intention of outlasting us all. It features an innovative movable Grill top that is specifically made for the Fire Kettle to provide an optimal outdoor cooking experience because it can be easily raised, lowered, and pivoted over the fire, allowing for precise temperature control when grilling. Two screw-tight anchor points secure the stainless steel grill attachment to the Kettle lip, and the patented ratchet system controls the grill top. The 30-gallon Fire Kettle Grilling System can use either charcoal lumps or wood and can comfortably fit 8-10 chairs around the boot rail for a pleasant, safe, post-grilling fire pit experience.
This all-in-one fire pit and grill design encourages gatherings both intimate and large to enjoy the outdoors around a warm fire together, instead of leaving one person outside to grill alone. Southern Living weighs in on the Kettle’s timelessness and versatility: “This grill will not only make all his backyard tailgate dreams a reality, but it will also quickly become a family heirloom. Made in the tradition of Southern cane syrup boiling kettles, it functions as a centerpiece for the entire family to gather round for roasting oysters or marshmallows.” Sea Island Forge’s Heat Dome 2.0 accessory furthers the Kettle’s unique cooking precision; it captures all of that wonderful smoke flavor while your meat stays tender.
Quick Overview Of the XLarge Big Green Egg
These unusual kamado-style grills have developed quite a reputation. In fact, because of their popularity, more brands have risen up in recent years to rival the Big Green Egg. Big Green Egg products are easily recognized for their unique olive green color and spherical “egg” shape and are known for their heat retention and robust design in the world of charcoal grills. In a Consumer Reports review, CR testers were impressed by The Big Green Egg’s capacity to first quickly sear a steak or cook a flavorful, brick-oven-like pizza crust at an extremely high heat, then easily lower the temperature to cook ribs for several hours over low, constant heat. This smoker with its sealed firebox creates a cooking chamber similar to a crockpot or roaster that allows a grillmaster to easily smoke meat for almost an entire day without needing to add charcoal since it is efficient and has a well-sealed design that was created to maintain a constant cooking temperature in any outside temperature.
Oftentimes, grillmasters do point out that this grill does have a small grilling surface, which isn’t an issue for an average-sized family, but that is why the company came out with the XLarge and 2XL Big Green Eggs. We will be comparing the larger Big Green Egg size, the XLarge, to the smaller, 30-gallon Sea Island Forge Grilling System, since these two have comparable sizes and cooking capacities.
XLarge Big Green Egg vs. 30-Gallon Sea Island Forge Grilling System
We chose the large Big Green Egg smoker, the Big Green Egg XL, to compare to the Sea Island Forge Grilling System because it has the most comparable size and cooking capacity, and both are ideal for either large or close-knit gatherings of friends and family.
Quick Facts about the Big Green Egg XL and Sea Island Forge Grilling System
Things to Consider for Each Grill
What Fuel And Materials Are Needed For Each Grill?
Natural starters, long matches, a secure lighter, and of course charcoal can all be used with the Big Green Egg XL and the Sea Island Forge Grilling System. Briquettes and wood are acceptable in the Sea Island Forge Grilling System but not in the Big Green Egg.
While you can choose any kind of charcoal you prefer to use in either grill, both grilling companies recommend charcoal that burns longer, cleaner, and more efficiently in their grills. Big Green Egg recommends their 100% Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal. Its sustainable eucalyptus wood lump charcoal lights quickly, burns hot, is fuel efficient, and stays hot for longer periods of time. It is all-natural, containing no fillers, nitrates, chemicals, or petroleum products for clean burning. They also recommend their All Natural SpeediLight Charcoal Starters, which are easy-to-light squares that are clean (no chemicals or odors), and safe and ready to use.
Sea Island Forge recommends the use of Royal Oak 100% All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal in their grills because it is also all-natural and from sustainably sourced oak. It creates a savory, smoky BBQ flavor and lights quickly, reaches high temperatures, and has a lasting burn for slow, low cooking. Sea Island Forge also recommends using hardwood such as apple, hickory, or oak in their Fire Kettles, particularly for enjoying gathering around an evening fire after cooking. Hardwood produces less smoke and burns cleaner and longer than other kinds of woods, so it is ideal for fire pit use.
I Love Entertaining. Which Is The Best Grill For Me?
The Sea Island Forge Grilling System's unique differentiator in the marketplace is that it is incredibly multi-purpose for utility and recreation. Picture this: You go outside on a nice evening with a couple of friends. You sit around the fire pit style grill, enjoying conversation and the experience of cooking a meal together around the fire. Then, after 3-4 hours, you add firewood to the Kettle, creating a crackling fire to extend an evening under the stars with people you love. This fire pit is perfect for gatherings of friends and family late into the night surrounded by the warmth of fire and friendship.
On the other hand, the grill master often ends up grilling alone with the Big Green Egg, and many other grills like it. True, the Big Green Egg can serve as both a smoker and a pizza oven depending on how hot the heat is set, so you have many options for entertaining when it comes to food choices with this grill. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll find people sitting in chairs congregating around the grill into the night. If you don’t prefer grilling and preparing the meal ahead of time on your own, then consider the Sea Island Forge Grilling System for a way to have your guests join in on the cooking experience.
What Is Temperature Control Like For These Grills?
What really rivals the Big Green Egg in temperature control while cooking and sets the Sea Island Forge Grilling System apart from others is that the grillmaster can immediately and easily control cooking temperatures on the grill due to the patented ratchet system. This ratchet system allows a grillmaster to rotate the grill away from or towards the fire and raise the grill up and down over the fire in real-time while cooking, creating ease of temperature control in just moments. For example, you can quickly sear a steak, then raise the steak away to cook at a lower more indirect temperature, then take it off the heat as needed, without ever having to move the steak.
Big Green Egg is known and often chosen for its ability to seal in high temperatures for such long periods of time, enabling the grillmaster to smoke foods. However, this also means it is difficult to bring the temperature of the Egg back down when needed. The Big Green Egg has a ceramic build that serves as insulation rather than the standard stainless steel construction found in other smokers. Ceramic is a fantastic material for minimizing thermal energy loss and will stay extremely hot for a long period of time. The ceramic traps heat to provide an effective smoking experience in the Big Green Egg.
However, the only issue with all of this trapped heat is that this extreme high-temperature ceramic bowl causes the Big Green Egg to get so hot that it is hard to bring the temperature back down easily. There is a draft door in the ceramic base and a dual-purpose metal top on the ceramic lid that allows you to raise or lower the temperature slightly, but once the temperatures are high it is pretty difficult to lower them quickly. In fact, it can take upwards of 10 hours for the Big Green Egg to cool back down to below 200 degrees.
*As a note, the Sea Island Forge Grilling system does come with the Heat Dome, which is a cooking accessory that aids in rolling smoke over the grill and increasing temperatures. However, the Heat Dome sits on the grill and therefore does not create a full-enclosure seal the way that the Big Green Egg does, and so it provides less trapped heat than the kamado-style ceramic lid of the Big Green Egg. The Heat Dome does allow a grillmaster to smoke for long periods of time, but the openings around the grill don’t work the same way that the sealing ceramic lid does to hold heat in the Big Green Egg.
What About Grilling Features And Accessories?
The Big Green Egg is known for its many available accessories. The XLarge Big Green Egg without accessories comes with a green shell with a lifetime finish that easily wipes clean and a stainless steel cooking plate (priced at $1,399). Ash buildup is low, as residual heat inside burns away grease accumulation. However, it only comes with the basics, and Big Green Egg offers a multitude of add-ons, which they brand as “EGGcessories.” The most common EGGcessories for this large grill model are the metal and ceramic XL convEGGtor basket for indirect cooking ($129.95) and the XL intEGGrated Nest and Handler, a steel mobile base ($399.95). The patent-pending rEGGulator, with its cast iron material and silicone handle, allows the grillmaster to increase and decrease air supply, thus allowing for more temperature control without the risk of burned hands. The two-piece multi-level rack allows a grillmaster to be at two different temperatures at the same time. There are also many additional Eggcessories that Big Green Eggs sells including a rack for large roasts, pizza peels, and grill lifters that you can add to the cooking experience.
The Sea Island Forge Grilling System not only includes the ½” thick cast ductile iron Fire Kettle that can be easily seasoned with oil and a galvanized steel boot rail stand, but also is packaged along with grilling accessories including a 30-gallon stainless steel fire pit Grill with a mounting plate, a stainless steel Heat Dome with thermometer, and hand-hammered Twisted Poker (all accessories are included in $3,650 price). Each accessory is handmade, which sets Sea Island Forge apart with its high metalwork quality. There are also other handcrafted accessories and cooking tools not included in this package, such as a Griddle or a Burner by the fire that you can use with skillets, cast-iron pans, or even coffee pots. For example, there is a specially crafted copper Table Top add-on for the Sea Island Forge Grilling System that is portable and perfect for converting the Kettle into a beautiful outdoor table when not in use.
What Is The Overall Value Of Each Grill?
With both of these high-quality charcoal grills, you get what you pay for, and you’ll have amazing grilling experiences and mouth-watering meals for a lifetime. Both companies value providing exceptional customer service and have had raving reviews. The XLarge Big Green Egg is a tried-and-true recognizable brand that all grillmasters trust, and will provide a variety of culinary cuisines from brick-oven-like pizzas to perfectly smoked, low, and slow brisket. However, the main advantage of the Sea Island Forge Grilling System is that it is perfect for both utility and fun, as each of its hand-forged parts were uniquely designed for grilling and gathering. This Fire Kettle is not only a grill but a legacy piece that creates a communal outdoor cooking experience and a place to gather around a firepit. Revolutionize your lonely grilling experience to become a community experience; consider the Sea Island Forge Grilling System as a way to involve your guests in the cooking process and extend your time outdoors together.