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The Cult of the Big Green Egg

The Cult of the Big Green Egg

For those of you who don’t know what the Big Green Egg is, here’s the quickest summary we can give you. It’s a kamado style ceramic grill that inspires ravenous loyalty in its users and it comes in one shape and color. Egg and green. Those who use it swear the grill keeps the meat juicier, heat evener, and party goinger than any of its competition. Not too long ago, The New York Times did an excellent piece on the Big Green Egg. We rediscovered the piece and it got us thinking about the state of the community in 2017. As we expected, it’s just as active and strong as it was when the Time published their article.

Big Green Egg enthusiasts don’t follow the template for cultist behavior. They’re not meeting at 4 in the morning in a woodland clearing, burning effigies or sacrificing goats or chanting. But, in what appears to be a sweeping majority, fans of the Big Green Egg grill with equal religious fervor. With the energy a stereotypical Satanist attempts to summon the anti-Christ (Jesus with a black goatee and leather jacket), Eggheads populate forums, subreddits, festivals, and listicles.

First stop on our tour of Egg culture should be the subreddit. It’s the most easily navigated of everything we’ve found, so it’s a natural starting point for noncultists like ourselves. Posts come in every few hours and with enough regularity and diversity that a daily check wouldn’t be unrewarded, also making the front page on any given day a decent cross section of the subreddit. We happened to visit the site the day before the Fourth of July, so those are the front page posts we’re basing this on.

Most posts are people sharing pictures of whatever they made on their Egg, and the surprisingly supportive redditors don’t seem to care about how professional your photography looks. This guy’s porterhouse looks like anyone’s dad’s Instagram, while we’re pretty sure this guy brought his chicken halves to a professional studio. But there’s only a seven point upvote spread on them, so the two grand that guy dropped on a smoked chicken photoshoot didn’t score him much extra on the arbitrary scale that is Internet karma.

It’s worth mentioning here, the upvote button is a green egg.

Other than picture posts, there are questions with high engagement. Take this newb’s question. They just got their egg recently and are looking for tips on how to get comfortable with it. Every answer they get is helpful, every answer is different, and every answer radiates barely contained excitement.

Someone’s asking about cooking cow heads on their grill, which could really go either way if you’re still on the fence about this being a real cult. The comments section on that one is particularly good.

We don’t want to spend all our time on the subreddit, but we can’t neglect the top posts tab either. Let’s speed through them. Every top post is a picture, but there’s good variety in what they’re shooting. Some posts are people getting Eggs for their birthdays or putting their babies on top of the grill. Not while it’s lit, though, because that would be getting too close to actual dangerous cults. Someone else is both happy and sad their egg won’t be white inside anymore, and another poster is celebrating his purchase with the same language as a Bond villain does a kidnapping.

For something closer to an official forum, we have to look at Big Green Egg itself. From what we can tell, they established the Egghead Forum years ago, though it’s hard to nail down a definitive date. The main section only records 100 pages worth of posts, which seems to translate to roughly three months of activity. That’s plenty active, easily outpacing other forums we’ve seen. Posts and replies are coming in by the minute, so if staying up to date is important to you, this is probably your best resource.

It also resembles what Bob Belcher thought his burger forum was before reality came crashing down on him. That actually gets us wondering how many real life friendships and romances got started or ruined by Egghead Forum posts.

And if you’re considering getting in on the Egg action, you might as well go all the way and enter, or at least attend, any of the regional festivals dedicated to cooking in a ceramic egg. And if you think these are piddling food festivals, we haven’t done a very good job communicating just how devoted these people are to their grills. Each of them is formidable in their own right, but every one of those smaller Eggfests is basically a tribute to Eggtoberfest, the annual Big Green Egg event that helped spread the grill’s initial popularity. They made a video about Eggtoberfest 2016, and our main takeaway is that we didn’t know there was so much slo-mo footage of food. 

If you’re looking to join a community, there are more violent and secluded ones than Eggheads. Most of what we saw online was friendly people making good food with their only hangup being their inability to conceive of cooking on any other surface. They all seem more than willing to share their smoked, roasted spoils with you and if you run into trouble with your grill, the best customer service you’re going to get comes from anyone else who owns one of these things. The price tag for entry can be high, starting at $659 for the Medium size and reaching $3,999 for the largest one. If you’re willing to shell out the coin though, you’re more than welcome in the cult.