Experienced grill masters know that natural hardwood is the fuel of choice for pure, rich barbecue flavor. If you’re looking to significantly upgrade your grilling game, both pellet and kamado-style grills offer this all-natural flavor.
In the battle for natural hardwood supremacy, choosing between Big Green Egg vs Traeger can make or break your grilling results. But which one is better for you?
Grill Comparison and Overview
Getting to know the ins and outs of these two grill brands will give you a better chance at finding grilling success. With that in mind, let’s explore what makes Traeger and Green Egg grills special and unique — and how these might apply to your own grilling aspirations.
Pellet Grills Vs Kamado Grills
Looking at Traeger and Big Green Egg grills will never be an apples to apples comparison. Because both grills were created with a different fuel source in mind, their designs and purposes have more differences than similarities. Let’s examine each type of grill more closely, so we can better understand how they might fit into your grilling plans.
Pellet grills are exemplified by Traeger across its Pro, Ironwood, and Timberline series. Sometimes referred to as pellet smokers, they combine many of the elements of a smoker, grill, and oven into an all-in-one barbecuing tool.
By utilizing an electronic control panel to moderate the flow of pellets into the grill’s fire, pellet grills allow for long and consistent cooking temperatures. This has made them a favorite of adherents to the “low and slow” style of barbecuing, as well as an easy to use option that doesn’t require the know-how of setting up and tending to coals.
Kamado grills have come into the home BBQ spotlight thanks to Big Green Egg. Modeled after a traditional Japanese wood- or charcoal-fueled stove, they are easily portable and feature excellent heat retention thanks to an all-ceramic body.
Green Egg grills, like all kamado-style grills, are completely analog — requiring no power source except natural hardwood charcoal. While they have a considerably higher learning curve for adjusting temperature than the automatic feeding of a pellet grill, an experienced kamado griller (like Steve Raichlen) can tease out extremely long cook times from their charcoal.
In summary, both pellet and kamado style grills offer long, consistent cooking temperatures, as well as, natural hardwood fuel sources, making them a versatile option for many types of grilling, smoking, and barbecuing. Whereas, a kamado grill usually features a smaller grilling surface; pellet grills require electricity and are less portable.
Company History for Traeger and Big Green Egg
When choosing a grill, you’re not just buying the piece of equipment — you’re investing in a company. With that in mind, let’s learn a little bit more about Traeger and Big Green Egg:
Traeger Company History
Traeger is the biggest name in pellet grills for good reason: They invented the style! The first pellet grills were developed by Joe Traeger in 1985, but understanding where he got the idea from goes back a decade before that.
In the oil crisis of the 1970s, many families in the U.S. were looking for affordable alternatives for heating their homes. This led to the development of a stove that could operate on small hardwood pellets, made of compressed sawdust.
Seeing the beauty of this affordable fuel source in maintaining long, consistent temperatures, Joe combined a pellet furnace design with traditional offset drum-style smokers. Offering the best of the gas and charcoal grill worlds, Traeger’s initial pellet grills would burn continuously without sacrificing natural hardwood smoke flavor.
While as of 2014 Joe is no longer involved with Traeger grills, their new ownership has been highly lauded for increasing the company’s public outreach and accessibility to a new generation of grillers.
Big Green Egg Company History
In contrast to the recent origins of pellet grills, Big Green Egg’s kamado-style grills are a modern-day revamping of centuries-old technology. With the first kamado grills being brought home from Asia by U.S. military service members after World War II, America was introduced to these curiously low-tech clay cookers that delivered amazing barbecue results.
It should come as no surprise then that Big Green Egg’s founder, Ed Fisher, was one of these returning American servicemen. Getting his legs under him as an entrepreneur in the 1970s, Ed began importing kamado grills from sources in southeast Asia.
The first Big Green Eggs were almost unchanged from their primitive origins, making them fairly fragile and prone to cracking after heavy use. Fast forward to years of research and development later, and the Egg incorporated ceramics based on materials originally destined for use in NASA space programs.
Now available in seven sizes, the Big Green Egg continues to be a favorite of home grillers who are dedicated to more traditional cooking methods. But with the judicious addition of modern technologies, these old-school grills perform better than at any time in their history.
Traeger Grill Vs Green Egg: How to Choose the Right Grill for You
Watch this YouTube video from Butter Knife Shawty to get a feel for the mechanics and specifics of each type of grill:
Then, take the following information into consideration before reading on to our reviews.
|Made in the USA?||No||Yes|
|Special Technology||WiFIRE internet-connected grilling control||Proprietary high thermal conductivity ceramic|
|Venting||Automatic via variable speed fan||Manual via dampener at bottom of grill|
|Warranty||3-year warranty for workmanship and material defects.||1-year warranty for workmanship and material defects.|
Comparison Reviews for Traeger Vs Big Green Egg
Everything you need to know about the Traeger Vs Big Green Egg debate comes down to this: How well do their flagship products stand up in competition? Let’s compare and contrast the mid-range models for both companies to get a better feel for which one might be right for you.
Traeger Pro 575 Review
Representing the latest evolution in Traeger’s pellet grilling technology, the Pro 575 features an exceptionally useful advancement that sets it apart from other grills: It’s fully controllable via WiFi.
Yes, the WiFIRE controller mounted on the front of the pellet hopper for the Pro 575 can integrate with an app on your smartphone to allow one-touch adjustments to cooking time and temperature. While this might be gimmicky with a lesser grill, it’s simply the icing on the cake for the well-equipped Pro 575.
A generous 18-pound hopper gives you cooking times anywhere from 6 to 18 hours without refilling, depending on how high you have the grill cranked up. A word of advice, though: While this pellet grill is amazing for low and slow cooking, it struggles to give decent sear marks even at its highest temperatures. If grilling steaks is your thing, this just isn’t the right tool for you.
With a 425 square inch main cooking grate and 150 square inch backup grate (both porcelain-coated), the Pro 575 offers plenty of room for smoking big racks of ribs, whole briskets, or whipping up burgers for a big backyard party.
Overall, the Traeger Pro 575 offers unbeatable control over low and slow barbecuing in a completely no-fuss manner. Choose it when you’re looking not for high heat searing, but for long-term consistency and hands-off convenience.
- Oversized 575 square inch cooking area
- Large pellet hopper means less frequent refills
- WiFIRE controller lets you monitor and adjust temperatures hands-free
- Perfect for low and slow barbecuing and smoking
- Fast startup times and quick temperature adjustments
- Requires an electric power source to operate
- Not great for high-heat searing
Large Green Egg Review
As opposed to Traeger’s high-tech innovations, the Big Green Egg’s Large grill keeps things decidedly simple: No electric power needed, no WiFi controls, no automatic temperature adjustments. If you’re a traditional griller and smoker, this design is sure to appeal to you. But what if you’re not a die-hard DIY fan?
First, the most obvious downside: for almost exactly the same price as the Pro 575, the Large Green Egg offers a grilling surface that’s only half as large. At 262 square inches of cooking surface area, it’s still capable of accommodating a 20-pound turkey, 12 burgers, or 8 steaks. Try and smoke a big brisket, however, and you’ll find yourself out of luck.
In exchange for this lack of cooking space, the Green Egg offers incredible versatility in its cooking temperatures, including the ability to create near-perfect sear marks on steaks and chops. If you’re feeling zesty, adding a ceramic block to the Egg makes it an option for cooking pizzas whose quality can rival any that’s come out of a wood-fired oven.
Once you’ve loaded up the lower half of the grill with hardwood charcoal and started your fire, the cast-ceramic walls and heavy lid pair with dampers to precisely control temperature inside your grill. Learning to moderate the temperature manually like this can take some getting used to, but turns into a reliable method with just a little bit of practice.
In short, the Large size of the Big Green Egg grill has a much wider range of applications thanks to its super high maximum temperatures and long-heating ceramic thermal capacity. If you’re willing to sacrifice total grilling space for this versatility, it’s a fantastically durable grill that’s sure to give amazing results.
- Much wider range of temperatures, up to 850 degrees F
- Works equally well for low and slow smoking or high-heat searing
- Precise temperature control via manual dampener
- One load of charcoal can cook for up to 24 hours at 200 degrees F
- Analog design requires no electricity or internet connectivity
- Small grilling surface area relative to the price
- Stand sold separately
Green Egg Vs Traeger: Which Is the Best Grill for the Money?
After closer examination, it’s clear to see that both Traeger and Big Green Egg grills have a lot to offer. Can you really say that one is better than the other?
We don’t necessarily think so. Instead, we see each of these grills catering to a particular type of barbecue enthusiast. The Traeger is better-suited for hands-free, low and slow cooking of large cuts of meat for the technology literate user. Meanwhile, the Green Egg will appeal to old-school fans who appreciate the versatility and high temperatures of traditional cooking methods.
In the end, though, a lot of this is splitting hairs to determine which of two amazing grills is better for you — not whether the grill is worth using in the first place. For aspiring barbecue masters, both the Traeger and Green Egg will equip you with a powerful tool for producing rich and full-bodied smoke flavor in your favorite foods.
Still interested in the Traeger? Here we compare the Traeger Pellet Grill to the Camp Chef pellet grill line.