Step 1: Don’t panic. Putting the Big Green Egg together is not difficult. Grab a drink and start assembling the greatest smoker/grill on the market.
I recently purchased an extra large (XL) BGE to marry with my medium. I’m entertaining more often and my kids are growing, so the medium just isn’t enough grilling space for larger amounts of meat, or when grilling sides with the main course (Even though I could cook ears of corn with up to 4 burgers, or asparagus with 2-3 Ribeyes at the same time.) Cooking with two BGEs just makes the most sense to me. When the wife and I start building the new grill table to accept both eggs, I’ll post the build and design in case you are interested in doing something similar (notice its sitting on step blocks for now).
When I picked up the new egg at the store, I had the choice of getting one preassembled or purchasing one still in the box. I chose the box so that it would be easier to carry through the house in pieces, without having to take the grill apart again. Completely assembled this massive cooker weighs 219 pounds and the circumference of the XXL makes it impossible to bear hug at my size. Could you imagine buying the new XXL? Wow.
So now that your past step 1, open your new present! You’ll find that the off white ceramic dome is staring at you, saying its time to cook!
I found it easier to cut the sides of the box to make it easy to get to the unit and cut the plastic around the base. Carefully remove the dome and set it on a hard surface.
Once you get the box out of the way, putting the pieces together inside the BGE is easy. Drop in the fire box and then place the fire ring on top. Make sure that the opening of the fire box is centered with the opening of the bottom vent.
Grab that massively oversized cast-iron fire grate and place it in the middle so its flush. Lastly, finish it with the cooking grid on top the fire ring.
Okay, the easy part is now done. Finish your drink and pull out those instructions. In my case, there were two sets in the box. One was clearly for an older hinge assembly, but the new ones helped really well after the wife translated them into terms I could understand (meaning, I didn’t want to read them). 😛 I’m not going to go into complete detail here, but I’ll try to explain the more difficult steps in the manual.
You start by putting bolts in certain holes on top and bottom bands. The old manual tells you to preassemble the two bands, but the new manual makes sense. You slip the bottom band onto the base and then set the dome on top with the carriage bolt square hole on the left side. Make sure that the carriage bolt is centered in the back of the egg (look for the locating hole on the front of the egg to center the band properly) and then tighten it until snug, allowing the band to still move by hand with a little drag. Grab the 4 blue spacers (I had to chase down the dog to get one back) and place them between the gaskets in four corners so they are equally distributed around the egg.
Set the dome on top and then slip the top band into the notch of the dome where it rests on top of the blue spacers. Again, center the band with the carriage bolt in the back and then make it snug. Another option, per the instruction manual, is to turn the dome over in the egg and then attach the band. That just took to long.
Once the dome and base is set, next up is the rear hinge. You remove the acorn nuts from the top and bottom bolts on the back and then slip on the hinges with the hinge portion facing down. Grab a ruler and make sure that the distance from the top and bottom bolts on both sides of the bracket are exactly 2 inches. According to the manual, this could be +- 1/16 of an inch. Once you are in range, tighten the bolts on both ends.
Almost done. Take the acorn nuts off on the side and attach the spring hinges with the spring bracket in the back of the egg on both sides. Tighten the nuts down until snug and then have someone assist with opening the dome all the way. Slip on the springs with the vinyl caps and then set the dome back down. At this point, burp the egg by lifting the dome up 1″ and then back down again. Make sure the dome is seated properly. Tighten down the carriage bolts and acorn nuts around the egg. Attach the thermometer to the dome using the retaining clip.
Lastly, slip a dollar between the gaskets and the pull the dollar out. There should have some slight drag as you pull the bill out, but it won’t stick. Repeat this in a couple places around the egg and consider yourself done!