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If you're looking for a compact charcoal BBQ that's built to last, this smaller version of the Big Green Egg delivers on efficiency, functionality and performance.
The Big Green Egg MiniMax is a compact model that delivers convenience and reliability, making it a great choice for smaller groups and couples.
A large portion of its packaging is non-recyclable, but this is somewhat offset by its fuel efficiency, and the fact that its parts are replaceable and built to last. This model also promises power, and it delivers.
At first glance, this barbecue is pleasing to look at. Its ceramic, painted exterior looks like a cross between a modern garden ornament and barbecue. It is, however, quite heavy.
Weighing in at 40kg, this model is not easily moved without two people, and it comes with a significant amount of packaging. The thermometer is reactive and works well, offering both measurements in fahrenheit and celsius.
The barbecue is also compact at only 56cm tall and 50cm wide, meaning you’ll need about two square feet of space to place it down. In spite of its size, it is strong, sturdy and well constructed, and sits securely in place with its stand’s four rubber feet.
The Big Green Egg MiniMax is exceptionally easy to assemble and set up. Coming partially pre-assembled with its stand, all that needs to be done is for the interior grill, fire box and fire ring to be unpackaged and placed in the correct order. Secure the temperature monitor after that, then place the regulator on top.
It took us about 10 minutes to assemble the barbecue at a leisurely pace. It comes with several intuitive instructions with easy-to-follow diagrams, which include QR codes for an online assembly video.
However, it is worth noting that the instructions don’t include how to use the convector (a ceramic stone that turns the barbecue into an oven), and that the convector’s packaging was not descriptive.
Unpacking the MiniMax may be the largest challenge this model presents, coming wrapped in a lot of clingfilm, and including a lot of cardboard. Our model fell out of its box when lifted, so exercise caution when unpacking.
Lighting this model is simple – we added enough charcoal to ensure two inches of clearance between the coal and the grill, added firelighters, opened all vents and the regulator, lit the firelighters and closed the egg. It took 10 minutes for the temperature monitor to read 310C, and after half an hour the temperature was a steady 380C.
Despite cooking lamb cutlets, vegetable skewers, potato, an aubergine, courgettes and spatchcocked chicken on this grill, we did not need to add any more coal. This fuel efficiency meant we could cook uninterrupted, and made the experience much easier and more pleasant.
The temperature controls are effective, and the monitor is very responsive and well made. The two vents, its regulator and the vent in its base offer good temperature control. The top of the Big Green Egg does get very hot, but the rest of the exterior is slightly cooler.
The handles are also safe to touch. However, considering how low to the ground this egg stands, it needs to be placed on a heat-proof surface.
We found the grilling area was too small for indirect cooking to be possible, and the heat it produced might require some practice to figure out how to fully harness its ferocity. We had to keep the lid open to dispel heat at some points. The heat very heavily favours the centre, but isn’t so overwhelming that it can’t be managed with practice.
Cleaning up the MiniMax was also easy. After cooling, the removable parts just needed to be brushed and washed.
The vegetable skewers had good charring and were well browned, and the lamb cutlets were succulent and evenly cooked.
Our potato slices were charred in the centre, but the slices placed around the outside were perfectly cooked. The spatchcocked chicken was charred on the outside, but the meat was still succulent and juicy, with a great texture.
The Big Green Egg MiniMax comes with a significant amount of plastic and cardboard packaging, and packaging foam sleeves are used to wrap the fire ring and fire box.
The impact of this, however, may be offset by its impressive fuel efficiency, which made a small amount of charcoal last for several hours.
The robust construction is also a plus. The removable parts, such as its fire ring, can also be replaced if broken, meaning that smaller breakages can be accounted for and won’t ruin your product.
This compact barbecue has a lot to offer, with exceptional fuel efficiency, quick and thorough cooking, and easy set-up.
Its simplicity, stylish appearance and low-maintenance barbecuing will appeal to couples and small groups who want to barbecue, but perhaps don’t have the time or confidence to use a large, maintenance-heavy model, and are willing to pay extra for the convenience and reliability.
We especially liked how easy it was to set up, clean and manage this BBQ throughout the cooking process, and we were impressed by the lengthy warranty and sturdy construction. While it may be in a high price range, for those with a higher budget, this is a great choice.
Brand: Big Green Egg
Dimensions: 50cm x 56cm
Materials: Ceramic, wood, steel
Warranty: Lifetime for main body, three years for non-body ceramic components, five years for metal components, one year wood.
Gas needed: No
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