Great "Eggcessory" by Weber!!??
The BGE grill basket has two things going for it. By removing the handle you can grill food in the basket as well as directly on the grill grate. Or you can fit two different grill baskets with diffent types of food on at the same time.
BGE makes two wire grilling baskets for holding various types of small loose items on the grill. The first is called the: Wire Basket. It has a half-moon shaped (semi-circular) fixed depth wire basket made of a stiff wire in a rectangular grid pattern. It is intended to hold similarly shaped items such as a batch of new potatoes. The second item is called a Expandable Flexi Basket. It shares a similar half moon shape but the wire is thinner and is arranged in a pattern that allows it to move as required. This allows it to adjust to the shape of irregularly shaped objects like fish or a veggie like asparagus. Both wire basket share a nice feature: a removable handle. This helps keep the handle from getting heated up by the fire and makes it possible to get two of these baskets on the BGE at once. I actually own the Wire Basket and the only difference between the Wire Basket and the Expandable Flexi Basket is the stiff wire of one, versus the flexible wire of the other. The size, shape and other details are the same.
I decided at the last minute to make some asparagus with a meal I was doing the next day. I called my BGE dealer to see if they stocked this item and they didn't. I began calling around to other BGE dealers in the area. One of the calls I made was to a BGE dealer who was also a Weber dealer. He suggested I look at the Weber Large Stainless Steel Fish Basket. It is sized for the 18" (46 cm) Weber kettle type grills, so it fits a Large Big Green Egg. At the time I hadn't given up on getting the BGE Expandable Flexi Basket, so I pressed on with my search. A few more phone calls told me I wasn't getting the BGE Eggcessory any time soon. There is a Weber dealer in my town and I decided to check out the Weber fish basket before I gave up on having grilled asparagus. When I found the Weber product I was instantly sold. The Weber fish basket wasn't round, or half-round it-was rectangular with the short ends having curved handle so the basket hugged the curved side walls of the Weber kettle type grills (or Large BGE). The basket i was essentially a 16" x 9" (41 x 23 cm) rectangle. The reason I say "...essentially a rectangle" is the short ends of the basket were also ever so slightly curved. But this curvature was for aesthetic purposes only and did not increase the usable area of the basket.
The BGE half moon shaped grill basket (left) offers 110 sq. in (710 sq. cm) of area, but as you can see the corner areas may prove to be of limited usefulness . The Weber grill basket (right) offers 146 sq. in (942 sq. cm) with it’s rectangular shape offers 33 percent more area. The curved dotted line represents the curved handle of the Weber unit .
The shape is what makes the Weber basket far superior to the BGE basket. The half moon shape has some advantages: You can use the other half of the grill to cook something else, or you can use two baskets at once. But while the Weber basket only allows you to cook one item at a time, it allows you to fit much more of what your cooking. The half moon shape is nowhere near as efficient as the rectangular shape of the Weber. The Weber basket has not only a greater area, as measured in square inches, but more importantly a far greater USABLE area. The BGE basket measures 110 sq. in. vs 146 sq. in. (710 sq. cm. vs 942 sq. cm) for the Weber. This is about 33 percent more area and I think the number jumps closer to 50 percent if you start talking usable area. The BGE basket has one straight edge and one round edge. The round edge doesn't allow you to get as much food up close to the edge. It also creates two skinny odd shaped corners where the curved edge meets the straight edge. One look at the two of them side by side and you will immediately know exactly what I mean. Another reason the Weber basket fits more items, is it is designed for the 18" (46 cm) Weber grills and is a precise fit. The BGE basket is designed to fit the XL, Large or Medium Eggs. This means you are loosing usable area so this basket will also fit the Medium Egg. Just for the record: Weber makes a small version of this same basket that would fit the Medium and MAY fit the Small BGE. You would need to measure the basket.
The Weber grill basket fits perfectly on the BGE & fits more food, more efficiently.
Like I said: as soon as I saw the Weber basket I was sold. I knew it was going to be more useful to me. The basket retails for $34.95 and is made entirely of stainless steel so it is dishwasher safe. It appears to be well constructed, and a cut above the cheap made in China grill accessories that have flooded the market these days. I must admit my pleasure was short lived after my first usage of the basket. You see I discovered the one design flaw. The clasp that holds the upper and lower halves of the hinged basket together is a bit tricky to use and using it the wrong way can result in disaster. The clasp is a two-sided folded metal spring clip which is intended to trap the outside rim of the upper half of the basket between the two sides of the clip. The problem is the hinges of the upper and lower halves of the basket are not fixed in their position. They are designed to allow for the expansion required to accommodate different types of oddly shaped food. But this flexibility also allows you to close the basket so the upper rim is not trapped between the two halves of the clip. Instead the upper rim slides along the outside rim of the clip and it only appears secure. This I discovered when I made that first batch of asparagus. When I closed the lid, I only though it was secure. As I was trying to turn the basket over to grill the second side of the asparagus, the lid suddenly opened up spilling most of the asparagus on the grill. I was able to recover about two thirds of the asparagus, but the remaining one third either went on the ground or through the grill grate onto the hot coals. It was also night time which meant I couldn't really see the misaligned clip. The next time I used the Weber basket I looked over the whole clip situation and discovered what proved to be the problem. I closed the top lid and made sure the upper rim was securely seated inside the clip, not outside like the first time. This time around the top lid was securely in place and any amount of shaking I tried could not unseat the upper half of the basket. Problem solved. I have successfully used the basket about a half dozen times now and as long as you make sure it is closed and clipped properly, it works wonderfully.
If you are in the market for grilling basket for your Large BGE, the Weber Large Stainless Steel Fish Basket would fit those needs nicely. It would also work well on other types of grills that have about 18 1/2" x 9" (47 x 23 cm) of clear space to accommodate it. Once I figured out what was going on with the clip, my experience with this product has been 100 percent positive. If you need further convincing about the big difference the shape makes, I suggest you go to a dealer that sells both Weber and BGE products. Looking at the two units side-by-side will tell you everything I need to know. While I am still convinced that BGE still makes a great line of Eggcessories, sometimes there are cases where another company has a better idea. Just because it wasn't made specifically for my grill, doesn't mean it can't be the best product for my grill too.
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