Half Stone: We were one the first to promote the benefits of using half stones in ceramic grills. The half stone creates two cooking zones when grilling. The first zone is direct (no stone) with the heat rising straight up from the lump and over the grid above. The second zone is indirect with the half stone knocking down the rising heat and producing a lower temperature over the grid above.
The half stone set-up is handy when you need a holding or staging area during the cook. The most common example is grilling steaks from rare to well done. You can sear all the steaks together and use the half stone configuration to hold the rare steaks until the others are done.
With the XL Rig, half direct and indirect set-ups are easy to achieve. Just add our 9"x19" Half Stone on the XL Crossbars or XL Slide Guide. Remember, the XL Slide Guide only fits the two lowest levels. On the XL Crossbars, the stone must be set on the left or right side. On the Slide Guide, it can go just about anywhere.
Loading it up: If you are one who constantly worries about running out of lump or lives in a very cold climate, you can overfill the fire ring with lump for long low & slow cooks. The photo, bottom left, shows this indirect set-up. DO NOT use this much lump for grilling or high temperature cooks. Pictured is over 10 pounds of lump in only the Big Green Egg® XL fire ring.
If you are a fan of jerky, it is feasible to load four grids on the XL Adjustable Rig, pictured above right. Total Grid area is over 1,150 square inches, almost 8 square feet. You could add the Big Green Egg® XL grid on the bottom to get a fifth level. No ceramic grill manufacturer gives you this much grid space!