How Do Kamado Grills Work

How To Maintain Your Kamado Grill

Is Traeger or Kamado Joe Better? (how do I choose a smoker?)

As well as keeping on top of cleaning your Kamado Grill, its also essential not to neglect its maintenance. Ensuring you take the steps needed for good maintenance,youll notice the performance of your grill is sustained. This means there will be less repairs needed, which will save you money in the long run.

Grilling Space On A Kamado

Smaller grilling space is something that youll have to get used to with a kamado, if youre new to it. Gas grills often have tons of space kamados, not so much, and what you get is round .

There is a fairly wide range of sizes available if you look around . Of course, the more space you require for cooking, the bigger the dome will need to be .

Several kamados reviewed below have a primary and a secondary cooking surface so you can double your cooking space, or a way to create dual cooking zones with one grate. Because of the way the heat circulates inside, you can actually cook on the secondary surfaces and not just warm things itll just be at a slightly lower temperature than on the primary grate, which is closer to the fire.

Work space around the grill is another aspect to consider. When youre grilling, you do need to have somewhere to put utensils, sauces and seasonings, plates, and other grilling necessities. While some;people have a great set up on their deck or patio already, its worth it to consider getting a model with sides or a table to go with/beside it.

Ok Im Sold How Do I Use A Kamado Grill

I tested a Big Green Egg at homehere’s what I learned.

Kamado grills can be used as regular charcoal grills, but you can also turn them into smokers or outdoor convection ovens. If that feels overwhelming, dont worry; we put a Big Green Egg to the test and found that its super easy to use, no matter how you choose to use it.

First, lets start with how to light a Big Green Egg. There are multiple ways to start a charcoal grill, but the easiest way takes advantage of the kamados insulated firebox.

The vents on a kamado grill allow you to regulate the amount of airflow inside the unit, giving you absolute control of the grills temperature. That means you dont really need to worry about how much charcoal to add at once, so go ahead and fill the firebox to the top line. Once youve added your charcoal, bury one or two fire starter cubes in the pile. After 10 to 15 minutes, the coals around the cube will be red-hot and ready to go. Spread out the coals and close the lid. From here on out, you can use the vents to control the heat.

The vents on a kamado grill allow you to regulate the amount of airflow inside the unit.

For high-temperature searing , open the top and bottom vents as wide as they go. This allows maximum airflow into the grill, boosting the temperatures as high as 700°F. For lower temperature cooking , close the vents to reduce the amount of air allowed into the grill.

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Other Stuff You Might Wanna Try

Another reason I bought into the Kamado craze was huge community of cooks out there. Aside from internet how-tos galore , there are are ton of awesome accessories out there, which you can use to soup up your grill according to your own mad desires.

I come from a tinkering, DIY family of nerds, so getting to evolve my grill over time was a huge draw. Here are a few things Ive bought and added to my arsenal.

Clean The Interior Of Your Kamado Grill

How Does A Kamado Grill Work?

The interior of a Kamado grill works like a self-cleaning oven. Its essential to follow these steps regularly to maintain health and safety standards and ensure your food is cooked to perfection.

  • Start by heating the grill to +600°F for 30 minutes. Then allow the grill to cool off completely. This burns off any residual food debris.;
  • Remove the inside components of your Kamado grill.
  • Brush the interior with a bristle brush.
  • Scrape off and remove the grease and residue that settles at the bottom of the grill. Use a soapy solution and wipe the inside of the grill. Note that the interior of your grill will never have the highly polished finish that it had when you first got the unit. Operating the grill builds up a layer that protects the inside from corrosion.
  • Dry thoroughly before reinserting the internal components.

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A Short History Of The Kamado Grill

Kamado grills originated from Asia and are said to be the descendant of the ancient clay pots. But instead of the fragile clay, modern kamados are made of ceramic and steel for better construction and durability.

Kamados are said to have originated from Japan but are also believed to have a touch of India and China. But based on its name, I can say that its heavily influenced and developed in the land of the rising sun. In fact, its being used to prepare various food items like rice cakes and other traditional cuisines for different ceremonies.

The Japanese word kamado means place for a clay cauldron.

That pretty much speaks of the entire history.

Choosing A Kamado Grill

The Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe are the most popular kamado grills.

Although the Big Green Egg is the most popular type of kamado grill, its by no means the only option. In looking at kamado grill reviews, theres a lot of debate between Kamado Joe vs. Big Green Egg. Some kamado grills are even designed to work with Big Green Egg accessories.

So how do you know which model to choose? It comes down to a few factors: shape, price, and whats included with the grill.

Most kamado grills have a similar shape, but a few have oval cooking surfaceslike the Extra Large model of the Primo grill. These oval-shaped kamados give you enough space to move the coals around and create a two-zone fire . With round kamado grills, youll need a ceramic deflector platelike the ConvEGGtor for the Big Green Eggto cook over indirect heat, which may or may not be included in the price of the grill.

Speaking of price: None of these grills come cheap. You can find a few models at the $300 range, but most start at $700. Looking at Big Green Egg reviews, you may notice that some kamado grills arrive barebones: grill only. If you want a side table or a stand, thats extra. Adding these types of accessories can add up pretty quickly. Luckily, the more expensive kamado grills are built to last a long time with proper care and maintenance, and many of them have fantastic warranties. But, theres no denying that buying one certainly requires an up-front investment.

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What Is Kamado Style Cooking

A Kamado grill allows you to cook food fast and hot, or low and slow, over burning charcoal embers. You can even toss some of our exceptionally flavored wood pellets into your Kamado grill to give ingredients authentic, one-of-a-kind tastes like apple, pecan and hickory.

Although you might have used a more traditional, lower end charcoal grill in the past, a Kamado style grill allows you to more conveniently balance your target temperatures. Plus, you can cook a lot of food at once in a relatively small footprint.

Kamado grill cooking provides a wonderful way to cook almost anything you want. However, you do need to understand a few rules of the road. Consider it your Kamado for beginners insider deets.

How To Use Kamado Grills As Smoker Heres A Quick Guide

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What is a kamado grill? Can you actually use it for smoking? These two questions are the same queries I had in mind when a friend suggested that I try the kamado grill. As a fan of smoked food, I have doubts at first. I already have a grill and Im not apt to spend on another if it will just do the same thing. But after seeing one during a backyard party I attended, I was curious. I soon found myself scouring online shops for the best kamado smoker. And boy, it smokes, grills, and bakes like no other! Here are my top picks in a nutshell:


Kamado is fueled by charcoal like most smokers and grills. But what makes it a must-have is its slow-cooking setting. This is a perfect match for briskets, turkey, and baked goodies like pizza and pecan pie. Thanks to its dome structure that it can hold as much heat and smoke to ensure that the food inside is smoked to the bones.

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Pit Boss 71240 Kamado Bbq Ceramic Grill

Here we have a beautiful black model by pit Boss. This models strong suit is the double-leveled cooking surface, which enables you to cook a bunch of food at once. The body is made of black ceramics, and it is mounted on a 4-wheel stand. The handles and the side shelves are made of solid bamboo, and the vent on top is made of cast iron. All these components make this kamado grill weigh a total of 220 pounds, making it a heavy unit. The dual level cooking surfaces are made of steel, which is convenient for people that cook a lot, being that steel is the easiest to clean.


  • Dual level cooking surface allows you to cook for 4+ people simultaneously.
  • The whole body is made of ceramics, making the kamado grill preserve and save a lot of heat.
  • The top vent is made of cast iron, which furthers the durability of the grill


  • The cooking surface is made of steel, which gives off a lot of heat, so the occasional black dot is to be expected
  • The grill weighs over 200 pounds, which is considered less portable than the other models in its class.


What Are The Benefits Of A Kamado Grill

So, we know that kamado grills offer versatility. You can slow cook meats, grill, bake, steam and more. But there are several other great benefits:

  • Heat retention: the unique design of the kamado delivers excellent heat retention. All heat released by burning charcoal cooks the food
  • Incredibly delicious flavours: cooking with charcoal and hardwood adds sumptuously smokey flavours to food
  • Even heat distribution: The design of the kamado delivers an even distribution of heat every time
  • Steady heat: regulating the temperature is simple
  • Moisture retention: the moisture within the food youre cooking is kept where it should be, in it! Expect juicy food every time.
  • Long lasting cooks: charcoal consumption is a lot lower than that of a standard barbecue
  • Low maintenance: a kamado is virtually maintenance free and ease of cleaning

Also, heres a link to a great video about the benefits of the kamado.

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Kamado Cooking Safety Tips

Weve mentioned a few important safety guidelines for using your Kamado, but were going to list them, and others, here, just in case you missed them. Safe operation of your Kamado is good both for you and for your grill.

  • Avoid dangerous flashbacks of built-up heat; before fully opening lid, open 2-3 inches for 5 seconds to allow heat to escape before opening the rest of the way
  • Never use your Kamado indoors or in a garage
  • Do not attempt to remove or discard hot ashes
  • Never use on any surface that isnt heat-resistant
  • Keep kids and pets away while in use
  • Never move a kamado while in use
  • Use on a level surface
  • Dont look into the top vent while in use

Start Your Kamado Grill

Amazon: Kamado Joe KJ23RH Classic Joe Grill, 18", Red $699 ...
  • Take off the lid, grate, and open the air vents all the way.
  • Place a few lumps of charcoal in the burning chamber, then cover them with the right amount of briquettes, as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Wait until smoke starts coming out, then wait for another 10 to 15 minutes for the charcoal to get hot.
  • Once the charcoal starts burning, add new lump charcoal, put the grate back in its place, and close the lid, but not the vents. Leave the vents open until the grill reaches the desired temperature.
  • Control the temperature by closing or opening the vents as needed.
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    Kamado Joe Kj13rh Joe Jr Grill Red

    A unique pick on our list is this portable kamado grill from the famous Kamado Joe. Kamado grills are known to deliver great taste but require some time to master. It is fully built out of high-quality ceramics, with great heat capacity. Powered by burning coal, this small grill can be used for smoking food, besides grilling it.

    The heat is controlled by opening and closing the vents, by feeding or choking the fire, but be careful not to go over the wanted temperature, because cooling off takes some time. The whole grill weighs around 75 pounds, and it is mounted on a solid, non-movable stand. The grill grate is made of stainless steel, making it easier to clean, and the heat can rise up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit if the recipe requires it.


    • High-quality ceramics make this model stand out when it comes to heat retention and heat distribution
    • Gives you the option of smoking meat, even on the go
    • It has a built-in analog thermometer which is a much-wanted asset when smoking meat
    • The grill is portable despite the fact it is a kamado type, which is usually non-movable


    • Ceramics make grills somewhat more vulnerable to physical damage, so extra caution is advised.
    • This small grill is one of the most expensive on our list, but it does make it up in quality service.


    How To Cook On A Kamado Grill

    The Spruce Eats notes that, although there is a learning curve to cooking on a kamado grill, namely in understanding how to reach the desired temperature, it’s worth it in the end for the quality of grilled and smoked food you’ll produce. To use a kamado grill, according to Food Fire Friends, you’ll start by arranging a pile of lump charcoal in the bottom of the grill using a mixture of large and small pieces. The lid and vents should be open for maximum airflow. Light the charcoal with an electric starter, a chimney starter, or a firestarter.

    After a short time, close the lid and monitor the temperature. The vents stay open so that oxygen feeds the fire and the coals can heat up. Once you’re within about 50 degrees of your target temperature, you adjust the bottom and top vents to restrict air and slow down the heating to land at the temperature you want. A common mistake is to allow the grill temperature to race too high. With a little vigilance and some practice, you will get the hang of it!

    And, remember to “burp” your grill. Big Green Egg describes this as lifting the grill lid an inch or two to let air in slowly. This prevents a ball of fire from rolling out, a type of backdraft that can happen with an oxygen-starved fire.;;

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    How To Control Kamado Grill Temperature

    When BBQ smoking, Kamado grilling is mostly set and forget and doesnt require constant control or monitoring.

    Your grill has an intake damper at the bottom and exhaust damper at the top. This allows air to enter the grill at the bottom, and then exit through the top. These dampers are adjustable so that you can control the flow of air through your grill. The wider theyre set, the more oxygen youll allow into your grill and therefore heat youll generate.

    This can take a little getting used to it, but youll soon get used to how your grill reacts to changes in damper settings. Check out my guide to grill vent use here, and consider getting a temperature controller here.

    Once your grill has reached target temperature, you can often tweak the top damper to be almost shut. This should maintain the temperature well, but if you notice it start to drop, then you can open it slightly to try to get things going again.

    Try not to overthink it though. This can often be left alone and doesnt need continuous tinkering despite how tempting it might be!

    Ash Trays And Ash Grates

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    Ash grate and trays are essential components of a kamado grill. The ash grate typically comes in cast iron, powder-coated steel, or ceramic material. All these works well, but you need to check a few reviews before settling on any. Ashtrays have the critical job of cleaning up your kamado grill. Too much ash build-up can be disastrous. Check out where the ash goes and find out whether it is easy to clean or not. Doing this will make your grilling easier.

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    Which Kamado Sizes Are There

    Before you buy a kamado, it is important to decide what youre going to use it for. Do you like travelling and are you planning to take your cooking equipment with you as often as you can? Then one of the smaller models will probably be the best choice. Is the kamado intended as the main feature of your outdoor kitchen, do you have a big family or do you often have friends over for dinner? Then you should consider a Medium, Large or XLarge model because they are more versatile. Do you think youll need an enormous cooking surface, because youre a professional and you use your kamado for events, or because you have a huge outdoor kitchen? Then a 2XL might be perfect for you. If youre not sure, you can always go to one of the stores that sell kamados and ask for advice.

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