What Kamado Grill Should I Buy

Vision Grills Elite Series Deluxe Kamado Grill

What you need to know before you buy a kamado grill


Vision Grills Elite Series Deluxe Kamado is extra in all the best ways, when you want to go hard on grilling with all the bells and whistles there is to offer.

While most kamado grills come on a rolling stand, very few offer quite the amount of storage options the Elite Series Deluxe does, include two tables with plenty of space for grilling tools, and more storage below the grill itself to hand the grates when youre finished cooking. Not only does it also offer two grilling tiers, it has both cast iron and stainless steel cooking grates if you want to get a specific kind of cook. The grates are also hinged, which gives you easy access to add more wood and tend to the charcoal.

Another unique feature is the slide-out ash drawer, which also includes a slot for an electric starter where the bottom dampers are located for the easiest charcoal lighting start-up, and clean-up, possible. The hinge is also incredibly easy to lift, but also includes a locking hatch with a tighter seal for those searing high temperatures, which you can easily check on the LED grill light.

The grill is rounded out with a round Lava Stone for indirect cooking and smoking. Vision Grills shows that sometimes, more truly is more.

Buying Guide For Best Kamado Grills

A kamado grill is a combination of a traditional grill, oven, and smoker all in one. Fuelled by charcoal, they are great for slow cooking or roasting meats to release the unique flavours inside of them. They are also a convenient way to prepare meals without needing a large patio grill.

Since there are a lot of options for kamado grills available, you need to consider what shape, size, and accessories will fit your cooking style the best. Construction materials are extremely important since you will find many ceramic and steel models in the body and cast iron or stainless steel for the cooking grate.

Inexpensive Kamados Work The Same

These marvels of ceramics can smoke for 12+ hours on just a few chunks of high end lump charcoal. They have the flexibility of being able to sear a steak on Monday, turn out a wood-fired pizza on Tuesday, and then pull off some of the best lo and slo pork shoulder on Saturday.

If youre a kamado person, lets relish it and celebrate it. You like being involved in the cooking process, you like being hands on, and you want one grill that can do it all while still giving you that authentic wood-fired flavor.

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Reaching Your Target Temperature

  • At this point it might also be a good idea to start monitoring the temperature using a digital thermometer, as they are more accurate. If you have reached temperature, but it is still rising, then you will need to shut the top vent down some more.
  • Once the temperature has stopped at your desired temperature, you have no need to touch your vents. The temperature will remain stable over the duration of the cook.
  • Best Kamado Grills Of 2022

    Which kamado grill should I get?

    Sear, smoke and bake almost anything in these versatile grills.

    A point of pride and debate for grilling enthusiasts, kamado grills are beloved for their versatility. With their thick ceramic walls for insulation, tall dome-shaped lids for airflow and variety of accessories and grate options, these egg-shaped grills can hold both very high and very low temperatures while retaining moisture making them perfect for everything from grilling to smoking and baking. While the kamado-style grill likely originated in China and became a standard in Japan, these models are now manufactured all over the world and increasingly popular in American backyard grilling.

    The Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab has spent years testing the best grills, including the best gas grills, charcoal grills, pellet grills and smokers and electric and indoor grills. As kamado grills typically use lump charcoal, we tested some kamado models in our best charcoal grills roundup, where we cooked steak, chicken and ribs in each grill while considering ease of use and features like shelves, storage space, tool holders and portability.

    • Very heavy and can be difficult to install

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    A Quality Kamado Chimney

    Your kamado chimney is exposed to both the high levels of heat and the outside elements. Because it goes under so much stress, you want to make sure its made of durable, long-lasting materials that wont rust.

    Fittings should also create a tight seal, so airflow regulates and heat moves through the cooker evenly.

    Pellet Vs Kamado Smoke Production/flavours

    As a general rule, you will find that a Kamado charcoal grill such as the Kamado Joe is going to provide stronger/more intense smoke flavours into the food than a typical pellet grill. Now whether thats a good thing or not obviously comes down to personal preference.

    However, the chimney design on the Traeger Ironwood and more expensive Timberline models is not found on your typical pellet grill. They are fitted with a downdraught chimney design. Traeger market the feature as part of their Tru Convection cooking system with talk of vortexs and such like.

    Heat/smoke within the Traeger Ironwood 650 is brought up over and under the cooking racks before being exhausted out of the back of the grill: Image Traegergrills.com

    What you really need to know about this downdraught chimney design is two things. It will help to cook the food more evenly, but it will also put the food in contact with the smoke for longer. Now, does that mean that a Traeger Ironwood will produce food with the same intense smokey flavour of a Kamado Joe? Well, on that topic the video below from Embers Fireplaces & Outdoor Living is worth a watch.

    See how the Traeger Ironwood compares to the Kamado Joe in terms of smokey flavour.

    A couple of other things worth noting on the smoking/low-and-slow side of things. As lump charcoal contains less than 1-2% moisture and pellets contain between 5-10% moisture, you do have to be more careful on a Kamado to not dry out your food.

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    Kamado Grill Tools & Accessory Must Haves

    Theres no end to the variety of kamado grill tools and accessories available. Some will make your grilling experience slightly more convenient, while others will land on your must-have list.

    Once you think about your habits and idiosyncrasies, youll be able to narrow down which tools and accessories are worth the investment.

    Because all brands offer different accessories and not all will work with every kamado, I will only discuss general accessories that will work for all kamado grills.

    Here are some of our favorites.

    Check Current Owners Feedback & Opinions

    How to Buy a Kamado Grill | Buying Guide | BBQGuys

    As with any purchase, the most honest feedback youll get is from reviews and testimonials by real owners. Dont just look at overall ratings, but take time to read about real experiences. You want a full view of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    You can also learn a lot from online forums and social media communities, so youll feel confident in your purchase.

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    Kamado Grills Like The Kamado Joe

    There are many, many Kamado Grills like the Kamado Joe. We took a look at some of the best Kamado Grills you can buy here. The main competitor to the Kamado Joe is the Big Green Egg.

    The Big Green Egg is basically the industry standard in Kamados. Its been one of, if not the best Kamado money can buy for a long time. Theyve stuck with the formula, whilst slightly refining it here and there. Theres a big range of accessories for the Big Green Egg but they will all cost you extra. This is one huge advantage the Kamado Joe has over the Big Green Egg, it has a lot of extras included as standard. And theyre all as good a quality, if not better, that the Big Green Eggs.

    The main shell of both Kamados are very similar, they both heavy duty ceramic. We think the Kamado has a few little extras that make it better than the Big Green Egg, though. The Divide and Conquer system is incredibly useful and we cant see ourselves not being able to use it. Also, the lid and hinge on the Kamado Joe is better than anything weve ever used.

    Overall, the Kamado Joe has too many small features that just outperform the Big Green Egg. If you buy a Big Green Egg you wont be disappointed, they are very good, but you could get so much more for your money with a Kamado Joe.

    Wear And Rust Resistance

    Since most grills usually stay outside all year round, it is also important to choose grills that will withstand the elements of weather. Taking note of the finish on the grill may help you determine if it will stay firm for a long time. The good idea is to construct a cover for your grills so that you can prevent it from rain or other means from entering through the top vent.

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    Best Stand Alone Grill Kamado Joe Kj23nrhc Classic Ii Stand

    What makes this different from the Classic II earlier reviewed is that this ceramic grill doesnt come with a trolley. Its a standalone model.

    Side storage areas are also not included in the scope of delivery. Youll find somewhere else to place your grilled food and grill tongs. The Kamado Joe Classic II Stand-alone ceramic charcoal grill is however equipped with the Divide and Conquer system.

    This is a cooking system that can be used flexibly. This allows food to be grilled at different temperatures at the same time. In addition, the manufacturer works with a Kontrol Tower Top Vent and a patented ash pull-out. This enables extensive airflow management.

    How Cr Tests Kamado Grills

    Buffalo Ceramic Kamado BBQ Grill

    We started by assessing the cooking performance of each kamado. Could it get thin-crust pizza hot enough to crisp the crust without burning the toppings? Next, we used pork shoulder to see whether the grill could cook low and slow for long stretches, all while maintaining a consistent temperature.

    Every kamado grill we tested excels in our cooking tests, but they differ significantly in two key areas: convenience and cleaning. The best kamados not only cook well but also make it easy to build a hot fire or dial down the temperature for ribs or brisket. They’re also easy to clean. Many have ash catchers, or trays, while others need to be disassembled for a thorough cleaning.

    If you’re curious about kamados, our grill buying guide is a great place to learn a little more about the landscape. CR members can also access our ratings of gas, charcoal, and kamado grills.

    CR members can read on for our in-depth test results for the Big Green Egg.

    And regardless of which kamado grill you use, there are certain tips that will help ensure great results. Below, we’ve highlighted five of the foods that we think are best on a kamado and provided expert tips for preparing each.

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    Best Mini Kamado Joe Kamado Joe Junior Ceramic Charcoal Grill

    The Kamado Joe Junior is a unique charcoal grill straight from America. It is a grill made of ceramic. This is very heat-resistant so that you can easily prepare the grilled food at the desired temperatures. The hinge for the lid is made of iron that has been galvanized.

    The grill frame itself is also made of iron, which has been finished with a layer of powder. This means that it will be able to withstand barbecues and the weather. The grill grate is made of stainless steel, as is the fire grate. The latter has a powder coating. The lid handle is made of plastic so that it does not heat up.

    Best Portable Kamado Grill Char

    A classic among the Kamado grills, the AKORN Jr. is a classic kamado grill that weighs 33 pounds and has a thermometer in the lid.

    The lid is lifted so that the food to be grilled can be placed on the grillage. Due to the ceramic used, the temperature inside can be kept constant.

    The buyers reviews are very positive. Here, among other things, the users note that the AKORN Jr. can be used for the preparation of many different foods. The grill is used as a smoker, but also as a grill and smoker. The grill is very economical and a sack of charcoal is enough for a long time.

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    Best Budget Kamado Grill Char

    Kamado grills are generally a lot more expensive than your standard charcoal grill.

    The Char-Griller Akorn is a very affordable option, especially if this is your first kamado grill and you are not ready to fork out a significant amount of money without trying out a kamado first.

    Char-Griller are focused on producing affordable barbecues for the budget conscious. As you would expect, their products may not be top of the line, but the goal of the company is to deliver grills that are reliable and get the job done, without busting the bank.

    The body of Akorn is made of 22 gauge steel, and has cast iron grill grates. The outside of the unit is powder coated, and the inside is porcelain coated.

    The shelves fold back, meaning adding charcoal throughout the cook is easy .

    Although this is an entry level model, it still has some nice features such as an easy to empty ashtray and a temperature gauge.

    The Akorn boasts double wall insulation. The lid also has a locking mechanism so that no heat escapes through the door seal.

    Primary cooking space is 314 square inches, plus an additional warming rack of 133 square inches.

    What We Like:

    What We Dont Like:

    Bear in mind, that the price of the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado units does reflect the fact that it wont last as long as a ceramic kamado.

    But that doesnt stop it from being a great entry level kamado grill.

    Assembly is fairly straightforward, if you have a 7/16 nut driver and follow the instructions you should be good to go.

    How Do Kamado Grills And Smokers Work

    BBQ Buyer’s Guide to Ceramic Kamado Grills Pt. 1

    Inside a kamado, the bottom two-thirds are reserved for the fire. Here, coals sit on a small grate so that the ash can fall and collect below. Above that youll find a grill and cooking space thats topped with what should be a tightly-sealed, heat-retaining lid. Coupled with thick ceramic-style walls, this creates a 360-degree cooking environment. It also holds any smoke close to the food for maximum penetration. To adjust the temperature, simply open or close the vents in the top and base of the kamado.

    While there are a number of optional accessories when buying a kamado, the most basic is a thick, ceramic insert. This sits over the fire to absorb and deflect the direct heat and is used for smoking and baking. When you want to sear a steak, fire your kamado up without the insert and youll enjoy direct heat grilling. Additionally, there are a range of other accessories available that increase the versatility of this type of barbecue.

    While it is a hotly-debated topic, kamado grills and smokers generally run best on lump wood charcoal. This is because lump wood charcoal burns more cleanly and produces less fire-smothering ash. It also has fewer additives than charcoal briquettes which can contaminate the flavor and set into the ceramic surrounds. For a smoky flavor, you can also add wood.

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    Best Mobile Grill Kamado Joe Kj15040320

    This Kettle Joe is a Kamado charcoal grill with a visually appealing and absolutely helpful folding side shelf on both sides. The handle allows easy opening and at the same time protects against the heat. A thermometer shows the temperatures inside.

    The ceramic walls store the heat very well and the air currents create a chimney effect through which the fuel is used efficiently. That means you need less of it to get the same heat. This allows cooking at up to 705 degrees Fahrenheit.

    The grill has a base with 4 rollers. This means that it can easily be set up wherever you want to use it. Two of the rollers can be locked so that it has a secure footing. However, if you want a deflector stone, you have to purchase it separately, as it is not included in the delivery.

    Temperature Ranges And Consistency

    What type of food will you be preparing on your pellet grill? Will you want to sear your steaks or slow cook a rack of ribs? The best part about a pellet grill is you can accomplish both cooking tactics on the same unit.

    The Grilla Grills pellet grills can cook between 180 degrees Fahrenheit and 500 degrees Fahrenheit. You can cook at temperatures in 5-degree increments between that range. With this wide range, you can sear, roast, smoke, bake and grill your food to create delicious and exciting meals.

    Our pellet grills will also perform a safety shutdown if the internal temperature reaches 615 degrees Fahrenheit or 150 degrees Fahrenheit for a long time.

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    The Best Kamado Grill For 2021

    We thoroughly tested a group of popular kamado grills from Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, Char-Griller and others. These are our picks.

    Kamados are capable cookers that can handle nearly any backyard grilling task you throw their way. If you have the practice and the skills, a kamado grill can run rings around your standard gas grill. It also makes wood-fired cooking easy, a technique that yields delectable results.

    Typically made from ceramics, these grilling champs boast amazing heat retention. A little amount of fuel goes a long way, allowing you to run a kamado cooker at slow and low temperatures all day long. Plus, you can fire up your grill to become scalding hot. I’m talking hot enough to cook authentic wood-fired Neapolitan pizza. A kamado griller is also great for searing true steakhouse-style steak and, honestly, just about anything you’d consider grilling.

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    The Big Green Egg is the most high-profile example of a traditional kamado grill and kamado smoker, but rival kamado manufacturers such as Kamado Joe, Char-Griller, Vision and Char-Broil round out this category of grills. Tempted to add one to your outdoor kitchen arsenal and become a hardcore griller? I put the Big Green Egg and its four major grilling competitors to the test to find the best kamado grill out there — here’s what I found.

    Ribs, chicken, burgers: You name it, we cooked it.

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