Whats So Great About A Kamado
A cursory look at Kamados reveals a price range from about 150 bucks for a small, entry level cooker to $4500 for an XXL top of the range model. The bulk of the selection seems to fall roughly in the $750-$1300 range, however.
Regardless, thats a fair chunk of change considering you can pick up little charcoal grills for about the price of a case of beer, or an electric smoker for a couple of hundred bucks! So what makes a Kamado worth the splurge?
First of all, as I said before, this is an investment. They are a finely crafted piece of cooking equipment, and it will last for years and years, so long as you keep up with the minimal maintenance required.
Secondly, the cooking experience is second to none. Most grillers, once they go Kamado, never go back. This is more than a hot surface for searing steaks and barbequing burgers. They provide versatility galore.
For example, because of the precise control you have over the airflow, with a little practice youll learn how to hold a desired temperature for as long as you need.
Low and slow cooking of meats like brisket and ribs is a piece of cake on a Kamado. But, if you like your outdoor cooker to act more like a solar flare, you can open the vents wide and watch the thermometer rise and rise and rise! High heat is perfect for searing steaks. You can also bake, roast and cook pizza on a kamado, as we discuss further in our guide to using a kamado grill.
Best Kamado Grills In 2021 Buyers Guide & Reviews
A well-rounded kamado grill is exactly what many aspiring grillers need. You can consider this all-encompassing cooking equipment as the hybrid of a traditional barbecue grill, food smoker, and convection oven. Thanks to its potent heating prowess and retention properties, the versatile ceramic-based cooker can handle any temperature with ease.
But you may have a tough time making the most informed purchase when there are several other factors to consider. Our buying guide and reviews can help you find the best kamado grills for the upcoming holiday season. In addition to that, well also answer a few questions concerning these grills at the end of this entry.
Best High End Kamado Grill
Now were onto the higher end models. There are a lot of very good Kamado grills out there that are around the $1000 price point but it always seems to come down to two. The Kamado Joe and the Big Green Egg. Both of these Kamados will come highly recommended from almost anyone that has used one and for good reason.
We really mean it when we say you get what you pay for with a Kamado and thats why wed recommend forking out a little extra for a quality one. The quality of both of the high end models are top notch and will literally last a lifetime if youre careful with them. They both have a huge range of accessories, several nifty features that make cooking an absolute joy and both come in a range of sizes. For our High End Kamado reviews today well look at the 18 model of each make.
Also Check: Do Traeger Grills Need Electricity
How To Use A Kamado Grill
You can use your Kamado grill to cook in various ways. There are several styles of cooking the grill can effectively handle. Here are the common cooking styles you can expect your grill to perform.
- Direct Cooking
- Indirect Cooking
- Smoking or Slow Cooking
Direct cooking is the most common cooking method on any grill. This is your everyday place your items on the grill rack cooking style. Its great for burgers, steaks, vegetables, and more. Indirect cooking and smoking take a bit more skill and time but they are both great options for using your Kamado grill.
No matter which cooking style you plan to use, the base concept of how to use the grill remains the same across the board. The step you have to learn to perfect is how and when to vent the air to achieve and maintain the perfect temperature inside your grill for your cooking style and the items you are cooking.
You first need to get your charcoal heated and burning. Dont overdo your charcoal use. We recommend hardwood lump charcoal as the best charcoal option. Your charcoal should heat about 20-30 minutes before you add your food.
As your charcoal gets to heating, you want to adjust your air flow to get to the right temperature. You may have to play around to get your temperature just right. The temperature does not adjust immediately, you might have to make adjustments and give it about 10 minutes until you get it where you want it to be.
Best Tabletop Kamado Grill London Sunshine Ceramic Bbq Charcoal Kamado Grill
If you are looking for all of the features of a genuine Kamado Grill in a space, saving compact design, be sure to consider the London Sunshine Ceramic Kamado Grill. This unit is easy to assemble and has all of the features of the higher quality larger authentic models including: a thermometer, cast iron vents, a cast iron grate and a porcelain enameled cooking grate. It is important not to carry this when it is hot, but it is perfect for transporting when cool and is ideal for use in the backyard, at picnics, and/or camping.
The mini portable piece is ideal for Backyard, Picnic and Camping BBQ cooking while you enjoy food and drink together with your friend and family.
- Comes in two attractive colors
Recommended Reading: How To Keep Rats Away From Grill
Best Value Kamado Grill: Pit Boss 71220 Kamado Bbq Ceramic Grill Cooker 22
If the other two types of grills did not catch your attention, the new boss in town Pit Boss 71220 Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker, 22 might win your heart. This is one of the best ceramic grills we have on this list. The more significant parts of this grill are made of ceramic, a high heat retention material. It is also one of the best charcoal users as it can cook long with little charcoal. But that is not what attracted us to this grill.
This little machine offers excellent quality features that you would expect from a high-end grill. The cast iron top damper, easy to read thermometer, dual-tier cooking grates and folding side shelves are just some of the features you will enjoy when you purchase this grill. When it comes to space, this grill is spacious enough to feed several people and comes with a locking lid to seal your juices and keep your food moist. The heat gauge ensures that your cooking is at an optimal temperature.
As you would expect with the best ceramic grill, the Pit Boss 71220 Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker, 22 is quite heavy to carry around. Fortunately, it comes with wheels so you can move quickly on a flat surface.
- Comes with many exciting features like a cast-iron top damper, easy to read thermometer, dual-tier cooking grates and folding side shelves
- Made of high-quality ceramic material
- Offers a large cooking area
- The grill distributes and retains heat well
- Heavy-duty wheels to help with moving
- Easy to use and handle
Kamado Grills: Their Appeal
Grilling enthusiasts absolutely love the kamado grill in fact, most say they wont go back to gas or even pellet grilling after learning to use a kamado cooker. You can control heat levels extremely well, for one which makes it perfect for low and slow. But you can also raise the temperature way up high by opening up the vents, which is perfect for quick sears. Kamado grills are incredibly versatile, great for grilling, smoking, barbecuing, and even baking!
Now lets take a look at my top picks for 2021:
Recommended Reading: Can I Sell My Gold Grill
Do Even More With This Versatile Ceramic Cooker
Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the bestproducts; youcan learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Whether you have a Big Green Egg, a bright red Kamado Joe, or one of the less prominent brands, if youve invested in a kamado-style grill, youre already aware of its versatility. These durable ceramic cookers are great for both high-heat grilling and maintaining low temperatures for smoking. And because theyre so versatile, the accessory options are seemingly endlessbut only a handful are really worth the investment . Here are our favorite kamado grill accessories on the market.
Can You Grill On A Kamado
Kamados can get mighty hot. We cranked a Big Green Egg until a column of fire shot out the top, and it was like a blast furnace inside. That’s great for searing the snot out of thin meats, like skirt steak, that you just want to cook hot and fast, but once kamados get hot, they take forever to cool down. Along with the difficulty of creating a two-zone setup, this is why we believe most kamados function better as smokers and ovens than as grills.
If you really want to take your grilling skills to the highest level, then you need to master two-zone cooking and get a charcoal grill in addition to the kamado, or select a kamado that can do two-zone cooking.
You May Like: How To Grill Burgers On Propane Grill
Best With Table: Vision Grills Kamado Pro Ceramic Charcoal Grill With Grill Cover
Ceramic shell holds heat for even cooking
Excellent ventilation gives you great heat control
Works great as a smoker
Can be shut down to snuff out remaining charcoal
Most Kamado grills come with stands, but this one takes the design to another level with an acacia wood table that holds and surrounds the grill, making it look like a quality piece of furniture for your deck or backyard. The table gives plenty of space for tools, plates, and condiments next to the grill, with even more storage on the shelf below. The table is slatted, so rainwater will easily drain off, and has wheels that make it easier to position it in the perfect place. This grill has a bi-level cooking grate that offers 604 square inches of primary cooking space. Duluth Forge also offers larger grills, sold without a table.
Cooking Area: 604 sq. in. | Weight: 191 lbs. | Dimensions: 52.75 x 29 x 47.9 inches
“This grill also an innovative numbered dial vent system which makes it a little easier to know exactly where to set the vents for specific temperatures.” Derrick Riches, Product Tester
Hybrid cooking system works with charcoal or electricity
Compact, portable design
Expensive for a tabletop model
Cooking Area: 214 sq. in. | Weight: 84 lbs. | Dimensions: 22 x 20 x 25 inches
What To Look For When Kamado Grill
Ceramic Kamado Grills offer the most benefits in terms of flavor, versatility and overall performance. Ceramic Kamado grills are the best for heat retention. However, because they are ceramic they could crack if tipped or dropped. Some Kamado-style grills are made from metal which are lighter and less likely to crack and do not have some of the benefits that ceramic Kamado grills offer.
Quality of Materials
Kamado grills with thicker walls will offer better heat retention and will use less fuel. They will also be more durable. The best Kamado Grills are heavy and have sturdy and strong bases, high quality metal fittings, hinges and latches. Kamado grills designed and constructed with cheaper fittings may be prone to rust or damage. Also seek out Kamado Grills that have quality temperature gauges, this will make a big difference in ease of use.
Kamado Grills come in different sizes, so it is important to think about how you will be using it and what you will be cooking most when you determine what size of Kamado Grill you purchase. The size of the Kamado Grill influences the diameter of the cooking surface grate. The Kamado grills featured in this article have a range from approximately 10 inch to a 18 inch cooking surface.
Read Also: How Do I Clean My Grill Grates
Kamado Grills Vs Charcoal Grills
Although built for a similar purpose, Kamado and charcoal grills are vastly different. Comparing them can be tricky, but using the following categories, lets look at the two side by side.
Efficiency Being so heavily insulated, kamado grills are very efficient. Your lump charcoal will go a long way, and you can expect to pull off a 6+ hour cook without having to top up the coals.
Temperature Control The beauty of kamado grills is the the absolute ease with which they hold their temperature.
While temperature control is certainly achievable with a charcoal grill, they burn through the fuel and you throw more on. You will have to make adjustments to the vents to keep the temperature constant. Similarly, if it is cold, windy or wet out you will have to make adjustments to keep the fire burning hot.
There are no such adjustments needed when you are using a kamado. While it may take some practice to hit your target temperature in the first place , once you have reached it, the grill will sit at that temperature for around 6 hours with no adjustments or refueling needed.
A kamado will perform just the same in any weather too, thanks to those thick heavy walls.
Portability While there is a lot to like about kamado grills, portability is not one of their selling points. They are big, heavy and cumbersome. Once you have found a good spot for your kamado, you want a pretty good reason to move it.
In comparison, charcoal grills are budget friendly.
Wrapping It Up
Best Overall: Kamado Joe Classic Ii 18 Inches
Kamado Joe has nailed the kamado grill design. Their grills are sturdy and heavy, with thick ceramic bodies and cast iron carts.
Yet, using them is easy, thanks to innovations like the top vent for easy airlfow control and their patented air lift hinge, which makes the lid feel 96 percent lighter.
- Build Materials: Ceramic, stainless steel, and cast iron
- Dimensions: 46.5 x 28 x 48
- Warranty: Lifetime , 5 years , 3 years
Quality design comes throughout this grill, from the Advanced Multi-Panel firebox to the Kontrol Tower Top Vent. The vent system is especially nifty, allowing you to adjust from smoking temps around 225 degrees Fahrenheit to super hot 750-degree sears.
The Classic II is an 18-inch grill on caster wheels. Its an attractive grill, too, in a bright red finish. The two-tiered cooking grate allows you to control your food placement better. Theres a pull out ash drawer for easy cleaning, and accessory side shelves you can use as prep space.
What We Love
- Build Materials: Painted steel and cast iron
- Dimensions: 41 x 27.5 x 47
- Warranty: 10 years , 2 years
The Keg 5000 has a 280 square inch cooking rack with a secondary swing-out 200 square inch rack. Thats a lot of cooking space compared to many kamado-style units.;
Its a sturdy grill backed by a 10-year warranty for the body, so it should outperform pretty much any other metal charcoal grill on the market. And like ceramic kamados, it has a tight-fitting lid that will trap in heat and flavor.
What We Love
Also Check: How To Grill Boneless Chicken Breast
# Broil King 911470 Keg 5000 Kamado Grill
Suppose you are very fond of traveling and hiking. But ceramic grills have one drawback: they are hard to move and heavy. Also, they crack during rough handling. Broil King knows how to solve your problem metal. Only the inside of the grill is made of ceramic to better retain heat. All other components are made of metal. This model looks like a barrel and not like an egg. You can take this barrel with you wherever you go because it comes with the ability to trailer using an adapter.
Youll have as much as 280 inches for cooking on a 19-inch cast-iron grill. But even if this is not enough for you, you can always add a rack for more meat. The grill weighs just 126 pounds. Broil King is known more for gas grills than kamado. But the buyer can still be sure of the quality of the produced grills. The manufacturer has improved its products many times and added useful features. For example, not long ago, built-in bottle openers on the front handle were added.
Many users complain that cast-iron grates often crack. This is one of the unpleasant drawbacks of cast iron. This material may be fragile but great for cooking. And replacing the grate is not so expensive.
Can You Use Regular Charcoal On A Kamado Grill
Almost every kamado grill manufacturer recommends using lump charcoal over charcoal briquettes. Many of them even sell expensive private-label charcoal. In our experience, briquettes may cost less, but lump charcoal is better suited for a kamado grill. It can reach higher temperatures and it tends to smell better as you cook it, too.
If you do want to use briquettes, read all the fine print to make sure it wont void the warranty of your very expensive grill. As we mentioned earlier, youll definitely want to skip the instant-light varieties that contain lighter fluid. Check out our comprehensive charcoal review to learn more than you ever wanted to know about these lumps and bricks.
Also Check: Why Are Evo Grills So Expensive