Big Green Egg Grill and Beyond – The Original Kamado Grill, Ceramic Grill, Charcoal Smoker

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Best Of The Best Smokers and Grills: Kamado 2019

What Is a Kamado?

Kamado is a type of grill that originated from a Japanese stove. It was a big rice cooker and it was called ‘Mushikamado’. The most popular brand in the world of Kamado is The Big Green Egg.

But lately, there have been many other companies producing Kamado grills. They’re no worse than Big Green Egg, and in some moments even better.

Regardless of the brand, Kamado grills differ from others in several qualities. These grills work only on wood – you won’t see any gas here.

They also have thick ceramic walls and perfect insulation for creating a stable temperature inside. And in the end, Kamados have vents at the top and bottom so you can control the temperature.

Kamado has not only the highest quality of smoking and grilling. It can do almost everything, e.g. do 12-hour smoking at 225 ° or grill steak at 900 °

The secret is in the airflow but how does Kamado grill get so easy to control?

The answer is simple: they have large ceramic cookers that cope with this. It rests between the burning coals and the grill surface, pushing heat out around the edges, deflecting it away from your precious meat.

If you like to cook with direct heating, just pull out this insert and enjoy the ideal grilling conditions.

Quick selection of the best Kamodo grill:

There are several basic principles by which one can easily distinguish the Kamado grill, regardless of brand:

  • It’s a wood-burning vessel, no gasses here.
  • It’s got crazy thick walls, perfect insulation for long cooks.
  • It’s got vents on the top and bottom, for temp control.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Large space and internal insulation of ceramics provide high heat resistance and even heat distribution. You don’t need to constantly monitor Kamado after setting the temperature.

Just adjust the needed temperature and wait for the meat to cook.

Even if you live in a cold region, Kamado will still be able to cook all winter.

best thermometer for kamado grill

But the problem is that such thick walls need more heating time. So, they cool down for a very long time. So, don’t exceed the set temperature, otherwise, you’ll have to wait a long time until your beast cools down.

And another drawback is that Kamados are very heavy and can easily crack or burst when dropped. Some designs use stainless steel instead of ceramic but this also has several disadvantages.

It’s less heat-resistant but more impact-resistant. Anyway, take care of your grill and don’t drop it and everything will be ok.

How Did Kamado Appeared?

3000 years ago clay stoves appeared in China. (Ceramics also appeared there for the first time). Around 300 BC it was brought to Japan, where they were given the name Kamados or “Stoves”

But how did Kamado end up in the States? After World War II, many American soldiers settled in Japan. Returning home, many took Kamado with them as a souvenir. In America, Kamados began to be sold with great success, and one of these sellers, Ed Fisher, realized that this product could be on the top of the bestseller list. In 1974, a store opened in Atlanta, which was engaged in the sale of Kamado. Thus was born the Big Green Egg.

Now BGE is the largest and most successful Kamado company, and its fans jokingly call themselves Eggheads. Despite this, the Big Green Egg is not the only Kamado company and you have a large selection of Kamado grill manufacturers.

Oval Shape Is Better Than Round?

We like dual-zone grills because the second side is always empty and you can easily move food from hot direct heating to light convection indirect heating.

best kamado grill 2019

The oval Kamados made by Komodo Kamado and Primo allows you to cook in two zones at the same time. The sides here are sharper than in round shape.

You can create different heating zones in a round Kamado too, moving the food closer or further to the fire. But for this, you’ll need expensive racks and deflectors.

Grilling On A Kamado

Kamados can get very hot. Kamado is great for heating steaks, turkeys, ribs, and other meat. And Kamado makes it easy and fast enough.

But Kamados heat up and cool down pretty long. Also, due to the complexity of creating several cooking zones, we believe that Kamados is better for smoking than for grilling.

If you want to practice your grilling skills, you need to learn how to cook in two zones or buy a charcoal grill in addition to Kamado.

What To Choose – Briquettes Or Lump Coal?

Many Kamado manufacturers recommend the use of expensive lump coal with briquettes. Briquettes leave behind more ash, which can block airflow. Also, Kamado manufacturers often sell charcoal under their own brand, which can lead to a conflict of interest.

From a large number of briquettes on the market, we can recommend Kingsford briquettes to you because they are cheap, high-quality, and can be found almost everywhere.

Lump coal may not be as good as the manufacturers claim. Some units are 50% filled with building materials and 50% coal dust. You never know what will be inside the package, and it’s possible that you may get caught in plastic or other garbage.

But anyway, it’ll be more convenient to use high-quality lump coal, because it easily stirs at the bottom of the box. Briquettes are compacted and not so easy to stir.

How To Fire Up A Kamado?

Never use incendiary fluid to ignite coal in a ceramic grill. If liquid enters the porous interior, this will lead to sad consequences. Better use an electric starter or chimney.

Here is a way for you to quickly and safely ignite coal: fill the basket with coal, and in the center of the pile put a paraffin cube of a fire starter and fire up it. About five briquettes will immediately flare up, slowly spreading fire to neighboring parts.

green egg ceramic grill

When the group of burning briquettes becomes approximately the size of a palm, you can turn off the lower intake damper and upper exhaust damper to increase the amount of entering and leaving the air. So Kamado will slowly rise to the desired temperature and you don’t have to risk exceeding the mark.

In such devices, it’s easy to maintain a constant temperature, some users even use temperature controllers to regulate the temperature using a small fan or other things on the damper.

So, we come to the main part of the article. Can only the Big Green Egg offer you a good Kamado for grilling and smoking? We have compiled several Kamado brands for you that are distinguished by their superior quality and performance. Let’s take a look at the main ones.

1# Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Grill

Akorn costs half the price of a Big Green Egg but it’s much lighter and more durable. This Kamado has double walls made of strong steel instead of heavy ceramic walls.

You can don’t worry that it’ll fall and crack, the steel will save this grill from it.

Char-Griller is known for its budget grills, and before you got what you paid for. But this model works just like the traditional Kamados for a small cost.

Don’t expect Akorn to work forever, but if you want to save money and get a good Kamado, then this option is for you.

Pros

  • Locking caster

  • Temperature range – 200 to 700 degree

  • Easy heat control

  • Includes an indexed damper

Cons

  • The lid may not be seal properly over time

2# Char-Broil Kamander Charcoal Grill

This unit is similar to the previous one and costs about the same, but this is only at first glance. In fact, this Kamado has several differences from Akorn.

Char-Broil is more durable and heavy and has a unique design of air holes. Here, the vent hole is at the level of the food grate, not at the bottom.

You no longer have to bend over to adjust the airflow.

A large removable ash box makes it easier to clean and discharge the ash, and the ring of holes facilitates even air circulation.

This is a rather inexpensive but high-quality grill, so do not be surprised that some functions that are inherent in most Kamados aren’t here. This was done in order to provide a low price.

Pros

  • Secondary cooking area

  • Smoke, roaster or grill all on one unit

  • Intake channel and top damper provide easier heat and cooking control

  • Double-walled Steel construction

  • Large Folding side shelf

Cons

    3# Vision Professional S-Series Kamado

    No ceramic cooker has such unique qualities as the Vision Professional Kamado. The lower dampers are part of the ash drawer which has a special place for an electric starter.

    You’ll like the two-level stainless steel grates. The upper and lower levels are articulated for easier access to the charcoal. In addition to the grill, there are a 4-wheels trolley and side folding tables.

    To remove ash quickly and easily, the Vision added a gas insert here for “quick change,” which can be replaced with an ash drawer.

    Quick change is a retractable burner that can reach up to 25 000 BTUs, also, a heat exchanger, diffuser and stainless steel bracket.

    Pros

    • Small weight and size

    • Removable ash catcher

    • Built-in thermometer

    Cons

    • Small cooking surface

    • Poor quality of coating and assembly

    4# Big Green Egg Large Ceramic Cooker

    The Big Green Egg has become so popular in the USA that many now consider it the Kamado standard.

    Some manufacturers create their Kamados with the ability to work with accessories of the BGE.

    Big Green Eggs are available in several sizes, but 18 inches in diameter is the most popular. It’s not too small and not too large, ideal for a 20-pound turkey.

    The design of the Big Green Egg is simple and effective. The manufacturer gives you a lifetime warranty on this product, so be sure that you can use it for several years.

    Buying a Big Green Egg, you get only a ceramic stove. You will have to pay extra for other accessories.

    Pros

    • Has a huge space for cooking

    • Durable and stylish design

    • You can hang dishes for quick access

    • Stands fold quickly

    Cons

      5# Grill Dome Infinity Series

      Grill Dome makes heavy construction of stainless steel 304 with excellent heat capacity and a beautiful design.

      The body of this grill is designed for a longer life than ordinary ceramics and is able to withstand higher temperatures.

      The manufacturer uses baked enamel instead of ceramic glaze because he believes that such a material prevents the appearance of cracks and chips and looks more beautiful.

      Pros

      • Superior thermal efficiency

      • Heavy-duty 304 stainless hardware

      • Unmatched Featherlite hinge system

      • Lifetime warranty

      Cons

        6# Two-Zone Kamado: Primo Oval JR Ceramic Charcoal Smoker Tables

        We like these cookers much more than the traditional Big Green Eggs. In most Kamados it’s not possible to create two cooking zones but there are always exceptions.

        Primo is such an exception. It comes with grills that you can set at the right height from the fire or flip over for full firing.

        Crescent-shaped gratings make it possible to create a zone of direct and indirect heating. Just place one grid low in the forward zone and the second high in the indirect zone.

        Pros

        • Premium ceramic construction

        • Consistent performance and durable design

        • Unique design

        • Steel cart with 2-piece stainless steel side tables

        Cons

          7# Broil King 911470 Keg 5000 Charcoal Barbecue

          We’ve already said that if a ceramic Kamado accidentally falls, then with a high probability it’ll crack.

          You need to be very careful in handling it. But everything changes if you have Broil King.

          It’s made of lightweight fiberglass, which is encased in powder-coated steel. The Kamado isn’t so light that it can be taken and carried, but you can lift and fix it on the movable device.

          Even if it falls, it won’t crack like an egg.

          In this model, a trolley with wheels and removable side tables, a tool for working with a grill and ash cleaning, hooks and openers for tools are supplied.

          Pros

          • Durability and performance – the Keg features an insulated double-walled steel grill body

          • Uses up to 2X less charcoal than a typical charcoal grill/smoker

          • Removable steel ash catcher makes it quick and easy to clean out excess ash

          • Accessories that make it more functional

          • 10-year warranty on the grill body and a 2-year warranty on the remaining parts and pain

          Cons

            8# Kamado Joe KJ13RH Classic II  Grill Red

            If you want a stylish ceramic tile with great demand in the market – take Kamado Joe Classic.

            The company is very sensitive to the details in its products and makes each grill very high quality.

            In this model, you’ll find many useful upgrades, such as stainless steel kitchen grills or the “Divide and Conquer” heat-reflection system.

            The system includes multi-level racks and deflectors, which eliminate the cost of creating several cooking zones in Kamado.

            There are many things that are not in ordinary Kamados, and many add-ons and accessories you get for free.

            Pros

            • Practicing the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” principle.

            • The lid assist mechanism literally makes open the grill a two-finger job

            • The removable ashtray is great

            • The aluminum rain/vent cap

            Cons

              9# Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill

              You could hear about this company thanks to its popular kettles and gas grills.

              Despite being new to the Kamado market, Weber makes fairly high-quality Kamados on wheels.

              Although the usual Weber Kettle can heat and smoke, Kamado Weber is better in many aspects. You get more useful features and ease of use.

              A smoker by himself does an excellent job but when combined with a charcoal grill, it becomes the best of its kind.

              Pros

              • Electronic Touch-N-Go gas ignition system

              • Aluminized steel One-Touch cleaning system

              • Removable, high-capacity aluminum ash catcher

              • Removable LCD cook timer and built-in lid thermometer

              • Tuck-Away lid holder

              Cons

                10# BBQ Guru Monolith Ceramic Grill

                With this stove you can perform almost any action with food: fry, smoke, steam or bake, here you are limited only by your imagination.

                Thanks to the DigiQ temperature controller, you don’t need to be constantly at the grill and control the temperature. The system does this automatically.

                Also, the process of feeding chips, pellets or lump coal is simplified, you no longer need to lift the lid for this.

                With this Kamado, you’ll get excellent food in just 8-10 minutes and you won’t experience problems with temperature control or ash cleaning.

                Pros

                • This sleek, top-of-the-line cooker is able to grill&barbecue&smoke

                • High-tech temperature controls

                • Automatic oven-like control.

                • System of supplying wood chips, chunks, or pellets

                Cons

                  11# Komodo Kamado Big Bad 32

                  Komodo Kamado is one of the most beautiful, quality but expensive Kamados on the market. If you want and can spend a little more money, but in return get a Kamado, which will serve you all your life, then you should stop at this choice.

                  best cheap kamado grill

                  The manufacturer’s attention to detail is manifested in everything: from gratings to grill mosaic coating. Kamados have several color options and come with a trolley in the kit, which makes it easy to move this half-ton monster.

                  Pros

                  • Designed to cook for large groups

                  • User-friendly for everyday cooks

                  • 12 square feet of total grilling surface

                  • There’s plenty of room at all four levels

                  • 304 stainless

                  Cons

                    12# Blaze Freestanding Cast Aluminum Kamado Grill

                    If you have always feared that your ceramic Kamado could go cracked or chipped, you can forget about it with Blaze Freestanding Cast Aluminum Kamado Grill.

                    This grill is virtually indestructible and will last you for ages.

                    It is made of first-class aluminum, but nevertheless, its appearance is no less pretty. It will look very colorful with other stainless steel items in your kitchen thanks to its silvery 304 stainless steel accents.

                    Pros

                    • Fiery aluminum construction (first in the world)

                    • Heat loss-free cooking due to tongue design

                    • 304 stainless steel heavy-duty hinge

                    Cons

                    • Round shape that makes multi-zone cooking difficult

                    • No side tables

                    13# KAMaster 3 Slat Big Green Egg Side Shelves for Large BGE Egg

                    Slat Big Green Egg is a convenient and portable grill that will feed you anywhere. Despite its light summer look, it is suitable for any outdoor conditions.

                    This grill will not make you have difficulty installing it, because the kit contains clear and convenient instructions.

                    The high-quality materials of which the grill is made will allow it to work for a long time, and the ability to fold it and move if necessary will be useful to every smoker.

                    Pros

                    • Very portable grill

                    • Has a relatively low price unlike other Kamado

                    • Easy to use

                    • Resistant to wood rot, scratches, chips, etc.

                    Cons

                    • Due to the low price, the build quality leaves much to be desired

                    • Hard to reach in certain states of North America (but not on our site!)

                    Useful Video – How To Use A Big Green Egg For Everything

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