What Make Kamado Smoker So Desirable?
A kamado grill can be a smoking hot addition to any backyard. It’s incredibly versatile. You can use it to smoke meat, cook meals, and even bake desserts. It can function as a grill, a smoker, an oven, and even a rotisserie (with the right accessories, of course). Of course, not all kamado smokers are made equal. Some are way better than others. If you’re looking for the best kamado grills in the market, then you’ve come to the right place. You should find the right kamado smoker for you below:
- What Make Kamado Smoker So Desirable?
- Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Grill
- Duluth Forge Kamado Grill
- Primo 778 Extra-Large Oval Ceramic Smoker Grill
- Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado
- Best Kamado Smoker Buying Guide
- What about build quality?
- Warranty and Customer Service
- 5 More Kamado Smokers That Are Also Pretty Good
Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Grill
Review: The Kamado Joe brand is well-known for producing innovative solutions to meet the backyard barbecue needs of the average Joe and Jane. So, it’s not surprising that one of their models is awarded the Best Overall Kamado Smoker in the market. The Kamado Joe Classic II is an 18-inch egg-shaped kamado grill that features a thick-walled, heat-resistant shell made of heavy ceramic. It comes with a top exhaust vent that functions as an adjustable damper as well as a rain cap. The lower intake vent also has a dual function. Sliding it from left to right enables you to control how much air gets in to fan the charcoal fire. Within the vent, there’s a drawer that you can slide out to remove ash. No muss, no fuss. Another innovative feature of the Kamado Joe Classic II is the Divide & Conquer Flexible Cooking System that allows you to do 2-zone cooking. It features split grates that can be placed at different levels along with a half moon heat diffuser. Take note that this system is included with the model; it’s not an additional purchase. One other highlight of the Classic II is the air lift hinge. Ceramic kamado grills can be very heavy; lifting the lid can be difficult. The same goes for closing it. To make things easier for the cook, the manufacturers placed an air lift hinge that reduces the weight of the lid by 96%. The mesh, fiberglass gaskets on the lip of the lid as well as a stainless steel latch ensures that you get an airtight seal when the lid is closed. With all these innovative features, it’s easy to see why we love this kamado smoker above all.
Duluth Forge Kamado Grill
Review: While charcoal smokers are as old school as it gets, that doesn’t mean that none of them have transitioned into the 21st century. The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 is a digital charcoal grill + smoker that combines the mouthwatering flavor from cooking with charcoal and the ease of use that you often find in a gas or electric grill. This baby features a GravityFed hopper that can hold up to 10lbs of lump charcoal or 16lbs of briquettes. There’s a digital control panel that allows you to control temperature and cook time. You can also use your smart device to control the unit; just connect it to the grill via WiFi or Bluetooth. There’s a fan that ensures that the hot air from the hopper flows to the cooking chamber and maintains your desired cooking temperature. It can easily reach 700 degrees Fahrenheit for grilling and searing. Or go as low as 225 degrees Fahrenheit for low and slow cooks. With a fully loaded hopper, you can grill and/or smoke meat up to 12 continuous hours without having to refuel. Even if you did, loading up the hopper is a breeze. What’s more, this grill-smoker combo features smoke + sear versatility. The cast iron cooking grates are reversible, enabling you to sear your meat when needed. With this digital charcoal grill + smoker, you can set it and forget it when the mood arises or keep an eye on your meats while chatting and drinking.
Primo 778 Extra-Large Oval Ceramic Smoker Grill
Review: If you want to go big, then there’s only one kamado smoker that’s for you – the Primo XL. This is an extra large kamado grill with an oval-shaped design. It is made of premium grade ceramic for superior heat and moisture retention. The body of the grill features a protective, lead-free, and scratch-resistant porcelain glaze for improved durability. Unlike the other egg-shaped grills, there’s no need for an innovative solution to allow 2-zone cooking. The shape of the grill already allows you to cook food using direct and indirect heat. Another difference between other kamado grills and the Primo XL is the high-sitting lid which enables you to cook whole turkeys inside the grill with the lid closed. The porcelain-coated cooking grates are easy to clean and reversible. It offers 400 square inches of cooking space. There’s an easy lift-and-lock hinge system that ensures the lid stays raised in place while you’re flipping burgers or checking on the meat on your grill. Plus, the Primo XL comes with a limited lifetime warranty backed by a 20-year guarantee. This grill is the perfect choice if you regularly cook for a large group of people. One thing we don’t like about the Primo XL is that it doesn’t come with a cart (sold separately) or any other accessories. Even the ash tool needs to be purchased separately. Other than that, you can’t go wrong with the Primo XL.
Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado
Review: As much as we love the Kamado Joe Classic II, there’s no question that it comes with a pretty steep price. Not everyone has that much money to spend on grill. Fortunately, there is a budget-friendly alternative available – the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker. This kamado smoker is made of 22 gauge steel with a triple-wall construction for improved heat retention. It has a temperature range of 200 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit. This kamado grill also comes with two adjustable dampers – one at the top and one at the bottom – to help you easily control temperature. The grill design also ensures fuel efficiency while cooking. To increase durability, the Akron comes with a powder-coated exterior finish and a porcelain-coated steel interior finish. The cast iron grates provide 314 square inches of cooking space. There’s also a warming rack with 133 square inches of cooking space. There’s an easy dump ash pan for quick ash removal. The kamado grill comes in a cart with side shelves for extra prep space and large 8-inch front wheels for easy movement. At a fraction of the price of a Kamado Joe, you really can’t get any better than the Char-Griller Akorn.
Best Kamado Smoker Buying Guide
Yes, it doesn’t look like any grill you’ve ever seen. It looks more like an ancient burial urn that you’ve seen in the movies than a smoker. But, we kid you not, if you want to wow your neighbors with your grilling powers, the Kamado Smoker is just the thing you’re looking for. The Kamado grill is a modernized take on the Japanese cooking stove called “mushikamado” which has been around for 3,000 years. There are plenty of benefits to getting a kamado grill for your backyard. It’s versatile, efficient, easy to use, and takes up little space compared to other types of charcoal grills. More importantly, you don’t need to deal with flare-ups and that’s saying something when you’re playing with fire. Of course, not all kamado grills are made equal. Some are way better than others. If you’re in a rush to buy one, you can just check out our recommendations above. But if you want to learn how to judge a kamado grill’s greatness, we’ve got a guide that can help you out.
It doesn’t matter what type of grill we’re talking about, size is always an important factor when you’re choosing one. Kamado grills are no different. Most grills of this type are round in design and measured by diameter. The average size of a kamado grill is around 18 inches. Larger sizes can go up to 24 inches and are usually marketed as XL. Smaller sizes can range from 9.5 to 16 inches in diameter. The smallest kamado grill is perfect for feeding two while large groups will require a larger cooking area. So, you’ll need to consider how many people you plan to feed using your grill when factoring in its size. Take note that there is one brand that offers a different shaped kamado grill – Primo. To accurately compare the size of their models with other kamado grills on the market, make sure to use the primary cooking area instead of diameters.
Size is not just about cooking surface. It is also relevant to space. Where will you be placing your grill? How much space is available? Kamado grills can get really hot which means you need to put some clearance between it and your walls. Storage is another issue that can be affected by size. When not in use, will you be putting away your kamado grill in the garage? If so, do you have enough space to accommodate it?
Kamado grills can be made of different materials. The two most popular are heavy duty ceramics and enamel-coated steel. There are a lot of benefits to choosing a kamado grill made of heavy duty ceramics. This material ensures maximum insulation and fuel efficiency. Moreover, the heavy ceramic material improves the grill’s durability as well. However, a ceramic grill can be incredibly heavy. It can also be quite fragile; it’s easy to chip or crack it if you’re not careful. Plus, a heavy duty ceramic kamado grill tends to be very expensive. Enamel-coated steel, on the other hand, is much lighter and more durable. It’s also more affordable. However, steel does not have the same heat retention capabilities as ceramic. This means you need to look for a kamado grill that features double-walled or triple-walled construction in order to achieve this.
What about build quality?
Thick walls are essential to maintaining a steady temperature. So, avoid kamado grills that have thin walls. But build quality is not just about the body of the grill. You also need to look at fit and finish. Does the grill seal properly? Gaps can cause heat to get out and result in fluctuating temperature. What about the metal fittings? What material are they made of? Do they look like they’ll rust quickly? Kamado grills usually also feature a hinge assembly, so make sure to check its durability. You don’t want that lid falling down while you’re handling the meat that’s cooking on the grates.
Speaking of, grates can be made of a variety of materials such as cast iron, stainless steel, and painted steel. Out of all of them, stainless steel gets the most recommendations. This is because it’s durable, resistant to rust, and easy to clean. In addition, it’s good at heat retention. It also blackens easily when exposed to high heat. However, it’s not as good at transferring heat to meat like cast iron. On the other hand, cast iron requires a lot of care in order to prevent rusting. Porcelain-enameled steel is decent enough. But it doesn’t retain heat as well as cast iron. It is also not as durable as stainless steel.
Kamado grills are one of the most versatile grills you’ll ever get to meet. But its versatility is quite dependent on the accessories available. These can include pizza stones, skillets, rotisseries, stacking grills, diffuser plates, a grate gripper, a drip pan, etc. Other types of accessories include shelves, cart with wheels, and a grill cover. When choosing a kamado grill, take the time to compare what accessories are included with the grill. There’s no standard for this which means each model can come with any number of accessories. You should also look at what accessories that can be bought separately. When comparing cost, make sure to include all the pieces that you’ll need.
Warranty and Customer Service
Things won’t always go as planned. Problems can sometimes arise like a crack or chip on your kamado grill. Some wear and tear on the hinges, a gap in the seal. When something goes wrong, it’s reassuring that you can rely on the manufacturer’s warranty to get things fixed. Make sure to check what the warranty covers and what it doesn’t. More importantly, check the quality of the customer service provided by the company. When you’re making a claim or inquiring about repairs, it’s the customer service people that you’ll be dealing with. Do they respond to inquiries quickly? How do you get in touch with them? Is it through email only or is there a number you can call? Check reviews, the feedback section in the company’s website, and even their social media accounts to see how they deal with customers.