Best of Kamado Grills


History of the kamado grill 

Kamado grills have a long and interesting history that dates back thousands of years with the earliest known form of the kamado likely used in Japan as early as 3,000 BC. That’s right, some five thousand years ago. These ancient grills were made from clay and were functional for both indoor and outdoor cooking.

Kamado Grills Featured image

The modern, and certainly more portable version of the kamado grill, was first invented in the 1940s, also in Japan. It was quickly got the attention of the American soldiers stationed there, as part of the revival of outdoor cooking in America was getting started. The popularity of this unique cooking appliance actually had a surge during the 1950s and 1960s, as more people began to appreciate its versatility and ease of use.

To this day, kamado grills are used all over the world. There are wide variety of models available utilizing multiple metal and ceramic materials to make them effective for all types of cooks.

What is the Best Kamado Grill?

Kamado grills are now - or still - for the cool cook on the block. They're versatile, enclosed and insulated, making them ideal for an array of techniques, from slow cooking, smoking, and grilling, to baking pizzas. Nowadays kamado cookers are available in a variety of styles and come from many different manufacturers including; Kamado Joe, Weber Summit Kamado, Lifesmart, Primo Grilling, Pit Boss, Char-Griller, and more.

When buying a kamado grill, it is important to consider the size of the cooker and how you will incorporate it into your own space. Most brands offer different, features, and degree of portability, so you should think about what you plan to cook and how often you will be using it.

Here’s a quick overview of the best Kamado grills for the money: 

"Classic II"

Classic II is an impressive cooker that comes with a dual-layer design for heat retention; 

  • Thick ceramic walls offer superior insulation 
  • Two cooking levels
  • Divide & Conquer Flexible Cooking System for flexibility
  • Patented Air Lift Hinge for easy opening

1

2

"Weber Summit Kamado"

The Weber Summit Kamado is a great choice for anyone looking for a medium-sized kamado grill;

  • Three layers of insulation to keep in the heat
  • Two cooking levels designed to maximize efficiency
  • Built-in thermometer and an air lift hinge for easy opening and closing

"Lifesmart Kamado"

The Lifesmart Kamado is a great choice for those looking for a smaller kamado grill;

  • Insulated design that helps retain heat
  • Two cooking levels
  • Built-in thermometer and an air lift hinge for easy opening and closing

3

4

"Primo Grilling"

Primo Grilling is a great option for anyone looking for a quality kamado grill;

  • Three layers of insulation to retain heat
  • Two cooking levels designed to maximize efficiency
  • Air lift hinge makes it easy to open and close the lid

"Pit Boss Kamado"

The Pit Boss Kamado is perfect for those who want a large-sized kamado cooker;

  • Two layers of insulation to retain heat
  • Two cooking levels designed to maximize efficiency
  • Air lift hinge makes it easy to open and close the lid for convenience.

5

6

"Char-Griller’s Acorn Kamado"

Char-Griller’s Acorn Kamado is one of the better value propositions in the kamado arena while still offering a functional piece of cooking equipment. This is our favorite value pick when it comes to Kamado style grills.

  • All metal construction
  • Triple walled for better insulation
  • Removable warming rack and folding side tables

Kamado grills are heavy, and being aware of just how much they weigh may affect where you can locate them in your space. The variance in weight depends on size and the materials used in their construction.

Here are specifications about that aspect of kamados we’ve listed:

  • Kamado Joe Classic II weighs approximately 188 pounds (85 kg)
  • Kamado Joe Big Joe model weighs around 250 pounds (113 kg)
  • Weber Summit Kamado weighs approximately 114 pounds (52 kg)
  • Lifesmart Kamado grill weighs in at about 176 pounds (80 kg)
  • Pit Boss Kamado can tip the scales at approximately 220 pounds (100 kg)
  • Char-Griller Acorn Kamado is listed at 97 pounds (44 kg)

Where to put your kamado

Make sure that the area is well ventilated and free from combustible materials such as wood or dry leaves, not to near the house or cars. In other words, common sense for a device generating high internal heat.  The space should be also large enough to accommodate your cooker without overcrowding other furniture or outdoor areas that folks will be enjoying.

Kamado grill outside house

Kamado grills are designed to withstand the elements, making them relatively weatherproof. Ceramic or metal construction of most kamado grills makes them resistant to rust and corrosion, properties that are enhanced by their high-temperature resistant paint. Still, we advise using a cover when not in use, especially in extreme weather conditions, to prolong the lifespan of your kamado grill.

Choosing the right sport, protection from the elements added to careful cleaning and maintenance, will help you enjoy your kamado cooker for many years to come. By choosing the right Kamado grill, you can benefit from a variety of features that will make your cooking experience more enjoyable. From an experienced chef to someone just starting out, investing in a quality Kamado grill is an excellent choice to up your outdoor cooking game.

Accessories for Kamado Grills

When using a kamado grill, there are several essential accessories to consider seeking out to help you get the most out of your cooking experience. First and most important are quality thermometers, which will help you monitor the exact temperature of your food. More about that later. Additionally, you may also want to invest in a pizza stone or griddle for making pizzas and flatbreads on the grill. Trust us. We will talk about how great these are as pizza ovens as well

Kamado grill and thermometer

For convenience, you may also want to purchase a charcoal starter or chimney to get that fire going quicker and easier. If you prefer heavily smoke-infused dishes, there are also various accessories available that enhance smoke flavors; wood chips, pellet sleeves, and smoker boxes. Finally, it’s important to get some good quality grill brushes for easy cleaning after every use.

Doubles as a Pizza Oven

Kamado grills are great for cooking pizza! Pizzas cooked on a normal grill are heated and cooked mostly from the bottom. A Kamado-grilled pizza takes advantage of the rounded, dome shape of the insulated lid. If that sounds familiar look at every authentic brick pizza oven in Italy to see similar shaping. Essentially, your pizza will be cooking from both the top and bottom. The bottom surface being very important to get the heat shock, correctly starting your dough down a crispy path for the bottom of the crust.

Making pizza in kamado grill

The kamado is known for focusing heat into the cooking chamber. Adjust your airflow and get that fuel burning, you can easily get above the 700-degree starting point for artisan pizza baking. Cooking a Neapolitan-style pizza, for example, requires that much heat so that it can come out crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside with little time required. Many table top pizza ovens require turning your pie for even cooking. The 360-degree heat flow of a kamado eliminates that need.

Tips for Great BBQ with a Kamado Grill

We mean barbecue in the classic sense. Smoke filled flavors that can only be acquired over time and within specific temperature ranges. Kamado styles are like the superheroes of slow cooking as they retain heat very well and provide even temperature distribution throughout the cook chamber.

Steak BBQ in kamado grill

"The Wood"

Choose your smoking wood, use chunks and/or lump charcoal rather than chips or pellets to smoke brisket or such, looking for a low temperature (between 220°F and 250°F). Fill the firebox with lump charcoal, place wood chunks on top or bury them underneath, and light the fire. Open all the vents when starting the fire, then adjust as needed to maintain the target temperature.

"Thermometers"

If you are newer to Kamado cooking, it is a good idea to get an ambient thermometer to measure the chamber temperature. Some of our favorite Bluetooth thermometer sets include both air temperature and meat temperature sensing capabilities (thermometer article links?). You will get better results measuring both. The piercing thermometer in a few spots of your cooking food will let you when it has reached the perfect temp for that item. Hint- we like 203F for brisket or pulled pork.

By controlling both the air intake and exhaust vents, you can easily control the temperature of your cooker. The ceramics used in kamado grills have excellent heat retention which makes them ideal for slow smoked beef brisket. Preheat your kamado grill to a smoking temperature of 220–225 degrees Fahrenheit. It will probably take a good 30 minutes for the grill to stabilize to the desired temperature, and a little practice on your part keeping the temps stable through the cook time.

Outdoor Kitchen for Your Kamado Grill

As kamado grills increase in popular, and many homeowners are looking for ways to incorporate them into their outdoor kitchens. The best option is often to design a built-in kamado grill into an existing kitchen island or countertop. This way, the grill can be easily accessed and used without taking up too much space in the outdoor area. Additionally, a built-in kamado grills also help to give the kitchen a more professional look.

Kamado Grill in Outdoor-Kitchen

If you don’t have an existing island or countertop in your outdoor kitchen, then you can always opt for freestanding models. These are typically slightly larger than built-in grills and may require some additional space in order to accommodate them. Freestanding kamado grills can also be used as a focal point in the outdoor kitchen, adding an extra touch of style and sophistication since most manufacturers engineer the appearance of their grills.

Whichever option you choose, it’s important to make sure there is enough space for cooking with your kamado grill and other furniture, all while keeping people safe. This ensures that your outdoor kitchen looks great and is easy to use when cooking. Additionally, if you grill is out in the open, make sure to buy a cover or umbrella for your kamado grill when not in use, as this will help protect it from the weather and ensure it lasts longer.

Downsides to kamado grills

The main downside of a kamado grill is the price. While they can be quite expensive compared to traditional charcoal grills, it’s important to remember that they also offer superior performance and can last for years with proper maintenance. Additionally, their energy-efficient design means they are typically cheaper to run in the long term.

Another issue with kamado grills is that they can be difficult to use if you’re not familiar with the unique design and features. In order to get the most out of your kamado grill, it’s important to take some time to learn how it works and understand the terminology used in instruction manuals. Seek out some instructional videos on the web. With a bit of practice even newbies to barbecue will be able to master the kamado grill in no time.

Finally, it’s important to remember that kamado grills may require specific fuels such as lump charcoal and hardwood briquettes. While these fuels can add an extra smoky flavor to your food, they are often a little more expensive than regular charcoal.

Upsides to Kamado Grils 

Kamado grills offer many benefits over traditional charcoal and propane grills. The most obvious is their superior cooking performance, as they can easily retain heat for a long period of time, providing even heat distribution. This makes it easier to cook complex dishes that require consistent temperatures throughout the cooking process.

Kamado grills are also incredibly versatile, as they can be used for direct and indirect cooking, baking, roasting, smoking, and more. This means that you can cook a wide variety of dishes on your kamado grill without any hassle, using just one device.