Kamado is what you get when you fuse ancient history and the modern way of doing things. But, a lot has changed since the Big Green Egg was introduced to the US market back in the 70s. Today, we will tell you why the best kamado grills and smokers are a game-changer, and how to buy the right one.
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The kamado is not just a grill; it’s a perfect representation of history, utilitarianism, and endurance. These grills can trace their origin to thousands of years ago and continue to win the hearts of people today.
Kamados comfortably handle high and low heat, allowing you to sear, bake, sauté, and smoke easily. But it is their ability to retain heat that sets them apart from other grills. And, of course, the authentic flavor they bring to the table.
Here’s the shortlist of our top 10 kamado grills and smokers
- Kamado Joe | Big Joe II
- Char-Griller | Akorn
- Char-Griller | Akorn Jr. Kamado
- Kamado Joe | Big Joe III
- Weber | Summit S6 Charcoal Grill Center
- Kamado Joe | Joe Jr with Grill Stand
- Blaze | Cast Aluminum Kamado Grill
- Weber | Summit E6 Kamado Charcoal Grill with Stand
- Primo | All-In-One Ceramic Kamado Grill
- Coyote | Asado Freestanding Ceramic Cooker
10 Best Kamado Grills and Smokers
With many manufacturers finally embracing the kamado spirit, finding the right Kamado grill can be challenging. Luckily, we have done the homework for you. The following are some of the best kamado grills and smokers.
If you swear by Kamado Joe grills and you love entertaining, the Big Joe II 24-inch stand-alone ceramic grill will undoubtedly be a favorite. It comes with a high-quality construction that includes thick ceramic walls which effectively lock in heat, moisture, and smoke, creating the perfect cooking environment.
Once you open the lid, you will find an enormous 604 sq. inches of stainless steel cooking surface. Couple that with a temperature range of between 250 and 750, and you will grill, smoke, roast, and even bake to your heart’s delight.
Kamado uses the multi-level divide and conquer cooking system that allows you to cook different dishes in different cooking areas at different temperatures. We are talking about roasting your ribs in one rack and sautéing your vegetables in another.
Big Joe has a double-thick wire mesh fiberglass gasket that provides an airtight seal to lock in temperature for perfect cooking. For easy cleanups, you will find a patented removable ash tool that is easy to access.
Trust Big Joe II to deliver tasty and juicy grilled foods every time you call on it. Backed by a 5-year warranty, you have a durable grill that will serve you unreservedly.
If you are looking for a kamado grill that will deliver on performance, Char-Griller Akorn is well-worth your consideration.
This grill is built to last, thanks to the tripled walled 22 gauge stainless steel construction. It has a highly insulated body for efficient heat retention.
Akorn has a temperature range of between 200 and 700 degrees. This means that you can smoke your fish or sear your steaks with heat to spare. And with the 447 sq. inch of total cooking space, you can cook enough food for everyone.
The top and bottom dampers play a pivotal role in maintaining airflow into the cooking chamber. You only need to adjust them accordingly to achieve the desired temperatures for your cooking.
The side shelves add convenience to cooking, as you can use them as prep areas. When they are not in use or when you want to add more charcoal, just fold them, and they will be out of your way.
You will find a removable ash pan at the bottom of the grill that collects ash for easy disposal. And when you want to move the Akorn to your desired grilling spot, the two wheels at the front and a large caster wheel at the back will allow you to maneuver with ease.
The Akorn Jr. may be small, but it is one badass grill. It features a triple wall, 22 gauge steel with a porcelain coating interior, and a powder coating exterior for superior insulation and heat retention.
With the two adjustable dampers, heat management is easy. You only need to adjust the dampers to achieve low and slow temperatures for smoking, or high heat for searing. And you have between 200 to 700 degrees of heat to play with.
While the Akorn jr. could have been larger, it offers 153 sq. inches of cooking area, which is enough to entertain 3 to 4 hungry people. Thanks to the cast iron grates that evenly distribute heat across the cooking space, cooking time is significantly reduced.
While it lacks in size and ostentation, it still gets the job done. And it weighs only 40 pounds, making it a perfect camping companion.
The Kamado Joe Big Joe III ceramic kamado grill boasts a large 24-inch cooking area, ideal for entertaining a crowd. Although you might have to break the bank for this one, it’s worth every penny.
It comes with a thick-walled ceramic shell that offers superior insulation, allowing moisture and smoke retention; this results in juicier and tastier dishes every time.
Big Joe uses the divide and conquer cooking system comprising a 3-tiered grate set up that makes up the 864 sq. inches of a cooking surface at different height levels. This set-up turns Big Joe into a cooking monster, allowing you to cook different dishes at different temperatures. Here, you have a range of between 225 to 750 degrees of heat.
Never short of unique features, Big Joe III utilizes a SlōRoller Hyperbolic Insert that evenly distributes heat and smoke when cooking at lower temperatures. The insert is removable in case you do not intend to use it.
This grill comes with a powder-coated cast aluminum Kontrol Tower top vent that provides precise temperature management by facilitating airflow through the kamado. Another feature here is the Air Lift Hinge which reduces the lid’s weight by a whopping 96%, allowing you to open and close the lid with ease.
You will also love the convenience of the powder-coated aluminum side shelves that allow you to prepare your ingredients with ease.
Weber is an iconic grill maker with a tremendous contribution to the outdoor cooking space. The 24-inch Weber Summit S6 charcoal grill is no exception.
It comes with dual walled steel for maximum heat retention, allowing for more efficient cooking. And spotting a 452 sq. inches of cooking space, you will cook hustle-free, even for a large family.
Just adjust the grates and transform the kamado into a grilling machine to smoke your fish, sear your steaks, and grill your chicken. To achieve low and slow cooking, place the diffuser plate above the coal to deflect heat from the food.
Firing the charcoal is as simple as pushing a button. As the cooking continues, you can use the built-in thermometer to monitor the internal temperatures hands-free. The rapid damper is hinged so you can adjust it accordingly to achieve the desired cooking temperature.
The stainless steel table can be used as a prep area, and the one-touch cleaning system makes cleanups quite easy. By moving the vent back and forth, ash moves into the removable ash catcher for easy disposal.
The Kamado Joe Joe Jr is popular among campers and tailgaters. At 68 pounds of weight, it’s light enough to carry to any location. It comes with 148 sq. inches of cooking which will definitely keep you happy, no matter where you carry it to.
It has ceramic as the primary construction material. Thanks to its thick and porous nature, it efficiently retains heat and maintains consistent temperatures for a long time, using less fuel. The best thing is that it can hit 750 degrees if you need some good sear on your steaks.
You can explore different menu capabilities with the kamado. The cooking grate can accommodate a 10.25″ cast iron pan, allowing you to whip up burgers or any dish you want.
And if you slightly lower the grate up to the firing level, beer can chicken will perfectly fit. Simply put, the sky is the limit here.
To clean it up, just remove the bottom ash with the ash tool.
The Blaze 20-inch grill is for those who appreciate solid quality, good looks and durability. It comes with a 1 ¼ inch thick cast aluminum construction. This means that it could last a lifetime. This feature also gives the grill superb heat retention, allowing you to cook for longer using less fuel.
For precise temperature control and even greater efficiency, the Blaze 20 has a cast molded exhaust cap that facilitates easy heat control. You can also play around with the dampers to achieve the desired airflow into the grill.
Under the lid, you will find 12mm, 304 stainless steel hex grill grates that excellently retain heat. If you still want more cooking space, there is an 18-inch steel grill grate underneath that doubles as your cooking space so you can grill, roast, bake and BBQ your heart out.
The tongue and groove sealing is a unique feature in the Blaze 20. It is a superior lid seal that keeps the heat trapped inside the kamado for perfect cooking.
Cleaning is near-effortless, thanks to the removable ash pan that spans the entire width of the grill. Blaze gives you a lifetime warranty with this purchase.
The Weber Summit 24-Inch Kamado E6 features a signature dual wall insulated body that allows it to retain heat for all-day cooking with minimal fuel usage.
With the 452 sq. inches of cooking space, this kamado will comfortably feed a family of 4 to 5 people. And this cooker is built to multitask; by repositioning the grate, you can sear your steak, smoke your fish, and grill your veggies and chicken.
Here, you will find a rapid-fire lid damper with a hinged design that allows it to open, creating a chimney effect for maximized airflow; this works to increase the grill’s temperature.
But if you want to cook in low heat, just place the diffuser plate on the charcoal, and it will deflect heat away from the food. Weber also includes a built-in lid thermometer for monitoring temperatures inside the grill.
Cleaning the grill is easy, thanks to the one-touch cleaning system. The three blades in the bowl move the ash into the high-capacity aluminum ash catcher for easy disposal.
With the heavy-duty caster wheels, you can easily move the Summit kamado to your desired grilling spot. The generous 10-year warranty is a bonus.
The Primo All-In-One ceramic grill offers superior cooking and fuel efficiency that only Primo can offer. It features a premium-grade construction that maximizes moisture and heat retention, resulting in flavorful dishes.
With a 300 sq. inches of cooking surface, this grill is large enough to cook for a small family. The oval design offers more grilling space so you can grill a whole turkey or chicken vertically. The patented shape design also gives you more cooking flexibility, allowing you to cook using two different heat zones simultaneously.
Sear your steaks on the direct flames at 500 degrees, and roast your fish or veggies on the indirect side of the flame at 180 degrees. For better indirect cooking such as baking, smoking, and roasting, use the deflector plates and racks.
Primo gives you a cast aluminum chimney cap, a lower vent door, and an easy-to-read accurate thermometer for enhanced temperature management. Don’t forget; it comes with a lid that protects your food, allowing you to grill in any weather condition. It also features an ash tool for effortless cleanups, FDA-approved side shelves that act as a prep area, and two wheels for easy mobility.
The Coyote Asado Ceramic Cooker comes with a 1 1/8″ thick ceramic construction that does an excellent job retaining heat and keeping cooking temperatures consistent.
This is a versatile piece, as it absorbs heat and radiates it so you can roast ribs, smoke fish, bake pizza, and all your favorite pastries. The 254 sq. inches of cooking space may not be enough to feed many mouths, but it can cook a decent amount of food at a go.
For easy temperature management, it has dual vents airflow system that you can adjust to achieve low and slow all-night cooking or high heat cooking for steak searing. This one can cook for long hours while maintaining consistent temperatures, using less fuel.
Sear on the Coyote’s exclusive signature cooking grate and give your steaks some nice sear lines. And don’t forget it comes with an integrated thermometer to monitor the temperatures inside the lid. You will love the convenience of the foldable, wooden shelves that allow you to keep your serveware, ingredients, and grilling tools nearby.
Coyote Asado will definitely add value to your outdoor grilling experience.
What to Look for When Buying a Kamado Grill and Smoker
Before splashing money on a big purchase such as a kamado, be clear about what you want. Here is a compilation of considerations to make when shopping for a kamado grill.
Obviously, you want a grill that has adequate space to cook your food. If you are looking to cook for just a small family, a standard 9.5 inches will be enough.
But if you are a frequent entertainer, you should consider having at least 24 inches of grilling space so that you can cook enough food for everyone.
Most kamados feature a ceramic construction with a ceramic glaze, but steel is now a common feature. Ceramic offers unmatched heat retention and insulation.
With proper maintenance, a ceramic grill will enjoy a longer shelf life. But be ready to dig deeper into your pocket for this one.
Steel has its pros, as it is lightweight and doesn’t readily crack when dropped, unlike ceramic. It is also more lenient to the pocket. However, steel is a poor insulator. It eventually rusts, making it less durable than ceramic.
Some grills will impress you with their bells and whistles, but don’t forget to check their warranty. Some brands, such as Blaze, offer a lifetime warranty on their grills, while others provide an extended warranty of 10 years, such as the Weber.
Although kamados are generally designed to last a long time, ensure you ask about the warranty. A longer warranty indicates quality; it means the manufacturer is willing to put their money where their mouth is.
Related Reading: Best Grill Brands
Most grills come with enameled steel grates, but 304 stainless steel is also catching up. If the cooking grates are hinged, the better, as they let you access the grates underneath so you can add fuel to the grill without taking the grate out when cooking.
One thing you will want after a grilling session is a simple clean-up process. Unfortunately, not all kamado grills feature an ash management system. You will thank yourself later if you pick a kamado grill with a removable ash pan. It makes cleaning a breeze.
A crucial design of the kamado grill is the ventilation system that manages airflow into the grill.
Good airflow is vital as it allows you to control temperatures, so you to cook in high heat or low heat. Double wheeled vents offer superior temperature control than single-wheeled vents.
One irrefutable fact about kamado grills is that they are extremely heavy. But smaller and lighter models that you can travel with are also available. But you must exercise utmost care when handling these ones to ensure they don’t crack or break on the way.
If portability is a priority, go for steel grills instead. They are light to handle and will make a perfect partner during your camping, tailgating, or road trips.
A kamado grill with caster wheels comes in handy when you need shelter from the wind and rain or a change of grilling spot.
Best Kamado Grill: Conclusion
We are living in unprecedented times, and now more than ever, every dollar counts. The truth is Kamado grills can be expensive and may not be ideal for those who are on a budget.
Nonetheless, the best kamado grills and smokers are worth every penny and will eventually pay off -they last years and will save a ton of fuel.
Ever tried a kamado? What do you like to grill or smoke? Got any killer recipes? Leave us a comment with your thoughts below!