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Kamado Joe Classic II Review: Does This Fan-Fav Perform?

When it comes to ceramic cookers, Kamado Joe have truly brought quality and innovation to this ancient style of barbecue.

With a well thought out range of eggs, there’s pretty much nothing that you can’t cook on one of these beauties. From traditional-style pizza to seared steak, ribs, smoked brisket, bread, and even dessert, a kamado cooker offers the ultimate in flexibility when it comes to barbecuing.

But, if you’re feeling bamboozled by which Kamado Joe is right for you, we’ve got your back.

In this Kamado Joe Classic II review, you’ll find out what they’re really like to cook on as well as the specs, features, pros and cons.

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Table of Contents

The Kamado Joe Classic II 18”

The Kamado Joe Classic is hands down one of THE most popular kamado grills on the market. It’s won mentions in our top rated smokers, best value smokers, best smokers for beginners and best kamado grills just to name a few… And, it’s easy to see why.

To start with, Kamado Joe have kept the traditional high-fired ceramic walls of the traditional kamado. This high-quality material is simply the best choice on offer to lock in moisture, heat and smoke to perfectly barbecue your meal from the full 360 around. Thanks to a porcelain-glazed shell, the outside will remain cool to touch throughout your cook so there’s no need to worry about burnt fingers.

But, here’s where the Kamado Joe brand really starts to shine through!

Wire Mesh Fibreglass Gasket

The gasket used on the Kamado Joe range is an industry first. Made of wire mesh fiberglass, it’ll keep your grill well sealed for at least 10 years longer than the average kamado. So, there’s no need to worry about doing mods straight out of the box or having to replace parts just a season or two down the track.

Air Lift Hinge

Because kamado lids are darn right heavy, Kamado Joe have revolutionised their design by adding what they call an Air Lift Hinge. This mechanism takes 95% of the weight off so that you can lift the lid with just one finger if you so please. Easier for the Mrs and safer for any kiddos helping out, we love the Air Lift and would rather save our strength for the gym.

Kontrol Tower

Another stand-out innovation on the Kamado Joe range is the Kontrol Tower. No more leaky vents wasting your precious heat and smoke. This rust-proof aluminium vent sits on top of your kamado and can be dialled in to perfect the airflow for precise temperature control. It’s also designed to keep any rain out and will stay in place even when the grill lid is lifted.

AMP Firebox

One of the most commonly replaced parts on a kamado is the firebox itself. While most kamados on the market feature a one-piece firebox that’s naturally susceptible to cracking under high-heat conditions, the new Kamado Joe Classic II features a patented AMP (advanced multi-panel) firebox. This clever design is made up of five pieces of ceramic that have room to expand and contract without cracking so you can crank the heat up to grill that steak or pizza without worrying about having to fork out money on replacement parts.

Divide and Conquer Cooking System

Are you ready for one more genius feature that, in our opinion, completely revolutionizes cooking on a kamado?

Kamado Joe’s ingenious, patented Divide and Conquer cooking system allows you to split racks in half and utilize them at different temperatures. Want your steak cooked high and fast whilst your chicken smokes low and slow? You’ve got it on a Kamado Joe. There’s also no need to try to batch cook your meat and sides separately, simply throw the steaks down closer to the fire while keeping the veggies up high.

But, what’s also hands-down incredible about the Divide and Conquer is that you can mix and match a range of optional grilling and cooking surfaces to turn your kamado into the ultimate cook-anything barbecue. You can get a cast-iron grate, reversible griddle, pizza stone, soapstone, laser cut stainless steel and heat deflectors all in half rack sizes so you can customize your cooking environment just the way you like it.

Other Kamado Joe Classic II 18” Features

Another thing we love about the Kamado Joe range is that they haven’t just thrown in the flashy features while forgetting the basics.

Thrown in one bargain price, you also get a quality, built-in thermometer, a stainless steel latch to hold this baby shut tight, a cast-iron stand with locking metal wheels, folding side shelves to hold your sauces, utensils and that ice cold beer, a grate gripper and the patented slide-out ash drawer which makes it unbelievably easy to clean out the otherwise hard to access egg shape.

Kamado Joe aren’t joking when they say innovation and quality.

Specs for the Kamado Joe Classic II 18.5"

Barbecue material: Glazed ceramic

Grate material: 304 stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 256 sq. in. in basic setup, 407 sq. in. with grill expander, 508 sq. in. with 2 sets of grates or 660 sq. in. with 2 sets of grates and expander

Fuel type: Charcoal

Heat Range: 225°F – 750°F

Model: Classic II

Dimensions: 46.5″ W x 48″ H x 28″ D

Weight: 188lbs

Warranty: Lifetime on ceramics, 5 years on metal parts, 3 years on heat deflector and pizza stone, 1 year on thermometer and gasket

Optional Extras for the Kamado Joe Classic II

The Kamado Joe Classic II does come with everything you need for grilling and smoking.

But, there are a few optional accessories that can make your kamado game even stronger or easier.

We’ve outlined a few below. But, check out our full list of the best Kamado Joe accessories by following the link.


If you tend to cook whole chickens on the barbecue quite often then the JoeTisserie is an awesome little invention that transforms the Kamado Joe into a spit. It’s shaped to fit the Classic II perfectly so it still seals while turning the meat constantly for that naturally basted, roasted to perfection results that look like they’re straight from the pages of a magazine.

Made from cast aluminum, we’re impressed at how strong and durable the build of the JoeTisserie is and the motor is quieter than expected. Easy to install, the adjustable forks mean you can balance any cut of meat up to 50lbs. You can use it for more than just chicken too. Try a prime rib, Boston butt or add a basket for never burnt again wings.


This handy little gadget, the iKamand, doesn’t come standard with any of the Kamado Joe range. But, if you like having a bit of technology of your side, it’s hands down a worthwhile addition that transforms this ancient-style cooker into a set and forget barbecue.

Compatible with the Joe Classic II, simply connect this small box up through the bottom vent in your kamado, hook up the pit and meat probes and you’ll have complete, remote control of your cook via the smartphone app.

Use it to heat the grill up remotely, set your desired temperature and the fan will maintain your target temperature and tell you exactly when your meat is ready. For beginners or anyone who just wants to make smoking as easy as possible, there’s also pre-programmed cook cycles. To use these simply select your meat type and size then sit back and relax until the buzzer goes off and it’s time to eat.


Now pizza on a kamado is pretty darn good. But, pizza on a kamado with the DōJoe is definitely next level!

The DōJoe is one of the latest items Kamado Joe have added to their line-up of extras. It’s a wedge-shaped insert that you slot in under the lid creating a slot for sliding pizzas in and out easily. But, it’s not just there to make cooking easy, the DōJoe has dedicated supports that hold the heat deflectors and pizza stone at exactly the right heights to create the optimal temperature required for perfect crust and crispy toppings.

But, what we like most about the DōJoe is that when you’re cooking pizzas you don’t need to open and close to add and remove them. We always found it takes quite a bit of time to get the temperature back up to what you wanted. So, by being able to slide the pizzas in and out, they cook faster and better too. Definitely a winner in our books.

Kamado Joe Big Joe II 24”

While the Classic is perfect to feed your family, the Big Joe is there for if you’re ready to go all guns blazing and cook for the whole neighborhood.

At 452 square inches plus (with grill expanders), you’ll have a lot more room for all that brisket, chicken and steak you’ve got marinading.

Compared to the Classic Joe II’s 18-inch diameter, the Big Joe comes in at 24 inches and is a bit more weighty too.

So, while this means you’re investing in a strong barbecue that’s tough enough to handle whatever you throw at it for years to come, keep in mind that it’s not portable! You ideally want to keep your Big Joe where you set it up.

But, in terms of features, the Big Joe comes with all the great features of the Classic II. It just depends which size would suit you.

We talk more about the KJ Classic vs Big Joe in this comparison.

Specs for the Kamado Joe Big Joe II 24"

Barbecue material: Glazed ceramic

Grate material: 304 stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 452 sq. in. in basic setup, 604 sq. in. with grill expander, 904 sq. in. with 2 sets of grates or 1,056 sq. in. with 2 sets of grates and expander

Fuel type: Charcoal

Heat Range: 225°F – 750°F

Model: Big Joe II

Dimensions: 50″ W x 54″ H x 31″ D

Weight: 250lbs

Warranty: Lifetime on ceramics, 5 years on metal parts, 3 years on heat deflector and pizza stone, 1 year on thermometer and gasket

Kamado Joe Classic II Stand-Alone 18” and 24”

For those of you that want a kamado that’s built into your outdoor area, the Stand-Alone Kamado Joe is the perfect solution. In this option, you’ll choose from either the Classic II or the Big Joe, just without the stand and side trays, allowing you to slot it into your outdoor kitchen without making any annoying mods.

You’ll still get all the stand-out features of the Kamado Joe including the air lift hinge, control tower top vent, stainless steel latch, fiberglass gasket and the Divide & Conquer cooking system. There’s even a signature grilling table that perfectly fits the Kamado Joe Stand-Alone if you want a larger table without having to build a custom outdoor kitchen.

FAQs for the Kamado Joe Classic II

Q. Does the lifetime warranty apply to purchases from Amazon as well?

As far as we know, yes. People have successfully registered their warranty online after purchase.

Q. How long can the Kamado Joe Classic II smoke for with one load of charcoal?

You should be able to get about 18 hours of smoke time without having to refuel in normal weather conditions.

Q. How easy/hard is it to clean the ash out?

Easy. It collects in a drawer at the bottom so just pull it out and empty.

Q. How easy/hard is it to add more fuel while cooking?

It’s hard if you’ve got the heat deflectors. You can lift them with heat proof gloves. But, once you learn how to use the grill well, it’s so efficient that you shouldn’t need to add more charcoal during a smoke.

Q. Is the Kamado Joe Classic II better than the Big Green Egg?

Without a doubt! The Big Green Egg might be the original. But, Kamado Joe have brought innovation to the market, adding numerous actually useful upgrades to the Classic II.

For more details on why we prefer Kamado Joe over the BGE, check out our full Kamado Joe vs Big Green Egg comparison.

Our Verdict On Our Kamado Joe Classic II Review

There’s no doubt that Kamado Joe rules the market when it comes to sturdy, reliable grills that you’ll be able to use for years to come.

And, while when choosing the best Kamado Joe for you really just comes down to which size you want and if you want built-in of freestanding, this barbecue really is all you’ll need. From regular grilling to high-heat searing, home-cooked pizzas, low and slow meats and even dessert too, the Kamado Joe will impress.

Price-wise, the Kamado Joe range sits in the middle of the market. But, it offers unbeatable quality and value in an innovative upgrade of this original-style cooker. With a tonne of features that actually go a long way to making barbecue easier and your results better, the Kamado Joe consistently ranks as our top value for money kamado. So, what are you going to cook up first on your new red egg?

Like What You See But Want an Upgrade?

Check out the Kamado Joe Classic III!

  • Improved smoking thanks to the SloRoller Hyperbolic Chamber insert
  • Larger Divide and Conquer Cooking System
  • Extra heavy-duty cart
  • Plus all the same unique features you love about the Kamado Joe

Or, check out our comparison of the Kamado Joe II vs III.

Kamado Joe Classic III

Kate Brown, the founder and voice behind Burning Brisket, is not your typical pitmaster or restaurateur. Her expertise in barbecue grew from a humble desire to cook exceptional meals for her family. From overcoming burnt brisket mishaps to establishing her boutique cattle ranch, Kate shares her passion to help 'ordinary' individuals cook extraordinary barbecue, believing that simplicity often yields the best flavors. Kate is commited to making great barbecue accessible to all with the right resources and some tasty practice.