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Kamado Joe Jr Review: A Top Quality Portable Option?

Kamado Joe Jr Review

Beach parties, camping weekends, road trips and tailgates, if you love to grill on the go, the Kamado Joe Jr is unbeatable use of space in your trunk.

With all the benefits of kamado grilling condensed into a 68-pound unit that can be safely transported wherever you go, it’s a must-have, even if you already have a larger version. But, before you buy, check out all the info in this Kamado Joe Jr review.

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Table of Contents

Features of the Kamado Joe Jr

  • Thick ceramic walls create excellent heat retention
  • Very fuel efficient to minimize cooking costs
  • The included cast iron stand is strong and sturdy making it easy to find a suitable place to smoke on the go
  • Ceramic heat deflector creates ideal temperature zone for smoking
  • Accurate built-in thermometer
  • Easy to clean via the ash door
  • Lifetime guarantee

Stats for the Kamado Joe Jr.

Barbecue material: Glazed ceramic

Grate material: 304 stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 148 sq. in.

Fuel type: Charcoal

Heat range: 225°F – 750°F

Price guide: $$

Model: Joe Jr

Dimensions: 19.75″ W x 27″ H x 20.75″ D (with stand)

Weight: 68lbs

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

The Joe Jr still gives you an impressive 148.5 square inches to cook on, which is more than enough to keep the family happy. Grill, smoke, bake, braise… The size is the only thing that limits what you can do on this ‘cue and we’ve been known to do a meal for 6 or a whole pork shoulder without any problems.

The downside of downsizing the Kamado Joe, is that you don’t get some of the awesome features that are standard in the Classic II. This means no Divide and Conquer cooking system, Air Lift Hinge, AMP 6-piece firebox or the extra high-quality Kontrol Tower vent. But, in saying that, for portable cooking and smaller meals, the Joe Jr. doesn’t need these features. Just don’t be surprised when it’s not an exact replica of KJ’s larger models.

What the Kamado Joe Jr does come with is a high-quality, 304 gauge stainless steel hinged grate (to make adding charcoal mid-cook easy), a built-in thermometer, heat deflector, cast iron stand, regular hinge and a neat little tool to ash cleaning. Basically, it’s everything you need and nothing you don’t.

Simple, effective and proof that portable doesn’t have to mean poor quality, the Joe Jr is one of our favorite grills for on the go cooking.

Pros of the Kamado Joe Jr.

  • The same lifetime guaranteed, high-fired ceramic walls as the larger Kamado Joe Classic II for amazing heat retention and radiation
  • Comes with a strong cast iron stand so there’s always somewhere safe to put your Joe Jr
  • Rust-resistant stainless steel cooking grate with hinge to make adding more coals easy
  • Includes ceramic heat deflector for smoking
  • Efficient fuel usage
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Easy to clean
  • Also great for smaller cooks at home

Cons of the Kamado Joe Jr.

  • More pricey than most portable grills. But, you do get what you pay for!
  • Reasonably heavy for a portable grill. But, again, heavy = quality and better performance in this case

FAQ's About the KJ Jr

Can the Kamado Joe Jr be used for smoking as well as grilling? Yes. Simply insert the included heat deflector plate to change it from grilling to smoking.

What comes standard with the Kamado Joe Jr? The 13.5″ ceramic grill, cast iron stand, stainless steel cooking grate, built-in thermometer, heat deflector plate, grate gripper and ash removal tool.

Is there a cover available for the Kamado Joe Jr? Kamado Joe themselves don’t make one. But, anything that fits a 14″ ceramic kamado or bigger should work. We like the BBQube Heavy Duty Cover for the Kamado Joe Jr.

What accessories work fit with the Kamado Joe Jr? Because it’s designed to be a basic and portable grill, the Kamado Joe Jr doesn’t work with the standard range of KJ accessories.

Is the Kamado Joe Jr better than the Mini Big Green Egg?

We always rate Kamado Joe higher than the Big Green Egg. The BGE might be the original. But, KJ have made kamados better.

For more details on why, check out our full comparison of Kamado Joe vs Big Green Egg.

Our Verdict on the Kamado Joe Jr Review

When the requirement is portable but you don’t want to sacrifice on quality, the Kamado Joe Jr. is an excellent choice.

Compact, durable and versatile, this combined grill and smoker will see you through years of tailgating, trips to the lake and beachside barbecues. Plus, because it’s so good at what it does, you’ll probably find yourself firing it up at home for some quick mid-week burgers too. Oh yeah! Why not?