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Kamado Joe Review

by Burning Brisket
Kamado Joe Review

If you’re shopping for a kamado grill then you will have heard of Kamado Joe. When it comes to ceramic cookers, Kamado Joe have truly brought quality and innovation to this ancient style of barbecue. With a concise, yet varied, 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. Here we’ll give you the low-down with a complete Kamado Joe review of their range.

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.

iKamand

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.

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.

Stats for the Kamado Joe Classic II 18"

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

Kamado Joe Big Joe 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.

Stats for the Kamado Joe Classic 18"

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 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.

Kamado Joe Jr.

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.

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.

The downside of downsizing your kamado though, is that you don’t get some of the awesome features like the Kontrol tower, Divide and Conquer, Air Lift Hinge, AMP firebox, slide out ash drawer or extra good gasket. In saying that though, if you’re only using the Joe Jr. for portable cooking then these aren’t really features that you need.

It does, however, come with a good quality 304 gauge stainless steel grate, a built-in thermometer, heat deflector, regular hinge and a neat little tool to make cleaning out the ash easier. The Joe Jr is one of our favorite grills for on the go cooking, but, you’ll probably love it so much you’ll want a larger one for using at home too.

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

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

Our Verdict On Our Kamado Joe 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?

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