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Pit Boss K22 Review: Is This Cheaper Kamado Any Good?

We get it… Real ceramic kamados are EXPENSIVE! Yes, they’ll last a lifetime and they’re amazing to cook on. But, buying one in the first place is quite an investment.

Enter the Pit Boss K22 Ceramic Charcoal Grill.

Now, this kamado promises a lot from it’s comparatively lower price tag. Does it deliver? What’s the quality actually like? Is it any good to cook on? Or, is it worth forking out for a more expensive option?

In our Pit Boss K22 review, we answer these questions plus more to help you decide if it’s the right kamado for you.

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Table of Contents

The Quick Version of our Pit Boss K22 Review

I’m going to say, I really like the Pit Boss K22.

Yes, there’s ‘better’ options out there with fancier features.

But, you can’t ignore that it’s a great price for what’s usually a very expensive type of barbecue. And, the quality is still up there.

The K22’s thick ceramic shell holds the heat well, the firebox slit prevents it from cracking, the shock-absorbing plunger works well to prevent damage from a slammed lid, and, the heat deflector and grates are all good quality.

My main criticism about the Pit Boss K22 is that I don’t like how the grate sits on the heat deflector. It’s fine with it out but, you’ve got to position the grate in the right spot to stop the hinged part from opening. It’s not a major but, does annoy me a bit.

In terms of performance, the Pit Boss K22 smokes, bakes and grills very well. Temperature control works well and the learning curve isn’t huge.

With the K22 you’ll get 2 tiers of racks giving you a lot of space. Plus, the heat deflector and cover come as standard.

Overall, Pit Boss have thrown a lot of goodness into a very competitively priced kamado. The black exterior looks fantastic and we feel the basic color does even give it a slight edge over the competition.

Ideal for anyone wanting a quality yet affordable kamado with enough extras to be really versatile, the Pit Boss K22 is a great choice.

Features of the Pit Boss K22 Ceramic Charcoal Grill

Construction:

  • Heavy-duty ceramic shell
  • Stainless steel grates
  • Felt gasket
  • Cast iron top vent
  • Painted steel cart with castors

Ease of use:

  • 2-tier, hinged cooking grates double capacity
  • Springed hinge with shock-absorbing plunger for slam protection
  • Fold-down laminated composite side shelves

Included extras:

  • Heat deflector for even temperature distribution when smoking
  • Ash removal tool

Unboxing and Set Up

If you’ve never had a kamado before, first word of warning, they’re HEAVY!

You’ll need at least 2 strong adults to help lift and put the Pit Boss K22 on it’s stand.

Getting it delivered to your house is the way to go. Ask them to take it all the way into your yard if you can.

Open the box and this is what you get…

Putting it together only really involves putting the cart together and screwing the chimney on. It should only take 10 minutes or so.

All the tools that you’ll need to put the K22 together are included. But, we found they didn’t fit very well so got out our own anyway.

Once it’s together, Pit Boss recommend a burn-off to cure the ceramic. Follow the directions in the manual to do so. It should take about 2 hours and you’ll be good to go.

Build Quality

I’m always impressed with the quality Pit Boss deliver for the price tag on them. And, the K22 kamado is no exception.

Thick, strong ceramic with a beautiful, cool-touch exterior, the shell of the K22 is just as good as you’d get from a more expensive ceramic kamado.

The charcoal grate and chimney cap are cast iron so they’ve very durable. The cooking grates are rust-resistant stainless steel. The stand, although screwed together, is very sturdy. And, the side shelves are very heavy laminated composite.

A warning about the side shelves – Although they’ve got a really heavy, good quality feel, they are plastic and they will melt! We forgot, placed the grate on it and now have marks melted into one shelf.

Just like the Big Green Egg, the K22 has a basic felt gasket. It will need replacing year or so depending on how much you use it.

And, the only other minor complaint we’ve got about the build quality is that of the chimney cap.

Sometimes when we’re cooking it gets stuck and you’ve got to wiggle and jiggle it around to unstick it to change the airflow.

The holes for the screw on chimney cap were also a bit off so it took a bit of time to get a good tight fit.

But, overall, we’re very impressed with the quality of the Pit Boss K22, especially for it’s price.

Capacity

The Pit Boss K22 fits a 22 inch grate.

And, because they include the 2-tiered system as standard you actually get a very decent 573 square inches of cooking space.

That’s enough space to cook about 4 whole butterflied chickens, 2 pretty large briskets or 38 burgers. You can feed a crowd.

If your clan is even bigger, Pit Boss do the K24 as well with a larger cooking capacity of 662 square inches.

Grilling Performance

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

The Pit Boss K22 can handle some serious grilling.

The temperature is easy to control, the grates are a good distance from the coals, the ceramic sides hold and radiate heat from all around.

The meat’s left with plenty of moisture, nice sear marks and a good amount of smokiness. I’m making myself hungry for a second dinner thinking about it…

A kamado is one of my personal favorites to grill on and the K22 Ceramic Grill has everything you need to create incredible results.

Smoking Performance

Smoking on the Pit Boss K22 is a great experience as well.

Because the ceramic holds heat so well, you’ll want to be careful not to overshoot your target temperature. When you’re setting it up, just start closing the vents down as you get close to your target temperature.

The double sided bottom vent gives you that extra bit of control and makes hitting your target seriously so easy.

We’ve smoked with the included heat deflector in and out and have had good results with both setups. Just keep in mind you’ll need to flip your meat every hour or so to stop it from drying out if you’re smoking without the heat deflector.

In terms of flavor, we find that with lump charcoal alone, meat done on the K22 has quite a moderately smoked flavor. The smoke rings we got weren’t as large as we’d normally get on a pellet smoker. But, they’re still decent, the meat’s tender and moist.

You can add some wood if you want a smokier flavor. Or, use a pellet tube. I wouldn’t bother because I find the flavor great as is. But, it’s always an option.

For a meat thermometer that works well with the Pit Boss Kamado, we always go a MEATER Plus.

There’s no range issues through the thick ceramic sides and no wires to have sitting between the base and the heavy, heavy lid.

Included and Optional Extras

With the Pit Boss K22 you get the kamado with side shelves, the cart, heat deflector and double-layered cooking grates.

That’s everything you need to grill, smoke and bake a huge amount of food.

The US version doesn’t come with a cover. But you can grab one here.

Even if you’re storing it undercover, the cover gives you that extra protection to keep the chimney cap and metals in good condition.

There’s  nothing else in the way of optional accessories for the Pit Boss K22. But, apart from a meat thermometer (we recommend the MEATER Plus with it, read our full review here), you don’t need anything else.

Warranty

Dansons (owner of Pit Boss Grills), carry a limited lifetime warranty on the ceramics of the K22. There’s 5 years on any metal parts. And, 1 year on the plastic and composite components, thermometer, and caster wheels.

It’s a great warranty that’s in line with what other kamado manufacturers will give you.

Cleaning the Pit Boss K22 Kamado

Clearing the ash out of the bottom of a kamado isn’t the easiest thing.

The K22 comes with an ash tool so you simply open the bottom vent fully and push the COLD ash out into a bucket or bag.

It works fine. But, we actually get the trusty old ash vacuum out and stick that through the hole to suck it out instead. We find it faster and cleaner.

Either way, that should be done every few cooks to maintain good airflow. You’ll have trouble getting the temperature right if there’s too much ash clogging up the bottom vent.

Other than that, you’ll want to scrape the grates down after each cook. A wood scraper is our favorite tool for this job. Use it while they’re still warm.

And, if there’s any food or build-up inside the ceramic shell, don’t use water to clean it!

Ceramic is porous. The water can get inside it and cause the ceramic to crack. Instead, just heat your kamado up to about 500 degrees and let it burn off for about 30 minutes.

Here’s Pit Boss’s kamado cleaning schedule.

Pit Boss K22 Cleaning Schedule.

Pros and Cons of the Pit Boss K22 Ceramic Grill

What We Like About the K22

  • Very easy to control the temperature
  • Large cooking capacity with 2 grate and heat deflector setup included
  • Top quality ceramic shell
  • Great value for money
  • Top vent doesn’t swing closed when the lid is opened
  • Hinge with shock-absorbing plunger works well and is easy to open
  • Grills, smokes, bakes and everything in between
  • It’s a stylish black!

What We Don't Like About the K22

  • The top vent sometimes gets a bit stuck and you need to roughly jiggle it to get it moving again
  • You can either have the heat deflector sitting right right underneath the bottom cooking grate, or, balance the hinged grate at the right spot if you want a larger gap
  • The side shelves are great quality but they are plastic and they will melt if you put say a hot grate on them if you’re moving stuff around mid-cook

Should I Buy the Pit Barrel 22 Inch Kamado?

There’s no denying that the Pit Boss K22 is great value for money.

With a good quality shell, a multi-rack cooking system, sturdy cart and side shelves all included, it’s everything you need to grill, smoke, bake, roast and well, cook really anything in your backyard.

The PBK22 is ideal for you if you’re after:

  • Good quality for a very reasonable price
  • An all-in-one barbecue solution
  • Want something that’s pretty easy to use and doesn’t require constant attention
  • Need a pretty decent cooking capacity
  • Like the backing of a warranty that’s almost identical to the bigger kamado brand names

We do love it!

FAQs About the Pit Boss K22

Q. What type of charcoal do I use in the Pit Boss kamado?

Pit Boss specify that you must use lump charcoal only. Check out our favorite lump charcoals here.

Q. How much charocal does the K22 use per cook?

How much charcoal you’ll use depends on how hot and how long you’re cooking for. But, there’s a max of 4 pounds of lump. You shouldn’t need to refill even on long smokes.

Q. Can I use wood in the Pit Boss Kamado?

If you like a smokier flavor, you can add wood chunks or chips to the lump charcoal.

Q. Does the K22 come with the heat deflector?

Yes it does.

Q. Can I set the Pit Boss kamado up as a stand alone grill for an outdoor kitchen?

Yes. The ceramic shell just sits in the nested stand so you could just place it on any other strong base for support.

Specs for the Pit Boss K22 Ceramic Grill

Barbecue type: Kamado

Barbecue material: Ceramic

Grate material: Stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 573 square inches

Fuel type: Lump charcoal

Price guide: $$$

Model: PBK22

Assembled size (in): 21″ W x 52″ H x 46″ D

Weight: 178 lbs

Warranty: Limited lifetime on ceramics, 5 years on metal and cast iron, 1 year on all other parts

Jared Brown BBQ Expert Burning Brisket

Jared Brown, an avid lover of all things meat has a fearless enthusiasm for experimenting with anything that's grilling, smoking or outdoor cooking. With a wealth of experience across a range different barbecue types, Jared's got a real knack for helping others make a decision they're happy with, ensuring they find the perfect fit regardless of conventional notions of the 'right' choice. This unique approach has made Jared a trusted guide in the world of barbecue.

About Burning Brisket

Burning Brisket is one of the leading, independent authorities on all things barbecue. Family-owned and run, it's our mission uncomplicate the art of smoking to help you enjoy making incredible food at home for your family and friends to create memories over.

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