From small and affordable to impossibly heavy and incredibly expensive, there’s a lot of choice in the kamado grill market.
Kamado grills are inspired by traditional Japanese cooking.
They use both direct heat and natural convection to cook food thoroughly.
Flavors are amazing, especially when you choose high-quality ingredients.
The heat and constant circulation of vaporized juices result in a tender and flavorful meats, and the best vegetables you’ll ever eat from a grill.
As the popularity of kamado cooking increases, there are plenty of questions that buyers are asking.
One of the most common is: which type of Kamado grill should I buy?
We’re going to answer the question in simple and clear terms, so you can go into your next investment fully informed.
Comparing Kamado Grill Types – Which One is Right for You?
If you’re a grilling enthusiast, you may have come across Kamado grills, which are known for their versatility, durability, and ability to produce deliciously smoky and juicy results.
Kamado grills are a type of charcoal grill that originated from Japan and are made of ceramic or other heat-retaining materials.
However, with the increasing popularity of Kamado grills, there are now various types available on the market.
Let’s take a closer look at some common Kamado grill types to help you determine which one is right for you.
- Traditional Ceramic Kamado Grill. The traditional ceramic Kamado grill is the original type that has been around for decades. It is made of thick ceramic material that retains heat exceptionally well and provides excellent insulation, making it fuel-efficient and capable of maintaining consistent temperatures over long periods. Traditional ceramic Kamado grills are known for their excellent heat retention, which allows for versatile cooking options such as grilling, smoking, baking, and even searing. They are usually more expensive due to their premium materials and craftsmanship, but they are durable and built to last for years.
- Steel Kamado Grill. Steel Kamado grills are relatively new to the market and are gaining popularity due to their durability and affordability compared to ceramic models. They are typically made of stainless steel or other types of steel and are known for their sleek design and modern appearance. Steel Kamado grills are lighter than ceramic models, making them more portable and easier to move around. They also heat up faster and cool down quicker, which can be convenient for those who want faster cooking times or more control over temperature adjustments. However, steel Kamado grills may not retain heat as well as ceramic models, which can affect their overall performance and fuel efficiency.
- Portable Kamado Grill. As the name suggests, portable Kamado grills are designed to be compact and lightweight, making them ideal for tailgating, camping, or other on-the-go grilling adventures. They are usually made of steel or other lightweight materials, and their smaller size makes them easy to transport and store. Portable Kamado grills may have some limitations in terms of cooking capacity and heat retention compared to larger ceramic or steel models, but they can be a convenient option for those who need a portable grilling solution.
- Kamado-style Charcoal Grill. Kamado-style charcoal grills are a more affordable option that mimics the shape and functionality of traditional Kamado grills but are made of materials such as cast iron, steel, or other metals. They may not have the same level of insulation or heat retention as ceramic Kamado grills, but they can still provide good grilling results at a more budget-friendly price point.
When comparing Kamado grill types, consider factors such as your budget, cooking needs, portability requirements, and desired level of heat retention.
Traditional ceramic Kamado grills are known for their premium materials, excellent heat retention, and versatility, but they can be more expensive.
Steel Kamado grills are durable, lighter, and more affordable, but may not retain heat as well. Portable Kamado grills are compact and portable, while Kamado-style charcoal grills are more budget-friendly.
Ultimately, the right Kamado grill for you will depend on your specific preferences and cooking requirements.
The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Kamado Grill – Features
Kamado grills are popular for their versatility and ability to grill, smoke, and bake.
They are typically made of ceramic or stainless steel and are designed to retain heat, making them efficient for cooking a wide variety of foods.
If you’re in the market for a kamado grill, here’s an ultimate guide to help you choose the right one for your needs.
Features to Consider
- Size and Cooking Area. Kamado grills come in various sizes, so it’s essential to consider the size that will best fit your needs. Consider the cooking area, which is the space available for cooking, as it will determine how much food you can cook at once. Larger kamado grills are suitable for bigger gatherings or if you have a large family, while smaller ones are more portable and perfect for smaller spaces.
- Heat Control. One of the significant features of a kamado grill is its ability to control heat. Look for a kamado grill with good airflow control, such as adjustable vents and dampers, which allow you to regulate the temperature inside the grill easily. Some kamado grills also come with multiple cooking levels, allowing you to control the heat more precisely.
- Material and Durability. Kamado grills are typically made of ceramic or stainless steel materials. Ceramic kamado grills are known for their durability and excellent heat retention properties, while stainless steel kamado grills are more lightweight and portable. Consider the material that suits your needs, and look for high-quality construction and materials that can withstand high temperatures and last for a long time.
- Accessories and Add-ons. Kamado grills often come with various accessories and add-ons that can enhance your cooking experience. Look for grills that come with features such as side shelves, grilling grates, temperature gauges, ash catchers, and more. Some kamado grills also offer additional accessories such as pizza stones, rotisserie kits, and grill covers, which can add versatility to your cooking options.
- Price. Kamado grills can vary greatly in price, so consider your budget when choosing the right one for you. Ceramic kamado grills are typically more expensive than stainless steel kamado grills due to the high-quality ceramic materials used in their construction. However, stainless steel kamado grills can also be a more budget-friendly option while still providing excellent performance.
- Brand and Reviews. Consider the reputation and reviews of the kamado grill brand you are interested in. Look for brands with a good reputation for quality, durability, and customer support. Read reviews from other customers to get an idea of their experiences with the product and whether it meets your expectations.
- Warranty. Check the warranty offered by the kamado grill manufacturer. A good warranty can provide you with peace of mind and protection against defects in materials or workmanship. Look for kamado grills that come with a reasonable warranty period to ensure that you are protected in case of any issues with the product.
- Ease of Use and Cleaning. Consider the ease of use and cleaning when choosing a kamado grill. Look for grills with user-friendly features such as easy-to-read temperature gauges, intuitive airflow controls, and convenient ash removal systems. Kamado grills with removable components and easy-to-clean surfaces can make your cooking experience more enjoyable and hassle-free.
- Portability. If you plan to move your kamado grill frequently or take it to outdoor events, consider its portability. Stainless steel kamado grills are generally more portable due to their lightweight construction, while ceramic kamado grills can be heavier and more difficult to transport. Look for kamado grills with sturdy handles, durable wheels, and compact designs if portability is a priority for you.
- Safety Features. Safety should always be a top priority when choosing any type of grill. Look for kamado grills with safety features such as heat-resistant handles, insulated surfaces, and secure latches or locks to prevent accidents and injuries while cooking.
- Customer Support and After-Sales Service. Consider the customer support and after-sales service offered by the kamado grill manufacturer. Look for brands that provide responsive customer support, clear product documentation, and replacement parts availability. A reputable manufacturer with good customer support can provide you with assistance and peace of mind throughout the lifespan of your kamado grill.
- Personal Preferences. Finally, consider your personal preferences and cooking style when choosing a kamado grill. Think about the types of foods you like to cook, the cooking methods you prefer, and the features that are most important to you. A kamado grill that aligns with your personal preferences and cooking style is more likely to bring you satisfaction and enjoyment.
Choosing the right kamado grill involves careful consideration of many factors.
By taking these factors into account, you can find a kamado grill that meets your needs, budget, and cooking style, and enjoy the benefits of this versatile and efficient cooking tool for years to come.
Small Kamados for Portability and Convenience
When considering kamado grills, the Char-Griller Akorn Jr. is a popular option in the small size category.
While smaller grills like the Akorn Jr. are portable and great for on-the-go grilling, they also have other versatile uses.
You can use them for smoking at home, cooking for a family of four, or even for solo meals.
One of the main benefits of a small kamado like the Akorn Jr. is its size and weight, making it convenient for those who have limited outdoor space or need to transport it for outdoor events.
Although Akorns are not made of solid cast iron like traditional kamados, they are insulated, allowing for impressive heat retention and can reach temperatures of up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit, providing you with all the rich flavors of kamado cooking in a compact and convenient package.
Medium Sized Kamados for Regular Use
You don’t need to choose a cast iron model.
Something more affordable like the full-sized Char-Griller Akorn is popular today.
If you can spend more and want something that could potentially last for a lifetime, consider the heavier duty 18 Inch Kamado Joe.
These types of kamados are ideal for grilling, smoking, roasting, grilled pizza, slow cooking, BBQ, and much more.
The extra space adds versatility.
Large Kamados For Smoking and Entertaining
These larger models are typically made from premium materials such as solid cast iron, which offer superior heat performance and durability.
With a bigger kamado, you’ll have more cooking surface space and excellent temperature control for versatile cooking and smoking.
One popular option for serious home cooks is the Kamado Joe Big Joe II Stand-Alone Charcoal Grill.
While it may lack some of the convenience features of mainstream grills, its cooking performance is excellent, making it a top choice for those who prioritize cooking performance over convenience.
Keep in mind that larger kamado grills may come with a higher price tag, but the investment can be worthwhile if you’re seeking outstanding performance and versatility in your cooking and smoking endeavors.
When considering a larger kamado grill, look for models made from premium materials and with ample cooking space, superior heat retention, and precise temperature control.
These features will ensure that you can cook and smoke larger quantities of food to perfection, making your grilling and smoking experience enjoyable and satisfying for you and your guests.
There’s a Kamado for Everyone
When it comes to choosing a kamado grill, there’s a perfect option for everyone.
Whether you prefer a small, portable kamado for versatility and convenience, or a larger, premium model for superior performance and cooking capacity, there are plenty of options to suit your needs.
Consider factors such as size, material, heat retention, cooking space, and temperature control to find the kamado grill that best fits your cooking style and requirements.
Remember to also consider your budget and prioritize features that are most important to you, whether it’s portability, performance, durability, or versatility.
With the right kamado grill, you can enjoy the unique flavors and cooking experience that this traditional Japanese-style grill offers.
So, take your time, do your research, and choose a kamado grill that will elevate your outdoor cooking game and provide delicious meals for years to come.