What are Kamado Grills anyways?
Kamado Grills are often made of a ceramic material and in the shape of a dome. They are heated with charcoal or wood which makes for excellent barbecuing. They evolved out of clay cooking which has its roots in Japan and India with similarities to a Tandoori oven.
The strengths of the Kamado Grill include
- Even heating. There are few hotspots like traditional gas grills because the fire is seated lower in the grill which heats up the ceramic materials and then distributes the heat through the domed architecture of the cooker. This combination creates the most evenly cooked meats I have seen.
- Wood, Charcoal and Gas. Kamado Grills are the most flexible type of grill when it comes to the types of wood, wood chips, charcoal or gas options. When time is short, you can heat some grills with a gas ad-on and add a few wood chips for flavor. When you have more time for grilling, you can place small wood logs which is great for doing a Santa Maria style barbecue over oak. The other nice thing about the gas option is it makes it easy to light the wood or charcoal. It beats newspaper or lighter fluid in my opinion.
- Extremely Low or High Temperature Grilling. Kamado barbecues are extremely flexible when it comes to controlling and cooking at varying temperatures. It's important to check the capabilities of each brand of Kamado, but cooker's specs say they can cook evenly at temperatures of 140 degrees for long slow cooking or as high as 900 degrees from what I've seen. I'm not sure if it ever makes sense to get your grill this hot since most searing only takes a few minutes at 700 degrees. It's also important to note that heating Kamado Grills quickly to high temperatures can cause the ceramic materials to crack.
- Custom Look. At least two makers of Kamado style grills allow for customization of the tile which gives a custom and unique look. I actually consider the grills in this class to be almost like outdoor furniture. They can be the show piece of the patio.
Negatives of Kamado Grills
- Kamado Grills are on the expensive end of grills. While Kamado Cookers are very versatile, with options, the price is usually well over $1000. Unless you barbecue a lot, this can be a high price tag. Too bad Costco doesn't sell Kamados.
Weight. Kamado Grills, especially the ceramic ones covered in tile are extremely heavy. Close to 500 pounds. While they have wheels, they are difficult to move upstairs and the large grills take up a lot of space, although they look fantastic.
The Big Green Egg
or BGE as its fans call it. I think that the Big Green Egg is perhaps the best known ceramic grill. Its limited options in color (Green) isn't so much of an issue, but you'll need to get an aftermarket gas starter if you want convenience of lighting it up. The BGE has a loyal following and appears to be the most professionally run of all the Kamado BBQs. It has a professional website, although you can't buy new Big Green Eggs online, you'll have to go to a specialty barbecue store to find them. Or, you can look up dealers on their website. For a mass produced Kamado at a lower price, I think the Big Green Egg
is a nice choice.
charcoal fired, ceramic grill and smoker has the most advanced features in its class. With precision flame control the Saffire Grill can produce delicious gourmet results every time. Whether you're a championship barbecue competitor or simply a novice smoking enthusiast, the Saffire Grill will provide some of the most exceptional results possible on any barbecue smoker available today. This grill is available in (Red) and (Green) colors.
The Kamado Grill. This is the original Kamado grill and a bit of a sad story. I was very close to purchasing a Kamado Grill, but as I did additional research, I became very concerned. It appears that early on Kamado built a loyal following, but quality issues began to malign the product and customer satisfaction seems poor with many complaints about long delivery times, tile falling off, and replacement parts taking a long time as well. The company seems to have moved its manufacturing around as well. WikiPedia chastises the company with reports of Portland cement used in the ceramic materials of the cooker, although that seems like a long shot since its now made in Indonesia. My neighbor has the Kamado Grill and loves it, but he too has had issues getting replacement parts. To be fair to the company, it appears as if they are trying to improve their reputation