When you cook more than one mealSomething magical happens. Very delicious flavors are made in your dishes. And this is just one big reason why wood-burning Kamado grills are so iconic. Another is that Kamdos are super-capable cookers, capable of handling almost any backyard grilling task you throw at them. In fact, if you have the skills and practice, a chemado can ring around your normal .
Typically manufactured from ceramics, they retain heat with amazing efficiency. A small amount of fuel goes a long way, allowing you to run Cupid at low and slow temperatures throughout the day. Also, you can set fire to heat Kamala’s grilles. I’m talking hot enough to cook a Fortune pizza prepared with real wood. They are also great for true steakhouse-style steak and honestly anything you can think of.
The Big Green Egg is the best example of a traditional camado grill and camado smoker, but competitor brands such as Kamado Jo, Vision, Four-Griller and Four-Brill grill cater to this category. Should you be tempted to add one to your arsenal and, I put Big Green Egg and its four major grilling rivals over 200 hours of testing to find the best Kamado-style grill – here’s what I found.
After over 200 smoke-filled hours, I have cooked over 20 pounds of pork ribs, six chickens and 10 pounds of burgers, plus some steak for good measure. After all that, I can say with confidence which brands make the best Kamado grill for my taste, and which ones you should avoid.
Here are my reviews and pics for the best Kamado grill options of 2020, which I will update as a review of new products.
At $ 1,699, the Camado Joe Classic III may have a steep price, but it saves a lot for the money. This means that many Kamdo grilling items of the standard type do not come with other grills, including the Big Green Egg Chemado. This Camado grill and smoker also perform well. In our slow and low barbecue grill test, we adjust the 225F (107C) grill and see what happens. In this test, the Camado Joe Classic III demonstrated excellent temperature control.
The grill heated slightly in the first 30 minutes (315 F), but then settled at the 1-hour mark. From there it parks the needle between 253 F and 219 F for about 3 hours on cruise control. Only the Big Green Egg changed to Tea Green temperature, the smoker kept humming for hours inside the sweet spot.
One feature that really sets Classic III apart is Slogler. Billed as a “hyperbolic smoke chamber” by Kamdo Joe, it is an hour-sized metal contraceptive that sits on fire. The device acts as both a heat deflector and a convection aid. Originally it prevents radiant heat generated by coal, which results from striking food while sitting up (on the grill grate). This prevents the meat from drying out during prolonged cooking. According to Kamado Jo, it also encourages the spread of air (smoke) within the cooking chamber.
In fact, the box has a ton of bundles with the Classic III right. It consists of a ceramic heat deflector (one for each half of the grill), a coal stoker, and an aluminum charcoal basket. You also get two half-aluminum grates and an ash removal tool, as well as a three-level cooking rack that you can configure as needed for grilling.
Conversely, everything except the stand costs extra on the Big Green Egg. Keep in mind, you can also save a bit by choosing the Classic II of Kamdo Joe. For $ 1,200 it is almost identical to the Classic III, but it lacks a slotter accessory and has a separate stand.
The classic III construction feels very solid; I particularly like the strong side shelves, ideal for grilling and smoking, also standard. If you can afford it then it makes one of the best Kamdo grills.
Chris Monroe / Tips Clear
Big Green Egg, the company that started Kamadow’s craze, still has a winner. Of all the Kamdo-style grill options in my test group, the larger BGE models had the best temperature performance and stability. Once prepared for low and slow temperatures of 225 F, Eggs ran too much. According to our temperature gauge, the green egg remains up to this temperature range, with only minor and infinite fluctuations.
Large Big Green Egg was also the most reactive. If for any reason I had to make an adjustment for either the top or bottom air vent, I quickly noticed a change. I usually saw course corrections in 6 or 7 minutes.
The food that I prepared in large big green egg was also very tasty to eat. While my BGE test unit lacked the extra heat deflector accessory, the barbecue in the chicken and pork ribs were reassuring to the taste. While I came across the Camado which was not as tasty as Smoked in Classic III, the food from BGE came very closely. Big Green Egg makes a heat deflector accessory, called Convergent, but is an additional add-on.
True to its name, Large Big Green Egg Chemado Grill and Smoker is big, giving you plenty of space to grill, smoke, and cook to your heart’s desire.
This is why I recommend the Big Big Green Eggs as one of the best kamodo grills about anyone. You have to go through a local dealer, and, again, unlike Kamado which is Classic III, everything except the stand is extra. In the end, however, the total cost of the Large Big Green Egg should be less than the fully decked-out Classic III.
The four-griller Akorn offers real Kamado performance at a rock-bottom price. It costs just $ 298, which is incredible considering that the typical Kemado grill will set you back from $ 800 to $ 1,000. Akorn’s cooking temperature and temperature control are not as stable as the naturally more expensive kamados I used. I suspect that Akorn’s body is constructed from triple-walled steel, as opposed to heavy ceramic. The grill fire was also harder to keep ignited and lit than the Big Green Egg and Camado which was the Classic III.
When I let it burn through our low-and-slow test (adjusted to 225 F), the Akorn fire was over within 45 minutes. After removing it, the temperature inside the cooker went up to 370 F in just 15 minutes. I didn’t even add extra fuel, just a paraffin fire starter. Thirty-five minutes later, the heat level inside the acorn reached 405 degrees. The temperature subsequently declined, but did not drop below 387 F for the next 3 hours.
Things were very different when I stared at the acorn. With an initial temperature of 225 F or 350 F, it only took a few vent adjustments to rinse the grill back on the track to the air flow. And since it is made from steel, not ceramic, the Akorn weighs less (100 pounds) than traditional Kamado grill options (200 pounds or more).
The food I cooked with akorn was not bad either. The slow-cooked baby back ribs and chicken both had a pleasing charcoal flavor. That said, they could not match the Kamandalo which came out of the grill thanks to their bundled heat deflector smoker system. The price costs very little, however, with the four-griller Akorn joining a great Kamado deal.
How do we test camado grill
Testing the Kamala Grill is an intense experience for the griller. It requires playing with fire (literally) and high temperatures, though in a controlled, responsible manner. The most important element of Kamdo’s performance is heat, especially temperature control and how well the grill is at a temperature. For smoking meat less and slower, that magical number is 225F. Good smokers, Kamdos or otherwise, will stick to this temp for 12 to 15 or 20 hours. This means that temperature gauges are the key, and therefore the ability to control airflow through air vents or dampers.
To capture temperature data, we place a thermocouple on each Kamado grill. Essentially a sensitive temperature sensor made of a probe and a connected wire, thermocouple is hung, which is exactly 1 inch above the grill grate. It is connected to a data logger, and eventually a computer that records changes in heat levels over time.
We try to run a temperature test on all the grills simultaneously. We often use the same weight and brand lump charcoal (4.4 pounds or 2 kg) from similar bags. This fire is also true of the beginning (one per grill).
After that, we light them, as instructed by their manual if available. This usually means letting the coal hold for 15 minutes with the lid open, then closing the grill. At this point, the stitches remain open until the grill is within 50 degrees of the target temperature.
We carefully fiddle with the vents to get there. Finally, we look at the controls and observe.
We follow the same procedure for our high temperature test with a target of 350 F. The idea here is to simulate the heat performance required to roast chicken and other chickens.
And speaking of food, we also perform a lot of “anecdotes cooks”. We smoke a rack of baby back ribs (225 F) in each grill. We also butterfly (aka Spatchock) chickens and roast them. Acquired from local Costco, these weigh about 5 pounds. Last, we grill a set of four 8-ounce burger patties in high heat (600 F).
Want more options? Here are two other Camado grill models that I evaluated for this test group. Although they did not make it to my liking, you want to have a look for a comparison: