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5 Best Kamado Grill For Your Outdoor Backyard

Avatar Written by p1cooking · 7 min read >

Kamado grills are growing in popularity due to their versatility and reliability. They offer outdoor cooking enthusiasts with multiple options as they can be used for high-temperature grilling and low-temperature smoking.

When you buy the best kamado grill, you’re buying a cooking appliance that’s likely to last for several generations. In this article, I will explain why this style is extremely popular and what it can do for you. Moreover, I will recommend 5 of the best-selling products on the market.

What is a Kamado Grill?

A kamado grill is a smoker, an oven, and a grill; all in one unit. This unit absorbs heat then radiates it like a pizza oven.

If you don’t drop your kamado or hit it very hard with an ax, for example, your children and grandchildren will easily use it.

What are the Benefits of Buying a Kamado Grill?

In addition to durability, this type of grill comes with several advantages.

  • Kamado grills cook food from all sides. They can be used for cooking tandoori and paella where you need the meat to be perfectly cooked. These are versatile cooking appliances that can be used for roasting, baking, grilling, smoking, and act as wood-fired ovens.
  • These grills can be used in all weather conditions. They’re perfectly insulated so the outside temperature will not affect the temperature inside your kamado grill.
  • Kamado grills are cost-efficient. Less fuel and oxygen are needed to operate your kamado grill when you’re cooking food outside. This means that you’ll save fuel money in the long run.
  • With minimum airflow inside the grill, your meat won’t dry up. Kamado grills provide the juiciest meat.
  • Once you’ve started your kamado grill, you won’t worry much about adjusting the temperature. Because these models are perfectly insulated, there’s no risk of heat escaping or flare-ups.
  • Due to their simple design, cleaning up and maintenance are easy.

How to Buy the Best Kamado Grill

Kamado grills are usually expensive. This is why you need to be careful before buying one. Here are a few factors to consider before making a purchase.

Construction

Kamado grills are made of refractory materials like ceramic, cement, crushed lava or terracotta. Some models are also made of insulated steel. You need to make sure that the grill you’re buying is well-made with a double wall or dual insulation.

This will not only guarantee the durability of the grill, but also its fuel-efficiency. If the grill has thin walls, it won’t reflect heat the way it should. Moreover, it won’t be able to maintain the temperature when the weather gets cold.

Dampers

The dampers on your Kamado grill play a significant role as you use them to control the heat and temperature. These dampers should be perfectly sealed to prevent heat from escaping while you’re cooking the food.

If the lid or the dampers don’t seal, the grill will use more fuel to maintain the required temperature. This will add to the overall cost of your kamado grill.

Mobility

Most kamado grills are heavy. Some models come with wheels, but lots of them don’t. If you’re buying a grill that can’t be moved around, you shouldn’t worry though. The grill can withstand the elements and won’t get affected by the sun or rain.

Kamado grills that don’t have wheels won’t suit you if you like to pack your grill for camping or tailgating. They’ll also be problematic to move around if you have a small outdoor area.

However, kamado grills are designed for backyard cooking. There are versatile and practical cooking appliances that you can use while camping.

Fuel

The majority of kamado grills use charcoal and wood. However, there are some newer models that use gas or electricity.

There’s a variety of options when it comes to choosing charcoal and wood for your kamado grill. Each one of them provides a distinctive taste that suits a certain type of meat.

The Best Kamado Grill: Top Recommendations

Here are my top 5 recommendations for the best kamado grill.

1. Kamado Joe Classic II Charcoal Grill

This model from Kamado Joe combines versatility with functionality, offering a temperature range of 225 to 750 degrees to cover all your cooking needs. It’s built of ceramic and weighs 188 pounds.

If you can figure a way to put it in a vehicle, you can easily move it around because it comes with 4 wheels. Still, it makes a great backyard grill because the wheels are sturdy enough to allow you to move it on any flat surface.

Using charcoal and wood, you’ll be able to give your food a delicious flavor. It provides a convenient cooking area of 256 square inches. This area can be customized by adding various surfaces for multiple cooking options, extending up to 660 square inches.

You’ll receive a multi-purpose stainless steel rack, 2 stainless steel grill grates, and 2 ceramic deflectors. Cleaning up this grill is a breeze thanks to the slide-out ash drawer. I love this feature because it allows you to enjoy your time without worrying about scraping and cleaning your grill after every use.

This grill comes with two metal side shelves that you can use while prepping food. However, these shelves aren’t designed to withstand heavyweight, so you should be careful with what you put on them. Moreover, you should be careful while handling the deflectors as they can break easily.

Pros

  • Sturdy construction with wheels for mobility.
  • Compatible with multiple accessories for different cooking options.
  • Two metal side shelves for prepping.
  • Slide-out ash drawer for easy cleaning.

Cons

  • The metal drawers can bend easily.
  • The deflectors can easily break if you’re not careful.

2. Kamado Joe Classic II Stand-Alone Grill

With the same magnificent temperature range, the stand-alone model from Kamado Joe comes with an air hinge to reduce the weight of the dome by 96%. This grill comes with a flexible cooking system. You can divide your cooking space to prepare different kinds of food, cooked at different levels.

This model needs to be installed to your outdoor kitchen. It weighs 395 pounds and doesn’t come with wheels, but you can fit it into your customized setup to transform your backyard to the best outdoor cooking space.

The top vent maintains consistent setting for controlled airflow management, guaranteeing the stability of the interior space of your kamado grill.No heat or smoke will escape thanks to the thick-wall shell. Moreover, this insulated body guarantees that your meat will be moist and won’t dry out.

It comes with a stainless steel grate for versatile cooking and a slide-out drawer that allows you to add coal and wood as needed. This drawer also facilitates the process of cleaning when you’re done.

With a primary cooking space of 254 square inches, this grill is enough to prepare food for a medium-sized family. However, this space is expandable with the right accessories and can reach 1,056 square inches. For some reason, the stand-alone model isn’t as durable as other models from Kamado Joe. You should be careful not to accidentally drop it off because it can break.

Pros

  • Customizable model that can fit in your outdoor kitchen area.
  • Adjustable and expandable cooking space.
  • Insulated body with top vent regulation.
  • Easy access to coal and wood.

Cons

  • Not portable and needs to be installed to a kitchen setup.
  • This grill isn’t that sturdy.

3. Kamado Joe Big Joe II Grill

If you’re cooking for a big party, then the Big Joe model from Kamado Joe is the right one for you. It offers a total cooking space of 452 square inches. This space can be customized using various surfaces for multiple cooking options to reach 1,056 square inches.

Just like all the other models from Kamado Joe, this one comes with a stainless steel latch to retain the heat, a fiberglass gasket, a built-in thermometer, in addition to the slide-out ash drawer. The thick walls of this model will lock in the heat and also guarantee that this grill will last for long.

Although this model is heavier, weighing 395 pounds, it’s still easy to move around thanks to the wheels. The top is also easy to lift because of the air-lift hinge. However, I don’t recommend packing this grill for a casual outdoor dinner. Nevertheless, if you want to set it up in a designated area, it will provide years of fun and delicious food.

The ceramic shell is prone to breaking if you don’t handle it with care. There are no instructions to help if you choose to replace the top of your grill.

Pros

  • Big and customizable cooking space.
  • Heavyweight model with wheels for portability.
  • Top is easy to lift, in spite of being heavyweight.
  • Sealed construction to trap in the heat.

Cons

  • Not portable.
  • No instructions for replacing a damaged top part.

4. Char-Griller AKORN Jr Charcoal Kamado Grill

This Char-Griller kamado grill is the right choice for those who are on a tight budget. This is a compact kamado grill that weighs 37 pounds only. It doesn’t have wheels but due to its lightweight, you can easily pack it for a day on the beach or at the campsite.

The primary cooking area of this grill is 153 square inches, which is smaller than what you can find on other models. However, this is enough to prepare food for two people. You can’t adjust the cooking space or extend it. Still, I believe that this grill is good value for money considering its durable and portable design.

It offers a temperature range from 200 to 700 degrees, just like the most expensive models on the market. It also comes with two dampers to control the amount of heat and smoke inside the grill.

Using this budget-friendly model, you can grill, sear, and smoke. The bottom of this kamado grill is removable so you can get rid of the ashes after you’re done with cooking.

This lightweight grill is made of three-walled steel to retain heat. As a result, it will be as fuel-efficient as models that cost more. It doesn’t have any wheels but comes with 2 handles on the side so you can easily move it around.

Assembling this unit is a bit difficult. The bottom vent might be problematic because it has too many holes. Since this model is kept outside, there’s an issue with the design of the ash bucket as it tends to collect rainwater.

Pros

  • Affordable lightweight model.
  • Two dampers to control the heat and smoke.
  • Versatile cooking options with fuel efficiency.
  • Removable bottom for fast cleanup.

Cons

  • Limited cooking area.
  • The ash bucket collects rainwater when kept outside.

5. Kamado Joe Classic Joe Grill, 18″

The last grill on our list is another model from Kamado Joe. With a cooking space of 406 square inches, this grill will cover all your cooking needs when you’re cooking for 4 people. Moreover, you can easily expand this cooking area to reach 510 square inches when you’re using the tier divide.

The heat range on this grill is from 225 to 700 degrees which is what you can use for grilling as well as smoking. This unit weighs 208 pounds and is made of three layers of ceramic to retain heat. It comes with wheels so you can easily transport it to the desired location.

Just like other models, it comes with a slide-out smoke drawer for fast cleanup. It also comes with handles so you can carry it around and side shelves for preparing your food. I find this feature very useful when you’re cooking outside as you won’t have to move around looking for your cooking utensils.

You might encounter some issues setting this unit up and making sure that it’s sealed. Moreover, you should make sure that you buy a cover or store it in a protected area because it can easily break.

Pros

  • Compact grill.
  • Multiple cooking options with expandable space.
  • Ability to control heat.
  • Fast cleanup and side shelves.

Cons

  • Needs to be covered if left outside.
  • Doesn’t perfectly seal.

Conclusion

My top recommendation as the best kamado grill is the Kamado Joe Big Joe II Grill. It offers a remarkable cooking area which can be expanded when needed. This is a heavyweight model made of durable materials. It’s designed to withstand heavy use so it’s likely to last for decades.

The best kamado grill allows you to cook anything at the temperature you want. These rather expensive appliances are good value for money because they offer more versatility than most grills and smokers on the market. If you’re looking for a single appliance that can do lots of work, then a kamado grill is what you’re looking for.

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