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The complete Kamado BBQ guide 2020

Kamado smoker


The kamados (or kamado smoker) is a charcoal BBQs made of Japanese-style ceramic. This process has roots in the Japanese culture for over 3000 years.


The word Kamado means “cooker” or “oven” in Japanese. At this moment, it’s perhaps THE best smoker on the market. The most high-profile and perhaps the best quality brand of Kamados can belong to Kamado Joe. Kamado Joe created several kamado grills like the Kamado Joe Classic and the Kamado Joe Big Joe


Thanks to its tightness, it’s possible to control the air flow. This allows you to smoke your food over fewer hours, without adding charcoal. Some models can keep their temperature for up to 36 hours thanks to their thick ceramic tank that can contain and diffuse heat for a long time. This little wonder doesn’t stop there. It can also cold smoke, which will give you superb smoke flavor in your cheese, fish, spice, house bacon, and nuts. If you’re more about grilling steaks, kamado works just fine too.


Photo: BBQGuys.com

The advantage of charcoal is that the more you put in, the hotter it gets. If you want to sear your meat or grill veggies, you only have to add charcoal and oxygen to get the temperature around 2000 degrees in a moment. My little trick is to remove the grill and toss the steak straight into the fire! Nothing better than a perfectly smoked and grilled meat. If you’re like me, a desert enthusiast, the kamado will fill your life with happiness with smoked pecan pies, chocolate chip cookies and smoked brownies. 


Why people love Kamados



One of the reasons people love Kamados so much is because of modern advanced design technology and the widespread availability of the best materials for manufacturers.

Several innovations have been introduced, like air vents, hinges, ash trays or thermometers in order to increase the comfort and efficiency of cooking on a kamado grill.

Most modern kamados are made of ceramics. The main advantage of ceramics is the temperature retention inside the grill. They can do this for several hours at a lower charcoal consumption. They are also versatile because you can not only grill with them but also roast or slowly sear meat at lower temperatures. Improved sign such as improved air vents allow for a much better and steady temperature control than in the older versions of kamados. The ceramics are also much more durable than clay, for example.

Finally, no matter what you like, or would like to cook, it will be awesome on a kamado smoker. 

Maybe you didn’t know, but your dream is not owning a Ferrari or living in Caribbean, it’s to own a kamado at home. 


To see the different types of Kamado available, visit House of BBQ Experts shop!


What type should I buy: ceramic or aluminum/steel?



Kamado barbecues typically come in one of two forms: ceramic or aluminum or stainless steel. The majority of the higher-end models are made from ceramic, but that doesn’t mean there’s harm in buying one made from aluminum or stainless steel.

In terms of temperature control, the ceramic kamados are undoubtedly the high performers. You’re going to get similar performance whether its aluminum or stainless steel. A big difference in material, however, comes in durability and stability.

Ceramic grills heavy, but durable and corrosion resistant, but aren’t the easiest to transport. They can still get damaged easily if you drop them or strike them hard.

Aluminum and stainless steel kamados are lighter in weight and easier to transport. However, they can get get corroded a little easier.


Why should I choose a kamado-style over the more traditional types?



Why should you choose a kamado when there’s so many other great BBQ choices out there, like the classic kettle grill, or a great gas grill? There’s a few reasons.


Flavor: Since Kamados typically run on hardwood charcoal, the flavor profile you get is distinct from other fuel sources.


Temperature control: With kamados, you get supreme temperature control. That’s because a kamado has two air vents. One of them is on the bottom of the grill (where the air enters the grill). The other is on the top of the grill. The entire temperature control system relies on proper oxygen flow control. This ensures that the charcoal burns. The more air you let in, the faster the charcoal burns (which leads to higher temperatures). If you let less air in, it means the charcoal will burn slower, and you’ll have lower temperatures. For this reason, we say Kamados have superb climate control. 


Versatility: You can smoke meat at low temperatures or you can cook at high temperatures with kamado grills
Durability: Ceramic kamado grills are more durable and less prone to rusting than aluminum or stainless steel kamados. The ceramic kamados maintain high durability and can sit outside during most weather conditions.
That said, it’s still a good idea to invest in a cover just to protect it for who-knows-what.


What are some of the downsides?



Cooking size: compared to most other grills, the kamado grill generally has a smaller cooking surface area due to its shape and design.


Weight: All kamados can be pretty heavy, but ceramic kamados venture into the 250 to 400 pound area, which is getting quite heavy. For example, if you want to move it to a different position in your balcony or backyard, this will take the help of a friend to lift it. That said, Kamado Joe offers several smaller kamados that are possible to carry by one person. 


​Learning how to cook: The beginnings might be difficult as always, the first few attempts at cooking might be annoying and difficult to you before you learn how to properly control the temperature using the air vents. Most people fall in love with cooking on a kamado smoker the moment they have learned how, and keep a ceramic grill in their backyard ever since and cook a lot on it.


Cost: Kamados, particularly the ceramic variety, will command higher price tags than a simple kettle BBQ given the materials and design.

What should I make sure to remember when buying?



Material: What material is it made of? Undoubtedly ceramic is a better investment. A steel or aluminum kamado would be cheaper. However, if you’re considering your kamado to be a longterm investment, it might be better to spend a little extra. While the ceramic make will be more expensive, it will be more resistant to rust and it will retain more heat.


Size: In general, the bigger the size, the higher the price tag. Think about what size is right for you. If you don’t need the gargantuan ‘Kamado XXXXL Extreme’, you don’t need to go for it. Especially with Kamado Joe, there’s usually a make that fits every customer’s needs.


Accessories: A few great accessories for your new kamado can really tune up the grilling experience! First, a good protective cover it always a great investment for your kamado. There’s also pizza stones, cast iron casserole dishes, new grids, heat deflectors, poultry stands and much more. It really is amazing the amount of cool accessories you can add on to a kamado to heighten the grilling experience.


Customer service and warranty: It’s a good idea to check out the websites or social media profiles of the manufacturers. This is just to make sure you see other customers’ experience.


Cost: And finally, the big one: cost. The simple fact is that you get what you pay for with a top-of-the-line ceramic kamado smoker like a Kamado Joe. It’ll come with a higher price tag than a simple kettle BBQ, but you’re getting fantastic craftsmanship, materials, design and an amazing cooking experience. If you invest in the higher-tier brands, it’s worth it.


Shop our Kamado Joe BBQs:


Photo: John David Helms, www.masterbuilt.com














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