The Top 5 Most Recommended Kamado Grills
Kamado grills have a long history, and they're only growing more popular! Check out Grill Expert Michael Courson's top 5 kamado grills.
What Are Kamado Grills?
Cook the way people have for thousands of years with a kamado grill. Kamado grills are egg-shaped grills that have a hinged top so there is plenty of room above and below the meat. Typically, kamado grills are made from ceramic, but some newer designs are constructed with steel or cast iron. No matter the material, kamado grills have thick insulated walls that improve heat retention with minimal effort. Kamado grills have upper and lower vents that allow you to adjust for the ideal airflow and smoke levels. The lower vents feed the coals and the upper vent helps with maintaining heat and smoke levels at the desired level. One of the best parts of kamado grills is they are so durable that most come with a lifetime warranty, so this may be the last grill you ever buy!
How to Choose a Kamado Grill
There are several different things to consider when looking at a kamado grill.
First, what meat do you plan to cook most often? This will help you narrow down any accessories you may need for the grill, such as a heat deflector or additional racks. A great feature of kamado grills is their versatility with different cooking techniques. You can go low and slow to smoke a brisket and pork shoulder or sear steaks and burgers at high heat. Kamado grills are so versatile that you can even cook pizzas with a pizza stone!
Second, you want to consider the size of the cooking surface. While kamado grills can do it all, the surface area compared to a traditional smoker, gas grill, or pellet smoker is smaller. I, personally, would go up two sizes from my initial thought, just to make sure I can cook multiple things at once.
Third, what stand options fit your needs. Some kamado grills, like the Big Green Egg, have multiple stand options that have side shelves or even sit in a cabinet with shelves. This is mostly preference, but figure out what fits your style, outdoor space, and needs when it comes to prepping and cooking.
The Best Kamado Grills
1. Kamado Joe Classic II
The Kamado Joe Classic II is the top option for those who are just starting to consider a ceramic grill. While a little pricier, it comes with everything you need to get started grilling once you open it up. The stand with locking wheels is one of the top items included with this grill that will make your life easier. (While most kamado grills have a wheeled stand as an option, it often comes at an additional cost.) The grill’s stand-out feature is the air lift hinge which counterbalances the heavy weight of the ceramic lid, making opening the lid a breeze.
The Kamado Joe Classic further shines with its separate cooking grates that allow you to cook multiple foods at the same time. The heat shields under the grates can also be adjusted to control indirect or direct heat. There is even an adjustment for half of the grate to be direct heat and the other half to be indirect, which is great for cooking ribs and burgers/hot dogs at the same time. Another huge benefit of the Kamado Joe Classic is the ash drawer for easy firebox clean-up; the heat box is also designed in individual pieces which reduces the possibility of cracking or breaking due to heat expansion.
2. Big Green Egg
The Big Green Egg is one of the biggest names in kamado grills. While the quality of the Big Green Egg may be at the top, the performance is not vastly better than the other ceramic kamado grills.
The Big Green Egg has a large variety of size options and more accessories than you can imagine—these accessories are really what keep the grill ranking high. There are multiple stand designs to fit your backyard space, from basic stands with wheels to full cabinet designs with table tops and storage. Beyond the stands, almost every other element of the Big Green Egg is sold separately, so different heat shields or grates will cost you extra. However, like the stands, there are a ton of options for different accessories to match your needs.
3. Primo All-In-One Oval Junior 200 Ceramic Kamado
The Primo All-In-One is one of the top kamado grills. The distinct feature of this grill is the dome top. While all have a dome top, the Primo All-In-One has the highest dome, which allows you to cook whole chickens and turkeys vertically. The high sitting dome also allows for the Primo to have multi-level cooking racks. While the Primo has plenty of additional accessories to build out the grill of your dreams, the stand and side shelves come included.
4. Victory 21-Inch Kamado Grill & Smoker
The Victory Kamado grill is another solid option. The Victory grill comes with all the great features of the grills above and adds bamboo side shelves that create a nice prep space that you can use as a cutting board without dulling your knife. The Victory also has a cooking area that is 21in in diameter at the same price point as other brands’ smaller sizes. Finally, the lid is latch-secured to create a superior seal that improves the smoke retention.
5. Lifesmart 24-inch Ceramic Kamado Grill
The Lifesmart kamado grills are the easiest on the wallet, with many of the aforementioned bells and whistles but at almost half the cost. However, part of that reduced cost is that the Lifesmart is only under warranty for one year after purchase while many of the others offered a lifetime warranty.
That being said, Lifesmart does have many of the best features of the other grills on this list—a stand with bamboo shelves, a high dome top for multi-level cooking, and two-zone cooking. The Lifesmart grill also comes with a cover to protect it from the elements. At 24in, this has the largest square inches of cooking space for the price.
Every kamado style grill has great temperature control with top vents that create the perfect temperature and smoke. Each grill can cook different foods, but not all can sear a steak and low and slow a rack of ribs so make sure you know what you want when considering your purchase.
While it can seem overwhelming to select which grill to go with, know that there is no best grill, but rather a grill that best fits your barbecue wants and needs. The best way to determine the best kamado cooker for you is to talk with a Grill Expert here on Curated, and we’d be happy to help!