Kamado Joe Review: The Best Charcoal Grill or Too Good to be True?

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Whether you’re a serious cook or you do it just for fun, crossing paths with a grill or smoker is inevitable. Anyone dabbling in the culinary arts will know how important it is to be able to work a grill. And why not?

Smoking meat can give you a nearly endless supply of sausages that can last the entire year. Knowing how to grill burgers or BBQ ribs will make you the coolest person on the block. 

Most people are perfectly satisfied with a good smoker like this one. Moreover, barrel smokers are immensely popular as they give you the softest and most tender meat and vegetables.

But what if you want to take things to the next level? If you’ve been on the lookout for the best ever charcoal grill, we know exactly what you need. And that’s why we’ve decided to talk about that grill in this Kamado Joe review.

This innovative grill has a number of features that will make grilling a dream. The attractive grill is visually appealing and has top-notch construction and incomparable heat control. 

If you never got the appeal of ceramic cookers before, the Kamado Joe BBQ will change your mind.

In our Kamado Joe Classic II review, we will talk about the grill’s design, performance, and the things we liked about it. Let’s get started then, shall we?

Kamado Joe Classic II Review

Ever wondered why these grills are called Kamado grills? They are named after the Kamado style of cooking, which started in China and spread to Japan. It uses a clay oven that is fueled by wood or charcoal. 

The modern Kamado Joe Classic uses the same concept, and what makes it special is how they combine low-temperature smoking and high-temperature grilling.

There’s a lot to talk about since the grill gets a lot done. If you’re confused about which grill to get, we’ll help you out in that department. We are going to talk about the different areas regarding this grill

Grill Design:

Wondering what the grill itself looks like and how it is constructed? The grill has a simple, but cohesive and efficient layout.

Overview:

To look at, this 18-inch grill looks like a typical egg-shaped appliance with stainless steel cooking grates. It is constructed from ceramic and the brick red color is very eye-catching and striking. Since it is shaped like an egg, the domed head is a little on the elongated side.

This lid has a thermometer embedded in it which makes it easy to keep track of the temperature as you grill. Hate lugging your grill onto your patio? 

The Kamado Joe Classic 2 comes with a durable welded metal stand that has locking back wheels. As a result, it is pretty mobile and convenient.

It also has plastic side shelves that you can use for holding utensils when you cook. You can tuck them down and out of the way when they aren’t needed. Best of all, these shelves even have hooks for hanging grilling tools.

Last but not the least, the grill has a rust-resistant aluminum top vent that doesn’t move around when you adjust the lid. Also, the patented air lift hinge reduces the Kamado Joe weight greatly. 

In particular, the dome weight is lowered by 96%, allowing you to lift the grill lid with a finger.

The warranty is worth noting as well. The ceramic parts all have a limited lifetime warranty, while the metal ones have a 5-year warranty. Moreover, the heat deflector and thermometer/gasket have a 3 year and 1-year warranty respectively.

Cooking Racks:

The Kamado Joe’s innovative design makes it stand out more than its bright color. We were especially impressed with the ‘Divide and Conquer’ rack design that lets you place the food close to the fire for searing, or keep it several inches higher for gentler heat.

Besides this, the multi-level half-moon layout allows you to cook different foods in their own way at different temperatures. Because of this, there is no need to remove any kind of Kamado Joe Classic heat deflector–just move the racks closer or further from the heat.

Cleaning:

Unlike many other grills, cleanup is unbelievably easy. It features a slide-out drawer which makes the collected ash simple to remove. 

This grill differs from other Kamado models as you don’t have to take out the internal components to get rid of the ash.

The drawer collects all the ash and you just remove it and dump out the ashes. Then, just slide it back in. There is no need for raking the ashes and creating a mess!

Performance:

The all-star performance of this unit takes things to the next level. To start off, the ceramic body gives it excellent heat retention. Even the firebox that contains the burning coals is ceramic which holds on to the heat very well.

Also, the Kontrol Tower Top Vent keeps a steady air setting for specific airflow management when opening and closing the dome. Adjusting the top and bottom vents lets you control how much air enters the firebox and therefore how hot the grill gets.

The vents also work together in sync. The bottom vent changes the temperature dramatically, while the top vent is for smaller temperature adjustments. 

But the best thing about this Kamado Joe grill? It uses up much less charcoal, as the ceramic retains heat and maintains the necessary temperature needed for grilling.

For example, when grilling racks of ribs at 250-degrees, you can have them ready in 4 hours without having to add more charcoal. In fact, you might even have enough fuel left over to give the meat a good char.

The high temperature is great for caramelizing and browning the surface of your meat and veggies without drying them out. You can use it for grilling and BBQs at high temperatures with the top vents fully open. 

This makes the grill pretty versatile as well since you can grill pizzas and end up with a crispy, blistered bottom and melted gooey cheese on top.

Furthermore, the divide and conquer mechanism makes it ideal for cooking steaks as well. 

You can sear the steaks on the hot side of the grill, and then move them to the side with the heat deflector to finish cooking in indirect heat. Your steak will be perfectly cooked and tender!

As the grill has a large cooking area, you can cook multiple things at the same time. This cuts down on the overall cooking time as you can grill vegetables and seafood along with your steaks or ribs. However, it is best to grill one pizza at a time.

Kamado Joe cooking proves to be an easy and hassle-free affair. The powder-coated aluminum vents are mold and rainproof so you can use them in extreme temperatures without any effect on the grilling process. Since it can smoke things at a mild 225F and sear at a crispy hot temperature of 750F.

Tired of your firebox misbehaving? Kamado Joe grill reviews are generally full of praise for the advanced multi-panel firebox as it has a six-piece design. This makes it harder for the charcoal to break off when grilling and increases overall efficiency.

What’s Included:

This grill comes with all the essentials you will need for smoking and BBQs. These are all the different parts that come with the Kamado Joe II:

  • Metal cart with locking wheels
  • Stainless steel grill grates
  • Built-in lid thermometer
  • Ceramic heat deflectors
  • Slide-out ash drawer
  • Accessory rack/shelf
  • Grabber tool

You can also buy additional accessories for an even better grilling experience. Whether you need a grill cover or cooking surfaces (a set of soapstone, cast iron griddle, and a grill grate) for grilling delicate fish and veggies, this brand has you covered! With these add-ons, you’ll be barbecuing like a pro in no time at all.

Main Features:

  • Dimensions: 24.6 x 24.26 x 36 inches
  • Weight: 250 lbs.
  • Material: Ceramic and steel

The Pros:

  • Has lots of cooking surface area and lets you customize cooking.
  • Easy and precise temperature control.
  • AMP firebox decreases the chances of cracking or breakage.
  • Dome is lightweight and easy to lift.
  • Allows you to smoke, sear, and char with flexibility.
  • The gasket has a secure fit.
  • Includes everything you need to grill.

The Cons:

  • The price is rather steep.

Why We Recommend It:

This grill is worth every penny because of how reliable it is. The solid construction means that you won’t ever have to worry about the grill falling apart. On top of that, the warranty makes sure that any setbacks are corrected.

Besides this the half-moon racks and ‘Divide and Conquer’ system make grilling easy and quick. The Kamado Joe uses much less fuel than similar grills and this can preserve charcoal in the long run. 

But the charms of the grill go beyond that. It allows you to prep ribs and steaks as usual, as well as searing burgers and even slow cooking meats.

Buying the Kamado Joe: What You Need to Know

Considering getting yourself a Kamado Joe II? There are a couple of things you need to think about first.

Size:

The Kamado Joe II is 18 inches in diameter. This is large enough for most people and it is enough to cook multiple steaks and burgers at the same time. Besides this, it is sufficient space for grilling entire chickens and large fish.

However, if you don’t have much room you might prefer the Joe Jr, which is just 13.5 inches and a lot more petite. On the other hand, the Big Joe is a better option if you need something larger for grilling, especially if you plan on searing or smoking bigger cuts of meat.

Material:

Ceramic is the best material for kamado grills. This is because of its excellent heat retention, sturdiness, and the fact that it uses up less charcoal. 

Best of all, it won’t rust and can withstand both cold and burning heat. However, this does mean that the grill is rather heavy.

Price:

As far as quality grills go, the Kamado Joe II is middle-range leaning towards rather expensive. However, since it works so well and is very sturdy, the unit pays for itself. 

You won’t need another grill for years. Also, the top-notch performance more than makes up for the price of the grill!

Using the Kamado Joe Grill

Not sure how to set up and use the Kamado Joe? While it is easy to get this grill up and running, it does require a bit of elbow grease and patience.

Unpacking the Grill:

  1. Cut the plastic bands and then get rid of the top and side panels of the shipping container.
  2. After that, remove the top piece of the grill cart and cut away or tear the plastic from the top of the grill.
  3. Open the dome of the grill and remove the parts from the inside of the grill. Be sure to handle the internal ceramic components with care.

Assembling Your Kamado Joe Grill and Cart:

  • After you take out the internal components from inside the grill, lift the grill out of the container or box and set it aside. This is the hardest part for most people.
  • Since this grill is pretty heavy, it is recommended that two people perform this task. Do not try to lift the grill by its side shelf tabs. Instead, use the back hinge and the front lower vent opening as your lifting points.
  • Next, remove the plastic wrapping from the grill cart base.
  • After this, lock the casters on the bottom portion of the grill cart.
  • Assemble the two pieces of the grill cart with the stainless-steel screws that are included. You will find these screws attached with tape and plastic on the bottom section of the cart.
  • With the same lifting technique used before, lift the grill facing the front of the cart. This side of the cart is the one with the two locking casters.

Internal Assembly:

  1. Open the dome and position the Slide-Out Ash Drawer in the bottom of the grill so the handle aligns with the lower vent opening.
  2. Place the base of the FireBox over the Slide-Out Ash Drawer aligning the opening of the base with the ash drawer handle.
  3.  Set the Cast Iron Fire Grate on top of the base. Note: the ribbed side of the fire grate should face downward.
  4.  Begin building the FireBox Walls. Place each piece on top of the FireBox Base. Note that the pieces will lean against the inner wall of the base of the grill.
  5.  Using the hole in each piece, pull towards the center to fit under the outer rim of the Stainless-Steel Ring. Repeat the step for each piece until FireBox is secure.
  6.  Place the Divide & Conquer rack on top of the Stainless-Steel Ring. Remember that the flexible cooking system rack should fit along the indents of the ring.

Maintaining & Cleaning Tips Your Kamado Joe Grill

The best way to give your grill a long life is to keep it clean and maintain it after every use. The good news is that the best way to clean the Kamado Joe is to just get it nice and toasty and just burn everything off. It’s kind of like a self-cleaning oven.

The same applies to the stainless-steel grill grates, as well as the ceramic heat deflector. Let them heat up in the grill for 15 to 20 minutes at 600F. 

Once that’s done, close the vents and allow it to cool down. Any food or residue stuck to the grill will turn to ash, which makes it easy to clean off with a brush.

This procedure also works for removing mold. However, storing the grill in a clean and dry place will prevent mold from forming in the first place. Like we said, this low maintenance grill is easy to clean, which makes it a great choice for the lazy cook!

Where You Can Buy the Kamado Joe II Classic

This grill is available for sale at many online retailers. You can find it easily on Amazon, the Kamado Joe website, and even at Home Depot and Lowes’ websites. You can also find it in any online store selling grilling products and accessories.

If you want to pick it up from a physical store, you will find these grills at Target or Walmart.

FAQ

Below you’ll find answers to questions we get asked the most about Kamado Joe Classic II grill.

01. What Makes Kamado Joe Grills Special?

These grills are great because of their stellar heat retention, high quality, and general durability. They are also great since it gives you precise control over your grilling or smoking temperature.

02. How Long Does a Load of Charcoal Last in the Kamado Joe?

In regular weather conditions, you can use a load of charcoal to get 18 hours’ worth of smoking time. However, you might need to refuel before the 18 hours are up.

03. Which is Better, Kamado Joe or Big Green Egg?

The Kamado Joe is better because you get more for your money. This grill will save fuel and comes with all the necessary accessories needed for grilling. Although the two grills have the same quality, the Kamado Joe just has more to offer.

04. How Many People Can I Cook for with The Kamado Joe Classic?

This grill makes enough food when cooking for 5-15 people.

05. Is It Difficult to Add More Fuel While Cooking with This Grill?

This can be a little tricky if you are using the heat deflectors. This is because you need to lift them out using heat proof gloves.  

However, once you get used to working the grill it’s so efficient that you won’t even need to add more charcoal during a smoke.

Final Verdict

The Kamado Joe grill is one of the best units on the market if you want reliability and longevity. Investing in one of these will have your grilling and smoking needs covered for many years to come.

Whether you want an efficient, or a grill for the best ever BBQs, the Kamado Joe is what you need. It is versatile, efficient, and easy to use–and we tried to showcase all of that in our Kamado Joe review.

The innovative upgrades combined with the ancient and time-tested method of grilling is what makes the grill so very special. And you can sear steaks and burgers, char a rack of ribs, or slowly smoke a gigantic ham whenever the mood strikes. 

The flexibility makes it easy to cook virtually anything on this grill. With that being said, what are you planning on grilling with the Kamado Joe?