Best kamado grills of 2020: Big Green Egg, Char-Griller, Kamado Joe and more

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Any barbeque fan is aware of that meals cooked over an actual wood fire tastes excellent. And that is only one motive folks love wood-burning kamado grills. One other is that kamados are succesful cookers, in a position to deal with nearly any yard grilling process you throw at them. Actually, when you have the abilities and observe, a kamado can run rings round your extraordinary gas grill

Sometimes made out of ceramics, they keep warmth with wonderful effectivity. A small quantity of gas goes a good distance, letting you run a kamado at low and gradual temperatures all day lengthy. Plus, you possibly can hearth up kamado grills to change into scalding scorching. I am speaking scorching sufficient to prepare dinner actual wood-fired Neapolitan pizza. They’re additionally nice for searing true steakhouse-style steak and, actually, absolutely anything you possibly can consider grilling. 

The Big Green Egg is the best-known instance of a standard kamado grill and kamado smoker, however competing manufacturers resembling Kamado JoeVisionChar-Griller and Char-Broil spherical out this class of grills. Must you be tempted so as to add one to your arsenal and become a more serious griller, I put the Huge Inexperienced Egg and its 4 main grilling rivals to the check to seek out the very best kamado-style grill — here is what I discovered.

Learn extra: Best gas grills of 2020: Weber, Char-Broil and others

Ribs, rooster, burgers: You identify it, we cooked it.

Brian Bennett/PJDM

Over 200 smoke-filled hours later, I’ve cooked greater than 20 kilos of pork ribs, six chickens and 10 kilos of burgers, together with a number of steaks for good measure. In spite of everything of that, I can say with conviction which manufacturers make the very best kamado grill for my style, and which of them you need to keep away from.

Listed below are my critiques and picks for the very best kamado grill choices of 2020, which I am going to replace as I evaluation new merchandise.

Learn extraBest gas grills of 2020

Chris Monroe/PJDM

At $1,699, the Kamado Joe Basic III could have a steep value, nevertheless it delivers a lot for the cash. Meaning numerous kamado grilling equipment that do not come customary with different grills, together with the Huge Inexperienced Egg Kamado. This kamado grill and smoker performs properly too. In our slow-and-low barbecue grill check, we modify grills to 225 F (107 C) and let go of the controls to see what occurs. On this trial, the Kamado Joe Basic III demonstrated wonderful temperature management.

The grill received a bit scorching within the first 30 minutes (315 F) however then settled down on the 1-hour mark. From there it coasted on cruise management, parking the needle between 253 F and 219 F for nearly three hours. Solely the Huge Inexperienced Egg turned in a tighter temperature curve, buzzing alongside for hours inside the smoking candy spot.

One characteristic that actually units the Basic III aside is one thing known as the SloRoller. Billed as a “hyperbolic smoke chamber” by Kamado Joe, it is an hourglass-shaped metallic contraption that sits over the hearth. The equipment features as each a warmth deflector and a convection assist. Basically it stops radiant warmth generated by the coals from hanging meals sitting above (on the grill grate). This prevents the meat from drying out throughout lengthy cooking occasions. In accordance with Kamado Joe, it additionally encourages air (smoke) circulation inside the cooking chamber.

Actually, there are a ton of extras bundled with the Basic III proper within the field. That features a further set of ceramic warmth deflectors (one for every half of the grill), a coal stoker and an aluminum charcoal basket. You get two halved aluminum grates and an ash elimination instrument as properly, plus a three-level cooking rack that you would be able to configure as wanted for grilling.

In contrast, every little thing on the Huge Inexperienced Egg besides the stand prices further. Consider, it’s also possible to save a bit by selecting Kamado Joe’s Basic II. For $1,200 it is virtually similar to the Basic III, however lacks the SloRoller accent and has a unique stand.

The development of the Basic III feels very stable; I particularly just like the sturdy facet cabinets, perfect for grilling and smoking, additionally customary. All that makes this the most effective kamado grills, in the event you can afford it.

Chris Monroe/PJDM

Huge Inexperienced Egg, the corporate that began the kamado craze, nonetheless has a winner. Of all of the kamado-style grill choices in my check group, the Giant BGE mannequin had the very best temperature efficiency and stability. As soon as tuned to a low and gradual temperature of 225 F, the Egg just about ran itself. In accordance with our temperature gauge, the Inexperienced Egg caught to this temperature vary, with solely minor and rare fluctuations.

The Giant Huge Inexperienced Egg additionally felt essentially the most responsive. If for any motive I needed to make an adjustment to both the highest or backside air vents, I noticed a change shortly. I sometimes seen course corrections in as little as 6 or 7 minutes. 

The meals I cooked within the Giant Huge Inexperienced Egg got here out fairly tasty as properly. Whereas my BGE check unit lacked the additional warmth deflector accent, rooster and pork ribs had convincing barbecue taste. Whereas not as scrumptious as what I smoked within the Kamado Joe Basic III, meals from the BGE got here in a really shut second. Huge Inexperienced Egg does make a warmth deflector accent, known as the ConvEGGtor, nevertheless it’s an additional add-on.

True to its identify, the Giant Huge Inexperienced Egg kamado grill and smoker is huge, supplying you with numerous area so you possibly can grill, smoke and prepare dinner to your coronary heart’s want.  

That is why I like to recommend the Giant Huge Inexperienced Egg as the most effective kamado grills for almost anybody. You may should undergo an area supplier, and, once more, not like the Kamado Joe Basic III, every little thing besides the stand is further. In the end although, the full price of the Giant Huge Inexperienced Egg needs to be lower than the absolutely decked-out Basic III.


The Char-Griller Akorn gives actual kamado efficiency at a rock-bottom value. It prices simply $299, which is unbelievable contemplating typical kamado grills will set you again $800 to $1,000. The Akorn’s cooking temperature and temperature management aren’t as inherently secure because the dearer kamados I used. I think that is as a result of the Akorn’s physique is constructed from triple-walled metal, versus heavy ceramic. The grill’s hearth was additionally more durable to ignite and hold lit than the Huge Inexperienced Egg’s and Kamado Joe Basic III’s.

After I let it burn by way of our low-and-slow check (adjusted to 225 F), the Akorn’s hearth died out inside 45 minutes. After relighting, temperatures contained in the cooker shot as much as 370 F in a mere 15 minutes. I did not add further gas both, only one paraffin hearth starter. Thirty-five minutes later, warmth ranges contained in the Akorn hit 405 levels. Temperatures then plateaued however remained scorching, not dropping beneath 387 F for the subsequent three hours.

Issues have been very completely different after I stored an eye fixed on the Akorn. With a beginning temperature of both 225 F or 350 F, it solely took a number of vent changes for the airflow to nudge the grill again on observe. And because it’s constructed from metal, not ceramic, the Akorn weighs much less (100 kilos) than conventional kamado grill choices (200 kilos or extra).

The meals I cooked with the Akorn wasn’t dangerous both. Each slow-cooked child again ribs and rooster had a satisfying charcoal taste. That stated, they could not match what got here out of the Kamado Joe grill due to its bundled warmth deflector smoker system. A value this low outweighs a number of the cons, although, so the Char-Griller Akorn provides as much as a unbelievable kamado cut price.

How we check kamado grills

Testing kamado grills is an intense expertise for a griller. It requires taking part in with hearth (actually) and excessive temperatures, although in a managed, accountable method. Probably the most important factor to kamado efficiency is warmth, particularly temperature management and the way properly a grill holds to at least one temperature. To smoke meat low and gradual, that magic quantity is 225 F. Good people who smoke, kamados or in any other case, will persist with this temp for so long as 12, 15 or 20 hours. This implies the temperature gauge is essential, and so is the flexibility to regulate airflow through air vents or dampers.


We monitor the inner temperature of the kamado grills as they go.

Brian Bennett/PJDM

To seize temperature information, we put a thermocouple on every kamado grill. Basically a delicate temperature sensor product of a probe and a linked wire, the thermocouple hangs suspended simply 1 inch above the grill grate. It is linked to an information logger, and finally a pc that information adjustments in warmth ranges over time.

Then it is time to hearth up every grill.

Tyler Lizenby/PJDM

We attempt to run temperature assessments on all of the grills concurrently. We additionally use the identical weight and model of lump charcoal (4.Four kilos or 2 kg), typically from the identical bag. That is true of fireplace starters too (one per grill).

A secure warmth degree is essential to good efficiency for a kamado smoker.

Brian Bennett/PJDM

After that, we gentle them up, as instructed by their manuals if accessible. Normally meaning letting the coals catch for 15 minutes, with the lid open, then shutting the grill. At this level, vents stay broad open till the grill comes inside 50 levels of the goal temp. 

We fastidiously fiddle with the vents to get there. Lastly, we let go of the controls and observe. 

We observe the identical process for our higher-temperature check with a goal of 350 F. The thought right here is to simulate the warmth efficiency required to roast rooster and different poultry.


We smoke ribs together with different meals for anecdotal assessments.

Chris Monroe/PJDM

And talking of meals, we carry out numerous “anecdotal cooks” too. We smoke a rack of child again ribs (225 F) in every grill. We butterfly (aka spatchcock) chickens and roast them too. Sourced from the native Costco, these weigh roughly 5 kilos every. Final, we grill a set of 4 8-ounce burger patties at excessive warmth (600 F). 


Burgers, anybody?

Brian Bennett/PJDM

Need extra choices? Listed below are the opposite two kamado grill fashions I evaluated for this check group. Whereas they did not make it into my picks, it’s your decision to have a look for comparability’s sake:

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Testing gasoline grills on the PJDM Good Dwelling


Extra grilling suggestions

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Brian Bennett