The best kamado grills: Kamado Joe, Big Green Egg, Char-Griller and more compared

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Kamado people who smoke are all the fad. These wood-fueled ceramic grills have a particular egglike form. Meals cooked in them tends to have a stunning, smoky style that is deliciously addictive. Not like fundamental gas grills, Kamado cookers are very versatile too. They will attain piping-hot temperatures to sear and so they can preserve warmth at low-and-slow ranges for hours. Meaning you need to use them to sear steaks steakhouse-style, cook dinner wood-fired pizzas in minutes, smoke true barbecue and every little thing in between.  

The Big Green Egg is the best-known instance of a conventional kamado grill and kamado smoker, however competing manufacturers like Kamado JoeVisionChar-Griller and Char-Broil spherical out the class of grills that present the advantages of kamado cooking. Must you be tempted so as to add one to your arsenal and become a more serious griller, I put the Massive Inexperienced Egg and its 4 main grilling rivals to the check over 200 hours to seek out one of the 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 title it, we cooked it.

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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 one of the best kamado grill for my style, and which of them you must keep away from.  

Listed here are my opinions and picks for one of the best kamado grill choices of 2020, which I am going to replace as I evaluate new merchandise.

Learn extraBest gas grills of 2020

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At $1,700, the Kamado Joe Basic III could have a steep worth, nevertheless it delivers a lot for the cash. Meaning numerous kamado grilling equipment that do not come commonplace with different grills, together with the Massive 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 glorious temperature management.

The grill obtained a little 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 Massive Inexperienced Egg turned in a tighter temperature curve, buzzing alongside for hours inside the smoking candy spot.

One function that basically units the Basic III aside is one thing referred to as the SloRoller. Billed as a “hyperbolic smoke chamber” by Kamado Joe, it is an hourglass-shaped steel contraption that sits over the fireplace. The equipment capabilities as each a warmth deflector and a convection support. Basically it stops radiant warmth generated by the coals from putting meals sitting above (on the grill grate). This prevents the meat from drying out throughout lengthy cooking instances. Based on 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 could configure as wanted for grilling.

In contrast, every little thing on the Massive Inexperienced Egg besides the stand prices additional. Be mindful, it’s also possible to save a little bit by selecting Kamado Joe’s Basic II. For $1,200 it is nearly equivalent to the Basic III, however lacks the SloRoller accent and has a special stand.

The development of the Basic III feels very strong; I particularly just like the sturdy aspect cabinets, excellent for grilling and smoking, additionally commonplace. All that makes this top-of-the-line kamado grills, in the event you can afford it.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Massive 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 one of the best temperature efficiency and stability. As soon as tuned to a low and gradual temperature of 225 F, the Egg just about ran itself. Based on our temperature gauge, the Inexperienced Egg caught to this temperature vary, with solely minor and rare fluctuations.

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

The meals I cooked within the Giant Massive 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. Massive Inexperienced Egg does make a warmth deflector accent, referred to as the ConvEGGtor, nevertheless it’s an additional add-on.

True to its title, the Giant Massive Inexperienced Egg kamado grill and smoker is massive, providing you with numerous house so you possibly can grill, smoke and cook dinner to your coronary heart’s need.  

That is why I like to recommend the Giant Massive Inexperienced Egg as top-of-the-line kamado grills for almost anybody. You will need to undergo an area seller, and, once more, not like the Kamado Joe Basic III, every little thing besides the stand is additional. Finally although, the overall value of the Giant Massive Inexperienced Egg must be lower than the totally decked-out Basic III.


The Char-Griller Akorn gives actual kamado efficiency at a rock-bottom worth. It prices simply $323, 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 steady 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 tougher to ignite and preserve lit than the Massive Inexperienced Egg’s and Kamado Joe Basic III’s.

Once 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 additional 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 under 387 F for the subsequent three hours.

Issues had been very totally 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 monitor. 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 because of its bundled warmth deflector smoker system. A worth this low outweighs plenty of the cons, although, so the Char-Griller Akorn provides as much as a incredible 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 manner. Probably the most essential factor to kamado efficiency is warmth, particularly temperature management and the way properly a grill holds to 1 temperature. To smoke meat low and gradual, that magic quantity is 225 F. Good people who smoke, kamados or in any other case, will keep on with this temp for so long as 12, 15 or 20 hours. This implies the temperature gauge is essential, and so is the power to manage airflow through air vents or dampers.


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

Brian Bennett/CNET

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

Then it is time to hearth up every grill.

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

Brian Bennett/CNET

After that, we mild them up, as instructed by their manuals if out there. Often which means letting the coals catch for 15 minutes, with the lid open, then shutting the grill. At this level, vents stay extensive 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/CNET

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?

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

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