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Best Kamado Grills of 2020

Best Kamado Grill Reviews of 2020

Best-in-class
Kamado Joe KJ23RHC

Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Ceramic Classic II Charcoal Grill

The best of the best

A flexible cooking system makes it easy to cook different foods in different styles and at different temperatures… all at the same time.

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1 Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Review

The KJ23RHC is a fine-looking and super versatile Kamado grill. Its flexible cooking system and variable heat from 225°F to 750°F make it the perfect tool for cooking anything, from juicy grilled meat to slow-cooked dishes to pizza.

Add a more than generous cooking space to the equation, and there you have it – the best Kamado grill on the market.

Expect a whopping 406 square inches of cooking space, more than enough to grill burgers for the whole neighborhood. An integrated thermometer and top vent let you check and adjust the temperature as needed.

This grill’s greatest highlight, however, is the Divide and Conquer function. It lets you cook different foods at different temperatures at the same time. All that you need to officially become the family’s grill master.

Best value
Char-Griller E16620

Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker

Just right for most enthusiasts

The Akorn Kamado Kooker’s triple wall retains heat and maintains a constant temperature for perfect cooking.

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2 Char-Griller E16620 Review

If you love entertaining larger crowds in your backyard, but you don’t really have the budget to go for the best-in-class, the Char-Griller E16620 might be the right Kamado grill for your outdoor cooking arsenal.

With a temperature range between 200°F and 700°F, this versatile grill and smoker is up to anything the chef might throw at it. Whether it’s slow-cooking some pork belly or ribs, searing a sirloin steak, or even making beef jerky, this grill has got you covered.

The 314 square inches of cooking surface lets you prepare enough food to feed a large crowd, while a folding side shelf gives you the space to store ingredients and grilling utensils alike. More than you could wish at a more than attractive price tag.

Also great
Char-Griller E6520

Char-Griller E6520 AKORN Kamado Cart Charcoal Grill

Some extra prepping space

The Akorn Kamado Kooker with cart-style food preparing space.

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3 Char-Griller E6520 Review

Cooking outside is all fun and games until you stumble in organization logistics. Such as the lack of a table where to keep ingredients and cooking utensils. If you want to save yourself the hassle and don’t mind dropping a buck, the Char-Griller E6520 could be the right one.

In terms of cooking versatility and space, this Kamado grill is quite the same – minus a warming rack – as our best value.

What makes it different is its cart-style design with plenty of prepping space, utensil hooks, and large, lower storage rack that’s just perfect for briquettes and fire starters. Okay, it lacks the warming rack, but after all, that’s a small price to pay for all that extra storage.

Best budget
Char-Griller E06614

Char-Griller E06614 AKORN Jr. Charcoal kamado Grill

Affordable, yet mighty

The mini version of the Akron, ideal for camping or grill masters on lower budgets.

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4 Char-Griller E06614 Review

Do you love Kamado grills but can’t really afford one of the range-topping models? Or maybe you love Kamado grills so much that you have to have one with you while camping? Whatever the reason, check out the Char-Griller E06614.

The name says it all! Called Akron Jr., it’s nothing but our best value’s miniature version. Miniature that is, if you find 153 square inches of cooking space to be restrictive.

Boasting similar features to its dad, but at a smaller scale, the Char-Griller E06614 lacks the wheels but comes with carrying handles. It’s great to take with you on your adventures, or it could be a low-cost solution for a smaller backyard.

What is a Kamado grill?

Grills come in all shapes and sizes, from pellet grills to charcoal to electric or infrared grills. However, most people are confused by Kamado grills, especially due to their peculiar shape.

Simply put, a Kamado grill is nothing but an oval, egg-shaped charcoal grill. It works just like the round backyard grills we all grew up with, with the sole difference that it’s shaped like an urn rather than a dome.

The design – as well as the name – has Japanese origins, and this device was first used for cooking rice. Over the years, the design has evolved with the addition of cooking grids for meat grilling or roasting.

Nowadays, Kamado grills are praised for their outstanding heat conductivity that allows grill masters to cook meat and a variety of other foods to perfection.

How does a Kamado grill work?

A Kamado grill works similarly to charcoal grills, with the difference that decreasing the temperature in this type of grill is always harder than raising it. With this in mind, all you have to do is place the charcoal in the burning chamber, start the fire, and control the temperature through the vents. That’s it! Pretty much like any other grill.

What is so great about Kamado grills?

If a Kamado grill is similar to a charcoal grill, what makes it so great? A common question with a simple answer. Apart from the urn-like shape that allows for better heat management, what makes Kamado grills different is the choice of materials and construction. Here are the main things that make Kamado grills special:

  • Heat retention: Regardless of the materials they are made of, Kamado grills have thick walls that provide better heat retention than other grills. Thanks to this feature, this type of grill is perfect for quick grilling, slow-cooking, as well as smoking foods.
  • Temperature management: Kamado grills usually have bottom vents that allow you to regulate the flame – thus the temperature – through the amount of air you let in. The bottom location of the vents makes this type of grill more similar to a wood stove. Not only you’ll get better heat control, but also a richer flavor. Moreover, once the grill is pre-heated, it can maintain a very stable temperature compared to all other grills.
  • Durability: The best Kamado grills are made from ceramic compounds that enhance durability. These grills need little to no maintenance and can be left outside all year round without worrying that they’ll be ruined by rain, wind, or snow.

How to use a Kamado grill?

With all the benefits in mind, perhaps you’d like to know how to use a Kamado grill. Nothing simpler!

Step 1 – Start your Kamado grill

  1. Take off the lid, grate, and open the air vents all the way.
  2. Place a few lumps of charcoal in the burning chamber, then cover them with the right amount of briquettes, as recommended by the manufacturer.
  3. Wait until smoke starts coming out, then wait for another 10 to 15 minutes for the charcoal to get hot.
  4. Once the charcoal starts burning, add new lump charcoal, put the grate back in its place, and close the lid, but not the vents. Leave the vents open until the grill reaches the desired temperature.
  5. Control the temperature by closing or opening the vents as needed.

Step 2 – Maintain the temperature

The beauty of Kamado grills is that they allow you to keep the temperature as low as 200°F or reach high temps of 700°F or higher. In this way, you can either sear, smoke, or slow-cook foods, grill burgers, and sausages, and even bake pizzas.

Due to the thick walls and outstanding heat retention, reaching high temps is easy. However, if you want to maintain a low temperature, make sure you only add a small amount of charcoal to the burning chamber and keep the vents almost closed to keep flames at bay.

Step 3 – Learn the different cooking techniques

With a Kamado grill, you can use three different types of cooking techniques:

  • Direct heat cooking: Is exactly like cooking on any other grill. Place the food on the grate directly over the heat source and wait for the flames to do the rest. This technique is perfect for cooking burgers, sausages, vegetables, and thin-cut chops.
  • Indirect heat cooking: A nice thing about Kamado grills is that they usually come with a heat deflector that transforms direct heat into indirect heat. To use indirect heat, simply place the deflector under the grate after lighting up the coals. Use this method for foods that need slower cooking, like ribs, pork butts, or brisket, as well as baking pizza.
  • Smoking: If you’ve ever dreamed of getting a grill and smoker in one, a Kamado grill is perfect. Add wood chips above the charcoal and maintain a low temperature throughout the process. Use this method for harder-to-cook meat cuts, such as parts from the shoulder, ribs, or muscle.

Kamado grill ideal cooking temperature and time

Type of cooking

Temperature

Cooking time

Direct heat cooking

357-450°F

4-6 mins

Indirect heat cooking

200-650°F

10-120 mins

Smoking

200-225°F

5-15 hrs

Important features to look for when buying a Kamado grill

Coming with an array of benefits and almost no drawbacks, Kamado grills are a great choice for most households. Here are a few of the most important features you should check before buying:

  • Material: Depending on the quality of the grill, Kamados can be made from either stainless steel, aluminum, iron, or ceramic compounds. The former materials are cheaper but have poorer heat retention. Ceramic compounds are the most expensive, but they are your best bet if you want to get the best Kamado grill out there.
  • Size: Kamado style grills come in all sizes, from portable to huge. Consider your needs and the size of your family, and choose accordingly. Typically, portable grills are perfect for one or two people. For a larger family, aim for a grill with a cooking surface of at least 400 square inches.
  • Accessories: Some Kamado grills come with accessories, including thermometers, heat deflectors, and even utensils. Undeniably, these add-ons bring more value for money, so it’s nice to check if the grill you like has them.
  • Storage: Another thing to check is the storage space. A foldable Kamado grill table is better than no table at all, but some models come with cart-like food preparation tables, utensil hooks, and charcoal storage.
  • Mobility: No matter the size, moving the grill from one place to another with ease is essential. If you go for a small model, make sure to get one that comes with at least carrying handles. For larger models, sturdy wheels are a must.

Best Kamado Grill for the Money

Best value
Char-Griller E16620

Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker

Just right for most enthusiasts

The Akorn Kamado Kooker’s triple wall retains heat and maintains a constant temperature for perfect cooking.

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