Top Kamado Egg-Style Charcoal Grills – Best ceramic upright smokers
Similar to the Indian tandoori oven and the Japanese Kamado oven, the Kamado grill’s secret is in the ceramic body. These traditional clay ovens are used for its heat, moisture and flavour retention qualities. Today’s Kamado grill leverage on these qualities.
The kamado grills especially those with thick ceramic bodies to hold heat and maintains temperature is well known to keep moisture in the meat, produce incredibly juicy, tender food with a true wood-fired flavour.
Why Kamado Grills
The benefits of kamado grills or sometimes known as ceramic grills or ceramic smokers are plenty, here are some of them:
- Natural Fuel: The ceramic body seals in the true charcoal flavour when used with natural lump charcoal made from charred hardwoods such as oak, maple or hickory.
- Enhanced Flavour: Wood chips can be used to enhance and add flavour to the food
- Efficient: Ceramic or clay is great at retaining heat, together with the insulated dome like cover, ensures that fuel is used efficiently.
- Good Food: Hot air circulates around the ceramic oven, cooking the food and sealing the moisture and flavour in.
- Easy Cooking: With complete air convection, there is no need to rotate the food.
- Quick: A kamado grill can be ready to cook in 12 – 15 minutes, some model boast quick lighting without the use of lighter fluid
- Control: Temperature inside the kamado grill can go from 100 to 400 °C and can be controlled by adjusting the air flow using the draft door. Use the built-in thermometer to track its temperature.
- Low & Slow: For low and slow cooking, the kamado is your best choice as it is known to keep low temperatures for 12 hours or longer, great for smoking.
- Cleaning: The fuel burning process is so complete that it leaves little ash to clean out.
- Self-Cleaning: For self cleaning, preheat the grill to over 200 °C and keep it for 15 minutes then close the air flow entirely and allow the grill to cool down completely. Finally, brush the grilling grate and ceramics and empty the ash by opening the bottom draft door and placing a small container to catch the ash.
- Others: Use an ash tool to pull out the ash or access the bottom of the cooker from the top, removing the cooking grate, internal ceramics if any, fire ring and fire box then use a small scoop to remove the ash.
Top 8 Best Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill and Smoker
- Pit Boss 71220 Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker 22″
- ALSO: Pit Boss 71240 Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker 24″ – BIGGEST
- Char-Griller 6520 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill with Cart 22″
- Char-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill and Smoker 19.6″
- Primo 778 Extra-Large Oval Ceramic Charcoal Smoker Grill 28″ OVAL – BIGGEST OVAL
- ALSO: Primo 773 Kamado Round Grill and Smoker 22″
- Kamado Joe KJ23RH Classic Joe Grill 18″ – SMALLEST
- ALSO: Kamado Joe BJ24RH Big Joe Grill 24″BIGGEST
- Vision Grills Professional C-series Kamado BBQ 22″
- Char-Griller 96619 Akorn Kamado Kooker 19.6″
- Broil King 911470 Keg 5000 Barbecue Grill 18.5″
Now for a closer look at each of these Kamado BBQ grill and smokers.
Pit Boss 71220 Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker 22″
Pitt Boss 71220 Kamado Ceramic Grill is a 22-inch grill with a heavy ceramic body, cast iron tamper for full control over the air flow and solid bamboo side shelves that folds down. The dual tier cooking grate offers even more cooking space to make the most of the dome shaped lid with a total of 567 sq-inches of cooking area.
With heavy duty hardware, wood handle and springs to help make the heavy lid easy to lift and hold in position plus fire proof felt edge and a shock absorber to guide and protect the lid, the Pit Boss is all a ceramic grill cooker should be. A bigger 24-inch version is also available.
- ALSO: Pit Boss 71240 Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker 24″ – BIGGEST
Char-Griller 6520 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill with Cart 22″ – STEEL
Another 22-inch grill, except the Char-Griller 6520 uses innovative double walled steel with insulation instead of ceramic and is mounted on a trolley cart, instead of just a stand. This makes the smoker cheap than other ceramic version, purist look elsewhere.
The work surface is permanent offering more stability and confidence for the user. Inside you get 314 sq-inches of primary cooking space, 133 sq-inches of warming rack, a total of 447 sq-inch of cooking area.
It has dual adjustable dampers for temperature control and cast iron cooking grates for even heat distribution. The cart is made from tubular steel and offers a 26-inch x 26-inch prep or serving space.
Char-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill and Smoker 19.6″ – STEEL
A slightly smaller but equally impressive grill from Char-griller, the 16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker is constructed from 22 gauge steel with its exterior finished in powder coated steel paint and interior finished in porcelain. This makes the Kamado cooker more durable, convenient, affordable and lighter than traditional ceramic kamados.
It also carries the tubular steel design but this time in a simple three legged stand arrangement with wheels. It also comes with two folding side tables. Even though it is slightly smaller, it still offers plenty of cooking area; 306 sq-inches main cooking surface and 165 sq-inches warming rack, a total of 471 sq-inches.
Primo 778 Extra-Large Oval Ceramic Charcoal Smoker Grill 28″ – BIGGEST OVAL
Primo 778 is the only oval kamado grill in our list. This makes is extra big with more flexible and versatile grilling. There is a 400 sq-inches of standard cooking surface and up to 680 sq-inches total area with rack extensions. It has an unmistakable premium-grade ceramic blend coated body with scratch resistant porcelain glaze. Features include cast-iron chimney vent, precision thermometer, easy lift and lock hinge system, soft-close felt gasket and quick-clean porcelain cooking grid.
The unique oval shaped body allows for both direct and indirect cooking method at the same time, just sent more of your charcoal to one side. The wide body is also able to accommodate a variety of food including beef, whole chicken, pork joint, turkey, big fish, whole lobster and more.
- Available with wooden trolley, metal trolley or on its own.
Kamado Joe KJ23RH Classic Joe Grill 18″
The Classic Joe is a small 18-inch Kamado grill. It is made from premium ceramic mounted on a sturdy steel cart with locking wheels. A Kamado Joe’s divide and conquer flexible cooking system is included together with the patented slide-out ash drawer, ash tool and grate gripper.
A key advantage of Kamado Joe’s ceramic vessel is its ability to insulate. Not only does this require less total heat for cooking, it also lets you cook at significantly higher temperatures or at very low temperatures for a significantly longer time.
- ALSO: Kamado Joe BJ24RH Big Joe Grill 24″ – BIGGEST
Big Joe’s design is similar to Classic Joe except bigger with a 24-inch ceramic grill. It also features the divide and conquer flexible cooking system and multi position stainless steel rack. Included with the kamado grill are two stainless steel halves grill grates and two ceramic halves heat deflectors. You also get the patented slide-out ash drawer, ash tool and grate gripper.
Vision Grills Professional C-series Kamado BBQ 22″
The biggest feature on the Vision Grills Professional C-series Kamado BBQ is the dual calibrated bottom draft knobs combined with the top calibrated draft vent. These offers the ability to move between temperatures of 200 Degree F and over 700 Degree F in minutes.
Thick ceramic construction and design delivers a convection cooking environment for even cooking, superior temperature control and heat retention. Superior heat retention creates more eco-friendly coal consumption and reduced ash. The self contained cooking environment eliminates hot spots and flare ups.
The patent pending Vision Grills Kamado Pro comes complete with a stainless steel cart with 2 locking casters for ease of mobility, 2 solid-surface drop down side shelves and a 2-tier flip stainless steel cooking grate for easy addition of charcoal and 596 sq-inches of grill space.
Char-Griller 96619 Akorn Kamado Kooker 19.6″ – STEEL
The smaller 19-inch diameter Akorn Kamado Kooker from Char-Griller offer 314 sq-inches of cooking space made from cast iron for even heat distribution. The body is constructed of 22 gauge steel with the exterior finished is powder coated paint and the interior finish is porcelain coated paint. It is mounted on a three legged stand made from tubular steel with rubber wheels and locking caster. It features locking lid, 2 folding black metal shelves, easy dump ash pan, double wall insulation and heat gauge.
Broil King 911470 Keg 5000 Barbecue Grill 18.5″ – STEEL
The Keg 5000 offers 480 sq. in. total cooking surface with a 280 sq. in. cast iron main cooking grate and 200 sq. in. chrome secondary cooking surface. Broil King claims their innovative charcoal grill that offers many advantages over traditional charcoal grills and other kamado-style grills.
The Keg features a rust resistant porcelain coated cooking chamber, double walled steel construction, heavy duty resin handles, latch and lock lid mechanism, and two convenient front handle bottle openers. The exterior also includes an easy-to-read stainless steel thermometer with a probe that reaches deep into the oven, giving you a more accurate temperature reading. It also includes a removable side shelves and a durable stand with large wheels for easy portability.
The upper damper is made of heavy duty cast iron and allows you to control the temperature of the cook box with the top-air flow. The included multi-tool allows you to open and close the damper with ease, allowing you to cook low and slow or hot and fast.
Must Have Kamado Cookbooks
If you are starting off with a new ceramic grill, pick up one of these Kamado Cookbooks to help kick start your grilling and smoking career.
July 21, 2017 @ 3:46 pm
What do you think of the big green egg?
August 18, 2017 @ 10:56 am
Hi Tim, We think it’s an excellent bit of kit, of course, but it is at the upper costs end of the range. We also looked at a fascinating range of ingenious DIY Egg style grills.