Kamado Joe vs. Big Green Egg – Which One Is the Best Kamado Grill?

Which grill is the best to buy? the Kamado Joe or the Big Green Egg?. Well, both are Kamado Grills and both are very popular in the market today. While The Kamado Joe may be easy to clean, the Big Green Egg also has its own amazing features.

Read the rest of this article to know more and determine which of these 2 Kamado Grills is the right for you. Let's get started!.

Kamados, which originated from the Far East, are the oldest brand that in fact, date back thousands of years. Throughout the Vietnam War, American soldiers commonly utilized the Kamado cooking method and brought it back with them to the U.S.

Kamados became very popular in the late 1970s and are still popular today. At the moment, they are considered as an outdoor cooking appliance that many enjoy to use.

The traditional models use an open flame to cook the foods. They are very fragile and easy to crack if the users handle them roughly. This is because they are usually made of fragile materials like ceramic, clay etc.

Japan is one of the countries that have enjoyed using Kamados for centuries. Their egg shape is very distinct. Many people make a mistake when trying to determine the origin of the name of this popular grill. Some say it comes from the word "commando" while others have connected it to the famous Komodo dragons. It turns out, Kamado is simply the Japanese word for this style of ceramic grills.

Compare Kamado Joe to Big Green Egg

Should you choose Kamado Joe or Big Green Egg? Well, to determine this, we will make a comparison between both. First we look at the similarities between them.

Similarities

When it comes to comparing the Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg, there are some definite similarities between them. They include;

  • Both are made out of high fire ceramics and glazed, which comes backed by a lifetime warranty. Typically, the Kamado Joe KJ23RH 18”, provides the best warranty.

  • The cooking grids on the Kamado Joe is made from stainless steel and this is the same for the Big Green Egg. It means that both are durable enough and can last for a long time.
  • Both have a cast iron fire grate that is perforated so that charcoal airflow can circulate easily. More importantly, you can remove it for cleaning.
  • For temperature accuracy, these grills include a hood mounted thermometer, Classic II from Kamado Joe or Big Green Egg Wooden Shelves EGG Mate, for example.
  • The egg and Joe are headed in roughly 225ºF. The food taste between the both is the same. I tried cooking on both grills, T-bone, steak, and ribs in particular, and there was not much difference in the result. Both are very good.

Differences

  • Packaging

Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg arrive in perfect condition, but the difference in packaging is worthy of note.

The Big Green Egg comes in a standard cardboard box, which can be easily ripped when you are carrying it. While the Kamado box has a wood top and bottom and the cardboard sides are extremely strong.

  • Set up

Most Kamado Joe grills are over 200 pounds. For instance, Kamado Joe Classic II weighs
300 pounds. It is actually hard to lift, even for two people. Averagely, it will take you about 20 minutes to unbox and set up the Kamado. This includes all parts packaged inside.

For the Big Green Egg, it looks pretty handy, but it might take you over an hour to put all the stuff together.

In case you do not know how to set it up, it is better to pay the dealer $50 to assemble it for you.

Now, let’s look at the features!

  • Features

The two have been nearly identical in previous years, but the new 2019 Joe model has a couple of significant improvements. Accordingly, if you decide to purchase the Kamado Joe, make sure you get the newest version.

1. The Top Air Vent

This is one of the most important parts of the Big Green Egg. It helps to control the airflow in the egg, which controls the temperature of the egg.

The top air vent allows you to set where you want it. But, this part will move if you open the grill and you will need to readjust. You can avoid this by turning the top sideways.

The pivot point is the front of the grill. Once the ceramic lid is sealed, it helps to stop the fire quickly and conserve charcoal. Remember not to leave this piece out in the rain because it can start to rust.

The Joe top vent does not slide around and has these little lines that help you dial at the right temperature. There is no ceramic lid, but it is made of aluminum and does not rust in the rain.

2. Thermometer

The thermometer of the Big Green Egg is certainly decent. Look at the Big Green Egg Wooden Egg Mate – Large, you should clearly recognize this feature. But, with the larger edges, the Kamado Joe is easier to read.

3. The lid Counterweight Mechanism in the Hinge

For the Kamado Joe, when you let go of its lid it just sits there, perfectly blacked. On the contrary, if you let go of the Big Green Egg, it will slam down pretty hard.

If you are strong enough, this does not really matter. However, Kamado Joe is probably a better option for the ladies or those who can’t or don’t want to do much lifting.

4. Rack System

The Kamado Joe has a dual oven rack system that can divide and conquer. It enables you to set up different heights for different foods. It also has the tool you will need to grab this hot rack.

Big Green Egg has a standard grilling surface that is set at one height. You can easily take out the ceramic plate setter and lower the whole grill up to 2 inches.

5. Ceramic Color

When cooking, both produce a lot of smoke. But you will likely recognize the difference in the ceramic color. Kamado Joe is a bit more reddish while the original color of the Big Green Egg is a whiter ceramic.

6. Construction

Wheels – The Big Green Egg has a large wheel, so it gets over bumps easily. Nonetheless, the locks are only made of thin plastic. Although the wheels of Kamado Joe are smaller, the locks are made of a sturdy metal.

Stand – If the egg grills have a stand including the metal kit, the Joe comes out ahead with a fully custom welded stand, especially because the wheelbase is wide and stable, and comes along with a complete containment ring.

Shelves & handle – Big Green Egg has the shelves and handle that looks like real wood. The Joes are not too natural, but they are more durable.

Seal – The Joe has an upgraded fiberglass seal and the perfect alignment while the egg main seal is made of felt and has quarter-inch alignment.

Bands – The Joe provides the larger metal bands. Therefore, it especially fits in the ceramic groove. Due to the skinnier egg bands, they leave a small gap.

7. Accessories

The stainless steel cooking grids on Kamado Joe are in two half-moon sections, which allow you to cook with two different temperature zones at the same time. For example, you can sear the steak on one side and roast vegetables on the other side.

Divide and conquer also comes standard with this accessory rack and two half-moon heat deflectors. It is a perfect place to set a water pan, by using an indirect heat setup for cooking something like ribs low and slow. If you need to add charcoal while cooking with the grids set in, Kamado Joe has got you covered with a grid lifter tool and fire poker accessory.

For Big Green Egg, there are many great accessories available, but they can only be bought separately.

8. Cleaning

Cleaning out ashes on the Big Green Egg can be a little messy because you need to have an ash rake to do this. Kamado Joe is easier to clean because it has a stainless steel ash drawer.

9. Price

Kamado Joe comes with many included accessories, so its price is more expensive than a Big Green Egg. The most expensive Kamado Joe can cost you thousands of dollars while you just need to pay under $200 to get the Big Green Egg.

Which One Wins?

If you ignore the expensive cost, Kamado Joe has some features that are more optimal than a Big Green Egg. Plus, it also includes plenty of accessories in comparison with the Egg grills.

Inevitably, if you take the cooking result into consideration, Kamado Joe vs. Big Green Egg will more or less be the same. Don’t come with more accessories. You can buy them. In case the entire cost is lower, there is no reason to deny the egg grill.

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