Whether you are entertaining guests in your backyard or your family loves consuming juicy and tender meat quite regularly or every once in a while, kamado grills are a great way to cook food. The wood-fired flavor does not only makes the meat succulent but also allows for versatility in cooking. If you are a vegan or a seafood lover, do not consider the kamado grill off-limits. Kamado grills can still become your best friend and make you fall in love with and rediscover the excellent, mouthwatering taste of barbequed veggies all over again.
You have the choice of grilling, smoking, searing, roasting, braising, or baking your food with the kamado grill. This means that you can even bake dessert with the kamado grill. Further adding to the kamado grill’s manifold attractions is the great outdoor experience: you get a bit of the sun, the fresh air, plenty of great delicious smells, and we must not forget the great company.
The Kamado-style grilling combines traditional, possibly the oldest form of outdoor cooking with the latest strides made in technology for barbecuing. In this article, we review some of the best kamado grills for all meat lovers.
Our best pick is the powder coated steel Char-Griller E56720 AKORN Kamado Kooker that can handle a wide range of temperatures and produces juicy cooked meat.
Our budget pick is the portable and durable Char-Griller E06614 AKORN Jr that allows you to sear meat at high temperatures or slow cook your roast and uses up less charcoal.
Quick Comparison: Top 8 Best Kamado Grills
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1. Char-Griller E56720 AKORN Kamado Charcoal Grill
Designed with insulation in mind, the Char-Griller E56720 AKORN Kamado Charcoal Grill and Smoker is a high-performance grill and smoker that cooks using less charcoal. The reduction in airflow, as a result of the insulated heat, will produce juicy cooked meat; on the other hand, you have the option to cook your roasted meat slowly.
While the exterior of the kamado grill is made of powder-coated steel, the interior of the Char-Griller E56720 AKORN Kamado Charcoal Grill is constructed using porcelain-coated steel. The cooking surface is made of cast iron; it is built to last and offers great versatility in how you want to cook your food.
The body of the kamado grill is made of 22 gauge steel that can handle temperatures between 200-700 degrees Fahrenheit. The cart is designed with tubular steel and has rubber wheels. Other features include an easy dump ash tray, double insulation wall and a heat gauge.
2. Char-Griller E06614 AKORN Jr
Perfect for a small party, this kamado style grill packs the power of a full-sized AKORN in the small yet versatile Char-Griller E06614 AKORN Jr. This kamado grill gives you the option to sear meat at high temperatures or slow cook your roast. The even heat within the kamado grill will make for tasty meals.
Apart from also doubling as a smoker, this kamado grill is quite easy to assemble and just as easy to clean. You have the option to cook your meal between the range of 200 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit. The adjustable dual dampers in the top and bottom are designed to maintain air flow while the highly insulated triple steel wall delivers one of the grilling adventures.
The durable handles on the Akorn Jr. Kamado Kooker make for portability. The hinged locking lid is a nifty feature on this kamado grill as it gives you easy access to the contents of the grill, in addition to keeping the top tightly in place when in use. Finally, the Char-Griller E06614 AKORN Jr is fuel-efficient in that it uses less charcoal to grill more food like the more expensive ceramic varieties.
The grill also comes with an easy dump ash pan that ensures that you can quickly clean up after you are done with your cooking. Its high portability due to its handles and lightweight makes it ideal for camping, tailgating, RVs and picnics on the roof-top or remote areas.
3. Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill
Whether you want to smoke, sear, bake, or roast, the Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill will do it all. You have the option of choosing a range of surfaces to suit your taste buds.
The charcoal grill allows you to cook your meat at a range of 225 to 750 degrees. It also has a built-in thermometer, which conveniently lets you check the running temperature and make any upward or downward adjustments accordingly. You can also cook on half of the grill with indirect heat and the other half in indirect heat.
This grill includes a patented slide-out ash drawer as well as locking wheels that ensures safety. Additionally, the range of accessories you can invest in are guaranteed to enhance your eating experience.
4. Pit Boss 71220 Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker
With the Pit Boss 71220 Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker, the two-tiered stainless grates mean that there will always be plenty of space to grill your food. The cast iron top damper allows you to control and set the cooking temperature inside your grill at your convenience. The temperatures can be set as high as over 700 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also, the heavy ceramic walls of the kamado hold a well-suited environment to lock in the moisture and enhance flavors while also benefiting you with the efficient use of each piece of charcoal you use. Anything ranging from ribs, steaks, burgers, pizzas and vegetables can be accommodated in the kamado, making it ideal for hosting friends and family gatherings.
This grill is equipped with two side shelves made of strong bamboo and can be closed to fit into a smaller space. Its wood handle makes the lid easy to handle while the fireproof edge and shock absorber on the lid gives good protection and safe to use. While being modern and versatile, allowing you to cook to perfection, it is also priced reasonably.
5. Char-Griller 6520 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Grill
The triple walls of the Akorn Kamado Kooker are designed to retain heat. They maintain temperatures between 200 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit while using less charcoal with its well-insulated design. You can thus easily roast your meat gradually or sear your meat at high temperatures. The adjustable dampers at the top and bottom will maintain airflow into and out of the grill when you are cooking or smoking.
The flavors of the food being cooked are further enhanced while heat is evenly distributed throughout with the help of the cast-iron cooking grates. This kamado grill has been constructed with porcelain-coated steel interior finishing and a powder-coated exterior finishing, making it durable.
It also features an easy dump ash pan, a cart tubular steel food prep area, a built-in temperature gauge, and two large-sized locking wheels, making it easy to move around. The lower storage rack comes in handy for storing briquettes, chimney starters and other accessories as and when required.
6. Grill Dome Infinity Series Ceramic Kamado Grill
The Infinity Series Ceramic Kamado Charcoal Smoker Grill by Grill Dome allows you to cook your meat in any manner that you wish. You can barbeque, grill, smoke, or sear with this grill. The grill can produce temperatures between 225 to 750+ degrees Fahrenheit, set accurately using the temperature gauge. Constructed of Terapex ceramics, this grill will retain more heat, making the meat a lot more juicer.
The grill is made of heavy-duty stainless steel, which prevents rusting and hence increases its durability, lasting much longer than the conventional ones that can only be used for 3 to 4 years on average. Its thick walls, measuring 1.25”, ensures heat optimizes heat retention and thus speeds up the cooking process. Also, its Featherlite hinge system allows you to comfortably lift the lid and also makes for easy cleaning once you are done cooking.
While the dial top allows for maintaining smoke more accurately, the adjustable knob locks in the setting. Moreover, the door is designed to ensure that airflow occurs consistently. The large size of the grill makes it a convenient choice for big parties and get-togethers.
7. Broil King 911470 Keg 5000 Kamado Grill
The double-wall steel body of the Keg 5000 Kamado Grill is designed to retain high heat and moisture more efficiently than regular ceramic grills. It is highly durable and fuel-efficient, which means that you will end up using less charcoal than other grills with its steel design, heavy-duty gasket and cast iron damper - consuming two times less fuel than traditional grills.
This way you can spend less on buying charcoal and more on quality food to cook on your kamado grills. This grill comes with a cooking grid with a large surface area alongside a secondary rack that can be used to cook plenty of food at once. The metered markings on the damper let you easily note your damper settings so that you can use the same settings again as and when required.
Unlike other grills requiring further investment in more accessories, this kamado grill is ready to use right away once you do unboxing and assembling it. Excess ash from the grill is well taken care of with the removable steel ash catcher compared to other grills where you need to scrape them out. This way, it is easier and faster to clean up after.
8. Blaze Cast Aluminum Kamado Grill, BLZ-20-KAMADO
The unique design of this premium cast aluminum grill will allow you to grill, roast, bake, and braise. The tongue and groove design mean that there will be almost no heat loss with the Blaze Cast Aluminium Kamado Grill. Moreover, the grill provides high durability and exceptional performance with the 1” thick aluminum body.
Heat can be adjusted conveniently as the molded exhaust cap ensures that it does not slip out of its position. Heat in the grill can be well supervised with the integrated temperature gauge. It features a secondary cooking grate so that the food can be cooked closer to the fire.
The hinge is made of stainless steel and offers a lid assist, allowing you to lift the grill without much discomfort easily. Also, the hinges on both sides allow for charcoal to be added effortlessly. The base is made to stand stable with the aluminum feet that come with the grill.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Kamado Grill
One of the first things you will have to consider when deciding to invest in a kamado grill is the type of material the kamado grill was constructed with. Kamado grills are made using ceramic or metals like stainless steel. The kind of grill you choose will ultimately depend on how you want your meat to taste.
Ceramic grills heat up faster and are perfect if you have time constraints. Additionally, the ability of ceramic grills to retain the temperature means that you can open the lid add sauce or cheese to the meat without worrying about losing the heat.
Another essential factor you should consider when determining the type of kamado grill to invest in is the question of what you will be cooking in it. Are you going to cook large pieces of meat or crispy grill pizzas slowly? Do you like searing your seafood? Of course, there’s a possibility that your answer is yes to all of the above.
In the end, what you will eventually cook will determine the size of the kamado grill itself. Just make sure that your kamado grill has ample space and will be able to accommodate enough food for the number of people you expect to cook for regularly.
Some kamado grills will come with all the accessories you need for a fully equipped and functional kitchen. These kamado grills are good to start using once you have taken the time to assemble them. On the other hand, other kamado grills will require you to invest in additional accessories that you will have to place orders for separately.
It is wise to do the research and know what accessories will be included with the purchase and what optional items you will have to buy to make full use of your kamado grill.
Kamado grills tend to be heavy. In most other instances, they can also be fragile. This means that it is unwise to bring your kamado grill in and out of storage constantly. But then again, how often you use the kamado grill will determine whether you will always have it ready and available in your backyard or whether it will be spending most of its life in storage.
It is ideal in any case to be able to store the kamado grill exactly where you will be cooking with it. This again will depend on the type of space you have. However, if you will be lugging the kamado grill around, it is wise to invest in a metal one as it will likely be a lightweight model.
When it comes to kamado grills, you have the option of choosing gas or charcoal to cook your food. Those who have changed from gas to charcoal have claimed that the smoky flavor reintroduced them to food taste. Also, it is argued that the kamado grill works best with lump wood charcoal, which burns more cleanly and produces less fire-smothering ash.
Charcoal briquettes, on the other hand, may contaminate the flavor and set into the ceramic interior. You can alternatively also use wood as fuel.
Of course, a good quality kamado grill that will be long-lasting can be expected to be a bit on the pricier side. Usually, these kamado grills will also come with thicker walls and most of the accessories you need to derive all the benefits you are seeking fully.
While you may feel that these pricier models of kamado grills are expensive, you will realize that they are also made to ensure better heat retention. This means that you will be saving up a great deal of fuel cost in the long run.
That’s right, the word is kamado and not komodo as we are not referring to the flesh-eating lizard!
The kamado grill originates in China, where a type of clay cooking vessel was used. Once it made its way to Japan, the vessel was adapted first into a rice cooker called the ‘mushikamado’. Kamado means ‘oven’ or ‘cooking range’ in the Japanese language.
Fast forward to the 1940s American soldiers who were deployed to Japan during the Second World War brought home the kamado, among other Japanese novelties. Upon their return, they used it for grilling purposes rather than for cooking rice. More tweaking led to the addition of a lid and hinges as well as means to control airflow. Further, ceramic was used instead of clay to construct the kamado.
Different Types of Kamado Grills
Ceramic kamado grills are the most commonly used type of kamado grills. They cook from all sides, unlike traditional grills, which will cook only from the bottom. Ceramic grills will additionally offer you the ability to grill, bake, and smoke so you are essentially buying one product instead of three if you like variety in your food choice.
Ceramic grills are also on the heavier side. Indeed, the thicker the ceramic - or rather the heavier the grill - the better the machine retains heat.
Metal kamado grills are a relatively new invention in recent times compared to ones made of ceramic. Metal kamado grills are lighter than ceramic ones. While both the ceramic and the metal kamado grill can cook for long uninterrupted hours without requiring you to add more charcoal, the former still has the upper hand.
Metal kamado grills will, however outlast ceramic ones.
Advantages of Using Kamado Grills
Kamado grills are relatively easy to use compared to other types of barbeques once you get the hang of controlling the temperature. They offer great versatility as you can just about do anything with them, including grilling, smoking, searing, baking and roasting.
The kamado grill can efficiently retain more heat due to its thicker walls than other grills, making it more fuel-efficient. It can cook evenly because of the reflected heat, making it ideal for making pizza without worrying about burning the sides. These grills come with temperature controls that allow you to adjust the heat in the same way that you do on your stove or oven in the kitchen.
This makes this particular type of grill one of the most popularly used appliances.
Also, kamado grills offer delicious barbeque flavors and are relatively easy to use once you get used to them. It is also comparatively easy to clean and requires minimal maintenance. They are ideal for cooking in winter or cold climates, perfect for every season without too much hassle.
Kamado grills are an investment that is quite likely to last for years if they are well cared for. They tend to be highly durable and require low maintenance. They usually come with a warranty period ranging from around two years for the budget ones and as high as five years for the ones that are more on the pricier end, based on the materials used to make the kamado.
Also, once you taste your grilled food, there’s no looking back or returning to the pre-kamado grill period of your life!
You can probably agree now that kamado grills are the way to go if you want equipment that will let you cook your meat, vegetables, seafood, or dessert in various ways. Kamado grills will let you serve homemade fresh and well-cooked food instead of opting for restaurant orders.
We hope this article will help you invest in the best kamado grill well suited to your specific needs and the type and number of people you intend to use the grill for cooking for. A kamado grill can become an overnight sensation if you invest in the right one. It will not only enhance your outdoor experience but will be a great hit with both your family and guests.