Kamado Joe vs Big Green Egg: Who’s Gonna Crack?

Kamado grills have been an interesting favorite of outdoor cooks. Why? There are so many desirable qualities, such as excellent heat retention. The thick, oval ceramic grill walls are a unique advantage to have, too. And for that, we present two prominent names that have delighted so many BBQ fans, bringing them together in a detailed review of Big Green Egg vs. Kamado Joe.

The top-leading brand Big Green Egg has held power in the cooking world for a very long time. A more recent contender, Kamado Joe, will be pitted against it in this ultimate battle.

Once you’re in on this story, you can then crack the code of which makes a better grill. We hope you’re excited!

Kamado Grills Overview

Big Green Egg with food

Kamado means “stove” in Japanese. You can recognize them as ceramic egg-shaped grill or smoker.

The defining feature that separates it from other grills and smokers is its exceptional insulation. It is imperative in cold weather or if you want your meat not to lose its juiciness.

The reason why kamado cookers are so good at keeping heat inside? CeramicsThese are hard, porous, and extremely heat-resistant; gas turbine engines, lab heating equipment, and glass all use ceramics.

Ceramic grills keep all the moisture, smoke, and heat in the container, giving you full control of the temperature. Thus, minimizing the drying of the meat. Another advantage is that you don’t need a lot of charcoal since the material of the grill makes sure you won’t lose precious heat.

These qualities are evident in low-maintenance outdoor cooking. You’ll see when you buy a kamado grill. No frequent touch-ups are needed when you cook.

“Big Green Egg is now the world’s largest producer and international distributor of the highest-quality ceramic cooking system,” says their website.

Big Green Egg is the most famous kamado brand. Half a century ago, Ed Fisher founded it. It then made its way to the top thanks to the quality and rightfully stayed there.

As for the contender, “Kamado Joe isn’t just a line of products… Better quality. Smarter features…” said its creators. It’s a more recent player in the game and gets lots of love. There are so many positive reviews. And, it is the fastest-growing kamado-style grill and smoker in the industry. It has risen to fame because the company, right from the start, focused more on solving the problems that others had. They put a lot of work into its innovation.

It is fair to say that these two are on par with each other.

Kamado Joe vs Big Green Egg Detail Comparison

This grill competition needs to be further understood. So, take time to learn about the similarities and differences. We’ll cover a detailed comparison and feature introspection to help you identify their properties.

Similarities

Here are things that the two brands have in common. There’s a reason they’re both big names, after all.

High fire ceramics and glaze

Both grills are high fire ceramics and glaze, which ensures efficient cooking. Glazing is a good thing since it seals the porosity of earthenware.

Warranty

The previously mentioned high fire ceramics and glaze, which both grills have, are backed by a lifetime warranty- a mark of quality and means that the company is willing to take responsibility if something goes wrong. 

Cooking grids & fire grate

Both Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg have stainless steel cooking grids and cast iron fire grate, which is easy to remove, clean, and maintain. These materials also last a long time.

Hood-mounted thermometer

Both oval grills have thermostats that are hood-mounted, so you can know the exact temperature every time you cook. But, Big Green Egg has a separate thermometer that you can stick in the meat, too.

Temperature control

big-green-egg-kamado-joe-temp-control

Each brand has its style of temperature control or tracking, but still accomplishes the same thing.

Kamado Joe has developed an app called iKamand, which uses smart temperature control and quick responsive fans made possible by cooking algorithms.

Big Green Egg’s version of this is their EGG Genius, also a temperature controller. With it, you can remotely manage and keep track of your temperature through your phone, tablet, or computer. It will then notify you when your food is ready.

Charcoal and smoking chips

Kamado-Joe-lump-charcoal-and-Big-Green-Egg-apple-chips

Aside from red oval grills, Kamado Joe also sells one of the best charcoal for smoking called the Big Block XL Lump Charcoal. It’s an XL-ent (excellent, XL size) quality lump charcoal!

And, of course, Big Green Egg refuses to fall behind for that matter. Did you know that they offer the perfect wood for smoking turkey? They call it their Apple Smoking Chips.

Differences

Now is where the battle between Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg gets exciting! You’ll learn about what makes them stand out from the rest. And, of course, their strengths and weaknesses.

Popularity

Big Green Egg started in 1974. It has been the number one brand of kamado grills for a long time now. Meanwhile, Kamado Joe is relatively new but quickly-growing in the industry, with the start of the company in 2009. Bobby Brennan and Kerry Coker founded it.

Accessories

accessories-big-green-egg-kamado-joe

Kamado Joe grills include lots of accessories that come with the purchase. To name a few: their Half-moon heat deflectors, ash tool, 304 stainless steel gripper, cast iron cart, and SloRoller hyperbolic smoke chamber are among the many others.

Big Green Egg also has lots of accessories available, like the Nest, convEGGtor, ash pan tool, and egg cover. However, they are all sold separately.

Packaging and setup

Big Green Egg comes in the usual cardboard box, while Kamado Joe arrives in a box that has wood on the top and bottom for extra security, coupled with the sturdy material of the box walls.

Kamado Joe grills weigh anywhere from 200-300 lbs, but they are easy to assemble. The Eggs are more lightweight, but it takes some time to get together. Although, you can shell out an additional 50 dollars if you want it assembled quickly by the shop.

Price

At first look, the Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg seem within a close price range of each other. However, upon close inspection of the accessories, you get more out of the former because it already provides everything. 

In contrast, you need to buy the Egg’s accessories separately.

Color

Kamado Joe grills have their distinct red color, while Big Green Egg, a pretty straightforward name, comes in dark green. The color is the most apparent difference between the two grills; it’s the first thing you should notice unless you’re color blind, in which case you’re going to have to look at words.

Rack system

2 tier divide and conquer
Kamado Joe’s Divide And Conquer

Kamado Joe’s Divide and Conquer cooking system arranges two racks on different heights. You can also adjust the heights to anything you like safely using the hot rack grabbing tool. This unique cooking system allows you to cook in different ways simultaneously. It works because of a multi-level design.

The Egg’s cooking system is more fundamental and comprises of only one level. But, it is easily configurable to your liking. It is your typical one-level grilling surface, but you still have the option to change the height using its tools. The brand has a separately sold accessory called EGGspander, which is perfect if you want multi-level direct and indirect cooking racks.

Gasket

Big Green Egg has a standard felt gasket that’s heat-sealing- the usual type used for kamado grills. Kamado Joe’s, however, is a durable wire mesh fiberglass gasket that perfectly air-tight seals well; it’s the same material used in extreme heat environments like outside pizza ovens.

Wheels

The wheels of the Egg are more prominent compared to Joe. However, they also differ in build. Big Green Egg wheels are plastic, while Kamado Joe wheels are metal. Aside from that, the wheelbase is even more extensive.

Thermometer kinds

Kamado-Joe-Big-Green-Egg-thermometers

Both have hood-mounted lid thermometers, but Kamado Joe’s thermometer is twice as big as that of Big Green Egg. The temperature reading on the former is more user-friendly for the nearsighted. But, the latter also has another type of thermometer for sticking inside the meat.

Stand

The stand may be the least of your worries when comparing them because both work well. One thing worthy of note is the material: slightly thicker steel makes Kamado Joe’s stand, but it’s not much of a difference. A tiny detail is that Big Green Egg’s support has a distinct, curved appearance which caters to the egg shape of the grill.

Design

Two draft doors (top and bottom) keep the Big Green Egg’s heat inside. You can slide the bottom door horizontally so that you can control the airflow. The top draft door can be moved left and right, letting you control the updraft and temperature. The air-tight ceramic cooking chamber also retains heat.

Kamado Joe has an airlift hinge, stainless steel latch, amp firebox, slide-out ash drawer, and high-fire heat-resistant ceramic vessel. The smoke chamber is patented SloRoller Hyperbolic. 

Air vent

kamado joe big green egg vents

Kamado Joe’s top air vent is well-built with powder-coated cast iron aluminum and stays put. Aluminum is resistant to rust.

Big Green Egg’s top air vent is more prone to moving, especially when you open the grill. However, their rEGGulator vent cap features an insulated adjustment tab, making it easier to use. Their optional iron Rain Cap accessory protects it from getting wet and rusting. 

Cleaning

kamado-joe-and-big-green-egg-ash

The bright red griller includes a patented slide-out ash drawer, making cleaning easier. The green Egg is comparable to a self-cleaning oven due to the minimal ash buildup. Residual heat also burns away any built-up grease inside.

Place of origin

Mexico is the place of production of Big Green Egg products, but the company base is in Atlanta, Georgia, in the USA. Yixing, China is the manufacturing place of Kamado Joe grills.

Sizes

When it comes to a variety of size options, Egg offers more. It is available in 10 inches, 13 inches, 15 inches, 18.25 inches, 24 inches, and 29 inches diameter.

Kamado Joe grills come in three sizes: 16 inches, 18 inches, and 24 inches diameter named Joe Jr., Classic, and Big Joe, respectively.

Best Kamado Joe Grill: Classic II

Get to know the Joe’s most outstanding grill, the Classic II.

Kamado Joe Classic II

Kamado Joe grill

Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Ceramic Classic II Charcoal Grill is the brand’s premium 18″ red ceramic grill. It’s thick-walled with a resistant shell. So, you can be sure that it can keep heat, moisture, and smoke inside at all times. This Classic II grill gives users lots of great features, each discussed below.

Its design is an easy-open dome that includes a counterbalanced Air Lift Hinge and top vent named Kontrol Tower.

Kontrol Tower can regulate and maintain a consistent air setting. So, you can adequately manage airflow upon opening and closing the dome. It is powder-coated cast aluminum, making it a rain and mold resistant top vent. It is dual-adjusted and lets you smoke within the 225-750 degrees Fahrenheit temperature range.

Meanwhile, Air Lift Hinge, their patented hinge, makes lifting the grill dome easier. It gives you a lightweight, effortless feel.

The cooking surface is large enough, being 18 inches in diameter and measuring 256 square inches. When you add the grill expander, it adds up to 407 square inches. But wait, there’s more.

With the two sets of grates, it becomes 508 square inches, and with both grates and grill expander, it totals to 660 square inches.

Another feature of the cooking surface is the heavy-duty material. The grill grates are commercial-grade 304 stainless steel crafted. Grade 304 stainless steel is one type of stainless steel (austenitic) that endures harsh conditions.

The most outstanding feature of Kamado Joe grills is its well-known Divide And Conquer Flexible Cooking System. Two tiers compose it, and the design looks like a half-moon. With that, you have the freedom to cook food at different heights, therefore different temperatures, at the same time. You can mix and match cooking to your preference.

The half-moon ceramic heat deflectors work by partially blocking off heat in the Kamado, creating heat zones. Being a ceramic plate, it is excellent at heat retention.

Advanced Multi-Panel (AMP) Firebox, a six-piece design, claims to protect against breakage and increase grill efficiency. It works by radiating and locking in the heat for a long time.

The wire mesh fiberglass gasket, which is a double-thick gasket that ensures an air-tight seal, is said to last ten times longer than regular gaskets.

With locking caster and wheels, this grill makes itself easy to move around anywhere. The heavy-duty rolling cast iron cart and patented slide-out ash drawer make it easy to clean.

Other things included in this Kamado Joe grill are the stainless steel latch, stainless steel cooking grates, built-in thermometer, finished folding HDPE side wooden shelves or handle, grill grate gripper, and ash tool.

Pros
  • It has everything you need
  • The box that it comes in is very sturdy
  • Parts are more substantial, giving a feel of higher quality build
  • The parts fit exceptionally well- a sign of a longer-lasting, durable product
Cons
  • A few users stated that the user manual could use some improvement

Best Big Green Egg: Kamado Grill Large

The biggest, greenest Egg revealed below.

Big Green Egg Large

Large Big Green Egg

Big Green Egg offers many sizes, but Big Green Egg Kamado Grill Large is the most preferred by cooks.

The Kamado grill grid diameter measures 18.25 inches, slightly larger than that of Kamado Joe’s.

The cooking area offers 262 square inches of space, which can fit 20-pound turkeys, 12 burgers, six chickens, eight steaks, or seven racks of ribs.

You can use Big Green Egg’s accessories endearingly termed EGGcessories for baking, roasting, or smoking. But you have to buy these separately. We will tackle them one by one.

ConvEGGtor is one of its most popular EGGcessories. It is their version of indirect convection cooking that uses a barrier to direct heat between food and fire. It leads to active radiation inside the dome while preventing food from overcooking.

Large EGGspander is a system that provides multiple cooking setup options. It comes with multi-level direct and indirect, multi-tier cooking racks, and direct “Cowboy Style” lower shelf. It’s 304 stainless steel just like Kamado Joe’s, and its handles would fit your gloved hands perfectly.

The one-piece convEGGtor basket contains the EGGspander. It lets you remove or replace it and also allows for raised grid cooking.

Their Large intEGGrated Nest+Handler serves as the Big Green Egg’s base or stand. Its welded joints, minimal hardware, and curved lines give a more cohesive look with the shape of the Big Green Egg. Heavy-duty powder-coated steel makes it up.

There is also an option if you want more containment for your cooking necessities. And if you have extra space to spare in your home. The 49-inch Custom Cooking Island is a small storage cabinet with a heavy-duty sliding shelf. It is durable and weather-resistant due to its powder-coated finish, and also has locking casters. The shelf height is adjustable, and its door pulls are stainless. It comes with a lifetime warranty.

The vent cap, called the rEGGulator, is your key to temperature control. It has an insulated adjustment tab. It would work harmoniously with the optional cast iron Rain Cap if you want to use it during rainy days. The rEGGulator is durable cast iron with a pre-seasoned finish that survives extreme weather.

The rEGGulator has a silicone adjustment tab, which remains cool to the touch during your entire cooking session. When you fully close the rEGGulator, it completely shuts off the Big Green Egg. Another great thing is it’s permanently attached to the Egg dome once you put it on. The rEGGulator mating surface minimizes sticking in cold weather.

Big Green Egg also has their own 100% natural lump charcoal line, extra-long matches, refillable battery-powered butane charcoal EGGniter, charcoal starter or EGGniter, and smoking chips, among much other minor cookware.

Pros
  • Overall high quality
  • The Big Green Egg has a unique character (accessories thoughtfully named)
  • Durable and weather-resistant
  • Leading brand of kamado grills
Cons
  • Not sold online; but if it is, only through resellers
  • Accessories sold separately

Who Wins?

Both grills have their functional qualities, and they’re both universally loved by outdoor cooks. To sum up their main differences, Big Green Egg wins in popularity, while Kamado Joe is on its flourishing stage. You really can’t go wrong with either.

However, if you choose Kamado Joe, you get more bang for your buck, in the fact that it’s already complete with accessories once you make your purchase. Let’s be real; would you cook efficiently without accessories and minor parts? I think not. But that’s not to say that Big Green Egg is terrible, of course, it also offers a lot to the table.

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