Humans have been using kamado grills for at least 3000 years now. Don’t believe so? Kamado is just the fancy term for the ceramic grill.
Even if you have never heard of the Kamado grill, I’m sure you’re familiar with Big Green Egg, right? They’re kinda big deals in the business and hard to miss.
However, there’s one particular brand that’s slowly creeping up on them – Kamado Joe. Have you heard about them?
The Big Green Egg brand has been around for the last 40 years. They’re undoubtedly the household name for Kamado grills in the United States. But as of late, they’re facing some serious competition from the new kid in town.
Kamado Joe is gathering accolades for their creative approach to ceramic grill.
So, for this blog, we took a close look at both of these brands and compared grills to help you make the best decision.
So, without further ado, let’s look at the key differences between these grills!
Big Green Egg Company
The Big Green Egg company, founded in 1974 by Ed Fisher, a Pachinko game importer, took full advantage of the Kamado’s unusual design compared to a typical charcoal grill to maximize their marketing.
They then leveraged this advantage to establish themselves as the leading suppliers of Kamado grills in the United States, importing them from Mexico’s Monterrey.
Over the years, they even made some unusual claims to establish their brand, like self-proclaiming to be the favourite of Michelin star eateries, being vegan-friendly, inspired by NASA’s design and so on.
Irrespective of the truth behind these claims, one thing is sure. They have successfully built a cult-like following of ‘eggheads’ over these 4 decades.
Founded by Kerry Coker and Bobby Brennan in Atlanta in 2009, Kamado Joe prides itself on ‘modernizing’ the grill’s classic style with their unmatched craftsmanship, ‘smarter’ features, innovative accessories, and a whole range of flexible cooking surfaces.
Although Kamado Joe grills are supplied from Yixing, China, this should not discourage you. The quality and craftsmanship are still excellent, comparable to that of the Big Green Egg.
Kamado Joe is renowned for its Divide & Conquer grilling system, allowing you to simultaneously cook at two different heights.
Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty.
The temperature of the entire grill is controlled by the top air vent. To minimize the occurrence of rusting, the Kamado Joe has an aluminium upper vent. It has a smaller airflow valve and a larger aperture to aid air movement. However, the grill vent on the BGE is made of cast iron, which means it can get corroded on the outside. Although, cast iron does not rust or deteriorate in the middle! As a result, cleaning the air vent is simple.
Kamado Joe grills come with multiple racks and tools for easy manoeuvring of the hot racks. However, the BGE grills only come with grilling gates that are at a singular height. So, although you can move the plates and grates to alter the height of the food slightly, there’s comparatively less flexibility.
When you lift the lid of the Kamado Joe, a mechanism in the hinge allows it to slowly open. With the BGE grill, some springs balance out the lid, but it’s still on the bulkier side than the Kamado Joe hinge. Thus, it makes the BGE’s lid more challenging to open, and you’ll have to be extra cautious when lowering it back to the grill.
With BGE grills, you will need a metal ash container to ensure that the ash can be readily removed. It’s pretty simple to remove the ash. When you remove the ash from the Kamado Joe, an ash drawer must be removed and replaced.
Cleaning out the ash always requires a lot of elbow grease. However, things will get a lot easier if you have the right can be crafted specifically for the Big Green Egg.
Kamado Joe is the undisputed winner in this category.
The entire range comes with a handful of accessories ranging from cast iron stand and wheels, ash tools, grill grippers, finished folding HDPE side shelves, and of course, the patented slide-out ash drawer.
For example, the Kamado Joe Classic III comes with a 3-tier Divide and Conquer flexible cooking system and the patented Sloroller hyperbolic smoke chamber.
Some other notable accessories include JoeTisserie, the heavy-duty cast aluminium rotisserie that resides inside the grill, in addition to the cast-iron Dutch oven, which can turn your Kamado grill into a chilli-making machine.
On the flip side, Big Green Egg also does offer a pretty decent range of accessories. However, they don’t come in the same package as the grill. So you’ll have to spend extra on them.
Community And Support
Both Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe have an untarnished reputation. However, with over 4 decades in the industry, BGE has built a cult fanbase that is very active and enthusiastic on the EggHead forum.
This forum is full of helpful information, culinary suggestions, and repair walk-throughs. Also, it is moderated by BGE customer service representatives, making it a fantastic resource for BGE customers.
On the other hand, Kamado Joe doesn’t have a cult-like dedicated fanbase or a forum. However, they have an excellent record of solving their customers’ problems efficiently and super quickly.
Reportedly, in one instance, founder Bobby Brenan himself called up the customer to help him step by step install the new dome lid spring. Talk about commitment!
BGE takes pleasure in providing all of its products with a limited lifetime warranty, with varied warranty periods for various products.
The dome, base, damper top, firebox, and fire ring, as well as the ceramic components, are guaranteed as long as you are the original customer of the egg, or it was sold from an authorized dealer.
And for the ceramic add-ons like pizza stones and plate setter, the guarantee period extends up to 3 years. As for the thermometer and gaskets, BGE offers a year-long warranty.
The five-year warranty extends to metal components like hinge mechanism, metal bands, cooking grid, draft door, and functional metal tops. As for the all-wooden products, there’s a one-year warranty.
Kamado Joe offers a guarantee that is nearly comparable to the one provided by BGE, with the same warranty terms and conditions.
Both firms provide thorough and outstanding warranties for their products, so you won’t have to worry about your kamado grill breaking down within the first six months.
The price for both Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe fall on the same spectrum, more or less.
But there’s a catch. At the given price, your Kamado Joe grill comes with some crucial accessories like a stand, which you’ll need to pay extra for with BGE.
Moreover, Kamado Joe even includes a dual grilling rack system.
The Big Green Egg is the classic American grill that encapsulates style and branding. Kamado Joe is the sleeker new kid in the block that brings a refreshing air change.
Irrespective of what grill you get, BGE or Kamado Joe, I am 100% convinced that you’ll be amazed by their cooking prowess and solid build.