A thousand years have passed since the concept of Kamado grills has been introduced, but until now, Kamado grills remain one of the favorites of most grilling enthusiasts. But who can blame them, right?
Kamado grills are:
- Produces great flavor
- Provides excellent heat retention
- Lasts for years (thanks to its ceramic construction)
No matter what angle you look at it, these grills are undeniably several steps better than our regular charcoal grills. Unfortunately, they cost a lot, too. But many barbecue enthusiasts who own one would surely tell you that it’s a grill worth the investment, especially if you buy one from the right brand.
For years, Big Green Egg has always been the top leading manufacturer of Kamado grills. But soon, they met a great competitor who is showing a lot of innovation – the Kamado Joe.
If you’re looking to buy yourself a Kamado grill, you’ll only be looking at these two brands. But, which of these two is better? Or should we say, which is the better choice for you?
In this article, we’ll help you answer this question.
We’ll talk about the history of these leading two brands and compare the best Kamado grills from the top two brands. So, if you’re ready to make a buying decision soon, read on…
History of Big Green Egg
The history of Big Green Egg goes back to 1974. It was founded by a man named Ed Fisher in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ed started by importing Asian kamados from Japan. He believed this cooking equipment would significantly change the barbecue industry, and he was right about that. However, even if the cooker had great potential, Ed wasn’t quite content with the ceramic material.
So, he decided to be innovative and used the same ceramics used by NASA, mainly because it was more durable and resistant to heat. With better quality ceramics, Ed became more confident with the quality of the grill.
But, of course, he didn’t stop there. He also coated the ceramic with solid porcelain enamel for better protection and, of course, a nice touch.
By the mid-1990s, the Big Green Egg was introduced to all of America and remained a favorite by many until today. It comes in five different sizes, so it’s up to you to get the right size that would serve your whole family.
History of Kamado Joe
The Kamado Joe started a little later than the Big Green Egg. It’s a new company that was opened in 2009 by Bobby Brennan and Kerry Coker.
Bobby and Kerry love grilling so much that they made it their goal to make the best ceramic cookers worldwide. Their grills are known for their many innovative features. On top of that, the brand comes with a wider range of products to choose from and accessories.
We have the Classic, Classic II, Classic III, The Big Joe II, the Big Joe III, ProJoe, and Joe Jr.
As you can see, there’s a wide-year gap between Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe. This simply tells us that the Big Green Egg dominated the kamado grill industry for so long until Kamado Joe came to the scene.
So, now, let’s check out the best products from each of these brands and see which would be the best choice for you…
Comparison of the Two best models
Kamado Joe Classic II
The Kamado Joe Classic II is one of the most popular kamado grills produced by Kamado Joe. It’s the perfect choice for you if you’re looking for a kamado grill that’s not too big nor too small.
At first look, you’ll immediately notice that the Kamado Joe Classic II is beautifully designed. The glossy red color will surely make anyone’s head turn. And because ceramic grills are fragile, the way Kamado Joe carefully packaged the grill is something you can appreciate.
The grill is very easy to assemble, but it’s still highly recommended to get someone to help you, so you don’t damage the grill. The overall quality is impressive. You won’t find any open spaces because every part connects well, and the lid is sealed tight.
Now that we have an overview of how the Kamado Joe Classic II looks, let’s go over the features.
The first thing we love is what Kamado Joe calls the “divide and conquer grill system”. The grill features an 18 inches diameter grill with 256 square inches of cooking space. It may not sound much, but the grills allow you to have two-level zone cooking so you can have great versatility.
If you are looking for more cooking space, you’ll be thankful that Kamado Joe made their grills easily expandable. You can get a:
- 407 square inches cooking area with the grill expander
- 508 square inches cooking area with two sets of grates
- 660 square inches cooking area with two grates and grill expander
But of course, these are sold separately.
The Kontrol Tower Top Vent allows easy temperature control. Unlike most grills, the vent comes with markers or indicators so that in your next cook, you get to become more and more familiar with how to set your temperature.
The lid comes with an air-lift hinge, so you can easily open and close the grill with ease. It also comes with a latch to ensure that the grill is sealed tightly so that no heat can get out. We also appreciate the fiberglass mesh gasket to make the grill more air-tight.
Another thing we love is the AMP (Advanced Multi-Piece) Firebox that helps retain heat well and prevent breakage of your grill.
The grill comes with side shelves, offering you more space for your condiments and cooking tools. On top of that, you get to spend less time cleaning the grill, thanks to its slide-out ash drawer.
This is a heavy grill, so you might think that moving it around is not easy. Well, fortunately, it does come with a cast iron cart and locking wheels. But if you want to buy a stand-alone Kamado Joe Classic II grill, you can buy one, too.
- High-quality construction
- Two-zone level cooking
- Easily adjustable vents
- Easy to clean and assemble
- Not Portable
- Small cooking space but easily expandable
Large Big Green Egg
The Large Big Green Egg is probably what we’ll consider one of the first kamado grills America has known. Big Green Egg has been producing these grills for decades, which speaks a lot about how the quality of their grill has probably improved through the years.
As the name implies, this grill looks like a large big green egg. It’s simple, glossy, and beautiful. Perhaps one thing that makes this grill stand out is the ceramic material used for its body. It’s undeniably strong, durable, and can withstand whatever temperature it’s under.
Now, let’s take a look at the features of this grill.
Firstly, the grills come with a 262 square inches cooking area. This isn’t that big, but according to Big Green Egg, you can already cook a 20-pound turkey, 12 burgers, 6 chickens, 8 steaks, or 7 ribs. So, if you have a small-sized family, this grill would just be perfect for you.
We also love the easy-to-control vents that make it easier to control the temperature inside the grill. It is said that once you familiarize yourself with how you manage the vents, it’s almost like you’re handling a gas grill.
And like a gas grill, you’ll also appreciate how it’s also very easy to put out the fire from this grill. The Big Green Egg is very insulated that once you close off all vents, no air can get in and that fire immediately dies down.
Another advantage is that if you control your temperature really well, the coals will just continue to fire up for several hours. It’s very fuel-efficient, which undeniably saves you more money.
Now, we mentioned how the Big Green Egg is made of excellent ceramic material. But unfortunately, the same can’t be said with its interior parts.
If you want to clean the grill, you need to be very careful with handling these parts, especially the firebox and the fire ring. It’s mainly made of unglazed ceramic, which can be easily chipped off.
- High-quality construction
- Simple but very well-thought-out
- Easy temperature control
- Fuel efficient
- Excellent heat retention
- Takes a long time to cool down
- Not the easiest to clean
In-depth Comparison of Both Models
Now that we’ve taken a look at the grill’s features in detail, let us now compare the two models based on their:
- Design and Construction
- Place Manufactured
- Available Accessories
- Stand Out Features
Design and Construction
If you look at the two grills, they look pretty similar, most probably because they follow the same concept of kamado cookers from thousands of years ago. However, when it comes to durability, the ceramic material used by Big Green Egg is superior to that of Kamado Joe.
Given that the Big Green Egg used a ceramic material used by NASA to produce its grills, the durability is undeniable. As for Kamado Joe, the quality of the ceramic is good, too, but it’s more fragile.
Overall, these two are very attractive grills that will surely make anyone’s head turn when they pass by your yard.
If you’re going to look at these two grills in the market, you’ll see that the Kamado Joe Classic II grill is more expensive than the Big Green Egg. However, you need to consider that this price already included the cart, the wheels, and the side shelves.
Although it might seem that the Big Green Egg is cheaper, that price only covers the kamado grill. If you need to buy a stand, you’re going to spend more money. If you need some shelves, that’s an additional thing to buy.
So, when choosing between the two grills, try to consider if you need a cart. Because if you don’t, then you can just buy the Big Green Egg. Or just simply consider other accessories that you might want to buy.
Big Green Egg grills are manufactured in Mexico, while the Kamado Joe grills are imported from China.
If you are worried about the quality of the build, we can safely say that the Kamado Joe is of very similar quality to that of the Big Green Egg.
Kamado Joe offers the following warranty:
- Limited lifetime warranty on ceramic parts
- 5-year warranty on metal parts
- 3-year warranty on the heat deflector
- 1-year warranty on the thermometer and gaskets
But all these can only be claimed as long as there are no modifications, misuse, and abuse. The warranty also doesn’t cover the normal wear and tear.
The Big Green Egg, on the other hand, offers the following warranty:
- Limited lifetime warranty on the materials and workmanship on all ceramic parts
- Limited 5-year warranty on the metal, stainless steel, and cast iron parts
- Limited 1-year warranty on the wood and composite components, temperature gauge, and gasket.
The warranty, however, doesn’t cover losses, breakage, scratches, accidental damage, fading, chipping, and other changes that don’t affect the performance of the product.
So, in this part, it’s equal. We think they both offer great warranty service for the long term.
What we love about the Kamado Joe Classic II grill is that it comes with very useful accessories.
The grill comes with a cart, so you don’t have to worry about where to put it. It also comes with wheels for easy transport around your yard. You also have available side shelves that give you more space for your tools and condiments.
Compared to the Large Big Green Egg that only comes as a stand-alone grill, the Kamado Joe obviously has the better advantage here.
Stand Out Features
As for the stand-out features, we absolutely love the “divide and conquer” grill system that the Kamado Joe grill made. It gives you a lot of versatility as to how you want to cook your food. On top of that, we love the slide-out ash drawer that makes this grill very easy to clean.
For the Big Green Egg, we love the quality of the ceramic material they used. It’s undeniably more durable and will last longer.
There’s no denying that these two brands are at the top of their game when it comes to kamado grills. They definitely know about kamado grills, and they provide quality.
However, between the two, we would choose to go with the Kamado Joe Classic II.
Yes, it might come with a more fragile ceramic material than the Big Green Egg and is a lot more expensive. But given the innovative features and additional accessories, it’s definitely worth the investment.
It offers more room for your tools, great versatility, excellent heat retention, and, of course, our favorite, easy clean-up. Thanks to its slide-out ash drawer that the Big Green Egg doesn’t have.
However, if you already have a space for a kamado grill and don’t need the extra accessories, then the Big Green Egg might be the grill for you. It does offer a larger cooking space, which might be more suitable if you have a larger family.
In the end, it’s always based on what is most suitable for you.