Learn about the many benefits of Kamado grills and why you should add one to your outdoor kitchen. Read on to learn about the Kamado grill advantage.
Kamado grills have an ancient history dating clear back to 221 B.C. during the Chinese Quin Dynasty. By the 3rd century, they were commonly used by the Japanese.
Just like the kamado grills today, they were heated by wood or charcoal and not only grilled or roasted meats but could even cook rice.
Today kamado grills continue to be the preferred method of cooking for many grill enthusiasts. Whether you want to grill, smoke or bake, kamado grills continue to stand the test of time.
The ability to reach higher temperatures with excellent heat retention makes them a game-changer for home cooks looking to take their BBQ to the next level. Couple that with the ability to maintain low and slow temps for longer periods of time makes this a great choice for all your meat smoking needs.
In this article, we will cover the above advantages and many more benefits that Kamado grills have to offer.
Whether you’re a pro at grilling and smoking food or just getting started, a Kamado grill can be the perfect addition to your outdoor kitchen.
In This Article, We’ll Explore:
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What Is a Kamado Grill?
A Kamado grill was traditionally made of clay though now ceramic or porcelain is much more common thanks to its superior durability. The name comes from the Japanese word for “stove.”
The ceramic structure of the Kamado grill makes it ideal for retaining heat, smoke, and moisture. It’s heated by charcoal and can be used for a variety of cooking methods.
How Do Kamado Grills Work?
A Kamado grill is unique from other grills because of its ceramic material and its oval shape. The combination of materials and design allows it to regulate airflow while reflecting heat back into the food.
Once the lid is closed and heat can no longer escape, it is circulated around the food much like a convection oven. The lid ensures that as little heat as possible sneaks out. This design makes it ideal for cooking at low temperatures.
Kamado grills can incorporate water pans that produce steam throughout the cooking process to enhance smoke flavor and prevent food from drying out.
Most Kamado grill models have higher temperature capabilities thanks to vents that encourage a hotter burning fire. More flame means better searing making the kamado grill the perfect, all-in-one cooking appliance.
Better Heat Retention
The thick ceramic build of the kamado grill ensures more reliable insulation so you can cook longer with less fuel.
Steady, Even Heat
Since ceramic is a good insulator, it’s a poor heat conductor. While that might seem like a bad characteristic of a grill, it actually works to your advantage.
The fire sits low in the grill and heats the ceramic walls uniformly through the dome structure. Because it radiates heat slowly, temperatures stay more stable, and heat spreads more evenly.
Heat then leaves through the top of the dome after passing around and through the food.
Can Reach Higher Temperatures
Typical outdoor grills only reach around 500 degrees Fahrenheit making it challenging to achieve a good sear on your steaks.
Kamado grills, on the other hand, can easily get up to 700 plus degrees. Higher temperatures mean faster cooking and more beautiful sear.
Gives You True Searing Capability
Speaking of beautiful sears, you want to make sure you’re getting a sear directly from the burning coals rather than from the heat of the cooking grate.
The direct heat sears of a kamado grill will make all the difference in your steak’s appearance and taste.
Wide Temperature Range
Whether you want that super-hot heat for your seared steak or lower heat for a delicious low and slow barbeque, a kamado grill can handle it.
Once you reach your desired temperature, you can be confident that it will keep the temperature nice and steady with little intervention for the duration of the cook.
Are More Fuel Efficient
Because the ceramic walls are great insulators, it takes them longer to transfer heat. They hold on to it so you can keep your grill hot for longer with less fuel.
Additionally, adjustable top and bottom dampers give you total control over how fast or slow you want your charcoal to burn.
The flame stays steady for the duration of the cooking time, and the thick walls hold heat in for the long haul.
Offers More Versatile Cooking
Kamado grills are designed to handle a variety of cooking methods from smoking, roasting, searing, grilling, baking, barbecuing, and much more.
You can add further diversity to your kamado grill with accessories like a ceramic heat deflector.
On its own, a kamado grill is a direct cooker, but a heat deflector turns it into the perfect indirect cooker ideal for smoking and baking.
Adding a firebox to your grill means you can cook on two different zones at the same time.
Direct Heat Cooking
Grilling on your kamado grill is an example of direct heat cooking. The food sits on the grates directly above the flame for hot and fast cooking. A burger, steak, or vegetables can be ready to heat in as little as five minutes.
Indirect Heat Cooking
The thick insulated walls of the kamado grill provide a heat barrier that diffuses the charcoal’s direct heat.
You can improve heat diffusion by using a heat deflector. It creates an oven-like environment ideal for lower temperatures (around 200 degrees Fahrenheit) needed for ribs, brisket, and pork butts.
You can also use high heat (650 degrees Fahrenheit or higher) indirect cooking for pizzas, flatbreads, and other dishes you’d traditionally cook in your convection oven.
Raised Direct Heat Cooking
If you want to cook a tenderloin or tri-tip, you can still cook directly with a kamado grill without reaching scorching temperatures.
Raised direct heat cooking slowly brings your meat to temperature without forgoing that crispy outer layer.
Do this by keeping the food eight to ten inches above the fire to slow the cooking down while still achieving that classic grill flavor. The food will also cook from the heat radiating off the dome above.
Smoking & Slow & Low Cooking
Slow cooking is the way to go if you have tougher cuts of meat such as pork shoulders, ribs, or muscles on larger bones. The slow process softens the tissues and melts away the collagen, slowly resulting in a tender, juicy cut.
Kamado grills are great for slow and low cooking because they can maintain low temperatures around 225 degrees Fahrenheit for hours at a time.
You can enhance the flavor of the meat by adding wood chips in and around the charcoal.
You Get Less Moisture Loss
As with most convection-style grills and ovens, as hot air circulates around the food, it tends to dry it out.
The advantage of the kamado grill is that while it does circulate hot air, the vent settings keep it to a minimum. So, your smoked meats are exposed to less hot, dry air, and food stays tender and juicy.
The kamado’s ceramic body and enclosed structure mean it can start up faster and contain moisture better than a standard grill. The thicker walls also ensure that smoke and moisture penetrate deeper into food.
You Get Incredible Flavor
Temperature regulation is difficult to achieve with other charcoal grills leaving many to douse the coals in lighter fluid.
On the other hand, a kamado creates steady heat from start to finish so you can enjoy the flavor of the food instead of tasting toxic lighter fluid.
But most importantly, Kamado grills produce more even heat, which translates into more evenly cooked and moister food which finally means better tasting food.
Durable & Long-Lasting
When properly cared for, ceramic can last for decades. Modern Kamado grills are made with refractory ceramic or cast aluminum to ensure that it stays hot while you cook and never rust.
So while gas grills cost less upfront but will only last you for around ten years, kamado grills save you money in the long run because they’ll last a lifetime, maybe even several.
Kamado Grills Are Easy to Clean
Minimal cleaning is required thanks to the high heat ceramic grills reach. Just burn the remaining food and grease off the grates and empty the ashes as needed.
Make sure never to use liquid cleaners on your kamado, though, as the porous ceramic will absorb it and ruin the taste of your food.
Fanatical Kamado Grill Communities for Sharing Tips & Tricks
Whether you’re a newbie or a kamado expert, no doubt you’ll love connecting with kamado grill enthusiasts to learn and share tips and tricks to get the most out of your kamado grill.
Kamado grills have one of the most fanatical fanbases in the BBQ industry and you can find many online communities and forums for talking and sharing your success stories.
Bonus Benefit: Kamado Grills Can Also Be Used as a Pizza Oven
As mentioned, a kamado grill is more than just a grill. It can be a smoker, oven, BBQ, and more.
One of the coolest ways you can use your kamado grill is to make restaurant-quality pizza.
While you can cook pizza on virtually any grill, the kamado is far superior. Rather than just cooking your pizza from the bottom, the kamado’s unique design cooks your pizza from all directions at once.
The results? Crispy crust on the bottom and perfectly melted cheese on the top.
If you decide to use your kamado grill for pizza, make sure you use the heat deflector to encourage more even cooking. Place your pizza stone or pan directly on it and get cooking.
Keeping your cooking surface high in the dome will give you the best results.
Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Kamado Grills
Kamado grills are far superior to classic charcoal and gas grills because they offer much more diversity and use less fuel. While they cost more upfront, you can be certain that they’ll last for generations to come with proper care.
Initial costs may be more, but long-term running costs are cheap, and the wide temperature range makes them ideal for roasting, searing, grilling, baking, barbecuing, and much more.
Kamado grills are taking classic charcoal grills to the next level. Because of their unique shape, they can handle so much more than grilling. Sear a steak, smoke a brisket, fire-roast a pizza, or bake a loaf of bread. There’s nothing a quality kamado grill can’t handle.
They offer better heat retention and can maintain desired temperatures for hours at a time. Easy clean-up makes them a super convenient way to get your smoked barbecue fix any day of the week in the comfort of your own home.
Kamado grill brands we recommend include:
- Big Green Egg
- Kamado Joe
If you’re in the market for a new grill that does it all and you can fit one into your budget, make sure to check out kamado-style grills. You’ll be happy that you did.
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A backyard warrior, certified carnivore, lover of good whiskey, self-proclaimed grill master and I’m Living The Grilling Life!
I have a passion for cooking with live fire and smoke, no matter the weather. I’m a real person just like you, who loves outdoor cooking and BBQ. Food, fun, and time spent with family and friends are what it’s all about! It is my mission to take my passion and knowledge for outdoor cooking and all things BBQ and share this expertise in techniques and grilling equipment with you. In other words, Living The Grilling Life!