The Kamado grill is a versatile device that you can cook a lot of different types of food on. A real kamado is ceramic, although steel kamados have also started being manufactured recently, which makes them several times cheaper. Ceramic kamados are characterized by their great ability to hold heat, all you have to do is light the charcoal, wait for a while and you can cook for many hours without adding more charcoal.
Kamado is actually like a charcoal grill the construction of which provides great conditions not only for cooking hamburgers or steaks, but also for slow searing of things like ribs for many hours. The air-tight construction, especially the ceramic kind, is great at holding heat which allows to cook on a kamado for many hours using the same batch of charcoal.
Another very valuable thing is also the flavor benefits of food cooked on a kamado grill, charcoal generates a lot of smoke which gives your food a great flavor. If you love traditional charcoal grill food ( like from a kettle one ) then we’re sure that you will love the kamado grill even more.
A small downside or hindrance at first could possibly be the temperature control. In a kamado, the temperature is controlled using two air vents, one is located on the bottom and the other on the top. You have to control them properly in order to control the temperature, it might be kind of difficult for beginners. Do not worry, we have prepared a comprehensive guide for you in which you will learn how to use a kamado grill properly.
What is the construction of a kamado like? It’s a very well thought-out grill, the external walls are made of materials that are heat-resistant whereas on the inside there are ceramic walls/elements that are great at keeping heat inside the grill.
Such construction of the grill makes it a versatile device that allows to reach a very high temperature inside the grill as well as a low one ( about 200~ degrees F ) for many hours.
Benefits of Kamado Grill
There are always some upsides and downsides, what is it like when it comes to Kamado? There’s definitely more upsides, but there are also several less significant downsides. It all depends on your needs and expectations, where and what you want to cook, whether you have time and like to light charcoal, if you like slow meat searing, if you need a mobile grill…
Below we present the overall upsides and downsides of the kamado, a little further you can see the differences between a ceramic kamado and a steel one.
- Durability – Kamado is a device that rarely malfunctions and doesn’t have any electronics on the inside. It is mostly the small elements that are likely to malfunction, such as the gasket under the lid, the lid hinge, cracking ceramic elements ( mostly due to poor handling of the grill ) and other smaller steel elements, which might be prone to corrosion in the future.
- Warranty – Ceramic kamados mostly come with a limited lifetime warranty. It proves the quality of the grill, steel kamados usually come with about 5 years of warranty which is also a good number.
- Holding temperature – Kamado is a grill that is the best at holding the heat inside the grill. All thanks to the air-tight construction and the ceramics, which are famous for being great at holding heat.
- Money saving – Thanks to the ability to hold temperature for a long time, kamado uses much less charcoal than a regular traditional grill.
- Versatility – You can cook whatever you want, kamado reaches temperatures within about 200-750+ degrees F. It means that it’s great for slow cooking of things like ribs as well as cooking hamburgers or steaks, which requires a much higher temperature.
- They are easy to keep clean – Plenty of people claim that it is a „self-cleaning” device and there’s a lot of truth in that. After you’re done cooking, all you have to do is close the lid and wait for a moment, until the high temperature burns away food remains on its own. Then you have to use a brush to clean the grill crates then throw away the ash from the drawer and that’s it. Be sure to check out our Kamado grill cleaning tips.
- Food flavor – It’s a grill that burns charcoal. It means a large amount of valuable smoke, which has a great impact on food flavor. We know that for many people true food from a grill is one that comes from a charcoal grill and has a strong smoke flavor.
- Weight and Mobility – Kamados are among some of the heaviest grills, the situation is slightly better if you have a steel kamado. However, it is still one of the least mobile grills, large models usually always occupy the same spot because nobody bothers to move them as it is not an easy task to move them somewhere else. Of course there is one tiny model of steel kamado that is pretty lightweight and mobile, but it’s an exception.
- The price – Kamado grill is one of the most expensive grills, the exception is steel kamado, the price of which is several times lower than that of ceramic ones. A good ceramic kamado, on the other hand, usually costs at least a thousand dollars, the upside of ceramic grills, on the other hand, is their nearly lifetime warranty which makes them still a good investment despite their high price.
Steel vs Ceramic Kamado
The price – Steel kamados are a great choice for those with a limited budget, they usually cost several times less than a ceramic kamado which is great news for someone just beginning their adventure with kamado.
The weight – Ceramic grills are much heavier than steel kamados. On top of that, a ceramic grill isn’t suitable for traveling with and it’s hard to transport it anywhere, one has to be very careful about the porcelain as it can crack easily when dropped from a height, for example.
The quality of workmanship – As of now, ceramic kamados are much better made than their competitive models of steel kamados. It might be because ceramic kamados have been around for many years and the manufacturers kept improving their models over all those years.
Durability and warranty – Undoubtedly, ceramic grills are much better than steel ones when it comes to durability. Ceramics are 100% rust resistant which means that such grill will last for ages if it is properly taken care of. The only downside of ceramics is the possibility of cracking, but it only occurs when not handling the grill properly. Steel grills are sooner or later prone to corrosion which means it’s certainly not a grill as durable as the ceramic grill. All of that is confirmed by the warranty, which in case of a steel kamado is mostly around 5 years for example, a ceramic grill comes with a lifetime limited warranty.
The history of Kamado – Old versus new
The history of Kamado dates back about 3000-4000 years and its origins are in Asia, China to be exact. They used to be regular clay pots in which different kinds of food were prepared. The clay had a lot of downsides which is why it has been replaced with ceramics these days, which is better at holding heat and is more durable than clay.
In many places around the world, Kamado has been called different names, like „mushi-kamado” or „Tandoor”. It always meant the same thing, which is a clay vessel to cook food in.
Today Kamado has evolved while maintaining the key characteristics of those days. The modern kamados are very durable devices that come with plenty of interesting extra options that improve the comfort and convenience of cooking on a kamado.
Among the major changes are things like the ash removal system, air vents on the top and the bottom, a hinged lid, a thermometer and better use of the internal space thanks to different grill grates or ceramic plates.
The best kamado grills are made of ceramics, thanks to their great insulating properties and abilities to hold heat, ceramic grills can maintain a fixed temperature for many hours without adding new charcoal or at low fuel usage. They can reach temperatures as high as 700+ degrees F and as low as about 200 degrees F.
Ceramics also make it one of the most durable grills, mostly because ceramics are rust resistant. Of course all of those changes have impacted one crucial factor when shopping which is the price. Taking all the upsides and downsides into account, however, we can conclusively say that a ceramic kamado grill is a great investment for eternity.
The modern technology has also contributed to steel kamado grills being made. It comes with plenty of downsides and upsides compared to ceramic grills ( we wrote about it above ), but it’s a great suggestion for beginners because such kamado is several times cheaper than a ceramic kamado grill.