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Food And Nutrition

Best Kamado Grill for January & February 2023



Looking for the best kamado grill? We tested brands such as Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe and Char Grill to find the perfect ceramic grill for your needs.

Those who have been in the grilling game long enough know that no other grill can compare to a kamado grill. It takes a bit of practice, but once you’re familiar with it, a kamado grill can run circles around your standard gas grill. They’re also great for wood-fired cooking, which is a technique that consistently yields delectable results.

Typically made from ceramics, these grilling champs boast amazing heat retention. A little amount of fuel goes a long way, allowing you to run a kamado cooker at slow and low temperatures all day long. Plus, you can really fire up a kamado to become scalding hot. I’m talking hot enough to cook authentic wood-fired Neapolitan pizza. A kamado grill is also great for searing true steakhouse-style steak and, honestly, just about anything you’d consider grilling. 

The Big Green Egg is the most high-profile example of a traditional kamado grill and kamado smoker, but rival kamado manufacturers such as Kamado Joe, Char-Griller, Vision and Char-Broil round out this category of grills. Tempted to add one to your outdoor kitchen arsenal and become a hardcore griller? I put the Big Green Egg and its four major grilling competitors to the test to find the best kamado grill out there — here’s what I found.

A smoked chicken on a plate.
Ribs, chicken, burgers: You name it, we cooked it.Brian Bennett

More than 200 smoke-filled hours later, I’ve cooked over 10 pounds of burgers, 20 pounds of pork ribs and six chickens, along with a few steaks for good measure. After all of that, I can say with conviction which brands make the best kamado grill for my taste and which ones you should probably avoid.

Here are my picks for the best kamado grill options for 2023. I’ll update this list as I review new products.

Best kamado grills

Big Green Egg (large)

Big Green Egg, the company that started the kamado craze, still has a winner. Of all the kamado-style grill options in my test group, the Large BGE model had the best temperature performance, heat retention and stability. Once tuned to a low and slow temperature of 225 F, the Egg pretty much ran itself. According to our temperature gauge, the Green Egg stuck to this temperature range, with only minor and infrequent fluctuations.

The Big Green Egg also felt the most responsive. If for any reason I had to make an adjustment to either the top or bottom air vents, I saw a change quickly. I typically noticed course corrections in as little as 6 or 7 minutes. 

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The food I cooked in the Big Green Egg came out quite tasty as well. While my BGE test unit lacked the extra heat deflector accessory, chicken and pork ribs had convincing barbecue flavor. While not as delicious as what I smoked in the Kamado Joe Classic III, food from the BGE came in a very close second. Big Green Egg does make a heat deflector accessory, called the ConvEGGtor, but it’s an extra add-on.

True to its name, the Big Green Egg kamado grill and smoker is large, giving you lots of space so you can grill, smoke and cook to your heart’s desire.  

That’s why I recommend the Large Big Green Egg as one of the best kamado grills for just about anyone. You’ll have to go through a local dealer, and, again, unlike the Kamado Joe Classic III, everything except the stand is extra. Ultimately, though, the total cost of the Big Green Egg should be less than that of a fully decked-out Classic III.

Char-Griller Akorn

The Char-Griller Akorn provides real kamado performance at a rock-bottom price. It costs less than $350, which is incredible considering typical kamado grills will set you back $800 to $1,000. The Akorn’s cooking temperature and temperature control aren’t as inherently stable as the more expensive kamados I used. I suspect that’s because the Akorn’s body is constructed from triple-walled coated steel, as opposed to a heavy ceramic cooker. The grill’s fire was also harder to ignite and keep lit than the Big Green Egg’s and Kamado Joe Classic III’s.

When I let it burn through our low-and-slow test (adjusted to 225 F), the Akorn’s fire died out within 45 minutes. After relighting, temperatures inside the cooker shot up to 370 F in a mere 15 minutes. I didn’t add extra fuel either, just one paraffin fire starter. Thirty-five minutes later, heat levels inside the Akorn hit 405 degrees. Temperatures then plateaued but remained hot, not dropping below 387 F for the next 3 hours.

Things were very different when I kept an eye on the Akorn. With a starting temperature of either 225 F or 350 F, it only took a few vent adjustments for the airflow to nudge the grill back on track. And since it’s built from steel, and is not a ceramic kamado, the Akorn weighs less (100 pounds) than traditional kamado grill options (200 pounds or more).

The food I cooked with the Akorn wasn’t bad either. Both slow-cooked baby back ribs and chicken had a pleasing charcoal flavor. That said, they couldn’t match what came out of the Kamado Joe grill thanks to its bundled heat deflector smoker system. A price this low outweighs a lot of the cons, though, so the Char-Griller Akorn adds up to a fantastic kamado style grill bargain.

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Kamado Joe Classic III

At nearly $1,500 , the Kamado Joe Classic III may have a steep price, but it delivers plenty for the money. That means lots of kamado grilling accessories that don’t come standard with other grills, including the Big Green Egg Kamado. This kamado grill and smoker performs well too. In our slow-and-low barbecue grill test, we adjust grills to 225 F (107 C) and let go of the controls to see what happens. In this trial, the Kamado Joe Classic III demonstrated excellent temperature control.

The grill got a little hot in the first 30 minutes (315 F) but then settled down at the 1-hour mark. From there, this ceramic grill coasted on cruise control, parking the needle between 253 F and 219 F for almost 3 hours. Only the Big Green Egg turned in a tighter temperature curve, humming along for hours within the smoking sweet spot.

One feature that really sets the Classic III apart is something called the SloRoller. Billed as a “hyperbolic smoke chamber” by Kamado Joe, it’s an hourglass-shaped metal contraption that sits over the fire. The apparatus functions as both a heat deflector and a convection aid. Essentially it stops radiant heat generated by the coals from striking food sitting above (on the grill grate). This prevents the meat from drying out during long cooking times. According to Kamado Joe, it also encourages air (smoke) circulation within the cooking chamber.

In fact, there are a ton of extras bundled with the Classic III right in the box. That includes an additional set of ceramic heat deflectors (one for each half of the grill), a coal stoker and an aluminum charcoal basket. You get two halved aluminum grates and an ash removal tool as well, plus a three-level cooking rack that you can configure as needed for grilling.

By contrast, everything on the Big Green Egg except the stand costs extra. Keep in mind, you can also save a little by choosing Kamado Joe’s Classic II. For $1,200 it’s almost identical to the Classic III, but lacks the SloRoller accessory and has a different stand.

The construction of the Classic III feels very solid; I especially like the sturdy side shelves, ideal for grilling and smoking, also standard. All that makes this one of the best kamado grills, if you can afford it.

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How we test kamado grills

Testing kamado grills is an intense experience for a griller. It requires playing with fire (literally) and high temperatures, though in a controlled, responsible way. The most critical element to kamado performance is heat, specifically temperature control and how well a grill holds to one temperature. To smoke meat low and slow, that magic number is 225 F. Good smokers, kamados or otherwise, will stick to this temp for as long as 12, 15 or 20 hours. This means the temperature gauge is key and so is the ability to control airflow via air vents or dampers.

A computer and a nest of wires used to monitor temperatures during tests.

To capture temperature data, we put a thermocouple on each kamado grill. Essentially a sensitive temperature sensor made of a probe and a connected wire, the thermocouple hangs suspended just 1 inch above the grill grate. It’s connected to a data logger and ultimately a computer that records changes in heat levels over time.

Charcoal being ignited in a grill.
Then it’s time to fire up each grill.Tyler Lizenby

We try to run temperature tests on all the grills simultaneously. We also use the same weight and brand of lump charcoal (4.4 pounds or 2 kg), often from the same bag. That’s true of fire starters, too (one per grill).

After that, we light them up, as instructed by their manuals if available. Usually that means letting the coals catch for 15 minutes, with the lid open, then shutting the grill. At this point, vents remain wide open until the grill comes within 50 degrees of the target temp. 

We carefully fiddle with the vents to get there. Lastly, we let go of the controls and observe. 

We follow the same procedure for our higher-temperature test with a target of 350 F. The idea here is to simulate the heat performance required to roast chicken and other poultry.

Preparing a rack of test ribs for smoking.
We smoke ribs along with other food for anecdotal tests.Chris Monroe

And speaking of food, we perform lots of “anecdotal tests” too. We smoke a rack of baby back ribs (225 F) in each grill. We butterfly (aka spatchcock) chickens and roast them too. Sourced from the local Costco, these weigh roughly 5 pounds each. Last, we grill a set of four 8-ounce burger patties at high heat (600 F). 

A batch of test burgers
Burgers, anyone?Brian Bennett/

Want more options? Here are the other two kamado grill models I evaluated for this test group. While they didn’t make it into my picks, you may want to take a look for comparison’s sake:

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Food And Nutrition

Delicious Onion Burgers Recipe




Who doesn’t love a nice juicy grilled burger? This is a quick and easy recipe for onion burgers just bursting with flavor. Hamburger meat is combined with onion soup mix and Worcestershire sauce, along with ketchup, and then grilled. To achieve those juicy, luscious burgers, you want to use sirloin or ground round and try to get 80 to 85% lean beef.

Form the patties, and make sure to press your thumb into the center of each hamburger patty to create an indentation. This helps to keep the burgers from puffing up in the middle. When grilling, avoid the temptation to press down on the burgers with the spatula as that will release the juices, and leave them alone, don’t keep flipping them. These tips will further assist you in getting the ideal burger that is juicy and tasty.

This onion burger recipe offers a special topping for the burgers consisting of mayo and steak sauce and also uses swiss cheese, but you’re welcome to change the cheese to whatever your favorite one is, and to use another topping if you’d like.

Toast the buns on the grill for a crispy effect, or leave them untoasted. Don’t forget to put your favorite toppings, such as a combo of lettuce, a slice of tomato and onion, and a pickle.

These onion burgers are perfect for weeknight meals, tailgating, game day, or cookout. Serve them with homemade french fries or potato salad and baked beans.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Combine ground beef with soup mix, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup (or tomato sauce), and salt.

  3. Form into six equal-sized patties.

  4. Preheat the grill for medium-high heat.

  5. Place patties onto grill and cook for 6 to 7 minutes per side (or until internal temperature reaches a safe 165 F). During the last minute or two of cook time, place one slice of Swiss cheese on each patty.

  6. Once the cheese has melted and patties are cooked through, remove from heat and place onto a cookie sheet or platter. Cover with aluminum foil.

  7. To prepare burger topping, simply combine mayonnaise and steak sauce until mixed through.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days after preparation.

  8. Assemble hamburgers and top off with mayonnaise mixture.

  9. Serve immediately.

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Food And Nutrition

Preparing Healthy sausage casserole




Never thought you’d hear the words ‘healthy sausage casserole’? Well, here it is. This all-in-one-dish dinner is packed with veggies for a perfect midweek meal.

Each serving provides 348 kcal, 34g protein, 33.5g carbohydrates (of which 18g sugars), 7g fat (of which 2g saturates), 9.5g fibre and 1.8g salt.


  • 2 red peppers, seeds removed, cut into chunks
  • 2 carrots, cut into thick slices
  • 2 red onions, cut into wedges
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 8 lean sausages
  • 400g tin peeled cherry tomatoes
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained
  • 200ml/7fl oz vegetable stock
  • 1 green chilli, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp French mustard
  • 100g/3½oz frozen mixed vegetables
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Food And Nutrition

Perfect coronation chicken




Step back into 1952 and showcase the classic coronation chicken salad for a delicious nostalgic lunch. This is not a bashed-together mayo and mango chutney affair, this is the real deal and fit for a queen.


  • 2 chicken breasts, skin removed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, zest and juice
  • knob of butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp madras curry powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 100ml/3½fl oz dry white wine
  • 100ml/3½fl oz chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp apricot jam
  • 150ml/5fl oz mayonnaise
  • 75ml/3fl oz crème fraîche
  • 1 large mango, peeled, stone removed, flesh diced
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
  • dash Tabasco sauce
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • green salad leaves, to serve
  • 50g/2oz flaked almonds (toasted lightly dry frying pan), to serve


  1. Rub the olive oil all over the chicken. Scatter over the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.

  2. Steam the chicken for 20–25 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside to cool.

  3. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the shallot and chilli and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and cook for 2–3 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for a further minute. Add the wine and simmer until the volume of the liquid has reduced by half.

  4. Stir in the jam and stock, and simmer until the volume of the liquid has reduced by half. Set aside to cool.

  5. Mix the mayonnaise and the crème fraîche together in a bowl, then stir in the curry dressing. Fold in the mango, spring onions, lemon juice and coriander.

  6. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Fold into the curry dressing and season with salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste. Serve with a green salad, and scatter with the toasted almond flakes.

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