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Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe: Which One Should You Choose?

Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe: Which One Should You Choose?
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Kamado grills originate from Asia where you’re guaranteed to spot a few of these ceramic cooking devices in restaurants and on street corners.

Over the last few decades, the popularity of kamado-style grills has grown significantly among lovers of grilled and smoked food in the United States.

Among the biggest advantages of kamado grills is letting you maintain your desired cooking temperature for a very long time. Also, these grills are made to function efficiently for many years.

If you’re in the market for a kamado-style ceramic grill, chances are you’re familiar with the names Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe. These are the two biggest names in the industry, promising superior quality and performance.

So which one should you choose; Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe? Today’s guide is a comparison between the origin, models, and features of each manufacturer so you can pick the right grill for your needs.

Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe: Company Overview

Before we discuss the models and features of Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe grills, we should learn a bit more about each brand.

Big Green Egg

The first thing people notice about Big Green Egg is its name! It’s called so because of the way it looks; an egg-shaped body with a glazed green exterior that resists discoloration and fading.

Now that the matter of its name is out of the way, let’s talk about the origin of the company.

Big Green Egg was founded in 1974 by Ed Fisher. He imported the mushikamado (movable kamado) from Japan to his shop in Atlanta as he believed it’d be a hit in the grill market after making some improvements in its design.

Several years later, Fisher was proven right as the popularity of the kamado grill in the United States only increased. He started manufacturing his grill units privately in the 1990s, which marked the beginning of the kamado grill craze.

The vogue of this brand had a lot to do with the rugged, durable construction that allows the grills to perform efficiently for decades no matter the condition of the weather.

To this day, Big Green Egg is recognized as a pillar in the ceramic grill market across the country and the go-to supplier for many top-rated restaurants.

Organic and vegan-friendly, this company is known for using thick, premium quality ceramic to achieve 3 things:

  • Maintain a uniform temperature inside the cooking space.
  • Ensure maximum retention of heat and moisture.
  • Keep fuel consumption to a minimum.

Kamado Joe

While it’s true that Kamado Joe hasn’t been part of the ceramic grill market in the United States for as long as Big Green Egg, the company has surely made a spot for itself in the heart of the industry thanks to its exceptional innovation.

One of the most popular and fastest-growing brands, Kamado Joe was launched in 2009 but managed to surpass a lot of the older names in the game and establish a solid reputation among millions of customers.

The founders,-Kerry Coker and Bobby Brennan- wanted to give people a memorable grilling experience every time they decide to fire up their kamado grill. Their units excelled at just that, combining amazing build quality with an array of distinctive, user-friendly features.

Kamado Joe is proof that if you have enough passion for what you do and your goals, you’ll get there.

The co-founders’ dream of producing durable ceramic grills superior to any other on the market is certainly happening, and they’re still committed to enhancing the longevity and performance of their units with constant upgrades that focus on convenience and cooking experience.

Kamado Joe offers top-of-the-line grills full of originality and practicality. They’re equipped with exclusive features such as the Kontrol Tower vent, the Divide and Conquer system, and the Air Lift hinge.

All in all, Kamado Joe doesn’t cut corners in quality, durability, or features.

Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe: Models

Here’s a breakdown of the models you’ll come across within the Big Green Egg range of grills:

  • Mini
    • Cooking area: 78.6 square inches/ 507 square cm
    • Outer diameter (including the hinge and handle): 9.8 inches/ 25 cm
    • Weight: 37.5 pounds/ 17 kg
    • Height: 16.9 inches/ 43 cm
  • MiniMax
    • Cooking area: 132.5 square inches/ 855 square cm
    • Outer diameter (including the hinge and handle): 13 inches/ 33 cm
    • Weight: 77.2 pounds/ 35 kg
    • Height: 19.7 inches/ 50 cm
  • Small
    • Cooking area: 132.5 square inches/ 855 square cm
    • Outer diameter (including the hinge and handle): 13 inches/ 33 cm
    • Weight: 79.4 pounds/ 36 kg
    • Height: 24 inches/ 61 cm
  • Medium
    • Cooking area: 176.7 square inches/ 1140 square cm
    • Outer diameter (including the hinge and handle): 15.7 inches/ 40 cm
    • Weight: 112.4 pounds/ 51 kg
    • Height: 28.3 inches/ 72 cm
  • Large
    • Cooking area: 261.6 square inches/ 1688 square cm
    • Outer diameter (including the hinge and handle): 18.1 inches/ 46 cm
    • Weight: 161 pounds/ 73 kg
    • Height: 33.1 inches/ 84 cm
  • XLarge
    • Cooking area: 452.4 square inches/ 2919 square cm
    • Outer diameter (including the hinge and handle): 24 inches/ 61 cm
    • Weight: 218.3 pounds/ 99 kg
    • Height: 30.7 inches/ 78 cm
  • 2 XLarge
    • Cooking area: 648.7 square inches/ 4185 square cm
    • Outer diameter (including the hinge and handle): 28.7inches/ 73 cm
    • Weight: 374.8 pounds/ 170 kg
    • Height: 35.4 inches/ 90 cm

Let’s take a closer look at the models you’ll see across the Kamado Joe range of grills:

  • Classic Joe
    • Cooking area: 250 square inches/ 1612.9 square cm
    • Outer width: 46.5 inches/ 118.1 cm
    • Weight: 231.5 pounds/ 105 kg
    • Height: 48.5 inches/ 123.2 cm
  • Classic Joe II
    • Cooking area: 250 square inches/ 1612.9 square cm
    • Outer width: 46.5 inches/ 118.1 cm
    • Weight: 231.5 pounds/ 105 kg
    • Height: 48.5 inches/ 123.2 cm
  • Classic Joe III
    • Cooking area: 250 square inches/ 1612.9 square cm
    • Outer width: 46.5 inches/ 118.1 cm
    • Weight: 360 pounds/ 163.3 kg
    • Height: 50.5 inches/ 128.3 cm
  • Big Joe
    • Cooking area: 450 square inches/ 2903.2 square cm
    • Outer width: 58 inches/ 147.3 cm
    • Weight: 352 pounds/ 159.7 kg
    • Height: 52.6 inches/ 133.6 cm
  • Big Joe II
    • Cooking area: 450 square inches/ 2903.2 square cm
    • Outer width: 58.4 inches/ 148.336 cm
    • Weight: 372 pounds/ 168.7 kg
    • Height: 53 inches/ 134.6 cm
  • Big Joe III
    • Cooking area: 450 square inches/ 2903.2 square cm
    • Outer width: 58.4 inches/ 148.336 cm
    • Weight: 487 pounds/ 220.1 kg
    • Height: 53.7 inches/ 136.4 cm
  • Kettle Joe
    • Cooking area: 350 square inches/ 2258.1 square cm
    • Outer width: 54.5 inches/ 138.4 cm
    • Weight: 107 pounds/ 48.5 kg
    • Height: 50.5 inches/ 128.3 cm
  • Joe Jr.
    • Cooking area: 150 square inches/ 967.7 square cm
    • Outer width: 20 inches/ 50.8 cm
    • Weight: 77.2 pounds/ 35 kg
    • Height: 27.5 inches/ 69.9 cm
  • Pellet Joe
    • Cooking area: 266 square inches/ 1716.1 square cm
    • Outer width: 47 inches/ 119.4 cm
    • Weight: 201 pounds/ 91.2 kg
    • Height: 49 inches/ 124.5 cm

Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe: Features

Now that you’re familiar with the two brands’ backgrounds and available models, it’s time we dive into the features portion of our Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe comparison.

Construction

To kick off the showdown, nothing is more fitting than talking about the material used in the construction of the two grills.

It’s safe to say that both brands offer fantastic build quality thanks to the featured high-fired ceramic in their exterior shells. They’re both sturdy, thick, and solid, with no substantial difference in performance although Big Green Egg takes pride in relying on NASA-pioneered ceramic.

Kamado Joe, however, has the edge when it comes to grill components. This brand uses wire mesh fiberglass for the gasket paired with a stainless steel latch, which makes it a lot more durable and secure than the typical felt gasket in Big Green Egg.

What’s more, Kamado Joe’s grills house Air Lift technology in their hinges to help push open the lid, which is how the brand managed to cut down the weight of the dome by a massive 96 percent. Big Green Egg gives you the average spring-loaded mechanism in the hinge.

Kamado Joe grills also rock a 6-part AMP firebox. Compared to the single-sheet ceramic firebox of Big Green Egg, the former lasts longer and is more flexible.

As for the cart, it’s included with Kamado Joe units and made out of heavy-duty galvanized steel. It’s welded and not just screwed together, which is way more than we can say about Big Green Egg’s carts that are sold separately.

Finally, neither company manufactures its grills in the United States. While Big Green Egg has its production line located in Mexico, Kamado Joe builds its models in China.

Design

Next, let’s have a look at key components of the grills’ design.

  • The top air vent: this is what controls the temperature inside the cooking compartment.

In Big Green Egg units, the vent is made out of cast iron. So while it won’t rust from the inside, there’s a chance its exterior will rust (you can clean it though!)

On the other hand, Kamado Joe features aluminum vents that don’t rust. It’s also equipped with a larger opening and a smaller valve to improve the flow of air.

  • The thermometer: both brands carry built-in thermometers.

The one accompanying Big Green Egg grills is somewhat easy to read but very accurate, whereas the Kamado Joe thermometer is bigger and a lot easier to read but it requires manual calibration because it’s sometimes off by 50 degrees or so.

  • The ash removal system: when it’s time to remove ash from your kamado-style grill, Kamado Joe will make your mission much easier thanks to the featured stainless steel ash drawer that you can effortlessly take out, empty, and slide it back in.

This process isn’t as convenient in Big Green Egg grills as they come with ash rakes. This makes for messier cleanup.

  • The grates: in Big Green Egg grills, you get to work with grates at the same level, but there isn’t much flexibility in the height arrangement department. On the contrary, Kamado Joe grills feature several racks and a tool that helps you position them at different heights.
  • The handles and shelves: in Kamado Joe grills, these are made out of long-lasting molded plastic. The Big Green Egg, however, is equipped with wooden handles and shelves that are less durable but have more old-school vibes.

Accessories

When accessories are involved, Kamado Joe gets the cake hands down!

All of the brand’s models come with multiple accessories including the cart, side shelves, ash drawer, and grill gripper.

On the other hand, Big Green Egg doesn’t include most of its accessories in the same purchase as the grill. You have to buy them separately, not to mention they don’t offer anything special like the Kamado Joe.

Warranty

The warranty provided by Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe is pretty similar and generous.

With Kamado Joe, the ceramics are covered for 3 years, the metal for 5 years, while the plastic, wood, and gasket are all covered for 1 year. The ceramic shell is backed up by a limited lifetime warranty and the non-metal, non-ceramic parts are warranted for 2 years.

Big Green Egg offers the same periods minus the additional 2 years for non-metal, non-ceramic parts.

Cost

If you consider two grills of a similar size from both brands, you won’t find that big of a gap between the two price tags.

Granted, Kamado Joe units tend to be a bit more expensive, but they come with many accessories that Big Green Egg doesn’t include with their bundles.

As such, we believe the winner is Kamado Joe when it comes to value for money.

Support

Last but not least, let’s talk about support.

Because Big Green Egg has been around for a lot longer than Kamado Joe, the former has a very well-established forum (Egg Head) with a helpful community that shares tips, recipes, walk-throughs, and more — all supervised by customer service staff.

Kamado Joe doesn’t have such a thriving forum yet, but their customer support team is one of the most helpful, efficient, and patient ones out there. They’ll spare no resources to fix your issue.

Final Thoughts

So, Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe? Well, our vote goes to Kamado Joe.

While there’s no doubt that Big Green Egg will give you reliable quality and performance, its technology is just so behind Kamado Joe.

The latter will deliver the same premium level of quality and performance, but with the addition of amazingly innovative features and a superior cooking experience.

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