Kamado Joe vs. Big Green Egg: Brand, Features, Quality, Price Comparison

Kamado Joe vs. Big Green Egg

Nothing beats a Kamado grill when it comes to giving foods, especially meats and vegetables, a rich and strong smoky flavor.

Like any other cooking method or grill types, there are many models of the Kamado grills out there since they have been around for quite some time now. But the Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg are the two most popular options.

The two are quite similar in appearance, features, and performance, and it is hard for most people to tell apart foods cooked on either.

However, if you are trying to pick between the two, here we highlight the pros and cons of each and what sets them apart to help you out.

Kamado Joe Overview

Kamado Joe

Kamado Joe is a relatively newer brand of Kamado grills given that the manufacturer started operation in 2009.

But in this one decade that they have been in operation, they have managed to cut away a huge chunk of the market from the Big Green Egg which has been the dominant brand for many years.

Their grills are famous for being more flexible in operation than most other Kamado grills and will also come in an easier to use and smarter design to ensure they give grillers a much easier time.

Given that most of their grill models will come complete with all accessories, you will not need to spend any extra cash on one which makes the Kamado Joe more budget-friendly. Also, you can easily spot one of these grills anywhere thanks to the attention-grabbing dark red shade.

Pros:

  • Dual rack cooking surface
  • Easy to clean
  • Comes complete with all accessories
  • More versatile semi-circular grates
  • Air-lift hinge for easier opening/closing

Cons:

  • Seems to use up relatively more charcoal

Big Green Egg Overview

Big Green Egg

Big Green Egg is an older Kamado grill brand given that the company has been in operation since 1974 which should explain the fact that they control a huge chunk of this market.

Their ceramic Kamado grills pride in being well-built and have been tried and tested over the years which means you can be confident that you are buying a superior product that has stood the test of time.

Many grillers lover the Big Green Egg for its versatility as it will work as a grill, smoker, and oven. Like the Kamado Joe, you can also get it in different sizes and in a distinctive dark green color that is hard to miss.

And while you will need to buy the accessories you need including the stand and shelves separately, Big Green Egg grills are still quite fairly priced.

Pros:

  • Reliable and has stood the test of time
  • Large cooking surface
  • Versatile enough

Cons:

  • Stand and other accessories sold separately
  • Ash cleaning takes a little more work

Comparison Table

Kamado Joe

Big Green Egg

Construction and Build Quality

Ceramic with more stainless steel upgrades

Mostly ceramic with stainless steel grates

Cooking Surface

Dual rack system

Standard grilling grates

Top Air Vent

Aluminum

Cast iron

Lid Hinge

Advanced hinge mechanism

Regular spring-based hinge

Firebox

Multi-piece

On-piece

Side Shelves

Plastic

Wooden

Prices

$1,195

About $1,500

Kamado Joe vs. Big Green Egg

If you are a fanatic of the Kamado cooking method, you can be confident that you will have an amazing Kamado grill whether you buy the Kamado Joe or the classic Big Green Egg. But, if you want to be sure you are making the right pick, here are some key differences to keep in mind.

1. Construction and Build Quality

In the past Kamado-style grills were mostly made with ceramic and only a few metal parts such as the grates. But, over the years most models have been getting metal upgrades as the manufacturers strive to improve the overall build quality.

Kamado Joe seems to have put more effort into the metal upgrades as most of their grills will now have stainless steel upgrades in different parts of the grill. Some of these metal upgrades include stainless steel grates, bands, hinge, upper vent and handle.

The Big Green Egg always tries to maintain a more classic look when it comes to the construction, and so besides the stainless steel grates, there is no much upgrade to the grill done over the years.

2. Cooking Surface

The cooking surface is one of the features that set these two grills apart because while both will now come with stainless steel grates, they have different designs which affects the cooking efficiency significantly.

Kamado Joe grills seem to have the edge here as they will have a dual rack system that makes it possible to set the two sections of the racks at different heights for cooking different foods.

Also, this impressive cooking area design will allow you to use both direct and indirect cooking at the same time. Better yet the grills also come with a handy tool for grabbing the rack when hot to allow you to move them easily.

With the Big Green Egg, on the other hand, you will get standard grilling grates which are set at a single height, and this is a significant drawback for some users. But, the good news is that you can lower the grates a little simply removing the ceramic plate below.

3. Top Air vent

With the Kamado-style grills, the top air vent plays a crucial role when it comes to the temperature control, and so it should be one of the key factors to consider when choosing one of these grills.

The material used to make this air vent is one of the crucial points to look at when comparing these two grills. And while both have efficient enough top air vents, they are made from different materials.

Kamado Joe uses aluminum which is 100% resistant to rust to make their top air vents. Also, their air vents will have relatively smaller holes on the side which allows for a larger opening on the upper part to allow more air in.

Big Green Egg makes the top air vent with cast iron which despite also being a tough material is not rust-resistant. And while the vent is effective enough in regulating airflow, it seems to have a small drawback which is that the top hole changes position in case you open the lid meaning you have to reset again.

4. Lid Hinge Design

When using these grills, you will need to open and close them often to check on your food, and so the hinge on the lid which makes this possible plays a crucial.

When it comes to the hinge, Kamado Joe seems to be the more innovative brand here. They make use of a more advanced mechanism that not only makes the lid appear lighter for lifting with even one finger but also prevents it from shutting down with force in case you remove your hand.

The hinge on the Big Green Egg does not appear very innovative as it is just more of a regular spring that will not make the lid any easy to use, and in case you remove the hand it drops down hard which poses a significant danger.

5. Firebox

Because the firebox is where the heating takes place, it also matters a lot. But the good news is that both grills are designed to provide highly efficient heating.

The only notable difference in their fireboxes is that Kamado Joe will have a multi-piece one while the Big Green Egg will come with a one-piece molded firebox.

While this might not look like a significant difference, it is still important. A multi-piece firebox works better than a one-piece one as the different pieces can expand and contract with a decreased likelihood of cracking, unlike the one-piece types that are more prone to cracking.

6. Side Shelves

Side shelves are where you will prepare the food when grilling and also where you place the food after cooking before you serve. Luckily both these grills will have side shelves.

However, the side shelves are made from different materials. The Kamado Joe comes with some rugged plastic ones made to withstand abuse for longer service life, and the Big Green Egg will include some nice looking wooden side shelves that enhance the classic look.

Also, the wooden side shelves on the Big Green Egg will be coated with anti-slip material to help keep things in place and overall they seem much better than the plastic ones on the Kamado Joe.

7. Initial Cost

The initial cost of buying these Kamado grills can be a little confusing because when looking at the two side by side the Big Green Egg looks much cheaper.

What you might easily overlook is that the cost of the Big Green Egg is only for the actual ceramic grill since everything else from the stand and side shelves to the grill gripper is sold separately. If you factor in the amount of money you will spend to get these other things, the Big Green Egg will be pricier.

On average, the Kamado Joe grill will cost around $1,195, and it will come with all the accessories, but if you add the cost of accessories to what you pay for the Big Green Egg, the total cost will be around $1,500 hence making it relatively pricier.

Conclusion

The choice between the Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg often boils down to personal preferences as they are quite similar grills that grill amazingly well and each has its almost cultic following.

However, if you are looking for a Kamado-style grill that has a modern touch and with better quality accessories and also comes with everything you need at a more budget-friendly price tag, the Kamado Joe is your best choice.

But, if you are one of those diehard grilling fanatics that always prefer to keep your grills more classic or traditional, Big Green Egg is a great choice because despite having a few modern upgrades, it still mostly preserves the classic Kamado grill style and performance.


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