Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe Review

Jim Bob – A long-time contributor to PitsandGrits. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.

When you pick out a new grill from Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe, you can enjoy all the benefits of a ceramic grill. Shaped like large oval eggs, ceramic grills are easier to clean than traditional grills and often have better temperature control too. You’ll find that these grills are more efficient when it comes to charcoal usage also and that you can save charcoal for your next time grilling.

Grills from these companies are completely unlike the standard grill that you already have. Instead of using a long and narrow design, these grills look more like large eggs that are squatter and more compact in shape. This design allows the smoke and heat to rise up from the bottom and cover your food for even cooking, and the lid on top keeps that heat from escaping.

One thing you should know about these grills is that you usually need to purchase a stand for one. Big Green Egg calls its stands nests, and both companies sell some grills that come with a stand. You can also buy a picnic table or an outdoor table with a cut out in the center that will accommodate that grill.

delicious smoked ribs

You may want to look at some of the accessories available too like a chimney cap that vents excess smoke or grill light that fits inside the grill and illuminates the racks for cooking at night. The most important thing that you need is a cover, which will completely cover the top and sides of the grill to keep it safe from the rain and snow.

As Kamada Joe and Big Green Egg both make ceramic grills that are similar in shape and design, we created a list of the top products from both companies. You can view those products to find out whether grills from Kamada Joe or Big Green Egg are right for your backyard barbecues.

Brand Overviews

The word Kamado is Japanese for “stove,” so it makes sense that these ceramic grilling powerhouses have become staples of outdoor cooking. The Kamado grills that Americans are familiar with today are closer to traditional “mushikamado” cookers, heavy but mobile clay ovens. These rounded outdoor cookers generally feature a removable domed lid to conserve heat and create a convection-style airflow for even cooking.

The clay material used to manufacture them is excellent at retaining heat. Controlling interior temperatures can be a bit of a learning curve since they rely primarily on venting, but once you learn the nuances, you’ll have your food looking and tasting great in no time.

Kamado Joe

Photo by Kamado Joe (@kamadojoe)

Kamado Joe is a business run on passion. The dedicated workers of this company know a thing or two about barbecue. They have poured their hearts and souls into getting the designs perfect so the brand can provide top quality products for everyday use while offering unparalleled reliability.

The Kamado Joe brand has always been about improvement and innovation. The team focuses on problem-solving challenges that many other brands don’t consider. They want each customer to be able to get the absolute most out of their grills.

It’s that commitment to forward-thinking that keeps customers coming back to Kamado Joe again and again. The brand’s commitment and dedication shine through in all of its grills and accessories.

Kamado Joe is the grill on which you can depend. It’s the trusty workhorse for all your outdoor cooking needs that you can rely on year after year. From their specialized large lump charcoal to their unique grilling plates, you’ll find a loyal partner in your cooking experience with any Kamado Joe grill.

Big Green Egg

green egg vs kamado joe

Photo by Big Green Egg (@biggreenegg)

In 1974, Ed Fisher opened the first Big Green Egg store in Atlanta, Georgia, after discovering the Kamado cooker’s impressive abilities during his time overseas. The first Big Green Eggs were simple, straightforward, clay grills with most of the same designs and materials used in old Japanese cookers.

While the food cooked in these domed ceramic contraptions was some of the best-tasting food available, the grills had a flaw. They were fragile and far from durable after being exposed to the weather.

Today, Big Green Egg is known for its adaptability and modernization. The brand has painstakingly incorporated new materials into its ceramics to update its designs, improve durability, and remain one of the industry’s leaders in retaining heat on a grilling surface.

Read more: Steps to Clean Your Big Green Egg.

Best Kamado Joe Grill

1. Kamado Joe Classic II 18-Inch Ceramic Grill

Why you’ll love this:

This Kamado Joe Classic II Freestanding Grill has a freestanding design that comes with its own attached cart for using the grill anywhere around your lawn or on a patio or deck.

That cart has four wheels that help you move the grill while it’s in use or still hot without burning your hands, but each of those wheels has its own mechanism for locking down the wheels too. The air lift hinge that Kamado Joe designed reduces the overall weight of the grill’s domed lid to help you more easily lift that lid to check on your food.

Included with this grill is a stainless-steel grill grate that is the same size as the grill and two half-size grates. The full grate is perfect for cooking a rack of ribs, a few burgers or other dishes that cook at the same temperature. When you want to cook foods at different temperatures, you can use the half-racks at different levels inside the grill.

The top vent, which Kamado Joe calls a tower vent, is aluminum and resistant to both water and rust, and this vent lets you adjust the airflow inside the grill to better regulate the flow of smoke as well as the temperature.

It comes with two small wood panels that attach to each side of the cart that serve as prep areas and give you extra storage with hooks for hanging tools. The grill has a fiberglass gasket that will last up to 10 times as long as other gaskets to prevent air loss.

2.  Kamado Joe Classic III 18-Inch Ceramic Grill

Why you’ll love this:

The Kamado Joe Classic III is everything you’re looking for in a Kamado grill. The 18-inch grilling surface translates into ample space for multiple different foods, including up to 11 burgers at once.

This well-constructed grill features heat-resistant walls of thick ceramic. The domed design locks smoke and moisture into the interior of the grill to prevent heat loss during the cooking process. That means you can always rely on your Kamado Joe III to cook up tender meat that is never tough or dry.

Use the Divide and Conquer cooking system to add additional cooking area inside the grill. These unique half-moon shaped grates expand your options by varying how far your food sits from the flame. Put burgers closer to the flame, so they’re char-grilled or set them up higher to keep them on the rare side. Anything is possible with the Kamado Joe Classic III.

Control your interior temperatures with precision using the Kontrol Tower on your top vent. Even when you open and close your lid, the Kontrol Tower manages airflow to ensure that the temperature stays consistent. The lift hinge is spring-loaded, making this heavy ceramic lid a breeze to open and close.

3. Kamado Big Joe Grill II 24-Inch Ceramic Grill


Why you’ll love this:

When you want to grill multiple dishes and still have time to have fun with your guests, you want the Kamado Joe BJ24RH Big Joe Grill for your backyard.

This 24-inch ceramic grill has a layer of insulation inside that regulates the temperature when grilling and also lets you turn the grill into a smoker. You can use it with ordinary charcoal to give meats and other ingredients a slightly smoky flavor, or you can use your choice of wood to enhance the natural flavors of those ingredients.

Kamado Joe designed a “Divide and Conquer” cooking system that comes with a stainless-steel cooking grate that you can use in different positions inside the grill and two smaller racks that are roughly half the size of the full rack.

Those smaller racks are great for cooking certain foods closer to the heat and keeping other foods warm and ready to serve at the same time. The grill also comes with ceramic heat deflectors that help deflect the heat away from your foods when needed.

The manufacturer includes a heavy-duty metal cart that acts like a stand with this model, but the wheels on the bottom of this cart add to the portability of the grill and also lock in place on your porch or deck.

Near the bottom of a grill is a small metal drawer that slides open to give you convenient access to the ash that your wood or charcoal produce. An included ash tool makes emptying that drawer easier, and you also get a gripper for adjusting the hot metal grates inside.

4. Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic Joe Grill

Why you’ll love this:

One of the best reasons to buy a Kamado Joe grill is because you can purchase a grill in the exact size that you need like this Kamado Joe KJ23RH Classic Joe Grill, which is small enough to use on an apartment patio or on a camping trip.

This 18-inch grill comes with a sturdy cart that has two work areas attached to the stand near the top of the grill, and both of these work areas have hooks that you can use for cooking tools and cleaning equipment. The cart also has locking wheels that you can lock and unlock with a simple motion before moving or setting up the grill.

Kamado Joe includes its patented “Divide and Conquer” cooking system that lets you cook all your favorite dishes at the same time. This system features two half-racks and a larger rack that is roughly the same size as the grill.

You can use one or more of those grates and racks to cook several dishes or ingredients at the same time but at different temperatures.

Its ash drawer makes cleaning up after grilling easy because the drawer slides right out from the bottom of the grill. Any ash or dust will drop down inside the grill and into this drawer, and you can even use the included ash tool to empty that drawer to reduce the risk of the grill catching on fire.

With the included grate gripper, you can adjust any of the grates or racks that you use, even if the metal is still hot to the touch.

5. Kamado Joe BJ24NRSH Big Joe Stand Alone Ceramic Grill

green mountain davy

Why you’ll love it:

This Kamado Joe BJ24NRSH Big Joe Stand Alone Ceramic Grill is one of the best products from the grill company because it is one of its only grills that does not require any type of stand or table to use.

The base of the grill features three small feet that keep the heat from the grill from burning your grass or leaving scorch marks on the table, but the feet also allow cool air to move underneath the grill, which can keep food from burning because it helps regulate the temperature inside. Though this grill is similar to the larger Big Green Egg models, it comes with a red ceramic on the outside instead of a green ceramic.

Kamado Joe made many of the metal pieces on this grill, including the vents, handles and bands, from stainless steel to ensure that you make an investment that will pay off and to ensure that this grill lasts for years. The ceramic used in its construction actually helps insulate the inside, which makes this model perfect for smoking. It has so much space inside that you can smoke two or more racks of ribs, but it can also accommodate a turkey and whole fish.

This grill also lets you sear and bake outside, which helps keep the temperature of your house down and lets you mingle and entertain guests instead of feeling chained to your grill. It comes with a gripper for moving the grates while the metal is still hot and an ash drawer that slides out from the bottom.

6. Kamado Joe Pro Joe 24


Why you’ll love it:

If you’re looking to introduce a Kamado grill to your small business, then look no further because the Pro Joe is going to be your best and most dependable employee to date. This thick-walled, heat-resistant ceramic grill is the first of its kind. The SloRoller hyperbolic smoker chamber recirculates heat and smoke, offering professional results with minimal effort and keeping your meats moist, tender, and flavorful.

The interior of the grill features a handy 304 stainless steel basket to hold your charcoal. This basket helps make cleanup a cinch by conserving charcoal for the next barbecue session while letting the ash fall into the drawer below for easy removal.

The aluminum side shelves are powder-coated for extra durability and corrosion resistance, so even if you forget to cover your Pro Joe, it can hold up against the elements overnight. You’ll also enjoy the extra workspace and storage options they provide with the side table accessories, tool holder, and stand.

Best Big Green Egg 

1. Big Green Egg Kamado Grill MiniMax Portable Outdoor Smoker


Why you’ll love it:

There is little doubt that the Big Green Egg Kamado Grill MiniMax Portable Outdoor Smoker ranks as the top grill from Big Green Egg because this is the only one lightweight enough for using away from your yard and home.

The MiniMax is a portable outdoor smoker that functions as a grill and a smoker. A cap on the top helps regulate the flow of air inside the grill, and a wood handle on the front lets you check on your dishes and lift the lid without touching the hot exterior of the grill.

The MiniMax is pretty impressive because it can cook quite a bit of food, including a whole rib rack, a chicken or turkey that weighs 12 pounds, a few steaks or even five burgers.

As the metal grate has a coating on the top, your food shouldn’t stick to the grate. The MiniMax has 133-square inches of cooking space and stands just under 20-inches tall.

Though this is a smaller grill, it can do all the same things that a larger Egg can and can even let you experiment with different cooking methods like baking or searing.

The included stand or nest wraps around the grill and features four small feet on the bottom, two handles on each side and the company’s name across the front. It also features an ash drawer that you can slide open on the bottom to pull out the dust left behind by the wood or charcoal that you use for grilling and smoking.

2. Large Big Green Egg


Why you’ll love it:

The Large Big Green Egg is an excellent option for couples or smaller families. It doesn’t require a lot of space on your patio, deck, or backyard and can easily function as a 3-in-1 appliance offering versatile cooking options. Use it for baking your breakfast of sausage patties and eggs and then put your ribs on to smoke through the rest of your day.

The onboard temperature gauge maxes temps out at 750°F, which is ambitious for most Kamado-style grills. With a few accessories, you can easily smoke an 18 lbs. Thanksgiving turkey with a Large Big Green Egg and have a bit of room left over for side dishes.

While the price point might be daunting for some, you’ll soon see why the Large Big Green Egg is one of the most popular models in the Big Green Egg product family. The Large Big Green Egg is designed to be housed inside the compatible nest, island, or cook table. In this case, you’ll have to purchase the accessory separately for the Kamado, or you can build the DIY cooking station on your own.


When we started our comparison, we assumed that Big Green Egg would easily come out on top, but we actually gave Kamado Joe a slight advantage.

The company makes grills that look like eggs and grills that come in different sizes for those who want to find ways to entertain at home and those who want to go tailgating. With the grill, the charcoal is easy to start up and fun to use. 

Kamado Joe also offers more products than Big Green Egg does and sells grills that are more affordable, which is why we think it wins in a direct showdown.

There are many more grills brands aside from Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg. If your found of this egg-shaped BBQ machine then read here.