What Is a Kamado Grill? (5 Benefits & Features)

Jayden Lawson
Published by Jayden Lawson
Last Updated On: June 20, 2024

I've always been a grill enthusiast, but my interest in outdoor cuisine was reignited during the last few months while I tested different grills, kamado being the one I used the most.

Kamado grills are some of the most versatile grills because of their unique design and heat potential. Understanding what a kamado grill is may help you utilize its true power so, without further ado, let’s see what’s behind this mighty machine.

Quick Summary

  • A Kamado grill is an egg-shaped ceramic grill, offering superior temperature control and durability.
  • Kamado grills can be used for smoking, roasting, searing, or baking various foods, making them highly versatile.
  • They are made from durable materials like ceramics or stainless steel.

What Is a Kamado Grill?

A red cylindrical grill out in the backyard

A kamado grill is a type of egg-shaped ceramic grill that has been used in Asia for centuries. The word "kamado" actually means "stove" or "oven" in Japanese.

Traditionally, kamados were made from clay, but modern ones are usually made from ceramics or stainless steel.

Despite their relatively simple design, kamado grills offer impressive temperature control and durability range. They are ideal for smoking, roasting, searing, or baking various foods.

These grills work a lot like wood-fired ovens.

They can absorb a lot of heat and cook food more evenly than grills made with plated steel. You can use a kamado grill for cooking steaks and burgers or turn it into an outdoor oven or smoker.

If you are looking for an outdoor grill that offers great results with minimal effort and charcoal usage, then a kamado might be perfect.

5 Benefits and Features of These Grills

A close up of meat being grilled

There are many reasons why kamado grills have become so popular.

Here are just a few of the benefits and features that make these grills stand out from the crowd:

  1. Superior temperature control: Kamados offer impressive heat retention thanks to their thick sides that are coated with ceramic material. This means that you can easily cook a wide range of foods, from steaks and burgers to pizza, brisket, ribs, turkey, pulled pork, and more.
  2. Attractive design: Kamado grills are sleek and stylish, and they make a great addition to any outdoor space.
  3. Durability: Most kamados are made from durable, high-quality stainless steel and cast aluminum materials. This makes them more resistant to the elements than other grills and ideal for outdoor use.
  4. Versatility: With a kamado grill, you can enjoy all of your favorite dishes – from brisket to pizza, ribs, pulled pork, and chicken – all cooked to perfection.
  5. Low charcoal usage: Compared to other grills, the fuel efficiency of kamados is a unique selling point. They don't need to function with lighter fluid, and they tend to use very little charcoal, therefore making them an efficient and economical way to grill outdoors.

How do These Grills Work?

A cylindrical grill grilling food

Kamado grills work by using indirect heat for cooking food. The thick ceramic material coated on the grill walls absorbs and radiates high heat, which cooks the food evenly without drying it out.

To use a kamado grill, you will need to light a fire in the bottom of the grill using lump charcoal.

I prefer using lump charcoal over charcoal briquettes because it can help reach higher temperatures and smell better while cooking.

Once the lump charcoal is lit, you can place your food on the grill grates and close the lid.

The vents on the top of the grill and the draft door can then be adjusted to control the temperature, allowing you to cook different types of foods at different temperatures.

The coals get hotter and hotter because the air-flow constantly fans them. The thicker the ceramic, the slower the heat escapes, making the coals turn red and glow faster.

Although most kamado grills take some time to get used to, their versatility and efficiency make them an ideal choice for avid outdoor cooks.

In What Ways Can You Cook on a Kamado?

There are many different ways you can cook on a kamado grill, including smoking, roasting, searing, baking, and kamado grilling.

They may generate and apply high direct heat to quickly cook foods, producing great flavor and browning, and they can reach scorching temperatures.

You can also use it as a smoker for low 'n' slow briskets, ribs, and other barbecue delicacies.

“High temperatures cause charring and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Grilling at lower temperatures may reduce this risk… It might take longer to cook this way, but if you keep temperatures low, you’ll cut down on the formation of carcinogens.”

- Healthline

With a decent kamado, you can enjoy cooking with different cooking methods such as roasting, baking, and even grilling.

You may generate indirect heat at roasting and baking temperatures with a heat deflector, virtually replicating your kitchen oven, giving you control over the cooking process.

How Do You Choose the Best Kamado Grill?

Three colorful cylindrical grills

To choose the best kamado grill, you need to look for size, temperature control, and material. Let us dive into the details of each one:

  • Size: Kamado grills come in a variety of sizes, from small tabletop models to large freestanding grills. Choose a size that fits your needs and outdoor space.
  • Temperature control: The best kamado grills offer superior temperature control, making it easy to cook multiple types of foods at once. Consider adjustable vents, interior thermometers, and heat shields when choosing a grill with good temperature control.
  • Material: Kamado grills can be made from various materials, including cast aluminum, stainless steel, and ceramics. Choose a durable material that won't rust or warp in the elements.

To help you choose the best grill, especially if you want to enjoy a nice dish outdoors, we’ve compiled a list of the best portable grills you can easily move about and still get the flavors any other grill offers.

Related Articles:


Can You Use Regular Charcoal on a Kamado Grill?

No, you cannot use regular charcoal on a kamado grill. The ceramic walls of the grill can absorb petrochemicals and contaminate food. Instead, opt for hardwood lump charcoal.

How Is a Kamado Grill Different From a Regular Grill?

A kamado grill is different from a regular grill because it does not use indirect heat for cooking food, has thick ceramic walls and adjustable temperature-control vents at the top.

What Do Kamado Grills Do Best?

Kamado grills do best when smoking, roasting, searing, baking, and more. They can reach high temperatures for searing and cooking foods quickly, but they can also produce lower temperatures for slow cooking methods like roasting and baking.

Is the Big Green Egg a Kamado Grill?

Yes, the Big Green Egg is a kamado grill. In fact, it's one of the best kamado grills on the market. When it comes to cooking pulled pork, the Big Green Egg is in a class by itself.

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About the author

Jayden Lawson
Jayden is a CPW certified lifestyle writer, father of two, and a self-taught culinary artist with a passion for Southern cooking. His readers enjoy the expert interviews, success stories, and tips he shares about anything delicious, meaty, and thriving.
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