Kamado Joe Vs. Big Green Egg: Battle for the Best Kamado Grill

Kamadoe Joe VS Big Green Egg

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Kamado-style ceramic grills have been a core part of human culinary development for around 3000 years now.

Even if you’ve not heard of a Kamado, there is a good chance you’ve seen or heard of the Big Green Egg.

They’re kind of hard to miss. 

The Big Green Egg company has been the biggest provider of kamado grills in the U.S for the last 40 years. However, they are now facing some competition in the form of Kamado Joe, a brand whose innovative approach is winning them a lot of popularity.

Having taken a close look at both brands and compared their top-of-the-line grills, we’ve decided that, on balance, we prefer Kamado Joe

Read on, and we’ll explain why.

Big Green Egg VS Kamado Joe – Which Kamado is best?

To help you make an educated decision we have done a full break down going through the brand history, grill lineup and features.

We’ve added links below if you want to get the latest price.

One thing to note is that Big Green Egg is not sold online, and is only available at select retailers, while Kamado Joe can be bought online from Amazon, BBQGuys.com and a range of other stores.

Brand history and reputation

Big Green Egg

Big Green Egg logo

Founded in 1974, by a Pachinko game importer called Ed Fisher, the Big Green Egg company took full advantage of the odd shape of the Kamado, compared to a standard charcoal grill, to maximize their marketing. 

They then used that advantage to quickly become the dominant providers of Kamado grills in the U.S, importing them from across the border in Monterrey, Mexico.

BGE made some reasonably large claims about their products, branding them as a favorite of Michelin star restaurants, built from NASA inspired ceramics, vegan-friendly, 100% organic, and offering “culinary perfection every time.” 

What we do know, is that in their 40 years of operation, the Big Green Egg has developed an almost cult-like following of “Eggheads“.

Kamado Joe

Kamado Joe logo

Founded just outside Atlanta in 2009 by Bobby Brennan and Kerry Coker, Kamado Joe has built their brand on having “modernized the grill’s classic style with unparalleled craftsmanship, smarter features, innovative accessories and a range of flexible cooking surfaces.” 

Kamado Joe imports its grills from Yixing, China, although this shouldn’t put you off. The quality and craftsmanship are still topnotch and similar in quality to the Big Green Egg.

The Kamado Joe is famous for its Divide & Conquer grilling system which allows you to grill on at two different heights at the same time. The stand is also included.

You can also add extra capabilities with a range of Kamado Joe accessories like the JoeTisserie

Kamado Joe lineup

By comparison to BGE, Kamado Joe have a wider range of products on offer, nearly all of which some with stand, and additional features and accessories that come with each purchase.

The Classic

  • External diameter 23″ / 60cm
  • Cooking surface diameter: 18” / 46 cm
  • Weight: 187 lbs / 85 kgs
  • Height: 27” / 71cm
  • Features: Cast Iron Cart & Locking Wheels, Divide & Conquer Flexible Cooking System, Patented Slide-Out Ash Drawer, Grill Gripper, Ash Tool, Finished Folding HDPE Side Shelves/Handle.
  • Price: Check the latest price.

The Classic II

Kamado Joe KJ23RHC Classic II Charcoal Grill, 18 inch, Blaze Red
  • External diameter 23″ / 60cm
  • Cooking surface diameter: 18” / 46 cm (expands to 1676.4 sq. cm with both grill grates and the Grill Expander)
  • Weight: 187 lbs / 85 kgs
  • Height: 27” / 71cm
  • Features: (All of those from The Classic, plus) Kontrol Tower Top Vent, sprung Air Lift Hinge. AMP Firebox, Wire Mesh Fibreglass Gasket.
  • Price: Check the latest price.

The Classic III

  • External diameter 23″ / 60cm
  • Cooking surface diameter: 18” / 46 cm 
  • Weight: 282 lbs / 128 kgs
  • Height: 27” / 71cm
  • Features: (All of those from The Classic, and the Classic II plus) Heavy-Duty Galvanised Steel Rolling Cart & Locking Wheels, Finished Folding Cast Aluminium Side Shelves/Handles, Patented SloRoller Hyperbolic Smoke Chamber, 3 Tier Divide & Conquer Flexible Cooking System, 304 Stainless Steel Charcoal Basket.
  • Price: Check the latest price.

The Big Joe II

  • External diameter 24″ / 63cm
  • Cooking surface diameter: 24” / 61 cm 
  • Weight: 485 lbs / 220 kgs
  • Height: 31” / 71cm
  • Features: Premium Ceramic Grill with Cast Iron Cart & Locking Wheels, Finished Folding HDPE Side Shelves/Handle, Divide & Conquer Flexible Cooking System,
  • Price: Check the latest price.

Kontrol Tower Top Vent, Air Lift Hinge, AMP Firebox, Wire Mesh Fibreglass Gasket, Patented Slide-Out Ash Drawer, Grill Gripper, Ash Tool.

The Big Joe III

  • External diameter 24″ / 63cm
  • Cooking surface diameter: 24” / 61 cm 
  • Weight: 507 lbs / 230 kgs
  • Height: 35” / 90cm
  • Price: Check the latest price.

Features: (All of those from The Big Joe, plus) Heavy-Duty Galvanised Steel Rolling Cart & Locking Wheels, Finished Folding Cast Aluminium Side Shelves/Handles, Patented SloRoller Hyperbolic Smoke Chamber, 3 Tier Divide & Conquer Flexible Cooking System, 304 Stainless Steel Charcoal Basket.

ProJoe

  • External diameter 21″ / 55cm
  • Cooking surface diameter: 24” / 61 cm 
  • Weight: 485 lbs / 220 kgs
  • Height: 31” / 71cm

Features: Patented SloRoller Hyperbolic Smoke Chamber, 3-Tier Divide & Conquer® Flexible Cooking System, 304 Stainless Steel Charcoal Basket, 304 Stainless Steel Kontrol Tower Top Vent, 304 Stainless Steel Air Lift Hinge, 304 Stainless Steel Charcoal Basket, AMP Firebox, Wire Mesh Fibreglass Gasket, Patented Slide-Out Ash Drawer, Built-in Thermometer, Grill Gripper, Ash Tool

Joe Jr

  • External diameter 11″ / 28cm
  • Cooking surface diameter: 13” / 34 cm 
  • Weight: 68 lbs / 31 kgs
  • Height: 20” / 53cm
  • Price: Check the latest price.

Features: Premium 34 cm Ceramic Grill with Cast Iron Stand, Built-in Thermometer, 304 Stainless Steel Cooking Grate, Ceramic Heat Deflector, Grill Gripper, Ash Tool.

Big Green Egg Sizes

Big Green Egg produces one product in several different sizes, from the portable MiniMax to the largest 2XL Big Green Egg.

With all of the BGE products, you’ll need to purchase a stand separately.

MiniMax Big Green Egg

  • External diameter including the hinge and handle: 22” / 56cm
  • Cooking Surface Diameter: 13” / 33cm
  • Weight: 90 lbs / 40 kgs
  • Height: 19.5″ / 50cm

Medium Big Green Egg

  • External EGG diameter: 18″ / 46cm
  • Cooking Surface Diameter: 15” / 38 cm
  • Weight: 113 lbs / 51 kgs
  • Height: 29″ / 69cm

Large Big Green Egg

  • External diameter 27″ / 69cm
  • Cooking surface diameter is 18″ / 46cm
  • Weight: 162 lbs / 73 kgs
  • Height 31.5″ / 80cm

XL Big Green Egg

  • External diameter 32″ / 82cm
  • Cooking surface diameter: 24″ / 61cm 
  • Weight: 205 lbs / 93 kgs
  • Height 32″ / 82cm

2XL Big Green Egg

  • External diameter 35″ / 88cm
  • Cooking surface diameter: 29” / 74 cm
  • Weight: 375 lbs / 17 kgs
  • Height: 40” / 101cm

Features face to face

For the purposes of comparing the two brands, we’ve chosen two grills of a similar size and with similar functions, in this case, the Big Green Egg Large and Kamado Joe Classic III.

We’ll be comparing their warranty, build quality, the accessories they come with, and the customer support and community engagement associated with each brand.

Build quality

The build quality for both the Big Green Egg Large and Kamado Joe Classic III is fantastic.

BGE does boast about their use of NASA pioneered ceramics in their products, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference in the thickness or the quality of the body of these grills.

Neither of the grills is produced in the USA, with the BGE coming from Mexico and the Kamado Joe coming from China.

The working parts of the Kamado Joe, however, do have an edge over the BGE when it comes to quality. The gasket on the Kamado Joe Classic III is a wire mesh fiberglass gasket, which is far more durable than the standard gasket found on the BGE.

The stand and wheels, which come as part of the cost of the Kamado Joe Classic III, are also better quality than the BGE stand, which has to be bought separately.

The stand and wheel locks are made from thicker heavy-duty galvanized steel and are welded together where the BGE stand is only screwed together.

While there isn’t any difference in the build quality of the central oven bodies of the BGE line vs. the Kamado Joe line, the latter does have better quality components and accessories that are included with the grill as standard.

Available accessories

In this category, Kamado Joe wins hands down. 

The whole range comes with a few accessories included like a cast iron stand and wheels, grill gripper, ash tool, finished folding high-density polyethylene (HDPE) side shelves and handles and the patented slide-out ash drawer. 

Additionally, the Kamado Joe Classic III comes with the patented Sloroller hyperbolic smoke chamber and the three-tier Divide & Conquer flexible cooking system, both of which we’ll discuss in greater detail in the Standout Features sections.

Other standout accessories include the JoeTisserie, a durable cast aluminum rotisserie that sits inside grills body, and the cast-iron Dutch oven that turns your kamado into a chili making machine.

BGE also offers a great range of accessories, but most of them don’t come bundled in with the purchase of a grill and few if any of them show the innovation of the Kamado Joe range.

Support and community

Both BEG and Kamado Joe have a good reputation for providing reliable US-based customer service. Having been in business for longer, BGE has built up a grassroots fan base who are very active on their Egg Head forum

This forum is filled with helpful advice, cooking tips, maintenance walk-throughs, and is monitored by the BGE customer support staff, making it an excellent resource for BGE owners.

Kamado Joe might not have their own dedicated forum, but they do have a good track record of solving their customer problems quickly and efficiently.

In one case, founder Bobby Brenan called a customer at home to help them through the installation of a new dome lid spring.  

Standout features

What really sets Kamado Joe apart from BGE is its emphasis on innovation, and this is well highlighted by the Sloroller hyperbolic smoke chamber and the three-tier Divide & Conquer flexible cooking system.

The Sloroller uses patented, Harvard science to turn your Kamado into a smoker by distributing smoke and heat in rolling, recirculating waves. This both enhances the smoky flavor and reduces hotspots.

The Divide & Conquer flexible cooking system uses a half-moon heat deflector, to partially block off heat, coupled with multi-level tiered grates (two with the Kamado Joe II and three with the III) to both increases your cooking area and to cook food at different temperatures.

By creating innovative accessories and bundling them with their grills, Kamado Joe offers just more bang for your buck than BGE does. 

Since the quality of the grills produced by both companies are essentially the same, the greater utility of Kamado Joe grills give them the edge over BGE and that’s why we prefer them.

Warranty

BGE prides itself on offering a limited lifetime warranty on all of its products, with different warranty periods for different materials. 

The ceramic components, including the dome, base, damper top, firebox, and fire ring, remain under guarantee as long as you are the original purchaser of the egg, and it came from an authorized dealer.

For ceramic add-ons, such as the plate setter and pizza stones, the guarantee period goes down to three years. BGE also offers a one-year warranty on thermometer and gaskets.

The metal components, including the metal bands, hinge mechanism, dual-function metal top, cooking grid, fire grate, and draft door, all come with a five-year warranty, and any wooden components have a one-year warranty.

Kamado Joe offers an almost identical warranty with exactly the same warranty periods and restrictions. 

Both companies offer a comprehensive and excellent warranty for their products, so you don’t have to worry about your kamado falling apart in the first 6-months.

Price

When you compare the price of a similarly sized Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe they look relatively even.

However, the Kamado Joe includes some important extras like a stand, which you’ll need to purchase separately with the BGE.

The Kamadoe Joe also includes the dual grilling rack system.

For value for money, the edge goes to Kamado Joe, but it’s still fairly close.

Wrapping it up

The chances are, regardless of whether you buy a BGE or a Kamado Joe, you are going to be impressed with their cooking ability and the sheer quality of their construction. 

However, Kamado Joe stands out because of the inventive and innovative nature of their accessories and the fact that they bundle in so much more with their grills.

Buying a BGE means you’ll get an excellent grill. But buying a Kamado Joe means you’ll get an equally superb grill with all the trimmings. Need we say more?

Do you prefer BGE over Kamado Joe? Do you think there is another kamado maker out there that has both of them beat? We’d love for you to let us know in the comments below!

Last update on 2020-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

John McCloy

John McCloy

Formerly a brand manager for the UK high street, John gave up that life for the far less stressful job of running his own business. He now likes to spend as much of his free time as possible hunched over a grill, reading about grills, or staring forlornly out of a window as the British weather makes it impossible to use his grill."

4 Responses

  1. BGE user for twenty years plus, two eggs my xl appx. 10 years old thousand of cooks for sure, the entire right side cracked. Sunday running hot, running hot honestly all these years in bbq I was like dumb founded. After a propane type quick cook, I go to clean racks and wipe down the unit. Then I feel something wiping down the right side about 4 hours later, a major crack in the ceramic wow. This thing is TOAST and some four letter words come out !! As a long time smoker, griller etc. I relax and accept it has been a long time. All the paper work is in to the dealer, let’s see just how BGE honers this warranty obviously it has to be a complete replacement. Just can’t match the seasoned product with the green product. I will have a new BGE replacement and will purchase the large Joe for sure. Very interested in Joe, as well thought the story is something we can all appreciate when it comes to quality and what we do. Check us out on the sauce !!!

    1. Nice description of 10years if BGE use. Cracked lower base and fire obj ring. HOWEVER… today BBQ Outfitters can out. Replaced base and firebox at NO CHARGE, replaced hinge and rings and gasket and I now have a NEW BGE 10 years after purchase.

      NEVER NEVER NEVER gonna change. AMAZING.

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