A Kamado? Never heard of it is what we had said. Have you heard of the Big Green Egg? Some of you may be saying yes, but I bet most are saying…Huh…A Green Egg? (Brenda wanted me to title this post “Why I took up smoking”.)
Well, quite simply, a Kamado is a grill/oven/smoker/Barbecue that is ceramic and made in such a way that it can hold temperatures from 200 to 750+ degrees for long periods of time. A Kamado has been around for thousands of years and in different shapes. You cook with it using all natural wood charcoal and never use any fluids to light it. You control and dial in the temperature using a venting system.
The Big Green Egg is a brand that is well known and has a large following. I believe that to be mainly because they really came out with one of the first grills and built a niche at the time and thus created a great following that continues today. They are affectionately known as EggHeads.
Note I said, “niche”. This is because these units are not cheap. Not by a long shot. A Green Egg unit ranges from $400.00 for the smallest of the smalls, to $3,500 for the Extra, Extra Large and are tightly price controlled and can only be purchased via authorized dealers.
Thus enter competitors that have the same such offerings of “egg shaped” units but come in at lower price point and come with everything you need to get started. (unlike the Green Egg.) So seeing these things are not cheap, we researched and researched and at the end purchased the KamadoJoe that you see me standing proudly next to above. Cost for the Classic KamadoJoe, $1,000 and comes with all you need to get cooking. There are other lower priced units, however, we were just not too sure about them based on pro-barbecuer reviews. You see, temperature control is the key. Without being able to keep a steady temperature over long periods of times, it can just ruin a what could have been a great meal.
The KamadoJoe had high marks for keep great temperature, customer support, and how it came with all you needed to get cooking. The Large Green Egg for example, which is the size of the Classic KamadoJoe, is $880 plus you need the stand, and sides, the heat deflector, etc. with each item adding to the cost and putting you well above the cost of the Joe.
Ok, here’s the catch for RV’ers. These things, being all ceramic, are NOT light. Nope, our Classic KamadoJoe weighs in at a whopping 188 lbs! So, needless to say, ours is not something that will be traveling with us. It will stay behind at Southwoods RV Resort on our lot when we travel. We surely will miss it and may need to get the travel size KamadoJoe Jr. we can carry in our bay, as well as be able to lift. With that said however we do have friends that have a medium Green Egg and it does go with them in their Tiffin Allegro Bus 45LP. I give him a lot of credit, as it is not small and not light at 113 lbs, so it is something to deal with in a cargo bay.
He also gets the credit for turning us on to cooking on a Kamado having cooked for us three times over a week making ribs and hamburgers. It was his ribs that got us hooked as we love us some ribs! I did not mention his name as he seems to hate that….So lets just call him “Jim”. Thanks Jim.
So, what does one do when they end up buying one? For us, it was to smoke us some RIBS! How did it go for our first time? Well let us show you with some photos.
Note…If you are not a meat eater…you can stop reading here. :)
First we started off with a rack of pork ribs and rubbed yellow mustard that would be used as a binder to help the spice rub keep in place. Interesting that you can not taste the mustard in the end.
We did the rub the night before so the ribs would really soak it in. We wrapped it in aluminum foil and put it back in the fridge. The next day at about 11 am it was time to start the Kamado to get it up to temperature. Seeing you only use all natural charcoal in it and you can not use liquids as it will hurt the ceramic, it takes about 10 minutes to get it burning. We used all natural starter wood. Close the lid and let it start to get up to the cooking temperature, in this case, 225 degrees.
Then comes the fun part (as I say using air quotes). Getting it to hold at 225 as it is a balancing act between the amount of air/oxygen you let into the bottom, and how much heat you let out of the top. So you start adjusting, and adjust, and adjust until BAM, you got it within 50 degrees on the high side. So you then lay on the ribs, and seeing they are cold, it will bring the temp down. Over the next hour you check on it to get it to the 225 degrees (or whatever you need) ever slightly adjusting the air flow and heat loss. At some time within that hour, you will get a lock on your cooking temp. At that point you just let it be and check on the temperature now and again and you DO NOT open that lid. For as they say, “If your look’in, your not cook’in.” So there it stood for the next 4 hours until it was finely time to take a look!!!
Ta-da! Looks great! And at this point they are fully cooked. (Always check the temp though to be sure.) So what we did next was to wrap them in aluminum foil and put them back on for another one and a half hours. Why might you ask is it that we did not just dig in? That is because we wanted fall off the bone ribs. Ribs so tender that literally the bone just peels on out. So back to again adjusting to get the temp dialed in and then again we wait. One and a half hours we would know the result and we could not wait. (We were kind of hungry after smelling them all day!)
And? And? Success! The bone just peeled right out of the ribs just as we had planned it to.
And what was the result of that work and final success other than a sense of accomplishment? I think the last photo says it all. No, let me say it for you anyway…Yummmmmm!
So is it worth a $1,000 for a grill? Only you can decide that for yourself. For us, based on the above result, our answer is already a YES. We know when we had a bricks and sticks home we paid $300 for a regular gas grill and it surely does not cook like a Kamado. The next day in fact we seared one inch steaks at 650 degrees. Two minutes on one side, three on the other and BAM, steakhouse steak complete with that rustic taste you get with all natural wood charcoal. We see many years of great cooking ahead!
Lastly we again wanted to thank Jim, oh…I’m sorry, I meant “Jim”, for the help he gave me in learning on how to dial in the right temp.