Finding An Alternative To High Big Green Egg Prices
It’s no doubt that The Big Green Egg prices means you’re making a commitment to grilling. We sure aren’t going to argue with spending money on quality! But with increasing competition, are you getting what you’re paying for? Does Big Green Egg need to rethink its resellers-only strategy? We round up some of the most popular kamado-style cookers on the market and help you decide for yourself.
- 1 Finding An Alternative To High Big Green Egg Prices
- 2 Why The Kamado-style grill Hype?
- 3 How A Kamado Grill Works
- 4 The Kamado Grill Brands and Review Roundup
- 5 Kamado Joe KJ23RH Classic Joe Grill, 18", Red
- 6 Pit Boss 71220 Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker, 22"
- 7 Char-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker, Black
- 8 Vision Grills CF1F1 Pro Kamado BBQ Bundle
- 9 Primo 775 Oval Grill, Large
- 10 Are Big Green Eggs Prices Justified?
- 11 What is the best Kamado-style grill for me?
- 12 Big Green Conclusion
Why The Kamado-style grill Hype?
Kamado style grills are quickly growing in popularity, and are often credited as the best outdoor ovens on the market. From the outside, these cooking units look much like an ancient burial urn, or even a giant egg. Despite this unique exterior, these grills are fantastic for making premium meals.
A Long History
Although much of the history of these cookers is credited to Japan, clay cooking pots have actually been found all over the world. It is believed the design was originally created in China about 3000 years ago. It wasn’t until 300 BC that the technology was exported to Japan and the ovens were called kamados. Kamado style grills have a long history of preparing delicious meals, so it is no wonder they continue to be prominent on the market today.
The name Kamado is Japanese and literally translates to, “place for the cauldron.” Traditionally, a Kamado was a Japanese wood or charcoal fuelled stove. A portable kamado, which was called “mushikamado” was discovered by Americans after the second World War. The mushikamado was a round pot made of clay with a domed, removable lid. Americans who were stationed in Japan ended up bringing Kamados back with them. The demand for these cookers grew and prompted some entrepreneurial spirits to begin importing and selling them. This was the basis for many of the modern Kamado style grills you find on the market today.
Kamado Grills Go Mainstream
One of the biggest pulls for the Kamado style grills is their versatility. Most modern manufacturers have combined 3000 years of ingenuity with new technology to create a multi-use cooking unit. Grilling and smoking are two of the most common uses for this style unit. However, their precise temperature controls allow you to roast and bake just about anything. Few outdoor ovens offer this unique flexibility to switch so easily from grilling and smoking to baking, all while creating a delicious end product.
With all this history and buzz amongst outdoor cooking enthusiasts, it is no surprise that Kamado style cooking has prompted a wave of dedicated cookbooks and websites. Some of the most popular cookbooks include: The Kamado Smoker and Grill Cookbook by Chris Grove and The Kamado Grill Cookbook by Fred Thompson.
In addition to the popular Kamado inspired recipe books, the popularity of this cooking unit has even opened the doors of several restaurants. Most notably, the Kamado Grille in Raleigh, North Carolina prides itself on using this ancient technique to serve its customers. The restaurant has a fleet of Kamado Joe brand grills they use to cook their customers’ food. The restaurant even employs “Kamado grillemasters” who host regular grilling classes to teach you how to cook at home.
If all of this Kamado style grill hype has you itching to buy your own, do not worry. These grills are readily available in stores and online. However before you purchase your grill, it is important to compare different models. Although there are a host of grills on the market (and more being added as new companies emerge), each one offers various features. Knowing your skill level and cooking needs will ensure that you are getting the best model for your money.
How A Kamado Grill Works
Kamado grills are built with versatility in mind. Many manufacturers use a combination of ceramics, crushed lava rock and terracotta to build their cookers. This allows the grill to withstand temperatures that exceed 750 degrees Fahrenheit. It also prevents the unit from cracking due to extreme heat or fluctuations in temperature.
A Kamado grill is a very efficient application of how all charcoal grills function: lit charcoal is controlled by a series of damper vents, allowing for the controlled intake of outside to act as fuel for increasing or decreasing the internal temperature of the grill. Not only do the manufacturing materials improve the durability of the oven, they are also premium insulators. This allows the oven to radiate heat for steady temperatures that promote even cooking. It is also the reason you can use a kamado style grill to roast and bake as well.
To light a kamado grill, just follow these easy steps:
- Put kindling material in the fire box – strips from your charcoal bag, wood shavings, etc
- Put the fire grate over the fire box
- Put in lump charcoal
- Insert any other components to the grill as required, but leave diffusers or pizza stones out until the charcoals are well lit
- Close lid
- Open top and bottom dampers, vents, or draft doors
- Light fire in fire box through bottom damper or appropriate access door
Since kamado grills are charcoal fuelled, it is important that you light them properly. It is recommended that you never use lighter fluid, or any other combustible liquid, as it can penetrate the porous interior of your grill. To protect your unit, you should use an electric or chimney starter, or even a firestarter.
The easiest way to get your kamado grill fired up is to bury a Weber paraffin firestarter cube under the pile of charcoal in the basket. Once lit, this will slowly ignite the charcoal and produce small amounts of heat. You will notice that the combustion will begin to spread slowly, while increasing the internal heat. Controlling the fire is important for cooking successfully with a kamado style grill. You will have to adjust your dampers and regulate the oxygen levels to achieve your desired temperature.
At this point, your entire grill is acting as a charcoal chimney, should you have any experience with such a device. You need merely to wait until the charcoal is glowing, the fire has subsided, and then you can put in a diffuser for smoking or indirect cooking, a pizza stone, or the grate for grilling. Once you’ve done this, close the lid and then adjust the dampers until you have your desired temperature. You can then proceed to cook your food.
Kamado grills are designed to maintain a set temperature for a long period of time. You can fire it up, bring it to your desire temperature and walk away until your meal is ready to serve. This is why they are regarded as the best backyard pizza and bread ovens. The domed sides of the oven absorb the heat and radiate it back to the food. This allows pizza and breads to cook evenly.
Lower temperatures in the 225-250F degree range are optimal for smoking, while higher temperatures in the 300-450F degree range are often better for grilling. Cooking foods such as pizza will require extreme temperatures ranging above 600F degrees. As you continue to use your kamado grill, you will gain a better understanding of how to achieve various temperatures. It is true what they say: practice makes perfect.
Since these units are so well insulted, they are generally unaffected by cold weather. This makes them ideal for people who live in cold climates and want to cook outdoors in the winter.
Round vs. Oval Kamado Grills
There are two main types of kamado grill shapes: oval shaped and round units. Most kamado grills on the market are round, but most kamado grilling experts recommend the oval shape for maximum versatility, like those found from Primo Grills. This is because the oval shape allows you to employ the “two zone system” while you grill. For example, on a regular gas grill, you can choose which burners to turn on. This allows you to cook some food on direct heat, while cooking some food on indirect heat.
On a kamado grill, this same technique is done by placing coals on one side of the grill. On an oval shaped grill, you can easily set it up for two zone grilling. However, round kamados prevent you from doing so, which can limit the flexibility in your cooking, though aftermarket accessories have largely mitigated this issue, like the Divide and Conquer system from Kamado Joe. This is good for searing a steak and then slowly cooking it to perfection, or grilling one type of meat while smoking another.
The Kamado Grill Brands and Review Roundup
Choosing the right brand boils down to your personal needs. First of all, you need to consider budget and what you’re comfortable spending. It’s also important to do some research ahead of time. In this market, price tags don’t always dictate the best quality, but they may not justify their premium, either. Each brand offers its own unique features to create a different grilling experience.
Once you begin searching for a Kamado style grill, you’ll likely be bombarded with a few of the major brands. Although a handful of manufacturers tend to rule over the kamado grilling market, there are a number of lesser known competitors that offer a great product. One of the most popular brands that you’ll find hogging most of the market share is the Big Green Egg company.
Big Green Egg
Yup, that silly name is actually one of the most popular kamado grilling manufacturers. The Big Green Egg company was also one of the first to bring this Japanese technology to America. The company’s founder, Ed Fisher, discovered the cooking unit while travelling Asia as a Navy engineer. He began importing the grills and selling them to the American market. After tweaking the design to increase their durability, Fisher began manufacturing the units in North America.
Although years have passed, Big Green Egg continues to be one of the most popular brands today. It’s even prompted a cult-like following of “eggheads” who swear by the company’s quality reputation. Although Big Green Egg makes a great product, it’s one of the most expensive on the market and doesn’t play nice with the wallets of most entry-level cookers.
Large Big Green Egg Review
The Big Green Egg company is a monster on the kamado grill style market. For years, they’ve dominated the industry with their unique “green egg” design. Each model is built with similar construction. The variance between models is largely due to size and the type of cooking accessories they can use. The Large Big Green Egg is by far their most popular cooker. It is designed to handle the needs of most families, with a little extra space to accommodate guests as well.
- Easy to Light: Every Big Green Egg has been designed to allow air to circulate efficiently throughout. Combined with their top quality lump charcoal, this model is pretty easy to light up.
- Precise Temperature Control: Using the company’s patented air flow systems, you’re given complete control of the temperature. They have combined this system with a premium temperature gauge. You can ensure you’re grilling at the perfect temperate with these precise readings.
- Durability: The Big Green Egg company uses top quality ceramics in the construction of their grills. This ensures that the “eggs” will not crack or deteriorate after extended use.
- Great Fuel Efficiency: The design of this model maintains the internal temperature and prevents heat loss. Not only does this improve the quality of your cooking, it also uses significantly less charcoal than a comparable sized grill. Once you are done cooking, you can close up any vents to prevent the remaining charcoal from burning and going to waste.
What We Liked
The Big Green Egg Company has dominated the market with good reason. The careful construction and durability is noticeable as soon as you open it from the package. It is very easy to control the temperature as you use this cooker. It also has one of the most reliable temperature gauges I have ever seen. This level of accuracy makes it incredibly easy to cook great tasting meats that retain their juiciness.
What to Look Out For
Price is the real kicker when it comes to any Big Green Egg model. The Large unit is quite a bit smaller than grills of comparable price. It only has 262 square inches of cooking area. You get more than double the space with a cheaper alternative like the Vision Grills kamado cooker. This company is also big on upsells and offers a long line of accessories. Depending on where you buy the unit, you may have to purchase a grilling table since the package generally only comes with the cooking oven. Rolling stands and even shelves are after-market accessories. They can end up adding hundreds to to the total bill.
I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a top notch kamado grilling system. It really is! But when it comes to investing in a Big Green Egg model, honestly, most of your money is paying for the name. There was a time where the market was scarce, and kamado style grills were limited. However, new technology and innovation has forced more competition into the arena. If you’ve got the budget for a Big Green Egg, you can get the same reliability, great tasting meals, and even more cooking space, by opting for a Vision Grills or even a Kamado Joe model.
Big Green Egg Prices and Models
|Product Picture||Product Name||Price||Cooking Area||Grate Diameter||Weight|
|Big Green Egg XXL||$3,999||660 sq in||29 in||470 lbs|
|Big Green Egg XL||$1,199||452 sq in||24 in||219 lbs|
|Big Green Egg Large||$849||262 sq in||18.25 in||162 lbs|
|Big Green Egg Medium||$659||177 sq in||15 in||113 lbs|
|Big Green Egg Mini Max||$599||133 sq in||13 in||80 lbs|
|Big Green Egg Small||$559||133 sq in||13 in||90 lbs|
|Big Green Egg Mini||$399||79 sq in||10 in||36 lbs|
Kamado Joe is one of Big Green Egg’s largest competitors. Highly regarded for their innovation, their cooking units generally offer quality products at a reasonable price, especially compared to Big Green Egg products. They are well known for their “divide and conquer” cooking system that allows you to cook via direct or indirect heat on a round kamado.
Kamado Joe Classic
Kamado Joe has been a strong competitor in threatening the Big Green Egg company’s kamado grill market share. The Kamado Joe KJ23RH Classic Joe Grill is good reason why. This cooker aims to set a higher standard on the craftsmanship of kamado style grills. It features Kamado Joe’s innovative “Divide and Conquer” cooking system to provide added versatility. It also boasts a large amount of cooking space for preparing bigger meals. For the price, it also comes with shelves, a stand with wheels, and useful accessories.
- Divide and Conquer Flexible Cooking System: This cooking system is unique to the Kamado Joe line. This design allows you to create different heat zones. You can partially block off heat so that you can cook with indirect heat and open flame at the same time.
- Expanded Cooking Space: This grill features a multi-level layout so you can avoid overcrowding. Upon opening, the grill space is 254 square inches. However, thanks to the tiered grate system, you can expand your cooking space up to 660 square inches. This makes it easier to cook your meats alongside your vegetable and other sides all at once.
- Patented Slide Out Ash Drawer: With other kamado grill cookers, you generally have to sweep out the ash that collects below the fire box. Kamado Joe has revolutionized this small task by adding a drawer that collects the ash, and can be emptied with ease.
- Thick Walled, Heat Resistant Shell: The exterior is crafted with thick materials to lock in smoke and moisture. Not only does this improve the quality of your food, its premium insulation also allows you to cook in low temperatures. This is a great grill if you want to cook year round.
What We Liked
It’s hard to use a Kamado Joe grill and not be impressed by their Divide and Conquer cooking system. Expanding up to an impressive 660 square inches of cooking space, you can easily entertain a large dinner party. This kind of innovation is difficult to find on any other grilling system out of the box. It is also easy to bring this grill up to high temperatures that exceed 600F degrees. As a result, it does a wonderful job of baking homemade pizzas and searing steaks.
What to Look Out For
This grill is very heavy, so it is not ideal for anyone who will need to move it around. You will definitely need at least two people to assemble it as well. Although I haven’t run into this personally, there have been a few reports of poor quality control from the company, but Kamado Joe is quick to make things right. However, most Kamado Joe owners are quite thrilled with their grills, and the Kamado Grille restaurant uses Kamado Joe in their kitchen, so you know they’ve got to be reliable.
This is an excellent grill with a cooking system that makes it difficult to compare to other models as far as innovation. Whether the Kamado Joe model is right for you really depends on how much value you place on the bells and whistles. Yes, the Divide and Conquer system makes it very easy and efficient to cook a large meal. Yes, there’s an entire restaurant, mentioned earlier in this article, that uses them every day to cook for customers. However, if you are only looking for a basic grill that simply “does the job” then you can save yourself some money by opting for a more affordable option like the Pit Boss cooker. The Kamado Joe, however, is definitely one of the best premium kamado grills for the money.
Kamado Joe KJ23RH Classic Joe Grill, 18", Red
- Premium 18" Ceramic Grill with Sturdy Cart, Locking Wheels
- Divide and Conquer Flexible Cooking System Included
- Patented Slide-Out Ash Drawer
- Ash Tool and Grate Gripper Included
- Best Built, Most Versatile, Best Warranty
BEST BUILT, Flat out the best ceramic grill on the planet! That may be a bold statement, but we invite you to look under the hood and see for yourself! If you compare Kamado Joe Ceramic Grill with other ceramic grills on the market, you'll soon recognize that Kamado Joe's the best built grill on the market and that fit and finish are second to none! But there's a lot more to a Kamado Joe grill than meets the eye. MOST VERSATILE. We may call Kamado Joe a grill, but it's really that and a whole lot more. A key advantage of Kamado Joe's ceramic vessel is its ability to insulate. Not only does this require less total heat for cooking, it also lets you cook at significantly higher temperatures or at very low temperatures for a significantly longer time. Combine this with the ability to not only control, but fine-tune temperature, and you get a grill that is extremely versatile. Grill, Smoke, Sear, Bake. BEST WARRANTY. We back them like we build them. Boldly and better than anyone else!...
Pit Boss offers a line of pellet smokers and accessories, and has recently begun dipping into the kamado business. Known for offering affordable prices, the quality of Pit Boss products is also quite good. If you’re looking for a great deal, this is generally the way to go. However, once you use a Pit Boss grill, it is usually pretty easy to see where they have optimized their designs to keep their costs down.
Pit Boss K22
The Pit Boss 71220 Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker is the perfect gift for an aspiring chef. It combines quality and versatility to produce delicious barbecue. It’s an all-in-one charcoal cooker that will prepare just about anything you throw at it. This model also offers a large amount of cooking space for the price. True to the Pit Boss brand, this cooker combines affordability with a host of features.
- Two-tiered Stainless Steel Cooking Grates: This model maximizes your grilling space with it’s two-tiered layout. The upper grate can be flipped out of the way to accommodate any cooking configuration you desire. This design gives you a generous 567 square inches of cooking surface to work with.
- Thick Ceramic Build: With thick ceramic walls, this cooker is great for maintaining the perfect internal temperature. It radiates the heat into your food to lock in moisture and intensify the flavor.
- Cast Iron Calibrated Damper: The easy to use damper system makes controlling the temperature a simple process that’s beginner friendly. Using this system, you can set your desired temperature to slow smoke meats, grill burgers, sear a steak or even bake a pizza.
- Large Exterior Thermometer: You can monitor your meal with ease thanks to the large thermometer on the outside of the grill.- Dual folding shelves: This cooker features two wooden shelves to hold your food and cooking utensils with ease. When you’re finished cooking, you can fold down the shelves for compact storage.
What We Liked
This grill provides a great quality model for the price. It has many of the features of more expensive cookers, without needing to break the bank. Assembly is quite easy thanks to a simple instruction manual. The parts are a bit heavy, however, so you may need a second person to help with putting it together. I was also a big fan of the two-tiered cooking system that allows you to cook larger meals.
What to Look Out For
The thermometer on this model is a bit iffy at the best of times. I found I couldn’t always trust the reading. However, it was easy to swap out the thermometer for a better quality reading. It’s a slight inconvenience but still much cheaper than buying a Big Green Egg! There have also been some reports of the bottom damper not fitting tight enough for an air tight seal. You can fix this fairly cheaply with a little felt gasket. Another slight inconvenience. But overall, these fixes are minor in comparison to the savings on this model.
I was particularly impressed with the sturdiness of the build. The Pit Boss brand has come under fire for cutting corners;, however, I found the durability of this cooker to be right in line with the price. It’s definitely a step up from the Char-Griller entry level model as far as quality goes. If you’re looking for an entry-level grill that’s built to last, this is an excellent option. It’s a pain to have to swap the thermometer and fix the bottom damper, but these were both minor issues, and now the grill runs perfectly.
Pit Boss 71220 Kamado BBQ Ceramic Grill Cooker, 22"
- Featuring a heavy ceramic body the kamado is the ideal environment for efficiently burning charcoal
- The cast iron top tamper gives you full control over air flow allowing you to set the perfect cooking temperature
- The solid bamboo side shelves are sturdy and fold down for easy storage
- Dual tier cooking grates provide even more space to make the most of the encapsulated heat
The Pit Boss Kamado charcoal ceramic cooker makes it easy for any aspiring outdoor chef to produce "World Class BBQ Your Own Backyard". You will marvel at the quality, versatility and beauty of this modernized version of an ancient Asian cooker. Designed and built to last but priced to fit anyone's budget, the Pit Boss Kamado is an all-in-one charcoal cooker with the versatility to perfectly cook just about anything in any way. Abundant and naturally produced charcoal heat is encapsulated in the kamado's thick ceramic walls, and radiates into your food, locking in moisture and enhancing the flavor and thanks to the thermal efficiencies, you will maximize the burn efficiencies of each lump of charcoal. Using the calibrated cooking vents for superior temperature control, you can slow smoke ribs, bake pizza, roast turkey, grill burgers, char vegetables, or sear your steak, just like any world class chef or pit master. The Pit Boss Kamado provides an impressive 567sq inches of 2 tier...
Like Pit Boss, Char Griller is another budget friendly company. Entry level cookers are often drawn to this line for the affordable prices. Like their Pit Boss competitor, you usually get what you pay for. The Akorn Grill (click to read our expanded review) is probably the most popular kamado grill on the market today, with wide-spread availability, a long line of accessories, and extremely low price. Char Griller was able to reduce costs by building the Akorn Grill Kamado Kooker with triple-walled, insulated steel construction, and a ceramic interior coating, which cuts down on the cost and weight of full-ceramic designs. It also means it’s much more durable, as it will not crack.
Char Griller Akorn Grill Kamado Kooker
The Char-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker takes an ancient cooking technique and infuses it with 21st century innovation. Unlike traditional cookers, the Kamado Kooker combines durability and convenience. It is also much lighter than it’s predecessors that were made of heavy ceramic. However, despite its affordable pricepoint, the Kamado Kooker is a fair quality grill that will cook just about anything from burgers to pizza.
- Easy temperature control: This model features top and bottom adjustable dampers. This creates an even air flow in and out of the grill to maintain your desired temperature. This design is also fuel efficient to use less charcoal while you grill.
- Solid Build for Maximum Durability: The Kamado Kooker is manufactured with 22 gauge steel that is designed to last. The exterior is finished with powder coated steel, while the interior features a porcelain coated steel.
- Triple Wall Insulation: You can easy control and maintain the heat thanks to this model’s triple walled design. This extra insulation allows you to maintain temperatures from 200-700F degrees. It also encourages a nice, even cook for every meal.
- Grilling Space: The Kamado Kooker has 302 square inches of grill space. In addition, it also contains a 135 square inch removable warming rack.
- Easy Mobility: Wheels are installed on each leg so you can easily move the grill from one location to another. The wheels also feature a locking mechanism to keep the unit steady while you cook.
What We Liked
The Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker offers quality kamado grilling at a fraction of the cost of more expensive models. It’s design allows for those who don’t have a ton of experience with this style of grill. It takes relatively little practice to get used to the temperature control. It is also very easy to assemble, which means you can get up and running fairly quickly.
What to Look Out For
The Char-Griller brand does tend to be less expensive than its competitors, so you may notice some quality loss in comparison. Hey – you get what you pay for right? I’m yet to notice this, but some users have complained that the model rusted and broke after only a year or two. You can combat this pretty easily by purchasing a proper grill cover to protect it from the elements. You should also be cautious with the lid. There are a handful of reports that state the latch has broken. Be careful not to slam the lid down to prevent this from happening.
Like I said, you get what you pay for. This model isn’t as fancy as some of the more expensive kamado cookers on the market. However, if you’re looking for an entry level model that cooks a great meal, you’ll be more than satisfied with this product. As I mentioned, take care to protect the grill and you will get a ton of use out of it. After you’ve eaten your first meal on this cooker, you won’t even notice that you saved a few bucks on the cost. The bottom line is this, this grill’s price is getting into the territory of traditional charcoal grills, and in that frame of reference, we’d recommend this grill hands down due to its kamado functionality. Read Full Review
Char-Griller 16620 Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker, Black
- 314 square inches of primary cooking space, warming rack 133 square inches for a total of 447 square inches
- Insulated design means more heat uses less charcoal and less airflow means insulated heat for juicy meat
- Cooking surface is cast iron, Body is constructed of 22 gauge steel, Exterior finish is powder coated steel, Interior finish is porcelain coated steel
- Cart is constructed of tubular steel w/rubber wheels, locking caster on front, Indexed damper is numbered so you can note the position of the damper
- Features Locking Lid, 2 folding black metal shelves, Easy dump ash pan, Double wall insulation, Heat gauge
Kamado style cooking comes from ancient cooking methods that used large clay ovens for insulation. Kamados of recent years are made of heavy ceramics. Char-Griller has developed this product for Kamado style cooking using innovative technology to make it more durable, convenient, affordable and lighter weight than traditional ceramic Kamados. This Kamado Kooker can cook anything from burgers to fish to ribs to pizza. Truly the best food you will ever cook on a grill! Easy to assemble.
One of the stand outs emerging from the growing kamado grill crowd is Vision Grills. Expert grillers have noted that this is a company to watch for due to their innovative designs. Most notable is their unique ProZone system. This system features a slide out insert that includes a dual damper intake, electric fire starter and an ash removal tray.
Vision Grills Professional C-Series
The Vision Grills company burst onto the kamado grill scene, and has made quite a splash. With cookers on the market like their Professional C-Series, it’s no wonder they are capturing a fair share of the market. They’ve pushed the design of traditional cookers with new innovation. Their design gives the chef more control than ever before, and significantly decreases the learning curve of classic kamado style grills. This makes the Vision Grills model an ideal choice for those who are new to outdoor cooking, or people who are looking for a hassle free experience.
- Patented ProZone system: Includes an electric starter port that makes lighting your cooker much easier than the manual techniques required by other kamado grills. It also features dedicated smoking and grilling knobs that give you additional control to achieve your desired temperature. You can also move from low to extremely high temperates quickly. The ProZone system is designed to make a no fuss grilling experience that is user friendly.
- Versatile Grilling Area: The Vision Grills model features a two level, dual flip cooking grate that expands to 604 square inches of cooking area. This design allows you to easily cook on both direct and indirect heat.
- Heavy Duty, All Season Ceramic Exterior and Firebowl: This unit is manufactured from high quality metals for improved durability. It also provides excellent heat retention so you can cook all year long, even in cold temperatures.
- 100% Natural Lava Stone: The lava stone creates an optimal indirect heating environment. This is ideal for maintaining the perfect temperature for smoking and baking.
- Includes a vinyl grill cover to protect your cooker from the elements and extend the grill’s lifespan.
What We Liked
This grill eliminates some of the most common complaints from kamado grill users. It’s electric starter makes lighting your cooker incredibly easy. Before this technology, you had to mess around with different techniques to light your cooker. This model also features calibrated cooking vents. This gives you a lot more control over the temperature, and majorly decreases the learning curve of using a kamado style grill. This is one of the most beginner-friendly models I’ve seen so far.
What to Look Out For
Although the quality and construction of the Professional C-Series grill is, for the most part, top notch, there have been a handful of complaints. Some users have complained about chips in the ceramic and manufacturing errors that allow heat to escape. Vision Grills offers a solid warranty and great customer service in case you do run into issues.
The patented ProZone system really pushes the Vision Grill models ahead of the pack. A lot of people who are new to kamado style cooking often express frustration with the learning curve. Many traditional models require some practice to learn how to achieve certain temperatures. The team at Vision Grills has been careful in their design to combat these issues. Although this unit is more expensive that some of your entry level models, like the Char-Griller, the hassle free design more than justifies the extra investment.
Vision Grills CF1F1 Pro Kamado BBQ Bundle
- Ability to move between temperatures of 200Degree and 700Degree+ in minutes
- Superior heat retention creates more eco-friendly coal consumption and reduced ash
- The self contained cooking environment eliminates hot spots and flare ups
- Ceramic construction eliminates exterior contact burn risk and allows for year-round grilling from negative 30Degree to over 100Degree weather
- 596 square Inch of grill space
Grill, sear or even smoke within minutes. - Dual calibrated bottom draft knobs combined with the top calibrated draft vent provides the ability to move between temperatures of 200Degree and 700Degree+ in minutes. Thick ceramic construction and design delivers a convection cooking environment for even cooking, superior temperature control and heat retention. Superior heat retention creates more eco-friendly coal consumption and reduced ash. The self contained cooking environment eliminates hot spots and flare ups. The patent pending Vision Grills Kamado Pro was developed to offer contemporary design, color and size to fit in any setting. Ceramic construction eliminates exterior contact burn risk and allows for year-round grilling from negative 30Degree to over 100Degree weather. Non-breakable parts eliminate the hassle of gas grills including; corrosion of burners, inoperable electronic igniters', non-electric starters and inconsistent flame controls. The patent pending Vision...
Primo Grills is quickly taking over some market share as well. It’s known for manufacturing high quality, American made kamado style grills. They feature the oval shaped design that allows two zone grilling, and flexibility in your meal prep. Among the professional barbecuing community, this company holds high marks for their quality and performance.
The Primo brand is extremely proud of its “made in the USA” label, and we can’t blame them. It’s one of the few premium kamado grills that is manufactured on American soil. The Primo 775 LG 300 is often regarded for its oval shape that makes cooking long foods, like a brisket, much easier.
Similar to the Divide and Conquer design of the Kamado Joe models, the Primo cooker also allows you to cook using direct or indirect heat. However, its distinct oval shape gives you much more control over the direct heat, which allows you to grill more meat on one side, and at the same time roast, bake, or smoke more food on the other.
If one kamado grill is worth the premium price, this may be it.
- Distinct Oval Shaped Design: The oval shape of this grill gives you additional flexibility. You can easily swap between grilling on direct or indirect heat. In addition, the high sitting lid makes it easy to cook larger pieces of meat such as whole chickens or turkeys. This unique shape also helps to retain the heat and maintain a consistent temperature while you cook.
- Built with Primo Super Ceramics: The Primo grill was built with premium grade ceramics. It is also coated with a protective, lead-free and scratch resistant porcelain glaze.
- Expandable Cooking Area: The Primo offers a fair amount of cooking space at 300 square inches. Using their rack system, you can expand the surface area to 495 square inches.
- Easy Life and Lock Hinge System: This system keeps the lid in place while it is raised. It also features a felt gasket to soften the close of the lid. This protects your cooker while opening and closing the lid.
What We Liked
Primo offers a solid grilling system to the kamado grill market. Their American-made pride is evident in the quality of their cooking units. The oval shaped design is definitely a stand out. The high sitting lid makes it easy when you’re trying to cook a large turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. It also holds its temperature really well, and makes it easy to create a hot and cool zone while you are cooking. The results speak for themselves.
What to Look Out For
With only 495 square inches of cooking space, the Primo 775 Oval grill has a pretty small surface area in comparison to models in its price class. You also have to purchase the grilling stand separately if you don’t already have one. It is really important that you place this grill on a steady grilling surface as it can tip over fairly easily. You can purchase heat safe ceramic feet separately to help stabilize the unit.
As far as kamado grills go, Primo definitely holds their own as the competition in this market increases. This is a great quality grill that produces consistent results. The oval shape design is unique, and makes it the perfect choice for someone who needs the extra lid space. However, the Primo grill carries a steep price tag, coming in a bit higher than Big Green Egg prices. When you consider that you also have to purchase a grilling stand, this turns into a big investment. If you are going to spend this kind of money on a grill, you’d likely be better off choosing another high end model like the Kamado Joe. In this price range, you can get a much bigger grilling space and similar durability.
Primo 775 Oval Grill, Large
- Unique oval shape opens the door to diverse cooking options
- SuperCeramic is protected by a lead-free and scratch-resistant glaze
- Ceramic technology and porcelain-coated cooking grates ensure even heating across the entire grill surface
- Primo has one of the highest sitting lids on the market
- Proudly Made in the USA
Primo Ceramic Charcoal Smoker Grill - Oval Large. 775. Kamado Grills. Choose Primo and experience the best in kamado style charcoal cooking. The distinct shape of the Oval Large allows you to cook using direct or indirect heat, expanding your grilling options unlike any other kamado-style grill. This grill features easy to clean and reversible porcelain-coated cooking grates, as well as one of the highest sitting lids which is great for cooking whole chickens or turkeys. This kamado style grill is made in the USA, unlike its competition and constructed with premium grade Primo SuperCeramics and coated with a protective, lead-free and scratch-resistant porcelain glaze. The patented Primo Oval Large efficiently retains and evenly distributes heat across the 305 square Inch of cooking surface, perfect for maintaining a consistent temperature. Smoke meat at temperatures as low as 180 degrees Fahrenheit, or turn up the heat to more than 500 degrees Fahrenheit for searing and grilling....
Are Big Green Eggs Prices Justified?
With a long history behind them, the Big Green Egg company has worked tirelessly to secure their position as an industry leader. Anyone who has researched kamado style grills is well aware of their popularity – even their competitors! They’ve inspired a cult like following of “eggheads” and even hold annual events called “eggfests” across the world. However, amongst all this noise is a growing market of kamado style grills. With so many options available, many consumers are left wondering whether Big Green Egg is really worth the premium that they charge.
First, you have to consider the reason behind the company’s high price tag. It’s a well-known marketing tactic that consumers associate price with quality. By out-pricing your competitors, you immediately become the top dog in the eyes of a potential customer. With a dozen other kamado grills on the market, a higher price tag is an easy way to scream, “Hey! I’m the best one here!”
Green Egg Availability
The Big Green Egg company doesn’t stop there either. People are notorious for wanting what they can’t have, which is why the company has used a host of tactics to limit the availability of their product. You will be hard pressed to find a Big Green Egg product through big time retailers such as Home Depot, or even Amazon. Their products are exclusively available through their handpicked network of authorized dealers and specialized retailers, which means a not-insignificant portion of the price tag is going to the reseller, instead of staying in your wallet. Although Big Green Egg offers a great quality product, their high price tag doesn’t necessarily mean that they are better than more affordable options.
Accessories Drive Up Costs
Now, if you’ve managed to wrap your head around the Big Green Egg prices, you should know that it won’t stop there. The Big Green Egg kamado grill only comes with the cooking unit. If you want a grilling stand or even shelves, you will have to purchase these separately and factor them into your budget. Comparable grills of similar quality and price, such as the Vision Grills or Kamado Joe include these essentials in their initial cost.
While the Big Green Egg models tend to carry a hefty price tag, they aren’t entirely unjustified in their markup. With years of manufacturing experience, this company has continued to improve their grills. Today, they produce one of the most durable models on the market. They have taken considerable care to ensure that their grills are high quality, easy to operate and produce flavorful dishes.
Competition is Good
Despite the gold stars that the Big Green Egg company has rightfully earned, the truth is, they aren’t alone in the market anymore. The number of kamado style grills available has greatly expanded. In trying to capture some of the market share, these new companies have worked diligently to create kamado style grills that combine traditional techniques with modern innovation.
If you’ve made the decision to invest in a kamado style grill, you don’t have to empty your wallet on Big Green Egg prices anymore. Companies such as Kamado Joe and Vision Grills have created cookers of comparable quality that produce delicious meals. Char Griller has brought kamad grilling mainstream by building a very affordable and respectable entry-level kamado grill in their Akorn Kamado Kooker product. By not investing in the brand alone, you generally get more for your money as well. As mentioned above, many kamado style grills come with all the essential accessories included. Best of all, you don’t have to sacrifice quality to save a few bucks.
What is the best Kamado-style grill for me?
Kamado Comparison Tool – Drag and Drop
There is no doubt that there are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a kamado style grill. Choosing the right one for you depends on a couple of factors. The first, and probably most important, is budget. You can spend anywhere from a couple hundred to well over a thousand dollars. The variance in price is largely due to brand names. However, the number of features and overall quality of the cooker will also be a factor in the price.
With the immense popularity of the Big Green Egg kamado style grills, this is usually where people start their search. Choosing a Big Green Egg model is a great option if you’re looking for top of the line and you’ve got a ton of money to spend. However, you really don’t need to spend the premium in order to secure a quality cooker. You also don’t have to sacrifice cooking space and accessories in order to squeeze a Big Green Egg model into your budget. There a number of other options that maintain comparable quality and give you a lot more for your money.
A Good Budget Egg Alternative
If you’ve got a strict budget, and the Big Green Egg prices, or you’re just looking for a kamado style grill to get you started, the Akorn Grill by Char-Griller is definitely your best bet. Price wise, it is one of the most affordable options available on the kamado grilling market. One of the biggest standouts about this model, however, is that it still maintains impressive quality.
Provided that you take steps to care for the cooker, you will easily get your money’s worth from this unit. It provides a ton of value. You get the same amount of cooking space as the Large Green Big Egg for less than half the price. The price also includes the steel cart and shelves. Not to mention, the smokey flavor and consistent cooking performance are sure to make your mouth water. All in all, the Char-Griller Akorn kamado style griller will satisfy anyone who is looking for an entry level kamado style grill that produces top quality cooking.
Stepping Up In Quality
If you’re looking to spend a bit more money for a higher end model, the Vision Grills Professional C-Series kamado style grill is the way to go. It retails for about the same price as a Large Big Green Egg. However, you get nearly double the cooking space, all the necessary accessories and comparable durability.
The fact that Vision Grills caters to the consumer also makes them stand out. This grill is one of the most user friendly kamado cookers available. Their patented ProZone system offers headache free grilling, and takes away much of the learning curve associated with traditional models. This makes it easy for you to fully benefit from the versatility that kamado style grills offer.
One of the more popular Green Egg alternatives that we’re seeing rise in demand is the Pit Boss K22. The price is right, the included accessories make it an attractive option, and the build quality is excellent.
Big Green Conclusion
With so many options available to you, it’s important to understand that you don’t have to invest a ton of money to get started. The Big Green Egg models offer a cheeky spin on a traditional grill. However, even budget friendly cookers will still cook a delicious, savoury meal. Good food is really what it’s all about anyway, right?