Big Green Egg vs. Kamado Joe Grill
A kamado is just the name of a ceramic grill. The BGE, or Big Green Egg, is the older and bigger name in kamado grills. The Kamado Joe started more recently and has been up and coming as the challenger.
BGE: Big Green Egg
The bright colors and styles of the BGE make it a recognizable brand for backyard barbecue parties. The Big Green Egg was founded in 1974. It’s backed by a lifetime BGE warranty, and comes in sizes from 10 to 29”.
The BGE was created from materials that originally were developed in the NASA space program. They worked hard to get the design right and provided a ceramic grill with great heat insulation that can get hotter than most kamado cookers. The BGE has a draft door and vent cap which allows it to control heat exactly to your cooking specifications. The signature green color quickly became iconic for the BGE.
Over the last 40ish years, the BGE has become one of the biggest producers of kamado grills in the world. The company has produced a ton of different BGE’s, but also creates a variety of recipes, podcasts, television, and accessories to support grilling.
The BGE comes standard with the actual egg, a solid interior and exterior with a steel grid, and an external thermometer. There are plenty of other accessories that you can get for the BGE, which makes it great for all kinds of cuts of beef.
The BGE works best with natural lump coal, and they recommend that you don’t use lighter fluid. Lighter fluid can get the chemicals onto your food--so they offer some charcoal starters or electric starters to make things easy. If you have put some lighter fluid in the BGE, it’s recommended that you heat it to about 500 degrees to burn off the fluid.
The temperature is controlled with the airflow in the BGE. By regulating the lower door and the top vent, you can raise the airflow by increasing the temperature. If the charcoal is damp, the egg won’t get to the highest temperature. If the air holes get clogged with ash over time then the air won’t circulate as much and the temperature will remain lower.
Purchasing From Authorized Dealers
The BGE is not sold online, which is a huge drawback for a ton of people. You can’t simply fire up the BGE website and purchase a Big Green Egg. The Kamado Joe, on the other hand, can be purchased online.
The Kamado Joe popped up around 2009 and is one of the faster-growing names in the ceramic grill space. It is also backed by a lifetime warranty, and comes in sizes from 16 to 24”.
The flexibility of the Kamado Joe allows you to cook standard proteins, but also makes it easy to branch out to other things that you never thought to grill. They use a patented divide and conquer cooking system that uses multiple levels and half racks to get different foods cooked at different temperatures. A complex mesh fiberglass gasket allows you to get an airtight seal to grill at a really high temperature. There is a vent at the top that allows you to run a really consistent flow of air, circulating temperature really well.
The top of the vent allows you to get airflow but also prevents rain from coming into the grill because of the position. This is great for times when it starts raining but you still want to start grilling!
The airlift hinge on top is probably the piece of the Kamado Joe that sets it apart from all of the other kamado grills on the market. The airlift hinge is a different kind of grill hinge, which reduces the total weight of the grill dome. The cooking system has multiple levels, and the ceramic construction helps prevent rust.
The Kamado Joe Grill comes with a variety of included accessories that make it easy to start grilling. You can use half-moon heat deflectors to keep yourself safe while grilling over direct heat. It comes with an ash tool that you can use to easily clean out the ash and the hot coals. The 304 stainless steel gripper lets you quickly adjust really hot grill grates.
Unlike the BGE, the Kamado Joe can be purchased online from a variety of sellers, including Amazon. You can load up on Kamado Joe grills and accessories directly on the internet. This can be a huge advantage that Kamado Joe has if you simply want to get a grill shipped to your house!
The top air vent controls the temperature of the whole grill. The Kamado Joe uses an aluminum upper vent to prevent rusting. It has a smaller valve for airflow and a bigger hole to help the air move. The BGE uses cast iron for the grill vent, and this means that it can rust on the outside. But cast iron doesn’t rust or damage down to the middle! So it’s easy to clean the air vent off the top of the grill.
The Kamado Joe has a mechanism in the hinge that allows it to slowly pop open when you pop the lid up. With the BGE, some springs balance out the lid, but it’s still much heavier than the Kamado Joe hinge.This means that the lid of the BGE is tougher to get open, and you’ll have to be careful to lower the lid back to the grill.
The BGE requires a metal ash container to make sure that the ash can be easily taken out and removed. Cleaning that ash is really easy. When you take the ash out of the Kamado Joe, there’s an ash drawer that has to be taken out and put back in.
Cleaning out the ash is always a pain in the ash. But things are a bit easier if you have the right can designed specifically for the large Big Green Egg! It’s a quick, easy way to clean out the grill.
The Kamado Joe features multiple racks, and also comes with a tool for moving around the hot racks. The BGE itself has only grilling grates that are at a single height. You can move the grates and plates to change the height of the food a little bit, but there is less flexibility.
The BGE is the classic grill model that packs the branding and style. The Kamado Joe is a bit sleeker and opens easier (though it’s still heavy!). Both grills sell certain parts online, but the BGE itself and many of its main accessories can only be purchased through local dealers. This means that if you are going to grab up accessories for the BGE; like a grill cover, for example; you’ve got to do it in person. But the Kamado, on the other hand, sells a bunch of parts through online dealers and through the internet.
The Kamado Joe gets delivered straight to your door with a wooden box to prevent things from getting damaged. If the BGE is delivered to your house from a dealer, it comes in a normal cardboard box and can be a bit more difficult to assemble.