Kamado grills command interest, if not curious admiration. Whether an intrigued shopper or lucky cookout invitee, most people remember their first one: the peculiar ovoid silhouette, impeccable ceramic finish (alternatively, the resilient metallic shell), and many promises of grilling grandeur. To name a few? Incredible heat retention. Evocative smoky flavor. Remarkable fuel efficiency. Exceptional cooking versatility. As the culmination of thousands of years of earthernware grilling history, the curious kamado grill is a celebration of clay and ceramic cooking.
Big Green Egg remains the biggest name in the kamado world. On the other hand, Kamado Joe proves the fastest-growing and one of the most innovative. Inevitably, these two heavy-hitters are often pitted against one another — not without good reason! Each has carved out a strong reputation for customer service, quality products, and great workmanship. Both brands build a truly outstanding ceramic kamado. If you're in the market for one, we're confident that you'll satisfied with either choice. That said, for all their great similarities? In many ways, they couldn't possibly be more different.
What Are The Available Models?
Model Grill Diameter Big Green EGG 2XL
Big Green EGG XL
Big Green EGG Large
18 1/4 inches
Big Green EGG Medium
Big Green EGG Small
Big Green EGG MiniMax
Big Green EGG Mini
How Do Their Cooking Systems Compare?
Big Green Egg: Less Upfront, Fewer Tricks
Big Green Egg now sells packages that include a kamado base and a few extras, such as a grate lifter, full-moon heat deflector, and lump charcoal; this mostly closes their pricing advantage gap over Kamado Joe. As for the grill itself, it carries basic features: the felt gasket wears down over time, a rain vent cap isn't included, and the spring-assisted dome hinge is a dated design for helping to maneuver such a heavy ceramic lid. Many EGGhead superfans may tell you that where the brand shines brightest is its ample variety of branded accessories — however, the lion's share can't be sold anywhere online. Only authorized physical retailers carry them; if you don't live near one, this can make buying bonus components a hassle.
- Basic one level cooking system included
- Standard felt gasket helps protect the kamado
- Spring-assisted hinge aids in lifting the heavy lid
- Ceramic top vent rain shield sold separately
- EGGSpander cooking system sold separately
Kamado Joe: The Value In Versatility
Kamado Joe wants a griller to have everything they need to get wild as soon as the box arrives. Standard in the core package are the essentials of their Divide and Conquer flexible rack system — modular, half-moon grill components for staggered grilling heights, indirect heating, and fantastic versatility. Extra components of Divide and Conquer are widely available, as are other high-value accessories: these include the Joetisserie add-on and the inventive DoJoe pizza oven attachment. Meanwhile, the kamados themselves represent the latest in innovations — the Air Lift Hinge can hold the heavy lid in an open position and move it with a finger, and the wire mesh gasket won't erode away under normal use anytime soon.
- Multi-level Divide and Conquer Cooking System included
- Variety of high-value, inventive accessories widely available
- Durable wire mesh fiberglass gasket offers a superior airtight seal
- Air Lift Hinge removes up to 96 percent of dome lid weight
- Cast Aluminum Kontrol Tower Top vent provides consistent airflow, stays in position, and prevents rain from entering the grill
What's In The Box?
For this comparison, we scrutinized the base package you can reasonably expect standard with any kamado offered by either brand. Note that while Kamado Joe offers additional features and accessories on their larger sizes, authorized Big Green Egg packages do not change between models.
|Big Green Egg||Kamado Joe|
|Cooking System Levels||1||2 to 3|
|Grates||Stainless steel||Stainless steel (half-moon)|
|Deflector Plates||Ceramic||Ceramic (half-moon)|
|Fire Ring||Ceramic||Stainless steel|
|Fire Pot||Ceramic (single)||Ceramic (multi-panel)|
|Fire Grate||Cast iron (perforated)||Cast iron (perforated)|
|Extra Tools||Grate lifter||Grate lifter, fire poker|
|Top Vent (Cover)||Ceramic chimney cap||Cast aluminum control tower top|
|Bottom Vent (Cover)||Stainless steel door, mesh screen wall||Stainless steel door, removable ash drawer|
|Gasket Material||Felt gasket||Oven-grade mesh gasket|
|Ceramic Lid Hinge||Spring-loaded assisted hinge||Air lift hinge|
|Lid lock||No||Yes (automatic)|
Which Came First: The Kamado or the Egg?
Maybe the best place to end our comparison is, well, the start. Though both companies started during a time of uncertain economic turmoil, their origins differ wildly. What's the story behind Big Green Egg? What added value did Kamado Joe expect to bring the industry? Who founded both companies, and how do their philosophies differ?
Big Green Egg
Though serviceman and businessman Ed Fisher wasn't the first to see the potential of the mushikamado — World War II veterans had him beat by a few decades — he arguably tried the hardest. During the recession of the Mid-70's, he began importing them to his Atlanta, GA storefront to sell by creative word of mouth. Most brands that he sold were traditional green, black, or orange colors; upon entering private manufacturing in the 90's, he painted his green too. Lasting kamado mainstays, and their popularity overall, owe themselves to Ed Fisher's early customer-driven pioneering. Nowadays, we consider Big Green Egg a strong proponent of "do it once, do it right" — the overall package doesn't change all that often anymore. But it sure does speak for itself.
"People come together to cook, and they share their food with each other, along with their recipes and techniques. The Egg fosters a sense of sharing that creates community, and that is what matters to me."
— Ed Fisher, Founder
Atlanta Magazine interview, May 2015
In 2009, during another major recession, Kamado Joe quickly established itself as a top brand intent on building the best ceramic grill you can buy. Driven by a great passion for the lifestyle, co-founders Bobby Brennan and Kerry Coker left behind corporate careers in German manufacturing to realize their dream of "grilling on the Ferrari." Their method? Constant year-after-year innovations to improve cookout quality of life. This kind of endless, feedback-driven experimentation leads the brand to discover clever new ways to nudge the hobby forwards. Never satisfied with "good enough," the folks at Kamado Joe take the fun of the cookout experience seriously — spearheading new features, 10 years later and counting. Personally? We almost hope they never find that Ferarri grill.
"Grilling for me is therapy. It's so much more than enjoying good food... Soon as I strike that match and light that grill, I'm taken to a whole different place."
— Bobby Brennan, Co-Founder
Shire Smokers BBQ interview, May 2017
Fighting the good fight from the start, Big Green Egg is indisputably an excellent charcoal kamado manufacturer; we have a great deal of respect for them. Their track record needs no introduction — decades of success, a passionate fan culture, and a sterling reputation for quality. With that said, Kamado Joe has strongly proven themselves a contender for the kamado crown this past decade. Their overall philosophy similarly speaks for itself: commitment to innovation, incredible value, and industry-shaking ideas brought to execution. We said it at the start — both brands build an outstanding kamado grill, guaranteed to satisfy just about any griller.
If you want a rock-solid ceramic kamado with a strong history of quality — and you're willing to give up a great deal of modern conveniences to have it — then any one of Big Green Egg's grills will make you happy. This assumes, of course, that a store near you has been authorized to deliver their products. However, if you want a truly innovating kamado that redefines the best of the grilling experience? Well, it's hard to ignore the excellent selection of kamados, accessories, and overall incredible versatility that Kamado Joe has on offer, even from opening their base packages.
For any questions about Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, or any kamado out there, our awesome phone center representatives are waiting to answer your call. Give them a ring at 1-877-743-2269.
Shop Kamado Joe
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Divide and Conquer
Split your kamado into separate cooking zones with the Divide and Conquer system. Designed with maximum flexibility in mind, the modular pieces will change your grilling for the better.Shop Divide and Conquer
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