Kamado grills are a combination of a charcoal grill, smoker, and outdoor oven. And Ryan Markowitz says he loves what it does for meats.
“It definitely makes it juicier, things don’t dry out, you can maintain the temperature and everything is just tastier," says Markowitz.
Their airtight design gives them the ability to deliver controlled heat - extremely high for searing, or low and steady for smoking meats. Consumer Reports tested eight kamado grills that you’ll see in your home center, wholesale club or hardware store.
You can pay from $300 to almost $2,000 for one of these grills. There are heavy ceramic models and lighter steel versions. Which ones did best in CR tests ranging from grilling pizzas to slow cooking roasts?
Topping CR’s list: the Kamado Joe Classic II features a spring-assisted lid that makes it easy to lift open. The upper and lower dampers adjust easily, and split racks let you cook at different heights. Testers give it excellent marks for cooking performance. It costs $1,300.
The Vision Kamado Professional also got an excellent score for cooking. It has two lower dampers for fine-tuning temperature. The Vision is $700 and comes in five colors.
For just $400, Char-Broil introduced its first kamado: The Kamander. And it got high marks for cooking, convenience and cleaning. It’s made of double-walled stainless steel with a powder-coated finish. Airflow is controlled with upper and lower dampers. It can get to 1000 degrees, charring pizza crust to perfection.
Consumer Reports advises that no matter what type of grill you buy, be it an egg-style or gas or charcoal, don’t just look it over in the store. Grasp the handle and give it a shake. Open up the shelves, too, and check if the grill feels like it’s built to last. Does it seem like it will be easy to maintain, or do you have to get way underneath it to reach the ash pan? In addition to cooking well, your grill should be a pleasure to use.