Do you want that true barbecue taste in your steaks? Ceramic grills are versatile outdoor cookers that are just the best for smoky barbecue flavor. They are also great for other things.
The benefits and features do include smoking and grilling of bulk meats and vegetables and the promise of mouthwatering flavor and tenderness. But, they are also perfect for pizza and bread making.
People just love loading up the grill on a weekend!
A ceramic egg grill is another name given to these because of their oval shape.
The quality features of these ceramic outdoor cookers come at a price. But, if you’re wanting to know the best ceramic grill for the money, read on.
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Kamado, ceramic grill guide
In this guide, I compare the features of popular ceramic charcoal grills. The article includes ceramic smoker grill reviews. I also cover what to look for in any ‘egg’ ceramic grill, some best cheap ceramic grill options, and finish with care and cleaning tips.
What is a kamado?
Originating in Asia as a cooking vessel of mud or clay, fired by stones, wood, or coal, a kamado is what we know today as a ceramic egg-shaped BBQ grill that uses charcoal for cooking outdoor meals. Kamado is a Japanese-derived word for stove or cooking range. These cooking vessels came from China and eventually saw their way to Korea and Japan, and then to the west…
The kamado first came to the US in 1970, imported by an American serviceman and entrepreneur, Ed Fisher, who recalled how great the food tasted when cooked in a kamado while he was in Japan in the 1950s. Ed went on to found The Big Green Egg Company.
The beauty of charcoal is it is efficient and ‘clean’ in flavor contribution.
Benefits of ceramic grills
More than anything, the food cooked on a gas barbecue cannot compare as there is no smoke that yields that the true ‘barbecue flavor’. Then there are these…
- Reduced risk of contact burns from the exterior compared to metal
- Works well outdoors year round
- Heat retention is good
- Enhances food with smokey flavor
- Food remains juicy – no drying out
Best ceramic grills
In the best ceramic grills, you can choose to slow cook a rack of ribs at 230°F for four hours or bake a pizza at 500°F for 20 minutes in a ceramic barbecue grill.
What to look for
Decide whether you want to spend the money on a fully ceramic kamado or opt for the cheaper types made of metal.
What to look for in the best egg ceramic grills: two draft doors (or vents). The bottom horizontal sliding door of the ceramic grill works together with the top swiveling door to regulate the updraft and flow of air. This allows you to adjust the temperature of the cooker.
Charcoal grills: Charcoal is a fairly efficient cooking fuel. Many consider charcoal grills as the best for flavor enhancement since it produces a distinct smoky grilled taste. Lump charcoal enhances the smoky aromas and flavors of the food the strongest.
Ceramic grill reviews
If you’re looking for the best ceramic grill for the money…Let’s start with a review of the classic, the Big Green Egg.
American serviceman and entrepreneur Ed Fisher, was amazed at how much better the food tasted and he began to import them sensing that there might be an interest back home. When Ed opened the first Big Green Egg store in Atlanta in 1974, he sold a simple clay cooker based on the same design and materials that had been used thousands of years ago.History of the Big Green Egg, Big Green Egg 2020
The Big Green Egg Ceramic Grill
The Big Green Egg is cast from ceramics that are designed to reflect heat and reach temperatures of up to 650 °C (1,202 °F). It is said that this high-quality ceramic was initially developed by NASA for their rocket heat-shields.
Made in North America, this green ceramic grill uses lump wood charcoal, which is best as charcoal ceramic grill briquettes can have additives that hurt the flavor of the food.
Big Green Eggs are perfect as charcoal barbecues for smoking or grilling. With the right accessories, you can even bake bread or cook a pizza. They come in seven sizes with the largest being able to cook 35-40 burgers or 14-16 whole chickens.
The MiniMax is portable and an ideal sized ceramic BBQ grill for camping, poolside, and is perfect for table placement. This is a relatively small ceramic grill, but still, it is large enough to cook a 12-pound turkey, 4 burgers, 2 steaks, and a rack of rib.
Cons: The price for the size of this portable ceramic kamado grill.
The Pit Boss Ceramic Grill
Here we have the Pit Boss ceramic BBQ grill, kamado style. It is a ceramic smoker grill with upper and lower cooking vents. The thick ceramic body ensures good heat retention.
Lump charcoal is best for this cooker.
It has a large damper for airflow control and two-tier stainless steel cooking racks.
There is roomy cooking space.
As most Pit Boss ceramic grill reviews will tell you, this grill is a great value option when compared to the more pricier brands.
Cons: Brackets for mounting the side tables aren’t the best quality metal.
Vision Ceramic Grill
This Kamado pro ceramic charcoal grill is said to heat rapidly, with an expected temperature rise of 500 degrees, from 200 to 700 ºF, in minutes.
This grill features an ash drawer and vent dials that are all in one. The C-Series seen here has an integrated smoker. Compare this to the S-Series, which is a cheaper charcoal grill without this feature.
The Vision kamado ceramic charcoal comes with a lifetime warranty on all ceramic parts and 5 years for metal parts.
Cons: The side shelves on this may not last the life of the grill. Minor air leaks through ash drawer and vent dials.
Kamado Joe Ceramic Grill
This Classic I Charcoal Grill, 18 inch, in blaze red, has multiple levels and a half-moon design to make the most of its smaller sizes. So you can cook food to please everyone or to cover different courses., For each of these levels you can choose different temperatures.
This ceramic grill is designed for cooking that caters for different tastes or dishes when having friends or family get-togethers.
You can do your smoking at 225 ºF while searing at 750ºF as it can handle a range of cooking temperatures.
It also has a thick ceramic shell with a glazed exterior finish. This gives it durability and easy cleaning along with the ultimate in temperature retention.
A hinged lid with an extra heavy-duty spring makes opening and closing the Kamado Joe cooker a breeze.
This grill features an ash drawer for easy clean up. Unlike other grills you don’t need to remove the inner working to clean out the ashes.
Cons: Doesn’t come with a host of accessories.
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Primo Ceramic Grill – 774 model
This is a very efficient unit giving you great quality and precision in BBQing with it being ready in 10 mins for cooking.
It has ceramic coated grill grates which make for easy cleaning.
Primo ceramic grill reviews will tell you this kamado is big enough to cook a feed for 3-4 people and still have leftovers.
Primo ceramic grill prices may seem expensive, but no more so than any good gas grills.
You might be feeling the above are out of your price range. In that case the following may interest you.
Best ceramic grill for the price
If you are after the best ceramic grill for the price that’s somewhat cheaper than those listed above, check out these five best cheap ceramic grill options available at Amazon.
How much these ceramic grills cost does vary from country to country. The prices shown are for the US.
Best cheap ceramic grill
The following are kamados with a ceramic coating or a ceramic look (not all ceramic).
|Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill, Graphite||See at Amazon|
|Char-Griller E06614 AKORN Jr, Red Charcoal kamado Grill||See at Amazon|
|Duluth Forge 140030 DF-CC-18-BK kamado Grill, 18 Inch, Black||See at Amazon|
|Chefood 16" Ceramic Kamado Style BBQ Cooking Charcoal Grill Pack with a Cover||See at Amazon|
The Char-Griller company makes the Akorn kamados in China. The company itself has headquarters in Georgia, USA.
Why makes these cheap kamados?
What makes these the best cheap ‘ceramic’ grills is that they are not ceramic through and through.
The Akorns are double-walled steel, with insulation between the walls and a ceramic look.
The Duluth Forge is made of stainless steel with a porcelain coating. The stainless steel making this more resistant to corrosion and also costing more than other stand-alone ceramic look kamados listed.
The Chefood shown is also stainless steel but with an inch thick ceramic outer layer.
This makes them much cheaper than the solid ceramic types reviewed above and also much lighter. Another advantage is that they won’t break if dropped.
How to care for and clean a ceramic grill?
Ceramic grills are easy to clean. One thing: In caring for the grill, don’t use lighter fluid.
The few ceramic grill parts that need cleaning basically means wiping the ceramic grill cover and cleaning the grates. That’s all you need to worry about after use.
From time to time, you will need to check to see if charcoal is blocking any air holes.
Clean away any ash that falls to the bottom of the Kamado with an ash tool.
For a thorough cleaning of built up grime and soot of the EGG, see below .
Caring for and cleaning an EGG
Inside: Run at over 400 °C (752 ºF) for 1-2 hours to burn off soot and grease that accumulates on the inside of the dome and the grids and the ConvEGGtor.
Calibration: You might want to do this once a year. Place the tip of the Tel Tru thermometer in boiling water to check it measures the right temperature. The boiling point of water is 100 ºC (212 ºF). To adjust any discrepancies, turn the nut on the back of the dial so that it matches. Verify calibration by placing the tip in boiling water again.
Bolts: Check the bolts haven’t loosened over time.
Gaskets: Replace any that are badly damaged or sticky and causing problems when opening the dome.
How to clean ceramic grill crates
You don’t need a special ceramic grill cleaner to clean ceramic grill crates.
Scrape the grill grates
Simply scrap the grill grates with a scrapper. The charcoal compartment and chamber below collects the excess ash.
Empty the ash
Remove the ash pan and discard the scrapings. Removable ash pans make removing the ash a breeze.
About smoking a turkey on a ceramic grill
Watch this video:
And if looking for ceramic grill recipes, try this ceramic grill turkey recipe.
Ceramic grill accessories
Some brands include all-weather covers, but if not it’s advisable to get one to keep your cooker looking and performing its best.
Other accessories to consider:
- Temperature probe with a remote display screen
- High-temperature grilling gloves
- Reflector plates or heat shield
- Reflector plate holders
- A drip rack holder
- Ceramic grill stones
- Grill woks
- A BBQ dragon
- This clips on and revs the charcoal bed into red hot in a matter of minutes.
- A coal hook
The solid ceramic cookers are bulky and heavy. They are also expensive. But if you are wanting a good outdoor cooker that won’t rust, which is what you need if you want it to last outdoors, these will last the test of time.
These are the traditional types that are rugged enough to endure the outdoor conditions year after year.
But then, if your budget is tight, there are cheaper kamado grills that offer that same look and style of cooking, though perhaps not passing the same test of time outdoors. You just need to accept that you might have to replace them in future years.
See also my guide on the best ceramic cookware. And, my guide on the best ceramic frying pan, or you might like to know: what are the sharpest knives. Or, get to know the best way to sharpen ceramic knives.
Check out our review on pure ceramic cookware.
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