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My experience with my 3 Joe's and accessories

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  • My experience with my 3 Joe's and accessories

    Every so often I see a post asking which size KJ is best, accessories, combination of grills, etc., and it reminds me of the questions I had when I first started researching, so I thought I'd take a minute to explain what I have learnt about my trifecta and hopefully it will be useful information to at least one person.

    1. My first purchase was the Classic - Why? because it was the biggest I could afford at the time. This was my first dive into smoking meats and the size looked right.
    2. The second one I got was the Junior - why? because we got it for free as a present. I love this little beast, but more about that later.
    3. My newest is the Big Joe (had it for a few months) - why? I entertain a lot and found the extra space a 'must have'.

    A little about why each one is useful to me:

    Classic - This is my most used KJ for my family of 4. I use it for smoking, grilling, pizza, Dutch oven cooking and now the cast iron wok - just about everything. It is a good size and I can cook 3 racks of ribs flat without having to get creative.
    Joe - I pretty much only use this for grilling or smoking smaller pieces of meat (butt or steaks). I love this little beast. It gets to temp quickly and cools down quickly. It is lots of fun to use (my 8 & 6 year olds are learning to "Q" on it!). I know it is much more capable then I'm using it for, but for me it is a great little beast. For size, I have had 7 bone in chops on it or 6*1lb beer can burgers!
    Big Joe - As mentioned I entertain a lot, sometimes its planned and sometimes it just the neighbours peeking over the fence and then stopping by! I found the classic was great but not big enough for all that I wanted to do (more ribs, more than 1 whole chicken at a time, etc.). And so I got the Big Joe. It is huge, make no mistake about it, but the extra real estate is worth it, both for smoking more meat, but especially for grilling.
    *If I had to break down how often I use each of these grills, I would say Big Joe (25%), Classic (50%) and Junior (25%)

    My accessories:

    Cast Iron grates - Love these for grilling meats and fish
    Chicken Stands - My stand chicken is now the most requested meal when people come over
    Pizza Stones - You have to make pizza on your KJ! Its is fun and more practically, gets the bottom of the pie nice and crusty, just like a fire oven
    Cast Iron griddle - Great for burgers and fish, but I use mine mostly for fajita's and sometimes breakfast!
    Classic expander rack - I got this before I got my Big Joe, but still use it as part of my pizza set up to raise the pizza stone and stop the bottom of the dough from burning
    Cast iron Dutch oven - Love this all purpose cooking vessel, I use it for everything from mussels to stews/soups to braising and more
    Cast iron wok - I have just started using this and while it gets incredibly hot (fire gloves are a must), its a fun way to cook and keeps the smells and splattering grease out of the kitchen
    Cast iron pans - Don't really think this needs explaining!

    As you can see, I love to play on my bbq's and try different cooking methods. Each accessory has a purpose for me and each one gets used often. Do you need all these toys? Absolutely not!!! but they are available and they are fun to use, plus in my opinion, having the right tools makes cooking a lot more fun and the results more consistent - not that I'm some great cook, but I do like to try!

    MY overall KJ summary:
    • I love the consistency of the Kamado Joes. It doesnt matter which size I use, they all seem to hit the same temps with the same vent settings, making the learning curve very very easy
    • They are very efficient (compared to my Weber) and easy to use - John's videos, online research and practice were key to my being able to use my KJ's properly
    • A very cool topic of conversation when people come over! These KJ's generate a lot of attention on my deck
    • I believe you get what you pay for and so one of the reasons I bought a KJ was because of the customer service. There are many posts on here about great experiences with KJ customer service and a few that aren't, but my experience has been out of the park great
    • The versatility of a KJ is incredible. Everything from low and slow smoking, to roasting to grilling, even breads and desserts. When given a choice, my home oven plays second fiddle to the KJs because its so easy to use and the results are always consistent
    • I also love the innovation that KJ shows. While I know there are some that will attack this point, I think value for money, KJ is the best on the market. The fact that they continue to improve their products while trying to keep the cost to the consumer down shows why they have gained market share and why having more than one KJ is becoming more popular
    Which one should you buy?
    • Easy, the largest you can afford! If that means the junior, then get the junior. You won't be disappointed, especially when you see some the of the cooks that smaller Kamado owners do.
    • If you can afford multiple grills, I would suggest the Big Joe and Jr. combo will cover all your needs
    • I am asked about the trifecta....Do it!!! You will love the flexibility it gives you. No more having to plan cooking times and order, 3 grills, lots of space. The trifecta makes entertaining a breeze!
    If I had to start over, what would I do differently?

    This is an easy one....I would still get 3 KJ's, but I would get them sooner!!

    Thanks for reading. These are only my personal opinions and hopefully provide some insight to someone out there!
    Last edited by Rak73; 10-24-2015, 10:49 AM.

  • #2
    Thanks for the post. I just purchased a Big Joe that will arrive later this week. Can't wait to start using it!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Razorback Kamado View Post
      Thanks for the post. I just purchased a Big Joe that will arrive later this week. Can't wait to start using it!
      Congratulations! You'll really enjoy it! My suggestion for you, if you have never used a Kamado, is to take a couple of hours to play with it. When I got my classic, I fired it up and (from watching Johns video's) set the vents to where i thought 250F should be. Once it settled, I then adjusted the vents and tried to hit 350F, and let it settle for an hour. Then 450F, and then opened it up. It might not have been as fun as a first 'cook' but I learnt a ton about where my settings were and about letting it settle in before adjusting it. In the long term, it really helped me enjoy it more rather than chasing temps!

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      • #4
        AWESOME post! Thanks for taking the time to post your experiences and thoughts! Frankly I'm jealous but very happy for you, your family and last but not least your friends!
        Black KJ BigJoe * Medium BGE * Weber Genesis Special Edition * Auber Temperature Controller * Maverick ET-733 * ThermoPop

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        • #5
          Originally posted by spratman View Post
          AWESOME post! Thanks for taking the time to post your experiences and thoughts! Frankly I'm jealous but very happy for you, your family and last but not least your friends!
          If you are ever in town, feel free to swing by

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Rak73 View Post

            If you are ever in town, feel free to swing by

            You're on brother and likewise if you're ever in the Nashville area...
            Black KJ BigJoe * Medium BGE * Weber Genesis Special Edition * Auber Temperature Controller * Maverick ET-733 * ThermoPop

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            • #7
              This was a great post. I just got my Big Joe after a fair bit of deliberation between KJ and BGE, and settled with the 2017 Big Joe. Loved our first family cook yesterday. I am now embarking on the Big Joe accessories and wonder if you have any recommendation on the brands for the accessories you listed.

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              • #8
                Great post Rakesh!

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