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Kamado Joe vs Barrel BBQ?

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  • Kamado Joe vs Barrel BBQ?

    Hello Kamado Joe forum,

    Really happy I have found this forum, there is pretty much a forum for everything these days it's great. I have come here today to find out a few of the details/ins-and-outs about the Kamado Joe.

    Every Sunday me and my family of 5 relax in the back garden and having a few beers and a beautiful BBQ to finish off the week, it's like a tradition, even if we have to do it under the canopy from time to time. I have been looking into getting a new BBQ and was thinking that the Barrel design would go great in my garden, then I have the option to smoke meats and just make the BBQ more exciting on our Sundays. I was just about to buy one from here http://www.used.forsale/canada/toronto then I came across the Kamado, I had never seen one before but it looks awesome. I'm here today to find out what are the differences between a Barrel and a Kamado? Apart from the obvious awesome design that the Kamado has...

    What kind of sizes can you get?
    What is special about the Kamado?
    What do you love the most about the Kamado?
    I pretty much need as much information as you guys can share with me and push me into getting a Kamado over a Barrel BBQ

    Really looking forward to speaking with you guys and finding out all plus sides to owning a Kamado!

    Thanks
    Last edited by CookitJake; 04-20-2017, 09:54 PM.

  • #2
    With a Kamado you can sear, smoke, barbecue and bake. All you can do on a barrel is basically smoke. You have much better temperature control with a Kamado and the food is a lot moister. I have cooked with a Pit Barrel and they smoke OK, but that's about all you can do with them. If you don't have the cash for a Kamado, I would opt for a Weber Kettle or a PK Grill vs. a barrel.

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    • #3
      Okay, what Andy said...

      - confession first- I hate the use of the term bbq to refer to a grill or a smoker.

      That said, the sizes, etc. of Kamado Joe's (KJ's) can be referenced on their website. And Barrel Smoker (BS) is such a wide genre including $99 units sold at local grocery stores.

      Restricting myself to that term 'barrel' then, here are the differences:

      Price: KJ's cost significantly more than barrel smokers
      Quality: there is no comparison with the quality of a KJ and a barrel smoker. It's like comparing BMW and Volkswagons
      Weight: KJ's are made from a thick ceramic; BS's- on average from a relatively thin rolled steel.

      Fuel: KJ's utilize lump charcoal (more expensive than regular charcoal, but burns cleaner and with significantly less ash); BS's use either charcoal and/or logs. Typically the higher quality units can accomodate logs. The KJ's vents can be shut down after use and the remaining lump used again for the next cook (after shaking out the ash).

      Use: BS's can smoke, some can accomodate direct grilling; KJ's can bake pizza, roast, smoke, high temp sears, etc.. It's versatility is off the charts. You can cook basically anything on it- pies, stews, steaks, bread, cold smoke cheeses... In addition, BS can be used year round but maintaining temps is going to be more difficult and require more fuel in colder weather and possibly insulation of some kind. KJ's perform equally well in all weather conditions...

      Durability: The steel in a BS is going to rust at some point. Weather will, well, weather it. KJ's ceramics and stainless steel hold up.
      Cooking: Airflow in a BS is far greater than in a KJ. It has some advantages imo, but also can dry out food. KJ's ceramics hold heat and retain a moist environment and on whole, put out much moister food.

      Customer Service: You basically are looking at a lifetime warranty on the KJ ceramics, 5 years on the metal parts versus what on the BS?

      That'' get you started. Maybe checkout videos on youtube.

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      • #4
        Some really good factual information there guys! Looks like the Kamado Joe "KJ" is taking the lead and has so many more advantages than I originally thought. As of price, there isn't really that much difference in the top of the range "barrels" and the KJ's for the difference in quality you are getting.

        Why is it that you can only use lump charcoal and not firewood and things like that? just because of the ash or is there more to it?

        Thanks for the replies guys.

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        • #5
          Lump is just much cleaner burning and also burns a little hotter. All the residue left from briquettes is mostly the binders used to hold them together. Personally I don't want all that residue in my grill. You could use real wood but it's not practical due to the amount required and you would defeat the advantage of a Kamado by constantly opening it up to add more wood. The Kamado Joe lineup is the best bang for your buck, when you add in equal accessories, of the major brands. You really can't go wrong with a KJ and they have the best customer service in the business.
          Earl

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CookitJake View Post
            ... ... ... Why is it that you can only use lump charcoal and not firewood and things like that? just because of the ash or is there more to it? ...
            My answer (as relates to firewood) is much simpler: space!

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            • #7
              The biggest problem with burning firewood in a Kamado is that it is impossible to maintain a steady temperature. Even a small wood chunk can temporarily spike the pit temperature.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by andyscalzo View Post
                The biggest problem with burning firewood in a Kamado is that it is impossible to maintain a steady temperature. Even a small wood chunk can temporarily spike the pit temperature.
                I think it depends on the cooker and then the cook. I do think a greater level of experience and skill is required but if the smoker is not up to the challenge (drafts, poor draw, thin metal affected by weather, you can easily chase temps all day. It was mostly a matter of allowing the wood to burn down to coals- which in turn managed the temps, a split placed on top provided the smoke.

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                • #9
                  Kamado AL, I take exception to your BMW/VW reference ... I drive both ... no difference in quality!!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bogiedr View Post
                    Kamado AL, I take exception to your BMW/VW reference ... I drive both ... no difference in quality!!
                    Let me be perfectly clear: I take exception to your exception...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If you buy a Kamado Joe get the Kamado Joe II. They have made several great upgrades this year that you will appreciate. I saw one today at my dealer in Alabama and wanted one. New chimney top, new seal that won't wear out, grill latch, segmented ceramic firebox and an easy lift lid hinge. All are great upgrades! Mine is three years old and I don't cook on anything else. I have both a Kamado Classic 1 and a junior Kamado Joe. Love them both.

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