Kamado Joe is one of the newer ceramic cookers that has popped up to challenge the legendary Big Green Egg. Here’s a look at how the Kamado Joe Classic II stacks up against the similar-sized large Big Green Egg:
Kamado Joe Classic II pros:
- Has an 18″ diameter cooking surface. Plenty of space for grilling portions that will feed up to four people
- Two semi-circular grates which can each be set at two different heights
- Ash tray that slides in and out
- Air-lift hinge supports the weight of the lid as you open and close it, making it very easy to open and close with one hand
- Firebox is made of multiple pieces
- Comes with full set of accessories including cast iron cart, side shelves, two halved ceramic heat deflectors for indirect grilling, grill grate gripper, and ash tool.
Kamado Joe Classic II cons:
- The Classic II requires more charcoal per cooking session than the medium Big Green Egg due to its three additional inches of diameter
- Price. At $1,200, the Classic II costs about $350 more than a large Big Green Egg
Big Green Egg pros:
- 18″ diameter cooking surface. Plenty of space for grilling portions that will feed up to four people
- Price. At $850, the large BGE is about $350 less than the KJ Classic II.
Big Green Egg cons:
- Only comes with partial set of accessories. Cast iron cart, grate gripper tool, and ash tool are included. Side shelves must be purchased separately
- Can no longer be purchased online. You buy it from a local authorized dealer
- Fire box is one molded piece (see below for more info on why this is a ‘con’)
I used a Big Green Egg for 17 years and thought it was a great ceramic grill. Last summer my firebox cracked into enough pieces that it was no longer usable. Constant heating and cooling causes it to happen over time. And I’d already replaced it twice before.
This time around I decided it was time for a new ceramic grill altoghether. AI decided to try a Kamado Joe Classic II instead of another BGE.
So GLAD that I did.
The ability to set one rack a few inches higher than the others is fantastic.When I get the grill blazing hot at 750° F to sear steaks on my salt slab on the lower side, I can now grill veggies and potatoes in foil packs on the high side at the same time without burning them.
And the slide out ash tray makes life so much EASIER. No more having to scoop … and scoop … and scoop to get the ashes out of the bottom of an Egg. Just slide the tray out. Dump the ashes. Slide the tray back in.
Those two benefits alone are with the extra money to me.
Add in the fact that the fire box is made up of several smaller pieces that nest together and I’m a very happy camper. It means they can expand and contract with far less likelihood of cracking … and should last a lifetime without needing replacement.
As much as I enjoyed my BGE, I’m now a Kamado Joe convert. The Classic II is the most enjoyable grill I’ve ever cooked on.
The best price I’ve found is $1,199 at Amazon.com or BBQGuys.com.