Which of them is better? Or simply what are the differences between both brands and which of them offers more for less.
These questions among others are what I will try to answer using the kamado joe vs big green egg confrontation that I prepared.
Below I will present all the key differences that can be found in grills from both manufacturers. Of course I will share with you my choice in this confrontation, but the final conclusion based on this article is up to you.
Kamado Joe vs Big Green Egg
Kamado Joe – A much less known manufacturer and most of all, a pretty young one. It has only been on the market since 2009 and it specializes in manufacturing high quality ceramic grills available at affordable prices and with many new features that make it a modern kamado.
Big Green Egg – It is a much older manufacturer than its competitor. The brand was created in 1974 which is a whole few decades earlier and it is responsible for promoting the kamado grills style in USA. Big Green Egg has become an icon of Kamado, everyone involved in BBQ is perfectly familiar with the big, green ceramic egg.
Kamado Joe – The creation of this brand was mostly related to manufacturing high quality kamado with attention to details and most of all features. The red ceramic kamado grill comes with way more useful and unusual features than any other competitor. A great example of that could be the air lift hinge, which allows to open a very heavy grill lid even with just one finger.
Big Green Egg – When you look at the models from many years ago and compare them with modern models, they don’t actually differ that much. Sadly, besides the basic features, BGE hasn’t introduced any significant changes or features in their grill in years. Of course it does come with all the essentials but after so many years on the market one could expect some innovative solutions that are sadly not there as of today.
Ash Cleaning System
Kamado Joe – This problem was solved the best possible way. An ash drawer was installed that you can remove any moment to throw the ash out and then put it back in its place. A very convenient and effective solution that makes the cleaning process as easy as can be.
Big Green Egg – Overall ash removal in kamado grills isn’t something difficult, using an ash tool makes it easy to remove any ash that can be found at the bottom of a BGE. In a grill for this kind of money, however, I’d like to have something much better like a special ash drawer that can be removed any time and emptied very fast.
Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg come with a very rich offer of accessories. In this regard you will be satisfied when it comes to both manufacturers. At the official stores of both brands you will find plenty of original accessories and then some at unofficial stores.
Kamado Joe – Air lift hinge is one of the most important solutions you will find in the new kamado joe. A ceramic grill is associated with heavy weight and it is true, depending on the size the grill lid can be really heavy. It poses a threat to weaker people ( like children or elders ), one could crush their fingers under the heavy lid. That’s why kamado joe has introduced an innovative technology that makes it possible to open and close the lid using a minimal force ( one finger is enough ).
Big Green Egg – Sadly BGE still only has a regular standard hinge which means you have to exercise caution especially if you have a bigger and therefore much heavier model. The very heavy lid suddenly falling might even result in damaging the ceramics ( cracks ).
Top Air Vent
Kamado Joe – Once again, the manufacturer surprises by introducing a 100% rust-resistant top air vent. It is made of aluminum cast and coated with rust-resistant layer. The incredibly lightweight yet precise top air vent offers broad adjustment options. You have smaller vents on the side at your disposal as well as the ability to remove the whole upper part, leaving a large opening.
Big Green Egg – The top air vent is made of cast iron which makes it very heavy despite its small size. On top of that, the cast iron is very prone to rust appearing on the surface. You need to know that when it comes to cast iron elements it is only a visual downside as the rust is created on the element’s surface and never penetrates into the structure. Once the rust appears you just have to clean the surface thoroughly, like with a wire grill brush, and then coat it with a rust repellent paint.
Most manufacturers install regular standard lid gaskets but Kamado Joe, being focused on quality, installs much better gaskets (Wire Mesh Fiberglass Gasket ). Of course every gasket wears down over time and has to be replaced but you need to know that high quality gaskets are even several times more durable than their standard counterparts.
Both models come with good quality stands that live up to their task 100% but it is Kamado Joe that stands out among others by offering a solid and massive stand. The structure of the stand in a Kamado Joe is really impressive and you can tell it is solid. Another huge advantage is the extra space under the grill for all kinds of accessories. Big Green Egg on the other hand comes with a stand of a simple structure, it is clear from the start that it isn’t quite as solid and useful, but it will certainly serve its purpose.
Kamado Joe – Sadly this is one of the few elements that I didn’t like. I am aware that Kamado Joe had to cut corners on less important elements like side shelves for the sake of other innovative solutions, which made their grill available at a great price. However, I would personally much rather have wooden side shelves, of course this is only a visual aspect so it might not be very interesting to you.
Big Green Egg – The standard side shelves in Big Green Egg were made of wood which I personally like a lot. It is possible to buy slightly cheaper aluminum ones but I definitely recommend the wooden version more, which looks way better especially considering that it is an expensive type of grill.
Quality of workmanship
In both cases you can expect high quality of workmanship and high quality of ceramics. Kamado Joe stands out with better attention to less visible yet important details. Either way, when buying any of those two models you are guaranteed good quality of workmanship.
Unboxing & Assembly
Both models actually require a similar amount of time to be assembled but only Kamado Joe is easily available at online stores. When it comes to shipping, both models are pretty decently packed, but Kamado Joe slightly better.
In this regard, Big Green Egg is definitely the king, as it comes with many different configurations of ceramic grills from the smallest models to the biggest 2XL sizes. Kamado Joe also comes with different sizes but their offer is much more limited compared to their competitor.
You need to know that the basic Big Green Egg is a version that is not complete. You need a lot of accessories that are sold separately which is why the price might seem much lower at the first glance. Meanwhile Kamado Joe comes with all the necessary accessories in its offer that have to be paid a lot extra for in BGE. In conclusion, if you calculate the price of BGE with all the accessories that Kamado Joe comes with, it turns out that Kamado Joe offers much more at a similar or even slightly lower price.
Both manufacturers give a lifetime warranty for the ceramics, which are famous for their durability. When it comes to individual elements, on the other hand, the situation is different here but in both cases you can expect good and reliable warranty.
Results of Cooking
There is absolutely nothing to discuss when it comes to the results of cooking as both models represent the same level. There is no difference in food made with BGE and Kamado Joe. They differ in price, features and overall convenience of cooking but the final results remain at the same top level.
Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe – Conclusion
Who is the winner in my view ?
Remember that Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe that I compared today are the leaders when it comes to Kamado Grills. The truth is that regardless of which one you choose you can expect high quality and great results of cooking. It’s only details, individual features and slight difference in prices that can impact the decision on choosing one of them.
Based on the above comparison, however, I’d go with Kamado Joe.
Why such choice ?
I really like Big Green Egg but the market lives by its own rules, being a leader means you have to keep perfecting your product so that it’s always the number one. In recent years Kamado Joe has proven that they can give much more than Big Green Egg for the same price while also paying attention to details.
What particularly caught my attention was the air lift hinge, removable ash drawer, aluminum top air vent, better stand and attention to detail. These features are what made me choose the red ceramic grill from Kamado Joe this time.