Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg are frequently compared for the reason that they are two of the most popular brands of kamado grills.
Many people are familiar with Big Green Egg grills because they are the first of their kind in the market, and they made kamado grills popular in the outdoor cooking market.
However, Kamado Joe has also gained a following of its own thanks to its all-inclusive accessory packages and continued innovation.
In this article, we will compare the important details when it comes to the kamado grills of two different manufacturers, presuming you’re having a hard time deciding.
The things taken into account are the features, innovativeness, efficiency in cooking, warranty, and other details that will affect your choice. Without further ado, here’s what you need to know about Kamado Joe vs Big Green Egg grills.
Table of Contents
- 1 Quick History Background
- 2 How Kamado Joe become a Competitor to Big Green Egg in Such Short Time?
- 3 Product Line
- 4 Innovation
- 5 Kamado Joe vs Big Green Egg Construction & Built Comparison
- 6 Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe Features Comparison
- 7 Kamado Joe vs Big Green Egg Cooking Area Comparison
- 8 Kamado Joe vs Big Green Egg Accessories Comparison
- 9 BGE vs Kamado Joe Price Comparison
- 10 Warranty
- 11 BGE vs Kamado Joe Video Review
- 12 Conclusion
In a Rush? Here's Our Winner!
Based on our comparisons and several factors like features, build quality, price etc., the winner among the product lines of both manufacturers is:
Quick History Background
Big Green Egg
The Big Green Egg (or EGG) is the brand behind kamado-style ceramic charcoal barbecue cookers. It was founded in 1974 by Ed Fisher and is based in Georgia, USA.
Their products are capable of acting as a grill, oven or smoker and come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 'Mini' to 'XXLarge'.
All their products have a distinctive dark green color.
The Kamado Joe was founded in 2009 by Bobby Brennan and it is also based in Georgia, USA.
They claim that they produce grills more flexible, with smart design and with better materials, all at a more competitive price than their competitors.
They have quickly created a large customer base and all their products have a distinctive dark red color.
How Kamado Joe become a Competitor to Big Green Egg in Such Short Time?
Big Green Egg has been a single dominant of the kamado grill market for years. They had established a strong customer base for their market with lots of people buying their cooking grills and separate additional accessories.
However, when Kamado Joe entered the market around 2009, they decided to start offering their products with additional accessories included in the price. And how doesn't like some free additional grilling accessories? Everyone buys extra bbq accessories to make their cooking experience more enjoyable and with Kamado Joe offering these extras for free, they got a huge push-up in the kamado products market.
Both, Kamado Joe and Big Green Egg offer high quality grills in similar sizes. What's included with those grills and extra features are the factors that make the difference.
Let's take a deep look down below to each factor for you to make a better decision on which product is the best for you.
Kamado Joe previously offered their grills in black, but it failed to outshine other grills in the market so it was pulled from the product line. Today, Kamado Joe grills are marked by their bright red color, which made the products more attractive and pleasing to the eyes.
The manufacturer has always tried to keep things simple when it comes to their grill sizes. What they’re offering right now is their 24-inch kamado grill known as Big Joe, and the 18-inch model which they call Classic Joe.
Each model has a stand-alone kamado version and a free-standing cart version, both used in BBQ islands or in outdoor kitchens.
Big Green Egg
Big Green Egg had previously offered five sizes of their kamado grills -- the Mini, Small, Medium, Large, and X-Large. Among these, the Large Big Green Egg is the most popular. After years of producing these five sizes, the manufacturer decided to add two other sizes to their product line. One that’s portable and another that’s larger than life, so to speak.
These days, you can now buy the MiniMax and the XX-Large BGE kamado grills. The MiniMax is perfect for barbecue lovers who want to do away with huge and bulky grills. Its cooking surface has the same size as the Small Big Green Egg, but it comes with a portable carrying case so you can bring it on the go.
Meanwhile, the XX-Large BGE is considered the biggest kamado in the market, boasting a cooking surface of 672 inches and a weigh of 470 lbs. It is as big as a full-size traditional gas grill but this humongous of a kamado grill needs a lot of charcoal. Unlike the MiniMax that only needs about five to ten pounds of charcoal, the XX-Large needs about forty pounds.
And after the quick overview of the product line, let's jump into the comparison of other aspects like Innovation, Construction, Design & Other Features.
Innovation is considered the backbone of the company and the benchmark that indicates whether the manufacturer deserves your hard-earned money or not.
It’s only natural to ask if a certain product is durable enough to last years and anticipate what other innovations will the company release in the years to come.
Here’s what we have to say about the innovativeness of each manufacturer:
When it comes to innovation, Kamado Joe isn’t one to be left behind. Over the years, the manufacturer has made improvements in their product line, which are all a hit among consumers.
Among these innovations include the Joe Blow Lighter and the Divide and Conquer cooking system that will make kamado grilling more efficient and deliver a unique cooking experience. For sure, the company is always asking themselves how they can make their products better.
Big Green Egg
Apart from releasing the MiniMax and the XX-Large kamado, Big Green Egg has stayed quiet for the last seven years or so. They rarely announce new accessories or products that will improve the performance of their kamado grills.
This is one thing that Big Green Egg lacks, which is truly a shame considering the company has been around for years and they have gained many loyal customers.
We’re yet to see what BGE has in store in the near future.
Kamado Joe vs Big Green Egg Construction & Built Comparison
Stainless Steel Upgrades
The kamado grills are made of ceramic and overall the base construction is the same on all models. It's the upgrades and specific features that make the difference.
Kamado Joe offers an upgraded Stand-Alone product with a lot of stainless steel features, making it very attractive and compatible to use in a outdoor kitchen. Some of these upgrades include: stainless steel bands, stainless steel cooking grate, stainless steel hinge, stainless steel upper vent and stainless steel handle.
As for Big Green Joe, they don't offer any upgraded model with tons of stainless steel except for the additional stainless steel cooking grate.
Top Air Vent
From the very beginning, one of the most important details buyers need to keep an eye on is the material of the top air vent. Kamado Joe has made their upper air vent aluminum, therefore it is 100% resistant to rust.
How it’s constructed is slightly different too, as it has small air flow regulators on the sides and you can open the air vent’s upper part so as to make way for more air to come right through the bigger opening.
Big Green Egg
BGE’s top air vent is made of cast iron, which is unfortunately not resistant to rust. It does a great job in regulating air flow, but a design flaw of their grills is when you open the lid, the tip air vent changes position so you’d have to regulate it again.
To be fair, cast iron isn’t exactly very difficult to deal with, as the corrosion only happens on the surface and not actually on the inside. When your BGE’s top air vent starts to get rusty, simply remove it with a brush and have it painted again to revert it to its former beauty.
One great feature of the Kamado Joe grills is the innovative design in the lid’s hinge. It is designed in a way that it weighs 95% lighter, which means it won’t drop even if you lift your finger off of it. This design also makes it possible to lift the lid using one finger.
If you take your hand off the lid after opening it, a mechanism takes over and the lid will slowly go down instead of shutting it right off. And this advanced mechanism can even be implemented on some older version products by following some guides online. This is one fantastic feature to have since not all people find it easy to lift heavy things.
Big Green Egg
Unfortunately, lifting the lid of a Big Green Egg grill isn’t as easy as doing so in a Kamado Joe.
When you lift the lid up and remove your hand, it will drop down hard -- pretty dangerous especially if you haven’t anticipated this from happening. And it will also cause cracks on the ceramics if it happens frequently.
Also, a lot of users have complained of rust on the hinges after merely using it for a few years.
The Gasket Under the Lid
This is an important feature in order to keep the smoke in inside the grill when you close it. The material used for this feature eventually gets damaged over time and will need replacements, which is the situation with Big Green Egg kamado grills since they use regular gaskets.
Kamado Joe has taken this feature up a notch by integrating their kamado grills with a wire mesh fiberglass gasket, which is definitely more durable than standard gaskets and has the ability to resist extremely high temperatures.
Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe Features Comparison
Ash Removal System
As you may already know, kamado grills are charcoal fueled, which means that tons of charcoal ash will be created, especially if you go for a large grill.
Here it's our comparison when it comes to the ash removal system:
We think that Kamado Joe manages the ash debris much better than its competitor BGE. Behind the bottom air vent, there's an easy-to-carry ash drawer. Just remove it when you need to clean it, throw away the ash and then put it again in its place. Fast and very easy ash removal system.
Big Green Egg
The BGE have the ash debris located on the bottom of the grill, behind the air vent. You have to manually clean up the ash using a ash rake and carefully avoiding getting your cooked steak dirty. Even though it is still easy to do, we think that Kamado Joe system is much cleaner and better.
Both manufactures include built-in thermometers on the top side of the lid.
However, on Kamado Joe products, especially the Classic Joe 18", the built in thermometer is about twice as big as the one on the Large Big Green Egg grill, making the temperature checking much easier and clearer.
Kamado Joe vs Big Green Egg Cooking Area Comparison
Kamado Joe grills have a dual rack system that allows you to adjust the height of the grates depending on the food you wish to cook.
You also get a tool to grab the hot rack so you move hot grates safely, quickly, and easily if you need to.
Big Green Egg
Big Green Egg grills have a standard height for its grates.
If you want to move it down a little bit, you’ll have to remove the ceramic plate to bring the height of the grill grates down, which can sometimes be very frustrating.
Overall, both products offer a good and decent cooking experience, with plenty of space for several burgers or other big chunk of meats, with not much difference on cooking performance from each other.
Kamado Joe vs Big Green Egg Accessories Comparison
The stand is one part of kamado grills often overlooked, but this matters as well. In both models, the stand definitely serves its purpose, but Kamado Joe’s has theirs made of welded, thick steel.
Big Green Egg grills, meanwhile, have much thinner steels and what keeps them together are some screws. Screws aren’t exactly a bad choice, but welded steel is definitely better. But it’s worth noting that BGE kamado grill users haven’t exactly complained of the grills’ stand.
As for this side shelves, Kamado Joe grills are made of plastic, a durable material resistant to several external factors. Big Green Egg grills, on the other hand, have wooden shelves that can be folded. Its surface is coated with an anti-slip material, and overall, the wood material just makes it lovely to look at.
When it comes to additional accessories included, Big Green Egg is in major disadvantage. They sell all their products with no additional accessories at all, not including even some 'required' accessories to have a basic and enjoyable grilling experience, like the cart, stainless steel grate or shelves. This is a huge disadvantage as you have to buy several accessories that you need and at the end, may add the cost of the grill by a couple of hundred dollars.
As for Kamado Joe, their products come with a lot of additional accessories. There are some extra and not required accessories which you can decide to buy separately but a majority of them are included in the package.
BGE vs Kamado Joe Price Comparison
When you first compare the price of the both these manufactures, it may seem like the Big Green Egg is much cheaper. But, you have to keep in mind that the BGE sells their products without any accessories like portable cart, shelves or ceramic plate. You will probably buy them later and when you sum up the prices, the BGE turns out to be a bit more expensive than Kamado Joe.
In the other end, Kamado Joe's Classic II for example, comes with tons of accessories, including a ceramic plate, side shelves, a portable cart etc.
Both manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty for the ceramic parts of the grill. As for the smaller metal components, they come with a limited warranty. Still, having a lifetime warranty simply means that the manufacturers are dead sure that their products will last, as long as they are cared for properly.
BGE vs Kamado Joe Video Review
In a Rush? Here's Our Winner!
Declaring the winner of Kamado Joe vs Big Green Egg battle is quite tricky, but if we’re going to base our decision on innovativeness and pushing the limits, Kamado Joe is definitely the kamado grill of choice. The company’s vision is clear and they never fail on impressing customers with regular updates on their grill features.
It’s also necessary to mention that Kamado Joe offers their products online, meaning anyone with an internet connection doesn’t need to leave the house just to get their hands on a brand new Kamado Joe Grill. As for BGE grills, you won’t find them online. For now, it’s easier to recommend the Kamado Joe grills. What do you think?