What is a kamado grill?
A kamado grill is a type of charcoal grill or smoker that is characterized by its egg-shaped or oval-shaped body. The name "kamado" is derived from the Japanese word for "stove" or "cooking range."
Kamado grills are usually made of ceramic, although some models may be made of other materials like metal or stone. The ceramic construction allows the grill to retain heat and moisture, which makes it ideal for slow-cooking meats or smoking food.
The design of a kamado grill allows for precise temperature control, as the air vents can be adjusted to regulate the amount of oxygen that reaches the charcoal, and thus the temperature of the cooking surface. Some kamado grills also come with additional features like built-in thermometers, ash catchers, and grilling grates of various sizes and shapes.
Kamado grills have been used in Japan for centuries, but they have become increasingly popular in North America and other parts of the world in recent years due to their versatility and ability to produce high-quality, flavourful food.
Also known as ceramic grills, kamados are a popular choice for outdoor cooking because of their ability to maintain a consistent temperature and their versatility in cooking a variety of foods. When choosing a kamado grill, there are a few key factors to consider:
- Size: Kamado grills come in a range of sizes, from small tabletop models to large, freestanding units. Consider how much space you have available and how many people you typically cook for when deciding on the size of grill to purchase.
- Temperature control: Look for a grill that has adjustable dampers for controlling the temperature, which can be difficult to do on a basic model. This ability will allow you to cook at low temperatures for smoking or high temperatures for searing making kamados the most versatile cookers in your home.
- Accessories: Some kamado grills come with a variety of accessories such as an ash pan, a cart, a side shelf, a cover or even a rotisserie. These can make cooking and cleaning up easier.
- Desired Use: Some models of kamado grills can be integrated into an outdoor kitchen. This gives you the ability to create a designated area for all of your outdoor cooking that adds value to your home.
- Warranty and customer service: Before making a final purchase, check for the warranty that comes with the grill and also check for the customer service of the brand. With the extra price involved with a kamado grill, it's reassuring to know that your investment will be protected long term.
Why choose a kamado vs. a kettle?
There are several reasons why someone might choose a kamado grill over a traditional kettle grill:
- Versatility: Kamado grills can be used for a wide range of cooking styles, from grilling to smoking to baking. The ability to control temperature and airflow allows for precise cooking, making it possible to cook a variety of foods to perfection.
- Heat Retention: Kamado grills are made of materials like ceramic, which allows them to retain heat better than traditional kettle grills. This means that kamado grills can maintain a consistent cooking temperature for longer periods of time, which is ideal for slow-cooking meats or smoking food.
- Moisture Retention: The ceramic construction of kamado grills also allows them to retain moisture, which is important for keeping food juicy and tender. This is particularly important when cooking meats, which can easily dry out on a traditional grill.
- Fuel Efficiency: Kamado grills use less charcoal than traditional kettle grills, making them more fuel-efficient. This means that you can cook for longer periods of time without having to add more charcoal, which can save you money in the long run.
- Flavour: Many people believe that food cooked on a kamado grill has a richer, more complex flavour than food cooked on a traditional grill. This is due to the unique combination of heat retention, moisture retention, and precise temperature control.
Are kamados difficult to use?
Using a kamado grill is not necessarily difficult, but it does require some practice and patience to get the hang of it. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Temperature Control: The key to successful kamado cooking is precise temperature control. You'll need to get a feel for adjusting the air vents to regulate the airflow and temperature inside the grill. It's important to start with a small amount of charcoal and add more as needed, as it's easier to increase the temperature than to lower it.
- Long Cook Times: Kamado grilling is all about low and slow cooking. This means that you'll need to be patient and allow your food to cook for several hours at a time. You'll also need to plan ahead and allow time for the grill to heat up before you start cooking.
- Learning Curve: If you're used to cooking on a gas grill or a traditional charcoal grill, it may take some time to adjust to the kamado cooking style. However, with practice and experimentation, you'll soon learn how to create delicious meals on your kamado grill.
Overall, using a kamado grill is not necessarily difficult, but it does require some practice and experimentation to get the best results. With time and patience, you can master the art of kamado cooking and create delicious, flavourful meals on your grill.