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It’s a Kamado Joe, love affair!

Updated: May 4

Well, Burton Living fans and followers, it’s been awhile.

Some of you may have noticed that we haven’t had a blog out in quite some time but I can assure you that I’m still around and very much alive and kicking.

I’m working hard behind the scenes but fear not, I haven’t forgotten any of you but I’m proud to say that I’m finally back with a new and exciting blog.

When I mention the words Kamado and Smoking, where do you find your mind wanders to?

Well, if you’re a fan of our work and you’ve read previous blog entries written by yours truly or perhaps you’ve even had the pleasure of visiting our Outdoor Living showroom on the Essex and Cambridgeshire boarder, I can almost guarantee, you’ll think instantly of Kamado Joe.

That’s right! Those Big, Red and Beautiful, Barbecue Grills and Smokers. (Can you call a Grill and Smoker beautiful? Well, I have now..)

Those almighty culinary beasts have made quite the impact in the land of the Big and the Bold: the United States of America but whilst not being fully satisfied with their humble yet simple beginnings, they’ve upped and left home, circumnavigating the globe, going on to make themselves a new home, a home here in good old Blighty but these red ceramic beasts didn’t appear to come quietly, not even with a mere subtle whisper, oh no, they came crashing back down to Earth with an incredible BANG!

However when it came to invading the British barbecuing market, they’ve proven to be one of, if not the best for charcoal grilling and smoking, leaving most of their fellow competitors in the dust.. or in this case, in the ash pile.

Just like everything truly American, this blog is going to be big and by big, we mean MASSIVE!

As a Burton Living first (and I’m almost certain it wont be our last..) it’s going to be a multi piece blog, giving you all that detailed Kamado Joe content, squeezed into not just one, not even two but into three almighty blogs, all found in one easy to find place, right here at Burton Living.

When it comes to being the first of our jumbo packed Kamado Joe blogs, I feel it’s only fitting that we go back to the very begining and turn our attention towards Kamado Joe’s earliest models: The Classic Joe series I and The Big Joe series I and yes, fret not, dear reader, for we will also be looking at The series II and series III of both (The Classic and The Big Joe) of these momentous, culinary beasts in due succession!

However as we move towards our second blog, we will be taking a look at the Joe Jr (A small but equally as impressive, portable Kamado grill and smoker) and then to finish, we’ll take one step for Man but a giant leap for barbecue kind towards the future and take a look at the The Kamado Joe: Konnected, a revolutionary piece of grilling AND smoking wonder that has elevated the humble Kamado grill to stratospheric heights, all due to the aid of digital enhancements.

Now, let’s get those coals on and get this grilling party started, let’s take a look at The Classic Kamado Joe, series I.

The Kamado Joe, Classic series I is where it all began for Atlantan pair Bobby Brennan and Kerry Coker back in 2009, who, as passionate grillers both decided to dedicate their time to designing and creating a Kamado style grill and smoker that couldn’t be outdone by others in their field.

Designed and crafted to be easy to use, allowing absolute beginners and seasoned pros to use such alike and with it, allow each to develop their skill set further when it came to learning and developing their craft, when it came to that of Kamado styled cooking.

But as time went by, the success of Kamado Joe had outgrown it’s humble beginnings at home in the states and expectedly, its own reputation had gone on to proceeded itself and by doing so, it found its way transversing across the globe, changing what everyone thought they knew in regards to Kamado style grilling and smoking.

Now each Kamado Joe is built from the same high quality ceramics that you’d expect to find within a NASA Spacecraft, which I believe simply speaks for itself and with that piece of trivia in mind, you’ll know to expect the highest levels of quality when it comes to durability and steadfast strength.

Crowned with a dual function, daisy wheel top vent (made from cast iron) which allows for a steady temperature control but when it comes to the most minor of adjustments, you’ll have full, unfledged control.

When it comes to adjusting the Top vent and allowing oxygen to freely enter into the ceramic dome of your Kamado grill, the temperature will adjust with it but if you are looking to raise the temperature within your Kamado, simply open the top vent further and this will allow for more oxygen to enter within the dome but if you are looking to lower the temperature, do so in the opposite way by closing the top vent, which will essentially starve your Kamado Joe of oxygen.

(Please be aware, the greater the temperature your Kamado Joe reaches, the longer it will take to cool and stabilise.)

But if you’re looking for a way to monitor the internal temperature of your Kamado without any technological wizardry, fret not as such has an excellent, easy to read, built in thermometer.

This allows you to check the internal temperature of your Kamado Joe, without the need to open the dome itself, losing that all important heat and smoke flavour that you’ve spent a considerable amount of time building within but if you find yourself looking for somewhere to rest and store those cooking utensils or perhaps even freshly prepared side dishes, fear not as such has incredibly useful, aluminium side shelves with built in hooks, that will hold your cooking accessories between uses with ease and that’s not all, as they can be folded down and out of sight when no longer necessary.

But if you’re looking to see where the real magic takes place, then we need to venture forth and peak beneath that almighty dome and explore the depths within.

As we head on in, we find ourselves face to face with the belly of the Kamado Joe Classic, series I and in doing so, we come across a sizable 18” inches of cooking space, this will give you enough space to cook up to 11 burger patties or 5 medium chickens at any one time.

When people think Kamado Joe, they instantly wonder if size is what truly matters and of course, that’s a perfectly understandable question as when it comes to Kamado Joes, you’ll be wondering if you can truly use the vast amount of open space that has been offered to you as you’ve previously found disappointingly that, with most conventional barbecues on the market, this is just not the case and you find that you are hugely limited when it comes to functional space as well as the versatility to try different styles of food.

However those geniuses over at Kamado Joe, have gone on to remove that universal restriction and developed such into a 2 Tier Divide and Conquer Flexible Cooking System, which grants you the ability to cook different foods at differing temperatures, whether via direct or indirect heat in varying different styles, all without having to compromise on space.

To make use of this incredible feature piece, simply sit the grill extender (supplied) onto the pre-established grill grate, this will go on to add an extra tier in which you are able to use to cook.

Both grill grate and grill extender will comfortably lie beneath the 1 1/4 inch thick, ceramic dome and if you decide whether or not to use one or both of the Half-Moon heat deflector plates, which means you can go from direct to an indirect flame when it comes to grilling and with an extra two Half-Moon cooking grids, you’ll be able to change up what is possible without much effort, all in the pursuit of pushing the boundaries, when it comes to diversifying your culinary exploits.

(Both the series I and the series II come supplied with a pair of Half-Moon heat deflector plates and a pair of Half-Moon cooking grids as standard extras).

But let’s dive ever deeper into the bellies of these majestic beasts where we will go on to discover the solid, cast iron charcoal grate which sits suitably well at the base of the Kamado firebox, which has been designed in such a way as to ensure consistent airflow as well as a resting place for lump charcoal, which is what we recommend using when it comes to bringing your Kamado Joe to life.

But as we continue our exploration of the Kamado Joe firebox, we come across a remarkably strong and robust, multi panel fire box, which has been split into ‘leaves’.

This multi ‘Leaf’ firebox has been designed in such a way as to prevent cracking, which is often enough, a risk posed by other Kamado style grills on the market.

This risk is often a result of single piece Kamado style fireboxes reaching exceptionally high temperatures and unstable temperature fluctuations, which put single piece fireboxes under greater elements of stress, which in turn, causes the firebox to swell beyond the constraints of what it is capable.

But before you find yourself getting too carried away and wanting to fire up your Classic Joe, series I, I’m sure you’ll be wondering about the ease or the hassle that’s posed when it comes to cleaning the ash from this powerhouse of a unit, well do not despair, dear reader, for the Classic Joe comes complete with a built in, patented stainless steel, Slide-out Ash Tray, which makes tidying your Joe of spent ash that little bit easier and a lot quicker.

(This is found in the same location as you would find the bottom vent, which has also been made of first rate, stainless steel.)

The Classic Joe, Series I is perfect for those who are looking for an easy to use, entry level product that is both hands on and premium in quality, materials, build and design but before you go on to make your mind up, let’s move swiftly onto the Big Joe, series I.

Now when we come to the Big Joe, series I, we’re looking at a Kamado grill and smoker where size really begins to matter, after all, it’s no secret that the Big Joe, series I is an incredible 33% times BIGGER than the Classic Joe, series I.

That’s some impressive feat but when it comes to comparing the two, not a great deal has really changed when it comes to the Big Joe, series I, aside from it’s now imposing size and a cooking grid that’s also increased in size to that of almost 2ft in diameter, which is perfect for those of you who like to throw a serious and monumental get together.

It also weighs marginally heavier than the Classic Joe, series I but that won’t put any strain or stress on your culinary experience as such very much remains the same, however things really do take a turn for the interesting when it comes to series II of both the Big Joe and the Classic Joe.

Both the Big Joe and the Classic Joe, series II have taken steps towards improving that pre-established greatness and by introducing newer features to an already faultless design, they’ve transformed greatness into something truly phenomenal.

One of the most stand out features of the newly improved Classic II and Big Joe II is the cast aluminium top cap, which has in return removed the need for the original daisy wheel design and improved on such with a newer top cap that can either be removed or left in place, whilst the remains of the top control vent are left in situe upon the vastly improved and now christened: ‘Kontrol Tower’, which, when in use, consistently holds how it has been set, whether the dome has been opened or closed.

Being made from tough cast aluminium, the effects of rust will no longer be an issue as all top vents are heavily considered to be rainproof for all year round, grilling and smoking and one further benefit of choosing to use cast aluminium over cast iron in the design process, means you will go on to have a much smoother and much steadier control over air flow and temperature within the ceramic dome of your Kamado Joe.

Further steps towards innovation has been found in the form of the advanced and upgraded: Counterbalance Air Lift Hinge, this has removed any anxiety that you may have previously had when it comes to hearing that heavy and worrisome clunk as your Kamado dome comes crashing down as with the new advancements in hinge technology.

Your ceramic, Kamado Joe dome will now remain in the rigid position that it has been left and with it, you’ll find you’re transformed into Hercules almost instantaneously, as you are now able to open and close the dome with a single finger.

This seriously impressive move has only been made possible due to the introduction of the improved Air Lift Hinge, which reduces the overall ceramic dome lid weight by an incredible 96%!

Both the Kamado Joe, Big Joe series II and Classic Joe, series II come fitted with an impressive fibreglass gasket which makes for a tight seal, helping to lock in all that important smoke and flavour that you come to expect and taste by using a Kamado styled smoker and grill.

The fibreglass gasket is complimented by a solid stainless steel latch, which I you’ll be catching your reflection in time and again, smiling at yourself with childlike pride, every time you go on to create yet another mighty fine example of foody brilliance.

The evolution of Kamado Joe is forever growing and adapting and with it, comes another ray of intense and remarkable craftsmanship, one which continues to flourish and excel beyond it’s own self created magnitude, I present to you: The Classic Joe, series III and Big Joe, series III.

Once again coming in hard and heavy with all the pre established features and favourites from the Classic Joe, series II and Big Joe, series II, those boffins over at Kamado Joe have found room for even further improvement and decided to run with it, developing and upgrading everything you thought you already knew about Kamado Joe’s and allowing for a natural evolution to follow.

Going on to retain the impressive rain cap found at the crown of the Kontrol Top vent (found on both the Big Joe, series II and Classic Joe, series II), the Kontrol Top vent has been upgraded further and has been fitted with an easy to use slider, which allows for an even more precise level of control over air flow, which results in further and better temperature control than ever before.

The Kamado Joe fan favourite, Air Lift Counterbalance Hinge still remains in place however as we dive under the dome itself, we discover that the fibreglass gasket (for that all important seal) has also been remodelled and by doing so, the new seal has been made thicker and now includes wire mesh which makes for a far tighter seal, locking in even more of that all important smoke and flavour.

Even the whole process of cleaning your gasket has been made ridiculously easy as all such now requires is a quick and effortless wipe.

However, if you’re looking beyond superficial delights and wish to elevate the practicability of your culinary experiences, the Kamado Joe, Big Joe series III and the Kamado Joe, Classic Joe series III have enhanced the already impressive two tier Divide and Conquer flexible Cooking system into a three tier, that’s right, three tiers of unparalleled adaptability which means you can now cook even more dishes on your Kamado grill, in even more differing ways.

With all three tiers sitting proudly under the Kamado’s ceramic dome, you can be rest assured that no one will go hungry or find themselves left out from enjoying your cooking magic, as there will always be something for everyone to enjoy.

The only limitation being yourself and what you are prepared to cook.

It’s time we opened we dived ever deeper up and exposed what lies within the bellies of these impressive grills and smokers and discovered what truly sets them apart from their powerhouses of siblings.

The outstanding pre-established, multi piece firebox featured in the Kamado Joe, Classic Joe, series III has been split into five individual pieces which slot together with minimal effort, where as the Kamado Joe, Big Joe, series III has been split into six pieces, which are then held together and firmly in place, thanks to a sturdy, stainless steel ring.

As we move on, we will go on to come face to face with a piece of simplicity that will change everything and is a real game changer when it comes to Kamado style cooking and that, dear readers is the new and completely original: Firebox divider, which has been designed and built to be easily installed and removed simply via the aid of two bolts, which attach effortlessly to your already established charcoal grate (which lies at the bottom of your Joe, where you’d usually place lump charcoal).

By inserting the Firebox divider, you will have given yourself the option of only having to fire up half of your Kamado grill, which means you’ll go on to using half the amount of charcoal and in turn, you’ll only have to worry about half the mess.

Whether you’re itching to decide to go for a Kamado Joe, Classic Joe or Kamado Joe, Big Joe, series I, II or III, hold those horses steady and wait until you’ve read my other Kamado Joe featured blogs and then make your decision.

Please stand by for Part 2, where I will be looking over even more Kamado Joe wizardry and taking a hard look at the small but equally as impressive: Joe Jr. and the more exclusive, futuristic: Konnected Joe.

Before I sign off, let me just say it’s good to be back in the writing seat.

See you on the other side of the coals..

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